World In Motion: International Migration and Refugee Trends and Challenges

In partnership with Third Age Learning Guelph, the IMRC presents the 2017 Winter Lecture Series “World In Motion: International Migration and Refugee Trends and Challenges”. This lecture series engages with one of the most important issues of our time. From global to local levels, human migration raises complex social, economic and political issues. Though by no means a contemporary phenomenon, migration has become a ‘hot button’ political issue; while governance of refugee and migrant flows can have lasting consequences for human rights, social cohesion and economic prosperity. The series begins by looking backward, to the historical routes of migration, proceeds to contemporary challenges and opportunities created by migration, and concludes by looking forward to Canada’s role in this ever widening world in motion.


January 11

Global Migration History: Tracing the great migrations

This lecture will focus on the historical context of global migration and will explore the driving factors behind these movements.

Lecturer: Dr. Jason Neelis

Dr. Jason Neelis studies religious traditions of South Asia in historical, economic, and material contexts, with an emphasis on issues related to processes of cross-cultural mobility and exchange. His teaching interests extend broadly to trans regional connections and movements and the role of cultural and religious catalysts in the past and present. Dr. Neelis holds a BA from Brown University, an MA from University of Texas at Austin and a PhD from the University of Washington. 


January 18

Contemporary Migrations:  Root causes and governance of migration

This lecture will focus on the causes and drivers of today’s migratory patterns. It will explore these factors in terms of global, national, and provincial implications.

Lecturer: Dr. Alan Simmons

Dr. Alan Simmons is Senior Scholar in Sociology at York University in Toronto. He has written widely on international migration, refugee movements, immigrant settlement in Canada, and Canadian immigration policy. He is author of a several academic monographs and more than four dozen scholarly book chapters and journal articles. Professor Simmons holds BA and MA degrees from the University of British Columbia and a PhD from Cornell University.


January 25

The Canadian Immigration Experience: history, politics & economics

This lecture will provide insight into Canada’s long established role as a destination country for immigration. Former and current political, historical, and economic issues, policies and governance approaches will be discussed.

Lecturer: Raphael Girard

Raphael Girard  has over 40 years of experience in the Canadian Foreign Service. Throughout his time, he specialized in refugee and immigration issues, leading the task force on Refugee Determination which developed legislation that continues to form the basis of Canada’s approach to the protection of refugees claiming asylum in Canada.  He served in several senior executive positions in the Public Service including Director General of Refugee Affairs, and Assistant Deputy Minster, Immigration Operations. In his postings abroad Mr. Girard served an Ambassador to Yugoslavia and Romania as well as a number of countries in Southern Europe.      


February 1

Gaining Perspective I: Migration and socio-economic change

This lecture will outline issues and challenges related to migration flows for both countries of origin and destination, ranging from shifting norms to economic development.

Lecturer: Dr. Mikal Skuterud

Dr. Mikal Skuterud is an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Waterloo. His main research interests lie in the field of labour economics, especially in the areas of immigration policy and labour market regulations affecting the hours that people work. He also focuses on the challenges that many new immigrants face in trying to integrate into Canada’s labour markets. He holds an undergraduate degree from Labour Studies from McMaster University, a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of British Columbia, and a PhD in Economics from McMaster University.


 February 8

Gaining Perspective II: The politics of migration

In the context of large movements of individuals across border, this lecture will examine state and popular reactions and perceptions to migration. Emerging concerns such as racism, xenophobia, and politics of Brexit and “Trumpism” will be discussed.

Panel Discussion: Anna Klimbovskaia, Kate Subak, Dr. Edward Koning

Anna Klimbovskaia is the Project Manager and Lead Researcher of the Pluralism Project. She holds a Masters in International Public Policy from the Balsillie School of International Affairs with a double specialization in international political economics and international environmental policy. Anna’s research focuses on sustainable development, economic policy, energy,diversity, and labour mobility, among others. 

