Young historians reflect on Canadian history during Canada150 event at York

Vari pond

Some 70 students from across the province will show how Canadian history impacts them as part of a special sesquicentennial Ontario Provincial Heritage Fair, which takes place at York University’s Founders Assembly Hall on Saturday, June 10 from 10:30am to noon.

Young historians will share in a celebration of Ontario’s rich multi-cultural history and heritage over the course of three days, June 9 to 11, while in Toronto, visiting key community sites.

Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor The Hon. Elizabeth Dowdeswell

The event is organized by the Department of History at York University, the Archives of Ontario, and the Ontario Heritage Fairs Association as part of Canada 150 celebrations.

The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, lieutenant governor of Ontario, will address the students and view their winning projects. The participating students, from grades 4 to 10, were selected from across Ontario.

Thirty of the students are Ontario’s representatives in the national Young Citizens program, offered by Canada’s History. The young citizens created videos that show the historical significance of a place, person or event from Canada’s rich past. The national launch of the online component of the program will take place June 12, but visitors to the Provincial Heritage Fair can preview them at the fair on Saturday.

For Professor Marcel Martel in the History Department and one of the organizers, the fair gives an opportunity to meet young students from all over Ontario, and share with them their passion for history.

Everyone is invited to attend the fair on Saturday. For more, visit

This year’s fair sponsors include Canada150@York, Dean’s Office, Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, the Ontario government’s Ontario150 Community Celebration program, the Ontario Power Generation, Canada’s History and its partners, Canadian Heritage and Great West Life, the Ontario Teachers’ Federation, and the Ontario History and Geography Consultants’ Association.

New Canadians take citizenship oath during special ceremony at York U

Thirty-five new Canadians took the oath of citizenship during a special Citizenship Ceremony held at York University on May 30 as part of Canada’s 150th national birthday celebrations.

York welcomed Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC) for the event. The day included roundtable discussions on what it means to be Canadian, which featured special roundtable guest host Global TV’s Alan Carter.

Image: ICC/Alyssa K. Faoro

Held in the Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan Theatre in the Accolade East Building, the Citizenship Ceremony was presided by Justice Albert Wong, and featured guest speakers Helena Jaczek, minister of Community Services and MPP, Oak Ridges-Markham; as well as Mamdouh Shoukri, president and vice-chancellor of York University.

“You have now come to a point where you will soon be taking an oath of Canadian citizenship, the last step in becoming a Canadian citizen. Congratulations,” said Wong to the candidates. “How you came to Canada and how you chose to become a Canadian citizen will now add to the mosaic that makes this country so attractive to all of us.”

Wong encouraged new Canadians to actively seek out volunteerism opportunities, and to engage in the arts and education – important components of Canadian society.

Candidates repeated the oath of citizenship and crossed the stage to collect their certificates of citizenship.

Guests and new citizens heard from Jaczek, who shared her own story of immigration as a child from England and offered insights on her experience becoming a Canadian citizen.

“While we celebrate our differences in this country, what I have come to note over the years is how we are all the same,” she said. “We live in peace and harmony, we celebrate our differences, but we know that we are all fundamentally the same. We are equal.”

Congratulations were also offered by Shoukri, who noted the celebration was particularly meaningful as it coincides with the marking of Canada’s 150th anniversary this year. He said it provides an important opportunity to reflect on our own citizenship and how we can work together to preserve and strengthen all that we love about this remarkable country for future generations.

“I’m proud to live in a country that honours and celebrates diversity, a country that upholds inclusion,” he said. “As president of York University, I can’t think of many places better suited to host a citizenship ceremony than York University. At York, we are known for our social responsibility, global perspective, our community engagement, and commitment to sustainability. We embody many of the same qualities that make Canada the country it is.”

York University is proud to be one of the most diverse university campuses in Canada, home to more than 60,000 students, faculty and staff who trace their roots to 157 countries.

A reception for new Canadians and guests followed the ceremony in the CIBC Lobby.

York U hosts symposium on the changing role of public art in Canada

Public art can startle, resonate and inform, but its role is changing as expectations evolve about what it should be and do. York University’s Department of Visual Art & Art History is hosting a symposium May 18 to 20 focusing on the policies and practices of commissioning and creating art for the public realm.

“Public Art: New Ways of Thinking and Working” will bring together artists, curators, urban planners, academics, policy-makers and community organizers to explore the role of public art. Talks and panels are designed to spark conversations across disciplines, from the perspective of both research and practice, about the current state of contemporary Canadian public art in the context of innovations happening internationally.

The symposium is co-organized by sculptor Brandon Vickerd, chair of the Department of Visual Art & Art History in York’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD), and Ciara McKeown, a Calgary-based public art consultant and commissioner.

Silent Fairgroun, Sans façon

McKeown has served as adviser to the Creative City Network of Canada, and currently works as a project manager with artists Sans façon. Vickerd’s large-scale public art projects include Wildlife, hybrid human/animal figures commissioned for streetscapes in Edmonton and Thunder Bay; and Dance of the Cranes, a collaborative, choreographed work performed by high-rise construction cranes perched atop buildings, that has engaged developers and crane operators and enthralled residents in Toronto, Edmonton and Washington, D.C.

Wildlife, Brandon Vickerd

“Public art is contentious,” said Vickerd. “It straddles expectations ranging from traditional to temporary, monument to site, community-based to corporate. The increasingly diverse, connected and yet fractious world we live in raises important questions about the role of public art and its relationship to issues such as economic disparity, environmental uncertainty, cultural inclusivity and political unrest.”

Vickerd said the symposium comes at a pivotal moment, as ideas of what public art can and should be are being revisited by both creators and commissioners across Canada.

“Most Canadian municipal public art policies were established decades ago. Since that time, artists have dramatically repositioned their approach to public art, and so has the public. Audience engagement is key,” he said.

“Our symposium takes an inclusive approach to exploring current issues and innovations, with the aim of expanding the conversation about public art in Canada and creating tangible outcomes. We look forward to lively debate and open dialogue on how to advance critical, social and civic discourse through public art, the shifting roles and expectations of artists, and what the future holds for public art practice.”

Graveyard of Lost Species, Critical Art Ensemble

“Public Art: New Ways of Thinking and Working” kicks off Thursday, May 18 at 7pm with a free public lecture by American artist Steve Kurtz. Kurtz is a founding member of the internationally acclaimed Critical Art Ensemble, a collective of tactical media practitioners whose work in digital and visual media, text and performance intersects art, critical theory, technology and political activism. He will speak to the challenges of producing art in the public sphere that moves beyond decoration, and the artist’s role in creating shared platforms of expression in pursuit of social and environmental justice. His talk, “When Aesthetics is Not Enough,” is co-presented by the Art Gallery of Ontario and takes place at the AGO’s Jackman Hall.

Cameron Cartiere, a practitioner and researcher specializing in public art, community engagement and urban renewal, delivers a second keynote on Friday, May 19 at 4:30pm at York’s Keele campus. An associate professor in the Faculty of Culture & Community at Emily Carr University of Art & Design, Cartiere currently leads a team of artists, writers, scientists and new media researchers on a project that uses public art as the driving force for positive sustainable environmental change in Richmond and Kelowna, B.C. Her talk, “Permanent Works in an Impermanent Time,” will address problems of standard practices in municipal commissioning processes for public art.

The symposium also features a dozen panel discussions on topics ranging from the role of artists in city-building and of public art as social engagement, to the political and cultural role of commemorative monumental sculptures, public space and Indigenous political expression, Canadian public art in China and artistic dissension as community practice.

“Public Art: New Ways of Thinking and Working” is open to the public. For full details on the program, presenters and schedule, visit for Steve Kurtz’s keynote at the AGO, all events take place in the Accolade West Building at York’s Keele campus  A symposium pass costs $125 or $75 for students/artists/underemployed, and includes lunches and receptions. Register online.

“Public Art: New Ways of Thinking and Working” is a York University Canada 150 project.

Conference, exhibit celebrates York research on gender and genre

An international conference on May 15 to 17 will celebrate the achievements of York University Professor Marlene Kadar, a noted Canadian feminist studies and life writing scholar whose research interests cluster around issues of gender and genre, with special attention given to trauma and illness studies, archival methodologies and transnational themes in the Americas.

Marlene Kadar

“Lives Outside the Lines: Gender and Genre in the Americas – A Symposium in Honour of Marlene Kadar” takes place on campus, and will explore the multiple lines that gendered lives in the Americas cross, including both physical boundaries and intangible crossings. Organized at the initiative of Kadar’s colleague Eva Karpinski, the conference is dedicated to recognizing the scholarship of Kadar, whose contributions have dramatically changed the field by pushing the conceptual boundaries of what constitutes life writing and expanding its interdisciplinary methods of study.

Focused on diversity and inclusion, this event brings together York community members and the International Auto/Biography Association Chapter of the Americas (IABAA) for three days of graduate student presentations and workshops, panel discussions, invited speakers’ talks, an activist art exhibit and a book launch of Auto/Biography Across the Americas.

Held at the Centre for Feminist Research, the conference is free to attend, and is part of York’s Canada 150 event lineup.

Kadar is a professor in the Departments of Humanities and Gender & Women’s Studies at York. She has published extensively in the field of life writing, especially in relation to traumatic historical events, archival lives and memory studies. Her 1992 essay on life writing as a critical practice is one of the first comprehensive attempts to theorize this genre. She has co-edited four volumes on life writing theory: Tracing the Autobiographical (2005); ARIEL: Life Writing in International Contexts (2008); Photographs, Histories, and Meanings (2009); and Working Memory: Women and Work in World War II (2015). She is the co-editor of Working in Women’s Archives (2001). She is the editor of the Life Writing Series at Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

Art exhibit

In addition to poster and digital presentations, the symposium will feature an art exhibit titled Outside the Lines: An art exhibition exploring the blurring genres of gender, body, disability and racialization. The exhibit runs at the Eleanor Winters Gallery, 129 Winters College, York University, from May 15 to 19, and includes an artist talk on May 16 at noon.

Detail from Forming 2, hand printed silkscreen comic by Eli Howey, 2016

Outside the Lines features 10 artists (Yvonne Singer, Naz Rahbar, Martha Newbigging, Lindsay Fisher, JoAnn Purcell, Erin Vincent, Estée Klar, Ellen Bleiwas, Eli Howey, Diana Meredith) who represent the beyond and within of lines through their artistic practices.

This exhibition brings together diverse ways of working with materials to show qualities of living that sit outside mainstream perception and narrative. The artists collaborate with autistic experience to challenge notions of independence and care narratives; explore the daily experiences of living with disability that are uniquely humorous, difficult or lovely; draw queer sexuality and gender through memory fragments; investigate the lived experience of existence with queer and immigrant identity; question the fragmentation of gender, feminism and the body; and challenge the dominant medical and pharmaceutical narratives of experience with cancer.

For more information, visit the conference website at

This exhibition is made possible in part by a grant from the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council.

Inaugural Graduate Student Research Conference attracts more than 150 participants

Research York University
Research York University

‘Visions, Collaborations & Transformations’, the inaugural York University Graduate Student Research Conference in the Social Sciences & Humanities, took place at York University on April 6 and 7 with more than 150 graduate students participating.

Students came from 25 programs across York University and neighbouring institutes (including: OISE, University of Toronto, Ryerson University, Trent, Carlton, McMaster, and U Vic) to present on the environment, diversity and inclusion, Indigenous people, and youth in conjunction with the theme of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation.

The event was supported by Canada 150 at York University, the Faculty of Education, Faculty of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies and York Graduate Students in Education.

The first day of the conference opened with guest speaker and York alumni Eddy Robinson, who spoke about his experiences on Indigeneity, identity, and representation. He is a noted Anishinaabe artist, musician, educator, facilitator, trainer and speaker.

Kent Monkman

Day one ended with a keynote address by First Nations artist Kent Monkman, who is well known for his provocative reinterpretations of romantic North American landscapes with themes including colonization, sexuality, loss, resilience, and the complexities of historic and contemporary Native American experience. Monkman spoke about his process and evolution as an artist and of his paintings that challenge the colonial lens of the settlement of Canada. One attendee remarked of Monkman’s address, “The keynote was inspirational. I was rapt. Just incredible artwork and an excellent speaker.”

The second day of the conference began with a panel on “Putting Your Research to Work,” featuring Michael Johnny from the Knowledge Mobilization Unit at York University, Carolyn Steele from the Career Centre at York University and Alumni Jason Guriel from the Evidence Exchange Network, CAMH. The conference also included an innovative open space (IOS) session, which provided participants with a space to engage in dialogue regarding questions, research, and emerging themes within the outlined conference topics. GSRC also welcomed 50 international attendees from York’s Graduate Student Preparation Program (GSPP).

The York University Graduate Student Research Conference in the Social Sciences & Humanities is an initiative by York Graduate Students in Education, Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean, Science and Technology Studies Graduate Student Association, OISE Graduate Students’ Association, York Sociology Graduate Student Association and the Social Anthropology Graduate Association.

Co-organizers, Stacey Bliss and Josefina Rueter, commented, “We are thrilled with the turn out of graduate students, faculty members, and guests. The conference was a great success particularly due to the engagement and scholarship of students who attended and presented. We would like to thank our partners, supporters, and volunteers who help us realize this inaugural event. And, we hope next year a few intrepid graduate students will make the second year a welcoming and exciting event.”

York co-hosts Ontario Climate Symposium, which examines next 150 years

York University, in collaboration with the Ontario Climate Consortium (OCC) and the Toronto & Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), will host the 2017 Ontario Climate Symposium on May 11 and 12. The theme for this year’s symposium is “Just Transformations: The Next 150.”

“In the context of Canada’s 150th anniversary of confederation, the objective is to foster the development of positive narratives and visions of a just future – ones that cross boundaries between natural science, social science, law, humanities and the arts,” said Ian McVey, a York FES alumni and current project manager with the OCC.

The two-day symposium includes more than 70 leading thinkers, changemakers and disruptors of the status quo, including special guests Diane Saxe, Ontario’s environmental commissioner; Kyle Powys-Whyte of Michigan State University; and David Miller, former Toronto mayor and current president and CEO of the World Wildlife Federation (WWF).

“We are also mindful that from many Indigenous perspectives, the collective responsibility we bear for ensuring the well-being of our Earth and its communities (both human and non-human) applies to at least seven generations into the future,” said Noël Sturgeon, dean of York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies. “Inherent to this responsibility is the importance of caring for marginalized and vulnerable communities and sharing fairly the benefits of our transition towards a more sustainable society. This perspective will inform the symposium throughout the program.”

Undergraduate and graduate-level students are encouraged to submit poster presentations with a focus on climate change adaptation and/or mitigation, or to join the urban design challenge in teams of three to five.

Benefits for student participants include:

  • networking opportunities with industry leaders, potential employers, senior researchers and other students;
  • the opportunity to showcase your research and its relevance to practitioners from a wide range of sectors; and
  • an opportunity to win cash prizes.

This event is hosted by York U in collaboration with the Ontario Climate Consortium. York University delegates are eligible for a 20 per cent discount on regular symposium rates by entering the discount code “OCC20OFF” when registering at

Steven Page of Barenaked Ladies is guest speaker at Career Success Symposium for Students with Disabilities

Steven Page
Steven Page

York students and recent graduates with disabilities will have an opportunity to connect with employers and community agencies, attend a Scotiabank recruitment session and learn about employment supports in the workplace on April 25 during the Career Success Symposium 2017 for Students with Disabilities.

Steven Page

The symposium features guest speaker Steven Page, a mental health advocate and singer-songwriter who co-founded Barenaked Ladies.

Registration is open to all York students and recent graduates with physical, learning and/or mental health disabilities. The event is a partnership between the York University Career Centre and Counselling & Disability Services.

The annual symposium, founded by York’s Disability & Career Committee, was launched in 2011 and has continued to grow in both breadth and depth of programming with the goal of creating a lasting positive impact on York students and recent graduates with disabilities and on the University.

Over the past several years, the event has evolved into a symposium with the central goal of providing York students and recent graduates with disabilities the opportunity to: hear from distinguished guest speakers dedicated to the topic of mental health; circulate through exhibitor booths featuring community partners and employers from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) that provide employment supports to persons with disabilities; and gain information regarding workplace disclosure and accommodations for persons with physical, learning and mental health disabilities.

The event will feature a presentation by Page, who enjoyed two decades of success as the lead singer of Barenaked Ladies, the popular band from Scarborough, Ont., that toured the globe, dominated MuchMusic and MTV, sold upwards of 14 million albums and went platinum many times over. Page guest hosted an episode of the CBC Radio show “The Current,” about ending the stigma surrounding mental health. Since then, he has been an outspoken advocate for mental health awareness.

The 2017 symposium, partly funded by Canada 150 @ York University, will also feature a mini-fair of exhibitors and simultaneous breakout sessions in which attendees can choose from topics such as: tips for standing out at interviews, entrepreneurship, dressing for success (facilitated by Brands for Canada), resumé writing and creating your online brand.

Scotiabank will conduct an onsite recruitment session during the symposium, and a complimentary Canada 150 lunch and celebratory cake will be included for all attendees.

The conference will conclude with a “Dialogue on Disability Disclosure in the Workplace” discussion panel featuring panellists from Career Edge Organization,, RBC Royal Bank of Canada, Canadian Council on Rehabilitation & Work, and the Ministry of Community & Social Services.

York students and recent graduates (up to two years after graduation) with disabilities are invited to view the schedule and register for the Career Success Symposium 2017 for Students with Disabilities at

York faculty and staff are welcome to register for the guest speaker presentation by emailing

York, U of T partner on research to examine the study of Confederation

Confederation study
(Image: Library and Archives Canada)

A collaborative initiative undertaken by York University and the University of Toronto surveyed 3,500 political scientists and historians on how Confederation is studied, and how it should be considered moving forward.

The survey, undertaken in the spring of 2016 by York Professors Lesley Jacobs, Jacqueline Krikorian and Marcel Martel, along with University of Toronto Professors David Cameron and Robert Vipond, was distributed in both French and English to every political science and history faculty member teaching at a public Canadian university. Its goal was to determine “How do we study Confederation?”

Krikorian explained that the research team “wanted to ascertain what 1867 scholarship was viewed as preeminent, which scholars were considered as ’leading’ in the field, and, as importantly, what perspectives or voices were missing in the literature.”

In part, the research team was building on a study completed almost 50 years earlier by the Royal Commission on Bilingualism & Biculturalism that looked at how history is taught in Canada.

Today, March 29, is the 150th anniversary of the British North America Act, 1867, which became a law when it received Royal Assent in the U.K. Parliament on March 29, 1867.

The initiative that began in Charlottetown took nearly three years to realize. John A. Macdonald, who went on to become Canada’s first Prime Minister, hailed the proposal, explaining that the union of British North American colonies would establish “a great nationality, commanding the respect of the world.” Across the Atlantic, in the U.K. House of Commons, Charles B. Adderley, the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, echoed Macdonald by proclaiming that the legislation was a “great and grave undertaking” as the British statesmen were helping to shape the “future destinies” of the British colonies.

That said, not everyone was excited about it, and, worse, many were not even consulted. Indigenous communities were left out the process altogether, and women played little-to-no role. And not all of those who had a voice in the process were necessarily in support of it. As the Saint John Globe explained, said Krikorian, many believed they were “dragged” into Confederation, even condemning the idea of a national holiday for Dominion Day on July 1, 1867 as “injudicious and ill-timed in every respect, and cannot be justified by any system of reasoning.”

According to Jacobs, participation in the survey was robust, with approximately 500 faculty members responding. The response rate, he said, was two to three times higher than expected, indicating a “surprisingly high level of interest among historians and political scientists in Confederation as well in the reliability of the findings.”

Cameron agreed, and went on to highlight the significance and originality of the project. “What we research and teach in universities and what we publish plays an important role in influencing public understanding,” said Cameron, highlighting the significance and originality of the project “Many salient issues in today’s political arena are based on an understanding of what happened at the country’s establishment in 1867.”

The survey results showed both anglophone and francophone respondents agreed that Peter Russell (University of Toronto) and the late Ramsay Cook (York) were two of the leading scholars on Confederation.

The research team also made two additional findings based on the survey results.

First, it was patently clear that anglophone scholars paid limited attention to Confederation scholarship written in French, whereas francophone scholars were engaged with 1867 research whether it was written in French or English. This finding was compatible with the determinations made by the Royal Commission on Bilingualism & Biculturalism that the education system has traditionally taught “two versions of Canadian history – an English version and a French version.”

“The implications are significant not only for scholars undertaking research on Confederation, but also for the good governance of the country,” said Martel.

A second finding of note pertains to the type of research that was valued. Vipond highlighted the fact that the scholarship viewed as most significant in the field emphasized matters of high politics.

“The survey revealed an interesting tension,” he said. “On the one hand, most respondents said they were most deeply influenced by scholars who had written in the 1960s and 1970s, when the rise of Quebec nationalism led to a passionate debate about the origins of Confederation; on the other, a striking number said in effect that it was time to reframe the history of Confederation away from the national unity narrative, especially to take into account indigenous perspectives that were largely missing from earlier accounts.”

There was wide agreement among survey respondents that, to date, Confederation research had failed to adequately address Indigenous peoples. Indigenous peoples were not part of the vision of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism & Biculturalism 50 years ago, but need to be included in the academic literature on 1867 going forward.

The survey results are being assessed in anticipation of a forthcoming publication.

To learn more about the British North America Act, 1867 on its historic anniversary, take the quiz at

Life in the University series highlights ‘Why Higher Education Still Matters’

Life in the University series

In recognition of Canada 150, York University’s Faculty of Education will present the “Life in the University: Past, Present and Future” series to examine the role of higher education.

The series aims to recognize challenges, past and present, faced by people inside and outside of the University, including the status of identity studies, debates over purposes of higher education, and changing work conditions.

The series is generously supported by the Canada 150 @ York Fund.

The first event in the series, “Reading in the University: A Collegial Conversation about professor Les Back’s Academic Diary”, takes place March 28 and will feature a discussion between faculty colleagues from across campus about teaching (and their other) experiences at York University. Les Back from Goldsmiths, University of London will facilitate a conversation in relation to his book, Academic Diary: Why Higher Education Still Matters.

On March 29, Back will deliver a public lecture about the importance of higher education in today’s world titled “Thriving in the University: Why Higher Education Still Matters.” Then, inspired by Back’s book, York University’s Lorna Erwin (sociology), Don Dippo (education), and Vidya Shah (education) will each share an academic diary entry and their perspective on life in the University today. The event will take place at 6pm in 152 Founders College. All are welcome.

The third event in the series is a day-long symposium, “Thinking in the University,” on Oct. 27. The event will bring together faculty and students to discuss the status of identity in university studies and will feature Roderick Ferguson (University of Minnesota) and Robin Weigman (Duke University).

“York is a busy place, and we rarely have opportunities to get together to talk about changes within the university that affect teaching, learning, research and other important aspects of our work lives,” said Associate Dean Research and Community Sue Winton.  ”We hope this series will facilitate these important conversations.”

Les Back

More about Professor Les Back
Back is a professor in the Sociology Department at Goldsmiths, University of London. His main areas of academic interest include the sociology of racism and ethnicity, popular culture and music, urban life, community, class, social theory and sociological methods. Back has written for the Guardian, Times Higher Educational Supplement, Open democracy, and Eurozine as well as published music writing for magazines and liner notes for CDs.

Canada 150 @ York University
For the past 58 years, York University and Canada have shared a rich history. York’s faculty, programs and students have helped shape the University to become Canada’s third largest and leading university.

On July 1, 2017, Canada will recognize the 150th anniversary of Confederation. To mark this celebration, York University will host a number of initiatives and events that will explore Canada’s past and look to its future, while highlighting York University and Canada 150 themes relating to the environment, diversity and inclusivity, Indigenous people, and youth.

More information about each of the events in the series is available on the Faculty of Education web site.

York celebrates International Day for the Elimination of Racism with symposium

International Day
International Day

York University will join millions worldwide in celebrating the 2017 International Day for the Elimination of Racism (IDER) on March 22. The day aims to remind people of racial discrimination’s negative consequences. It also encourages people to remember their obligation and determination to combat racial discrimination.

With support from the Canada @150 grant provided by York University and the Centre for Human Rights, Equity & Diversity, the Race Inclusion & Supportive Environments (RISE) Committee at York University will be celebrating IDER with a symposium on March 22, beginning at 10am in 519 Kaneff Tower.

The event will comprise a panel presentation on the topic “Race and Intersectionality: Past and Present Activism on Campus.” Presenters will include Bonita Lawrence; Lorne Foster; Karissa John, president of the Aboriginal Student Association; Roshni Raveenthiran, chair of United South Asians at York; and Sam Tecle, sociology PhD candidate.

Rabia Kehdr

The lunch keynote address from noon to 1pm will be delivered by Rabia Kehdr on the topic “Islamophobia, Inclusion & Postsecondary.” Kehdr is an alumna of Critical Disability Studies at York and was recently appointed as a commissioner with the Ontario Human Rights Commission. She is founder of the Canadian Association of Muslims with Disabilities and the executive director of the Muslim Council of Peel. Most notably, Kehdr received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 for her leadership and community contributions.

To register or for more information, visit or contact Jodie Glean at