Osgoode RedDress Week honours murdered and missing Indigenous women

Red dress hanging from tree branches beside lonely arboreal highway, stock image banner for missing Indigenous girls awareness

As third-year law students Megan Delaronde and Annika Butler recently wrote out the stories of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, one fact became painfully clear: the Canadian justice system has not solved the vast majority of cases.

Butler, the co-chair of the Osgoode Indigenous Students’ Association (OISA); Delaronde, OISA’s director of cultural and community relations; and a group of other volunteers, wrote out 300 of the stories for OISA’s “RedDress Week” (Feb. 13 to 17), posting them throughout the main floor of the law school along with a number of red dresses. They selected stories from thousands of cases chronicled in a database maintained by the Gatineau, Que.-based Native Women’s Association of Canada.

“There are stories that I have written out that will stick with me,” said Delaronde, a member of the Red Sky Métis Independent Nation in Thunder Bay, Ont.

She and Butler, a member of the Mattawa/North Bay Algonquin First Nation, pointed to examples like a nine-month-old baby girl who died in foster care – no charges were ever laid – or 20-year-old Cheyenne Fox of Toronto, whose three 911 calls just prior to her 2013 murder went unanswered.

“I think a lot of the time this problem stays abstract for people who aren’t Indigenous,” said Delaronde. “One of the things we were hoping to accomplish with our names wall was to show the vastness of this problem and for people to understand that these aren’t just names. Many of them were mothers and the vast majority of these cases have gone unsolved.”

Many of the postings on the wall did not carry a name. “A lot of the names of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) we don’t know,” said Butler, “but we still wanted to hold a place in our hearts for them.”

She noted that official statistics kept by police underestimate the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada compared with records kept by the Native Women’s Association and other Indigenous organizations and communities.

Osgoode Indigenous Students’ Association members, from left: Megan Delaronde, Hannah Johnson, Sage Hartmann and Annika Butler.
Osgoode Indigenous Students’ Association members, from left: Megan Delaronde, Hannah Johnson, Sage Hartmann and Annika Butler.

OISA’s “RedDress Week” this year was the most extensive in the club’s history. Inspired by Métis artist Jaime Black’s 2010 art installation, “The REDress Project,” Red Dress events are typically held in May to raise awareness of missing and murdered Indigenous women. But because the academic year is usually over by May, Delaronde said OISA decided to schedule the event in February.

She said the timing seemed appropriate considering one of the latest reminders of the continuing tragedy ­– the recent murders of four Indigenous women in Winnipeg: Rebecca Contois, 24; Marcedes Myran, 26; Morgan Harris, 39, a mother of five children; and a fourth unidentified woman who has been named Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe, or Buffalo Woman.

“We wanted to ramp it up this year so we poured our hearts into it,” said Delaronde.

The group also organized a trivia night event that raised almost $1,000 for the Native Women’s Association of Canada.

Butler and Delaronde said that OISA’s first-year reps Sage Hartmann (Red River Métis) and Hannah Johnson (Secwepemc Nation) also played a key role in organizing the event, with support from OISA members Levi Marshall and Conner Koe, Osgoode’s student government and Osgoode’s Office of the Executive Officer.

Past and future OISA events

In September, OISA organized a special event for Orange Shirt Day (also known as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation), with guest speakers and Osgoode alumni Deliah Opekokew (LLB ‘77), the first First Nations lawyer to ever be admitted to the bar association in Ontario and in Saskatchewan; and Kimberly Murray (LLB ‘93), who serves as the federal government’s special interlocutor on unmarked graves at former residential schools. In March, it plans to organize a Moose Hide Campaign Day. The Moose Hide Campaign is a nationwide movement of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians from local communities, First Nations, governments, schools, colleges/universities, police forces and many other organizations committed to taking action to end violence against women and children.

Dahdaleh Institute Seminar Series presents four events in January, February

global health

The Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research at York University continues its 2022-23 Seminar Series with four events planned for January and February.

All talks will be delivered in hybrid format. Everyone is welcome. Attendees will join global health leaders, researchers, practitioners and students and during the series, and will have an opportunity to learn about the important collaborative and transdisciplinary research happening at the Dahdaleh Institute (in the thematic research areas of Planetary Health, Global Health & Humanitarianism, and Global Health Foresighting).

The schedule of events and full details are available online.

Wednesday, Jan. 25, 1 to 2 p.m.
How to Influence Public Policy … What Happens When You Leave the Room? with Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Public policy is about making the world better. However, this only happens when policymakers consider all relevant points of view.

After defining some key terms, the discussion will focus on how scientists and other technical experts should engage government for maximal positive impact. Drawing from his varied policy experiences in both Canada and Haiti, Jean-Jacques Rousseau will provide tips on how to advocate for policy change. The key takeaway is that, while science is necessary, it is not sufficient in making a positive impact in the policy realm. This is true even in areas like pandemic preparedness where science is predominant.

Rousseau is a philosopher of science, innovation policy expert, and serial entrepreneur. He is passionate about innovation for impact and committed to unlocking the value of AI for positive change.

Wednesday, Feb. 1, 1 to 2 p.m.
Global Environmental Changes, Resource Insecurity and Health Outcomes, with Godfred Boateng

Global environmental changes have become critical determinants of health affecting the most vulnerable populations in poor resource settings. These environmental changes produce effects such as resource insecurity, greater poverty and deprivation, the spread of new and recurring infectious diseases, and poor health outcomes, which create an existential humanitarian crisis requiring an anticipatory approach instead of a reactionary one.

In this presentation, Godfred Boateng – assistant professor at the School of Global Health, director of the Global and Environmental Health Lab, and a Faculty Fellow at the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research at York University – will highlight some of the key components of his research program in Global Health and Humanitarianism.

Drawing from quantitative data collected from Kenya, Ghana, and Malawi, Godfred will show the prevalence and deleterious consequences of resource insecurity among households in informal settlements. Through this presentation, he will show the significance of being able to measure and quantify the different forms of resource insecurity, the different pathways by which components such as food, water, energy, and housing insecurity can enhance our understanding of vulnerabilities faced by underserved populations, and the relationship of his research outcomes to several of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Wednesday, Feb. 8, 1 to 2 p.m.
Methodologies for Co-Designing Community Responses in Sierra Leone, with Megan Corbett-Thompson, Jessica Farber, and Osman Sow

In this presentation, Megan Corbett-Thompson, a CommunityFirst Fellow co-sponsored by the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research and the SeeChange Initiative, will reflect on the importance of applying participatory methodologies that enable the effective involvement of community members to respond to the health challenges identified by communities. Together with Jessica Farber of See Change and Osman Sow, a paediatric and neonatal clinical officer, Corbett-Thompson will examine the context of building effective solutions to humanitarian health crises in Sierra Leone.

Wednesday, Feb. 22, 1 to 2 p.m.
The Orthodox Legal and Policy Framework Governing the Harm of Displacement and NATO’s Policy for the Protection of Civilians 2016, with Sarah Khan

In 2022, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) estimated that 59.1 million persons remain internally displaced (53.2 million due to conflict), and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) estimates that 27.1 million are displaced across international borders as refugees. The highest figure of displacement on record since record keeping began. 

This research examines the existing orthodox International Legal and Policy Framework regulating the harm of displacement in contemporary crisis situations. It queries whether the “harm of displacement,” as envisaged in this orthodox framework sufficiently captures the scale, gravity, and multi-faceted nature of this harm. The research hypothesizes that the failure to specifically reference the “harm of displacement” in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s landmark Policy for the Protection of Civilians 2016 is emblematic of the limitations of this orthodox International Legal and Policy framework.

In this seminar, Sarah Khan, a master of law (LLM) research student at Osgoode Hall Law School and Dahdaleh Global Health graduate scholar, will present her year-long research for the LLM Research Program at Osgoode Hall Law School.

Register here to attend these events.

York University maps courses that teach about Sustainable Development Goals

Image shows a hand holding a pine cone against a lush backdrop of greenery

York University is internationally recognized for its contributions to addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) through teaching, research, stewardship, and partnerships. York’s annual SDG report is a snapshot of some of the work the University is doing in collaboration with Canadian and international partners to advance the Global Goals.

“The University is making determined and substantial strides towards the goals, through the power of higher education,” says York University’s Provost and VP Academic Lisa Philipps.  

