Symposium looks at immigrant and refugee experience in North America

The Centre for Excellence in Research on Immigration and Settlement (CERIS) presents its 2005 Graduate Student Symposium today and tomorrow at York’s McLaughlin College, Keele campus.

Titled, “Dislocation, Relocation and Place-making by Immigrants and Refugees in North America”, the symposium begins today with a round table discussion from 7 to 9:30pm on “Race, Place and Communities Under Pressure”. Panellists include Mohamed Boudjenane, executive director of the Canadian Arab Federation, Susan Dion, professor of aboriginal education in York’s Faculty of Education, and Winston LaRose, executive director of Jane-Finch Concerned Citizens. Also taking part are representatives of several people whose cases are the focus of the Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada: Mona el-Fouli, wife of detainee Mohammad Mahjoub; Ahmad Jaballah, son of detainee Mahmoud Jaballah; and lawyer Barbara Jackman. Convener Joseph Mensah, a professor in the School of Social Sciences in York’s Margaret Walton-RobertsAtkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, will direct the discussion, which takes place in the McLaughlin Senior Common Room, 140 McLaughlin College.

The symposium continues Friday with a keynote speech by Margaret Walton-Roberts (right), professor of geography and environmental studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, at 9:15am in the Master’s Dining Hall, room 049 McLaughlin. Walton-Roberts’ talk is titled “Place Making: A Canadian Perspective on the Balkinization Metaphor and the Territorial Politics of Immigration.” Walton-Roberts’ research interests are Canadian immigration and cultural diversity, particularly how ethnic and gender differences shape settlement experiences. Her research to date has focussed on Indian immigration to Canada and associated processes of community formation across transnational landscapes.

Friday’s program includes four sessions:

  • 10-11:15 am – Migration, Memory and Identity Formation; with convener Luin Goldring, professor in York’s Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts;
  • 11:15am-12:30pm – Encountering the State;
  • 1:15-2:30pm – Place, Immigration/Refugee Studies and Social Research, a roundtable discussion convened by Lucia Lo, professor in York’s Department of Geography, Faculty of Arts;
  • 2:30-3:30pm – Migrants and Refugees in Housing and Labour Markets.

The symposium, which is open to all, ends with closing remarks at 3:30pm.

One of four national centres on immigration research in Canada, CERIS is a consortium of Toronto-area universities, immigrant service agencies, other community groups and planning councils that was formed to generate information about individual adaptation and the societal impact of immigration. Its Management Board includes representation from York, Ryerson University, the University of Toronto, the Ontario Council of Agencies Servicing Immigrants, the Social Planning Council of Metropolitan Toronto and the United Way of Greater Toronto. It also includes ex officio representation from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Partnership Advisory Council.

For more information on CERIS at York, visit its Web site.