Kate Subak is a senior executive with a background in management consulting and leadership in major arts and financial institutions. Kate deeply appreciates a good strategy and a strong fact base, and she loves working with people on issues they care deeply about. Kate lives in Toronto.The Century Initiative was formally established a little over two years ago with the goal of developing and driving a project that would transform Canada for the 21st Century. Its stated goal is thoughtful, responsible population growth, and everyone involved with the Century Initiative is working hard toward a Canada of 100 million people by the year 2100.

Dr. Edward Koning is an assistant professor at the University of Guelph. His research centres on the politics of immigration and integration, with a particular focus on North American and Western Europe. His interests also include ethnic and linguistic diversity, new institutionalist theory, minority politics and social policies. Currently, he spends most of his research time on investigating comparative differences in the access immigrants have to social programs in Western welfare states.


February 15

Refugee Settlement:  Refugee experiences & Canadian communities

A panel discussion will include multidisciplinary and diverse perspectives on refugee experiences. By bringing together academics and community organizations this panel will highlight the human face of migration and the challenges of community integration.

Panel Discussion: Dr. Margaret Walton-Roberts, Maissaa Almustafa, Jaya James, Jim Estill

Dr Margaret Walton-Roberts is a human geographer trained in the UK and Canada who focuses on international migration. She is currently a professor at Wilfrid Laurier University and Associate Dean o the School of International Policy and Governance at the Balsillie School of International Affairs. Her research interests are in gender and migration, transnational networks, and immigrant settlement. 

Maissaa Almustafa is a PhD candidate at the Global Governance Program at Balsillie School of International Affairs, Waterloo Ontario. Her broad research interest includes the protection gaps for refugees created by clashes between already established frameworks of global migration governance and national policies and practices of immigration and border control.

Jaya James is a lifelong Guelph resident and University of Guelph graduate. She is the director of Lakeside HOPE House, a Guelph organization that offers services and programs to community members experiencing poverty. Jaya was the founding director of the Refugee Sponsorship Forum that brought together resources and built relationships across not-for-profit community organizations in support of 76 privately sponsored refugee families coming to Guelph and area. 


February 22

Religion and Migration: Faith, culture & perceptions across borders

This lecture will focus on the role of religion in migration from a variety of faith-based perspectives. Topics will emphasize the complex intersections between culture, identity and faith across borders.

Lecturer: Dr. Paul Freston

Dr. Paul Freston is the CIGI Chair in Religion and Politics in Global Context at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, and with the Religion and Culture Department at Wilfrid Laurier University. Dr. Freston is a distinguished senior fellow and director of the Program for Studies of Religion in Latin America, Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR), Baylor University, and professor colaborador in the Post-Graduate Programme in Sociology, Universidade Federal de São Carlos, Brazil. He has published extensively on three areas: religion and politics in comparative perspective; religion, globalization and transnationalism; and transformations in the religious field of Latin America and especially Brazil.


March 1

Canada in the World: Looking forward

The lecture series will conclude with a look at the Canadian Government’s approach to migration governance, from border control to immigration and citizenship policies. Emphasis will be given to understanding the past, present and future of immigration policies.

Lecturer: Dr. Andrew Thompson and Dr. Jenna Hennebry

Dr. Andrew S. Thompson is adjunct assistant professor of political science at the University of Waterloo, senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, and the program officer for the global governance programs at the Balsillie School of International Affairs. He is also the co-host of Inside the Issues, CIGI’s weekly international affairs podcast.  He holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Waterloo, and is a specialist in the fields of international human rights, civil society movements and fragile states.

Dr. Jenna Hennebry holds a Ph.D. in Sociology, is an Associate Professor affiliated with the Balsillie School of International Affairs, and is the Director of the International Migration Research Centre (IMRC) at Wilfrid Laurier University. Her research focuses on international migration and mobility, with a specialization in lower-skilled labour migration with regional expertise in Canada, Mexico, Morocco and Spain. Dr. Hennebry’s research portfolio includes comparative studies of migration policy and foreign worker programs with an emphasis on migrant rights and health, migration industries, non-state migration mediation, transnational families, and the role of remittances in development