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

CRS Seminar: Refugee resettlement in the UK: language learning, intergroup contact, and well-being @ 626 Kaneff Tower
Feb 7 @ 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM

Guest Speakers:

Linda Tip, Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Brighton (UK)

Linda Morrice, Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of Sussex (UK)

Learning the language of the country of resettlement is not only at the heart of refugee integration strategies, but in the highly charged political climate of immigration, English language has become a focal point for debates about migrants ‘failing to integrate’. This talk will draw on ESRC funded research with 280 refugees who were resettled to the UK prior to 2010. The research confirms English language proficiency as pivotal to tangible markers of integration, such as employment, health and access to education, and overall sense of well-being. However, it also shows that resettled refugees are a hyper-diverse group and that age, gender and inequalities of education experienced in the country of origin are reproduced in the transition to highly literate and literacy dependent contexts like the UK.

Out of 280 refugee participants, 180 were followed over the course of two years, allowing for longitudinal analyses which gave us insight in the temporal order of relationships between language, intergroup contact, and well-being. Cross-lagged path modelling confirmed that improving majority language proficiency might be the key to better well-being of refugees, with intergroup contact being the mediator between language and well-being. That is, earlier English language competence was positively associated with later intergroup contact; the reverse associations (from earlier contact to later language competence) were not reliable. In turn, intergroup contact at earlier time points was associated with increased well-being at later time points (but not the reverse). 

The findings highlight how conflicting policy goals, and the failure of policy to recognise the specific challenges facing refugees, undermine attempts to learn the language, and serve to perpetuate social disadvantage and marginalisation. In addition, the results show that policies assuming that once in employment, there is no longer a need to learn the language, are likely to be misplaced. Consequently, the promise of resettlement and the accompanying rights of participation are not fulfilled, and public fears over migrants’ abilities to speak English and demonstrate willingness to integrate will remain.


Linda Morrice is a Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of Sussex (UK). Her research interests sit at the intersection of education (informal and formal) with refugee and migration studies. She has a particular interest in everyday pedagogies and inter-cultural dimensions of learning, identities and social practices such as citizenship and cultural values.

Linda Tip is a Social Psychologist who explores issues surrounding integration and well-being of refugees and other minority groups from a multidisciplinary and policy-focused perspective. This includes investigating relationships between people of different ethnic or religious backgrounds, and the link between these relationships and well-being. She is currently a Research Fellow at the University of Sussex (UK), but will be a Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Brighton (UK) as of March 2017.

Both Lindas work together on a UK Research Council funded project – Optimising refugee resettlement in the UK: a comparative analysis (2014-2018).  The project is longitudinal and combines quantitative and qualitative methods to explore the experiences and outcomes for refugees who were resettled to the UK prior to 2010. The research is multidisciplinary with Mike Collyer (Geography) and Rupert Brown (Psychology). See:

Creating Pathways and Crossing Borders: Access to Higher Education for Refugees and Precarious Migrants @ Founders College Senior Common Room (Room 305)
Feb 8 @ 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM

***This event is part of York University Refugee Awareness Week 2018, details are available at (and an up to the minute schedule is available at 


Critical border scholars have argued that borders are ideological constructs with material consequences that exist not only as boundaries between countries, but also act to limit rights and entitlements for many within them (e.g. Anderson, Sharma, and Wright, Refuge Journal, 2009). These are reflected in refugee camps and in barriers to refugee resettlement and higher education for refugees and others with precarious migration status both locally and globally. 

This York U 2018 Refugee Awareness Week panel features three York affiliated initiatives working to facilitate access to higher education for refugees and others with precarious status within and across borders, from Kenya, Malawi, Jordan, Lebanon and Toronto, Canada. These speakers, representing the Borderless Higher Education for Refugees (BHER) Project, the World University Service of Canada and York University’s new Access for Students with Precarious Immigration Status Program seek to generate awareness and foster dialogue about global and local realities of access to higher education as well as the role the York University community has, is, and can play in addressing these challenges in a manner consistent with and advancing its social justice and accessible education mandate.


1: Access to Higher Education for Refugees in Dadaab, Kenya: The Borderless Higher Education for Refugees (BHER) Project
Aida Orgocka, BHER Project Manager

2: Resettling Refugee Students: The World University Service of Canada (National and York University Campuses)
Chiedza Pasipanodya, WUSC Ottawa – Regional Liaison Officer
Myriame Flurisca WUSC Glendon
Robert Hanlon, WUSC Keele – Chairman
Aelya Salman, WUSC Keele – Student Refugee Program Coordinator

3) York University’s Access for Students With Precarious Immigration Status Program
Tanya Aberman, Research and Program Coordinator, FCJ Refugee Centre and York U Access for Students With Precarious Immigration Status Program

Discussant: Professor Luin Goldring, Department of Sociology, York University

Panel Chair and Co-Organizer (with WUSC Keele Campus Committee): John Carlaw, Project Lead, York University Syria Response and Refugee Initiative

Event Contact: John Carlaw

This panel is organized by York’s local World University Service of Canada Committees and Syria Response and Refugee Initiative as part of Refugee Awareness Week 2018. Thank you to the Centre for Refugee Studies and Founders College for support with this activity.

CRS Film Screening: Ai Weiwei’s “Human Flow” @ Nick Mirkopolous Screening Room ACE 004
Feb 14 @ 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Join us for a screening of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s powerful documentary on the refugee crisis

Human Flow.png

Human Flow


You can view the trailer here: