Refugees Welcome Here! Winter Coat and Clothing Collection
Nov 6 – Dec 5 all-day
Now Until December 5th!

As part of the York University Refugees Welcome Here! campaign we are collecting coats and winter clothing to support local immigrants and refugees at the FCJ Refugee Centre to (literally!) help give a warmer welcome to our community.
We are also tabling to raise awareness of refugee issues and invite students to join this campaign. WUSC York – Keele, Amnesty International at York (AIY), York University Syria Response and Refugee Initiative , Islamic Relief at York University, RefugeAid and the McLaughlin College Council are collaborating and helping with the collection of these coats.
Coats may be dropped off at Room 107, McLaughlin College OR McLaughlin College Council or when the respective organizations are tabling until December 5th.
To join the Refugees Welcome Here! campaign please contact us at and fill in our questionnaire at !
The York University Syria Response and Refugee Initiative is providing logistical support. Please visit our site at to learn more and to get involved!
You can learn more about and follow the FCJ Refugee Centre at .
CRS Seminar: “Step into the Past”: Institutionalizing Performances of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia @ 626 Kaneff Tower
Nov 21 @ 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM

Guest Speaker: Morgan Poteet

Visiting Scholar at Centre for Refugee Studies, York University

Co-author: Andrea Terry, Lakehead University

This presentation is based on an institutional history and analysis of recent guided tour programming offered at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, exploring its simultaneous dependence on and entrenchment of volunteerism. Based on an analysis of the motivations and achievements of volunteer collectives, guided tours and interpreter interviews, we approach Pier 21 as an example of “heritage as performance” (Smith, 2006). Exploring the site as the result of memory-making processes indicates tensions between bottom-up activities mounted by local community members and state-sanctioned heritage designation policies, as well as national(ized) narratives.  

Smith, Laurajane. 2006. Uses of Heritage. London and New York: Routledge.

Morgan Poteet has conducted research on belonging for Central American youth in Toronto and international students in the Atlantic region of Canada, youth-police relations in New Brunswick, and refugee integration in Scotland, UK and Atlantic Canada. Poteet teaches courses on immigration and settlement in the Department of Sociology at Mt. Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada. He is Past President of the Canadian Association for Refugee and Forced Migration Studies (CARFMS), currently Director at Large on the CARFMS Executive, and a Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Refugee Studies (CRS), York University, Toronto.

Challenging Trafficking in Canada Policy Brief Launch @ 519 Kaneff Tower
Nov 21 @ 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

The Centre for Feminist Research and the Centre for Refugee Studies Present:

Challenging Trafficking in Canada Policy Brief Launch

519 Kaneff Tower, York University
Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Challenging Trafficking in Canada presents information about human trafficking interventions as they impact sex workers, Indigenous women, migrants, youth, and other marginalized groups. Drawing from established research and consultations with organizations around the country, the policy brief analyses how anti-trafficking policies, laws and practices often cause violence and harm to those they are intended to help, especially Indigenous, racialized and migrant sex workers. It offers an alternative to misinformation, exaggerations and unfounded claims that often circulate through the media and public discussion.

Join us for a conversation with community organizers about the Brief and how issues of labour exploitation, criminalization, and precarious migration status impact local and migrant workers across multiple industries.

Lead editors of the policy brief:
Dr. Kamala Kempadoo & Nicole D. McFadyen (PhD Candidate), York University

Elene Lam, Director
Butterfly: Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network

Syed Hussan, Coordinator
Migrant Workers Alliance for Change

Evelyn Encalada Grez, Organizer and co-Founder
Justicia for Migrant Workers

Andrea Sterling, Board Chair
Maggie’s Toronto Sex Workers Action Project

About the panelists:
Elene Lam (LLM, LLB, MSW. BSW) Master of Law is the founder and executive director of Butterfly (Asian and migrant sex workers support network) and Migrant Sex Workers Project (MSWP). She has been involved in the sex work, gender, migrant and labour movement and activism for more than 17 years.

Evelyn Encalada Grez is co-founder of the award-winning collective Justicia for Migrant Workers. She was part of the films “Migrant Dreams” and “El Contrato” directed by Min Sook Lee that features the injustices lived by migrant workers in Canada. She is contract faculty at York University and a PhD candidate in Social Justice Education at OISE of the University of Toronto.

Andrea Sterling is a PhD candidate in the Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies at the University of Toronto. She is currently the Chair of the Board of Maggie’s: Toronto Sex Workers’ Action Project, and has been involved with sex working communities in Montréal and Toronto since 2006. Andrea was involved in the development of the policy brief as a contributing member of the editorial and research teams representing Maggie’s Toronto. Her research examines sex work and modes of regulation and is guided by the lived realities of sex workers in her community.

