2017-2018 Refugees Welcome Here! Campaign First Meeting @ 280N York Lanes
Oct 16 @ 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM

The 2017-2018 Refugees Welcome Here! campaign is getting underway! We want YOU to join us!

Please come out to our first meeting and learn how YOU can get involved and make a difference.

Please invite your friends and RSVP on our facebook event page !

Now in its 3rd year, the goals of the YorkU Refugees Welcome Here! campaign have been to work collaboratively with and to educate York students and the wider community about refugee issues and encourage students and community members to work together to address them. In this space the University’s Syria Response and Refugee Initiative, students and student groups share what they are doing and think of ways to collaborate in this field.

We are looking for students that want to get involved!

Prior years’ activities have included:

– Refugees Welcome Here! messaging & photography
– a Winter coat drive for the FCJ Refugee Centre
– paying off the transportation loans of Keele Campus WUSC (York students!) sponsored refugee students (see )
– Refugees Welcome Here! Week (February)
– Planning and participating in Toronto’s Refugee Rights Month (April)
– Volunteering as interpreters and on Syrian refugee sponsorship teams

You can read more about what we’ve done together in prior years at

Questions? Please contact us at .

Please fill in this questionnaire to get involved !

Please invite your friends and RSVP on our facebook event page, and join us October 16th!

Can’t come? Even if you can’t come, please fill in our volunteer form at to make sure you get involved!

RSTP Workshop: Transitioning to Month 13 and “Post-Sponsorship”: Workshop and Discussion @ 519 Kaneff Tower
Oct 17 @ 12:15 PM – 3:30 PM

12:15-2:30 (Month 13 Workshop)
2:30-3:30 (Reception)

Please RSVP here:

York University’s Centre for Refugee Studies and Syria Response and Refugee Initiative are hosting a workshop by the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program (RSTP) on Month 13 Planning for private sponsors and the interested public.

Sponsors and attendees will learn about:

·      The post-sponsorship relationship and the dynamics of this relationship

·      When sponsors need to start preparing newcomers for Month13; and

·      The role of sponsors during the “transition period,” including important tasks to consider


Suneet Kharay, RSTP National Trainer

Karen Anderson,
Supervisor, Direct Program, Yonge Eglinton Employment and Social Services

Suneet Kharay will deliver the RSTP workshop and discussion while Karen Anderson from Toronto Employment and Social Services will answer questions that sponsors may have about applying for social assistance (Ontario Works).

Event Organizer and Contact: John Carlaw,,  Project Lead, York University Syria Response and Refugee Initiative, Centre for Refugee Studies

**Please note: this session is not an introduction to refugee sponsorship, to find such a session/learn more about other workshops and events offered by the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program (RSTP) please visit .

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 .
WE STAND WITH REFUGEES: Canadian Policies, Myanmar Displacement & Student Engagement @ York University Senate Chamber, Ross N940
Nov 14 @ 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
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.

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 (

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

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.