Supported by: Maggie’s Toronto
Sponsored by: Centre for Feminist Research, Centre for Refugee Studies, Department of Anthropology, Department of Social Science & International Development Studies at York University.

Please RSVP to Light refreshments provided.

CRS Seminar: The Plight of the Rohingyas: Ethnic Cleansing, Genocide and Refugee Crisis @ 280N York Lanes
Dec 7 @ 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM

Guest Speaker: Nasir Uddin,University of Chittagong

The Rohingyas, widely known as the most persecuted people in the world, have recently encountered thousands of indiscriminate killings, hundreds of horrific raping and random burning of hundreds of villages perpetrated by the Myanmar security forces and extremist Buddhist nationalists in what the United Nations Human Rights Council termed ‘a textbook example of ethnic cleansing’. In the name of counter-insurgency operations, Myanmar security forces committed an unprecedented violence which forced more than 600,000 Rohingyas to flee to Bangladesh in addition to existing 500,000, which created ‘the biggest refugee crises’ and ‘a humanitarian catastrophe’ in the near past. The intensity of brutality and the degree of atrocity was so dreadful that many international rights bodies (Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch) and acclaimed media outlets (Al Zajeera, The New York Times, ABC News, BBC, and CNN) called it “genocide”.     

Why the Rohingyas experience genocide, ethnic cleansing and critical refugee situation is due to their stateless identity in Myanmar apart from their ethno-linguistic and religious difference from the national majority. The Rohingyas were made stateless in 1982 enacting ‘Myanmar Citizenship Law’ which legally rendered them non-citizens; a vulnerable category belonging to no state. In that sense, the Rohingyas are non-existent human beings as they do not exist in the legal framework of any state. Therefore, they frequently experience persecution, atrocities and everyday forms of discrimination as they are dealt with as if they are less than human beings, in what Uddin prefers to phrase as ‘sub-human’. This talk, with empirically grounded evidences and recent experiences of ethnic cleansing, genocide, and refugee situation, will focus on the plight of Rohingyas in the borderland of Myanmar and Bangladesh

Nasir Uddin is a cultural anthropologist based in Bangladesh and a professor of anthropology at the University of Chittagong. His research interests include statelessness and refugee studies; human rights and non-citizens; indigeneity and identity politics; the state in everyday life; the politics of marginality and vulnerability; and borderlands and border people, particularly those of Bangladesh and Myanmar, the Chittagong Hill Tracts, and South Asia. His publications include To Host or To Hurt: Counter-narratives on the Rohingya (Refugees) in Bangladesh (2012); Life in Peace and Conflict: Indigeneity and State in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (2017) and Indigeneity on the Move: Varying Manifestation of a Contested Concept (2017). Currently he is working on a monograph, the Rohingyas: A Tale of Sub-Human (2018).

CRS Special Lecture: Refugee and Migrant Labour and the Population Question under Global Capitalism @ 305 York Lanes
Dec 12 @ 2:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Guest Speaker:

Ranabir Samaddar, Distinguished Chair in Migration and Forced Migration Studies, Calcutta Research Group in Kolkata India and currently the O’Brien Residency Fellow, McGill University


Most writings on refugee economy or the immigrant economy refer to changes in the immigrant labour absorption policies of the Western governments. In these writings the refugee economy or the immigrant economy never features directly; refugees are seen as economic actors in the market. But we do not get a full picture of why capitalism in late twentieth or early twenty first century needs these refugee or immigrant labour as economic actors. The organic link between the immigrant as an economic actor and the global capitalist economy seems to escape the analysis in these writings. Yet, if immigration policies produce precarious labour, this has general significance for the task of theorising the migrant as living labour. The question of the production of living labour is important because it puts in a critical perspective the necessity of the states and the international regime of protection to synchronise the economic and the political strategies of protection. Yet the disjuncture between the two strategies of protection is not only typical of the postcolonial parts of the globe, the disjuncture is evident in the developed countries. Globally, one can say, capital sets in motion movements of labour within a specific field of force that dictates how and why migrant labour is to be harnessed, disciplined, and governed (for instance the dominant presence of immigrant labour in logistics, health care, agriculture, etc.), and that shapes the links between “strategies” (that control migrants once they are in motion) and the mechanisms that set these movements in motion. 

Hence the ambiguous position the category of the forced migrant occupies in the organisation of the reality called population and its division in various categories.  While governing people has become possible by turning population groups into administrative categories, yet the category of migrant, the footloose labour, or the forced migrant escapes these adminstrative categorisations. As migrant labour, they show that management of migrant labour is not simply a matter of rule, sovereignty, and management. Performing labour as parts of wandering bands of construction labour, or labour in sex, care, and entertainment industry,  various logistical services, petty shops and outlets, and various other sites of production, social subsistence, and social reproduction, the refugee or the migrant becomes the labouring subject of the capitalism of our time. They become one of the defining elements of the organisation of populations under global capitalism today. 


Ranabir Samaddar belongs to the critical school of thinking and is considered as one of the foremost theorists in the field of migration and forced migration studies. His writings have signaled a new turn in critical postcolonial thinking. His co-authored work on new town and new forms of accumulation Beyond Kolkata: Rajarhat and the Dystopia of Urban Imagination (Routledge, 2014) takes forward urban studies in the context of post-colonial capitalism. Karl Marx and the Postclonial Age (Palgrave MacMillan, 2017) is his latest work discussing the relevance of Marx in the global age of postcolonialism and neoliberalism. He is currently the Distinguished Chair in Migration and Forced Migration Studies, Calcutta Research Group.

CRS Seminar: Monitoring the UN Convention on The Rights Of Persons With Disabilities: The Constructive Dialogues of The CRPD Committee and the Simplified Reporting Mechanism @ Helliwell Centre, Osgoode Hall Law School
Jan 16 @ 2:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Please join us for a talk and book launch with

Prof. Ron McCallum & Dr. Mary Crock

Monitoring the UN Convention on The Rights Of Persons With Disabilities: The Constructive Dialogues of The CRPD Committee and the Simplified Reporting Mechanism

as well as the Canadian book launch of:

The Legal Protection of Refugees with Disabilities: Forgotten and Invisible?

RVSP at:

CART & ASL will be available.

(Co-sponsors: Osgoode Hall Law School, Centre for Refugee Studies, Faculty of Health, York University, Faculty of Law, Western University)

CRS Seminar: ‘Achieving Uptake’: From Policy Practice Relevant Research to Real World Impact @ 519 Kaneff Tower
Jan 24 @ 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Guest Speaker: Dr. Joanna Anneke Rummens

How exactly can research help directly inform policy and practice?

In this presentation, the Centre for Refugee Studies’ Visiting Scholar of Practice in Residence, Dr. Joanna Anneke Rummens, shares practical how-to principles and strategies for undertaking policy practice relevant research to address pressing social issues and knowledge gaps.

Focus is placed on the trajectory from knowledge exchange, through translation and transfer, to actual uptake, implementation and impact evaluation, with reference to both implementation research per se and the newly emerging field of implementation science in health care research.  

Illustrative examples are drawn and key research findings shared from her own programme of integrated research & knowledge transfer on health status and access to care of diverse medically uninsured newcomer immigrant | refugee | migrant populations which culminated in the provision of scientific evidence as invited Expert Affiant in Canada’s Federal Court and Court of Appeal that contributed to changes in governmental policy and professional practice. 

The Centre for Refugee Studies’ Visiting Scholar of Practice in Residence, Dr. Joanna Anneke Rummens, is an applied researcher, knowledge mobilizer and consultant who works directly with diverse communities, front-line practitioners, professionals and key decision makers within the immigration, health and education sectors at the local, municipal, provincial, federal and international levels.  


Dr. Joanna Anneke Rummens

Visiting Scholar of Practice in Residence, Centre for Refugee Studies, York University

Senior Advisor, Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships

Ted Rogers School of Management’s Diversity Institute, Ryerson University

Associate Professor in Equity, Gender and Population | Child and Youth Mental Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto

Refugee Awareness Week 2018 at York University (Feb 5-8th) @ York University
Feb 5 – Feb 8 all-day

Refugee Awareness Week 2018, from February 5th to 8th is a collaborative initiative of a coalition of York University student groups and supporting departments working on refugee issues and advocacy in order to promote awareness, solidarity and informed action in this field.  Please join us at these important events!


This year’s events include the following activities each day:




a) 10am-4:00pm @ Vari Hall: Refugee Awareness and Engagement Fair

Come out to meet York U student leaders working in this field and learn how you can get involved in their activities and campaigns!

b) 11:30 – 1:00pm, 519 Kaneff Tower: Book Launch of Running on Empty- Canada and the Indochinese Refugees

  1. c) 5:00-7:00pm 519 Kaneff Tower: Training on Working in Solidarity with Refugees by the Psychology Graduate Students Refugee Initiative, Syria Response and Refugee Initiative and WUSC

Also learn how to get involved in working with refugees on campus and in our community, including WUSC, and also the Syria Response and Refugee Initiative who work with York’s Syrian refugee sponsor teams! Other attending student groups are also invited to share their work and initiatives.





a) 10am-4pm in The Bear Pit:  The Refugee Journey- A Doctors Without Borders Exhibit by RefugeAid and MSF

b) 5:00-8:00pm, McLaughlin Junior Common Room: Life For The Stateless:-Addressing The World-Wide Refugee Crisis; A UNICEF and REFUGEAID Speaker Session




a) 1:00-2:30pm, 626 Kaneff Tower: Refugee resettlement in the UK: language learning, intergroup contact, and well-being

b) 5:30- 7 PM, York Lanes 280N: Amnesty International at York Presents: Dignity Not Detention
A letter writing session, and advocacy workshop featuring Marium Yousuf, a human rights activist involved with Amnesty International for over ten years who will help discuss the unjust and unfair immigrant detention epidemic in Canada.


c) 7-9:00pm, Nat Taylor Cinema (Ross Building 102 North): Casa en Tierra Ajena. A documentary about forced migration in Central America by Carlos Sandoval Garcia.


Also see:



a) 12:00-2:00pm, Founders College Sr. Common (Room 305)

Creating Pathways and Crossing Borders: Access to Higher Education for Refugees and Precarious Migrants (featuring links with three York University initiatives: WUSC, Borderless Higher Education for Refugees-BHER and Bridging Program for Precarious Status Students)


Also see:

b) 16:00-17:30, York Lanes 280N , Film Screening: CAST FROM THE STORM, hosted by UNICEF York U and UDEM



Want to support and act in solidarity our WUSC sponsored refugee students and other refugees facing a harmful Canadian government policy? Please help fight the burden of transportation loans!

 Participating  groups include:

Amnesty International at York University
Centre for Refugee Studies
Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean
Founders College
Psychology Graduate Student Refugee Initiative
Undergraduates of Emergency and Disaster Management (UDEM)
WUSC Keele Campus Committee, WUSC Glendon Campus Committee
York U Syria Response and Refugee Initiative & Centre for Refugee Studies (

CRS Seminar: Book Launch: “Running on Empty: Canada and the Indochinese Refugees, 1975-1980” @ 519 Kaneff Tower
Feb 5 @ 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Guest Speaker: Michael J. Molloy

The fall of Saigon in April 1975, resulted in the largest refugee resettlement effort in Canada’s history. Running on Empty describes the actions of a few dozen men and women who travelled to seventy remote refugee camps in order to resettle thousands displaced by war and oppression. This volume presents first-hand accounts of the officials tasked with selecting refugees, receiving and matching them with sponsors and helping integrate the newcomers in communities across Canada. Running on Empty offers lessons for governments, organizations, and individuals trying to come to grips with refugee crises in the twenty-first century.


Michael J. Molloy, Canada’s former Ambassador to Jordan, was involved in refugee affairs throughout his career. He led implementation of the refugee provisions of the 1976 Immigration Act including the private refugee sponsorship program. He coordinated the resettlement of 60,000 Indochinese refugees in 1979/80. He was involved in the Czechoslovakian and Ugandan Asian refugee movements. He is president of the Canadian Immigration Historical Society and Honorary Senior Fellow at the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.

Peter Duschinsky was a Hungarian refugee to Canada in 1957 and is a retired Canadian foreign service officer. He managed the Ethiopian refugee movement from Sudan to Canada in the early 1980s. As director of International Liaison in the late 1980s he coordinated Canada’s relations on migration and refugee issues with multilateral organisations, including the UNHCR and the EU.


Training on Working in Solidarity with Refugees by York U Psychology Graduate Students Refugee Initiative, Syria Response and Refugee Initiative & WUSC Keele @ 519 Kaneff Tower
Feb 5 @ 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

This session’s training, being facilitated by the York University Psychology Graduate Student (PGS) Refugee Education Initiative is designed to empower those working and volunteering with refugees by building a healthy, safe, and welcoming environment for refugees arriving to our community.

The PGS team’s presentation takes a multisystem developmental approach in introducing the following topics:


  • The complex and diverse nature of refugees’ experiences
  • The strength and resilience of refugees
  • Resources available to refugees
  • Resources available to volunteers and team members
  • Cultural sensitivity: Awareness, responsibility, and respect

York’s Syria Response and Refugee Initiative  and World University Service of Canada Keele Campus Committee will also provide information to York students interested in volunteering with York-sponsored and other refugees on how to do so on both of York’s campuses. This training is particularly useful for York students who wish to work as volunteer interpreters with Syrian refugees sponsored through York’s Syria Response and Refugee Initiative and the Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge.

This session will also provide further background about and information to help engage in/with the York U Refugees Welcome Here! campaign and Refugee Rights Month in the City of Toronto.

Student leaders from other clubs in attendance will also be invited to briefly introduce their work.

We also encourage members of the University community to stop by Vari Hall between 10:00am and 4:00pm the same day to visit the groups participating in the planning and execution of Refugee Awareness Week.

Questions or need further info? Please contact