As the world rapidly approaches 2030, youth have been mobilizing to compel global leaders to take urgent action on the SDGs. “As a global SDG leader, York University and its students are already playing an integral role in this movement,” adds Philipps.

To continuously improve the support offered to students and graduates who are tackling these challenges, York University has embarked on a process of understanding how its courses address or are linked to the SDGs. This initiative maps York courses with one or more of the SDGs, as appropriate, and the University is making this information available to the community on its SDG website.

The goal is to better inform students about learning opportunities related to the SDGs, to understand York’s strengths and curricular assets across the disciplines, and to increase awareness and deepen SDG-related conversations at the University and beyond.

Teaching the SDGs: the number of York courses related to each Global Goal

The above graphic shows the number of courses that relate to each of the United Nations 17 SDGs

Lessons learned from mapping courses

In consultation with OSDG, an open access tool developed by the United Nations Development Program’s SDG AI Lab and the EU-based thinktank PPMI, York analysts were able to undertake this process. They looked at both undergraduate and graduate courses offered in both English or French across all Faculties and all courses offered at the time of this analysis.

This approach looked at the use of more than 20,000 keywords and with the help of machine learning identified courses that are related to one or more of the SDGs through course titles and official descriptions. The University learned about the OSDG tool from University College London.

York University is the OSDG’s first official North American partner, as the organization works with a range of global partners such as the University of Hong Kong. York analysts consulted other universities in Ontario, British Columbia, California, England and New Zealand, organizations like York that are recognized for their global leadership on SDGs. Those consultations focused on learning about best practices for mapping and sharing SDG-relevant courses with their respective communities.

In total, analysts identified 1,635 courses (38 per cent of all courses), that are related to at least one SDG. Mapping for SDG 17 is still in development. All Faculties were represented among the mapped courses and the above table shows the number of courses that were identified as being related to each SDG.

The OSDG’s machine learning-enabled course mapping functionality flagged SDG-related courses when they specifically referenced the SDGs in the curriculum or where the curriculum empowered students to independently tackle an SDG theme within or outside of the classroom.

Many courses also mapped to more than one SDG – in fact, 285 courses were simultaneously mapped to two SDGs and 43 courses mapped to three SDGs. The process of mapping courses to the SDGs is iterative and analysts recognize that it is reliant upon the use of specific keywords and phrases found in current courses descriptions. As course descriptions continue to evolve, the analysis will be updated.

This approach will continue to improve over time, as new keywords are contributed to the OSDG’s bank. The full list of mapped courses will be published by Spring 2023 on York’s SDG website for the benefit of prospective and current students. The University will invite feedback in the lead up to publishing these courses and will continue to welcome ongoing feedback thereafter to ensure the mapped list of courses are kept up to date, and remain helpful for the York community.

The current analysis will serve as a starting point to improve the process of capturing SDG-related courses and advancing SDG education, and research on the SDGs, as outlined in the University Academic Plan.

Feedback from former Provostial Fellow and Professor Cheryl van Daalen-Smith, associate dean, academic; the Sustainability Office; the UNESCO Chair in Reorienting Education Towards Sustainability; and the Vice-Provost Students team has also been invaluable during this initial mapping endeavor. This Provostial initiative was supported by the Associate Vice-President Teaching & Learning, the University Registrar, the Office of Institutional Planning and Analysis and York International.

York promotes Sustainable Development Goals, inclusive insurance at Consortium of Excellence

International flags and Canada stock banner

York professors played vital roles at the Consortium of Excellence for the 17 Goals (C-17), which serves as the hub for academia, industry and governments from around the world to promote and achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

Spearheaded by the Risk and Insurance Studies Centre (RISC), the consortium is a recently formalized agreement with: the University of Lausanne, under the leadership of Professor Séverine Arnold; the University of Liverpool, under the leadership of Professor Corina Constantinescu; and York University under the joint leadership of Professors Edward Furman and Ida Ferrara.  

Edward Furman

Furman, in York’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Faculty of Science, leads the Actuarial Science program and serves as director of RISC. Ferrara is an applied micro-economist with the Department of Economics and deputy director of RISC.

In its efforts to engage with practitioners on important societal goals, as embedded in the UN SDGs, the consortium sponsored a session at the recent International Conference on Inclusive Insurance (ICII), an annual non-profit platform for all stakeholders to present and discuss issues, policies and innovative solutions for efficient, sustainable and inclusive insurance products. More information about the conference is available here.

This year’s conference, organized by the Insurance Association of Jamaica, the Munich Re Foundation, and the Microinsurance Network, took place in Jamaica from Oct. 24 to 28, with around 250 participants from more than 50 countries. Jamaica’s Minister of Finance and Public Service, Nigel Clarke, was in attendance and announced that Jamaica is set to become the first country in the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) to have microinsurance legislation, with a bill to be introduced in 2023.

The focus of the discussions at this year’s conference revolved around strategies to manage climate risks and address the specific needs of small island countries. The consortium sponsored a session, facilitated by Ferrara, which considered the role of academics in the development and implementation of inclusive insurance and highlighted the imperative for a practice-informed approach and close collaboration among academics, practitioners, policymakers and other stakeholders to realize the full potential of science-driven results in addressing major societal challenges.

Ida Ferrara
Ida Ferrara

“I found the experience very rewarding,” said Ferrara. “I met wonderful people who have been grappling with the realities of making markets work for the poor and reducing the risk of poverty traps and who shared valuable insights and perspectives.”

The session featured four presentations: José Miguel Flores Contró, PhD candidate at the University of Lausanne, spoke of the cost-effectiveness of subsidization when considering the public cost of supporting those who fall below the poverty line; Kira Henshaw, postdoctoral research assistant at the University of Liverpool, and Constantinescu, who introduced the idea of country-level risk pooling and provided input on optimal matching of countries using data on floods/droughts in African countries; York Professor Tsvetanka Karagyozova shared her findings about the long-term impact of microinsurance on economic growth based on a sample of African countries. 

In the final presentation, Michael McCord, managing director of the Microinsurance Centre at Milliman, underscored the importance of bridging the gap between academia and practice and provided insight into how to support and facilitate partnerships among academics, practitioners and regulators. 

To further their commitment to promoting greater engagement between academics and practitioners, the proponents of C-17, along with co-guest editors McCord and Dirk Reinhard, vice-chairman at the Munich Re Foundation, are currently co-editing a special issue of the journal RISKS on inclusive insurance. The aim of the issue is to gather science-driven and practice-informed data to address opportunities and barriers for inclusive insurance and identify ways of accelerating growth and economic viability in inclusive insurance for the benefits of all parties (households, insurers, and governments) in emerging markets.

Workshop series brings SDGs to forefront of teaching and learning

Featured image for stories related to sustainability

A series of one-hour workshops at York University will launch in the new year and share ways in which educators can infuse the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SGDs) into teaching and learning.

Co-developed by York’s Teaching Commons and SDGs-in-the-Classroom Curricular Innovation Hub, The Sustainable Development Goals in Teaching and Learning series launches Jan. 25, 2023 and presents five online workshops.

UN SDG wheel with the 17 SDGs

The series explores how educators might speak to the SDGs through curriculum, teaching practices, course design and assessments. The outcomes are developed to raise awareness of the importance of sustainable development and prepare students with the knowledge, skills and attributes to tackle the world’s greatest challenges.

The workshops, which run from 10 to 11 a.m., are:

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)-in-the-Classroom Curricular Innovation Hub is part of the SDG Teach In, a campaign to put the SDGs at the centre of all stages of education, and across all disciplines. The SDG Teach In, hosted by Students Organizing for Sustainability United Kingdom (SOS-UK), is a student-led education charity focusing on sustainability with a belief that change is urgently needed to tackle the injustices and unsustainability in our world.

The 2023 campaign will run from March 1 to 31, 2023, and encourages educators to pledge to include the SDGs within their teaching, learning and assessment during the campaign and beyond. Educators can pledge to take part now via the SDG Teach in pledge form

Study reports public control over energy policy required to avert climate crisis

climate change iceburg

A new paper authored by York University PhD student Erin Flanagan and Professor Dennis Raphael explores the future of the environment in this time of climate crisis.

Dennis Raphael
Dennis Raphael

From Personal Responsibility to an Eco-Socialist State: Political Economy, Popular Discourses, and the Climate Crisis” was published in the Sage journal Human Geography and looks at how Canadians think about the crisis, and what can be done to move toward a more environmentally friendly future.

The study builds upon research from Flanagan’s major research paper completed as part of her MA degree in health policy and equity, at the Faculty of Health’s School of Health Policy and Management.

Based on the authors’ review of different ways of resolving the crisis, the paper concludes that averting a catastrophe will require gaining public control over energy policy and countering the power and influence of fossil-extracting industries.

“In theory, this could be accomplished through existing policy instruments, but in reality, it may require the establishment of a post-capitalist eco-socialist state,” says Raphael.

  • while what this state will look like is uncertain, certain features can be envisioned, he said. These would initially include:
  • universal access and social justice: ending energy poverty while reducing energy consumption and prioritizing the needs of communities, households, and marginalized people;
  • renewable, sustainable, and local energy: shifting to renewables by leaving fossil fuels in the ground, divesting from fossil fuels, and investing public funds in local renewable energy systems to create thriving communities;
  • public and social ownership: bringing energy production under democratic control, within new forms of public ownership by municipalities, citizens’ collectives, and workers;
  • fair play and creation of green jobs: building renewable energy through fairly paid, unionized jobs; and
  • democratic control and participation: empowering citizens and workers to participate in energy policy by democratizing governance and instituting complete transparency.

The authors state that to accomplish this, Canadians are required to understand that the current features of the country’s economic system make dealing with the climate crisis almost impossible and make the provision of health-promoting living and working conditions difficult.

Read the full paper here.

Inaugural Alchemy Lecture presents four alchemists considering one problem

Alchemy lecture featured image shows a hand holding lights

The Alchemy Lecture, hosted by the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS), seeks to harness the spirit of this ancient endeavour to foster new ways of thinking about the most pressing issues of our times.

Christina Sharpe
Christina Sharpe

In its original form, alchemy focused on combining different elements to yield a compound that would inspire change and, in some instances, grant immortality.

The new Alchemy Lecture, which aims to run annually, is hosted by LA&PS and is a multi-vocal model that brings together a constellation of three to four thinkers and practitioners from different disciplines and geographies to think together on the most pressing issues of our times. Spearheaded by the Canada Research Chair in Black Studies in the Humanities and York Professor Christina Sharpe, York University’s new Alchemy Lecture will debut Nov. 10 at 6 p.m.

All are welcome. This is a hybrid event. Registration is now open.

The lecture, titled “Borders, Human Itineraries and All Our Relation,” brings together four alchemists. They are: Dele Adeyemois, Natalie Diaz, Nadia Yala Kisukidi and Rinaldo Walcott.

Adeyemois is an architect and urban theorist conducting a Chase/ Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded PhD at the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London. His research intersects Black studies with urban studies to question how the rise of logistics is driving processes of urbanisation. Positioning slavery as the ghost in the machine of logistics, Adeyemois explores how circulations established in transatlantic slavery, at the foundation of modernity, live on in the contemporary production of space.

Diaz was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, on the banks of the Colorado River. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Her first poetry collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published by Copper Canyon Press. Diaz’s second collection, Postcolonial Love Poem is forthcoming from Graywolf Press in 2020. She is a Macarthur Foundation Fellow, Lannan Literary Fellow and a Native Arts Council Foundation Artist Fellow. Diaz teaches at the Arizona State University Creative Writing MFA program.

Kisukidi was born in Brussels, from a Congolese father and a Franco-Italian mother. She is associate professor in philosophy at Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis University. She was vice-president of the Collège International de Philosophie (2014-16) and is a member of the editorial committee of Cahiers d’études africaines (EHESS). Kisukidi is specialized in French and Africana philosophy. Her publications include Bergson ou l’humanité créatrice (CNRS, 2013), Dialogues transatlantiques (Anacaona, 2021) co-written with the Brazilian philosopher Djamila Ribeiro, and many articles in philosophy.

Walcott is the director of Women and Gender Studies Institute and an associate professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, both at University of Toronto. His research is in the area of Black Diaspora Cultural Studies, gender and sexuality. He is the editor of Rude: Contemporary Black Canadian Cultural Criticism (Insomniac, 2000) and is the co-editor with Roy Moodley of Counselling Across and Beyond Cultures: Exploring the Work of Clemment Vontress in Clinical Practice (University of Toronto Press, 2010). Additionally, Walcott is co-editor of No Language Is Neutral: Essays on Dionne Brand in Topia: The Journal of Canadian Cultural Studies. He is also the author Queer Returns: Essays on Multiculturalism, Diaspora and Black Studies (Insomniac Press, 2016) and currently completing The Long Emancipation: Moving Towards Freedom.

York faculty create Open Educational Resources, advancing UN SDGs

Person working on a computer

By Angela Ward

Faculty develop innovative Open Educational Resources (OER) that are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and reveal the positive impact on teaching and learning.

Faculty members who are engaged in the process of creating OER reveal the impact this has on the teaching and learning experience, both in the classroom and beyond. They note that the interactive resources provide a tremendous opportunity for both instructors and students to learn and adapt as the world becomes increasingly more digitized.

Raymond Mar
Raymond Mar

Raymond A. Mar, associate professor, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health, and the creator of OER tutorials for data analysis, notes the financial difficulties students face when it comes to purchasing expensive textbooks. He says that OER not only reduce costs for students but also increase access to a wider audience, aligning with UN SDG 1 (no poverty) and UN SDG 4 (quality education).

“I think that making these resources more accessible increases the likelihood that they’ll be used more widely, which can really magnify your impact,” says Mar.

The OER tutorials he created are grouped in the resource “Research Methods: Interactive Demonstrations in ‘R’ at York (ReMInDeRY),” and are designed to help students learn a statistical programming language called R.

Mar explains that learning this software can be quite challenging for students as they move from a point-and-click interface to writing lines of code. R is becoming the predominant way of analyzing data for many fields, and being able to analyze data using R is a valuable skill to have in the workplace. When he first reviewed the available introductory tutorials for R, Mar thought that they remained intimidating.

“Even downloading and installing the software can be tricky for people,” he explains. “I created these tutorials to be the smoothest and easiest on-ramp to learning R, with everything available in a web browser window and no need to install any software.”

In this OER, students visit the website link, and receive an introduction to the basics of R with easy-to-understand language and quizzes to show their progress. From these tutorials, students can move onto learning more advanced skills in the software.

As a result of R being open source and free, packages have been created to improve its capabilities in creating interactive maps and websites. Mar points out how R can contribute to other SDGs by allowing users to produce persuasive data graphics that can speak to SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) and SDG 13 (climate action).

Similarly, Tsvetanka Karagyozova, assistant professor (teaching stream), Department of Economics, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS), sees connections to many SDGs in the OER she developed with an interdisciplinary team.

Tsvetanka Karagyozova
Tsvetanka Karagyozova

“I was interested in creating OER because textbooks and peer-reviewed course materials are the gold standard in economics but over time they become more expensive,” adds Karagyozova. “At York, I typically leave one copy of the textbook required for the course on reserve at the Scott Library, so I can see how well-used that textbook is.”

Karagyozova was part of a group of York collaborators, including Ida Ferrara, associate professor, LA&PS, and Edward Furman, professor, Faculty of Science, and Ricardas Zitikis, an associate professor of statistics from Western University. They also secured support from research assistants, a project manager and Xpan, an external contractor for the virtual reality (VR) experiment.

United under the Risk and Insurance Studies Centre (RISC) at York, they received funding from eCampusOntario Virtual Learning Strategy (VLS) program to develop a fully online course, Economics of Insurance and Decision Making Under Risk, accompanied by a VR behavioural lab. Because this OER uses a Creative Commons licence, it allows others to freely adopt, adapt, and build on the materials.

“Some of the SDGs are embedded in the course materials,” Karagyozova explains. “One of the modules, for example, is dedicated to microinsurance and economic growth. We look at how microinsurance can promote sustainable and inclusive growth in developing countries, serving as a risk mitigation mechanism that can break the poverty cycle and elevate women out of poverty.” This directly addresses UN SDG 1 (no poverty) and UN SDG 5 (gender equality, and empowering women and girls).

She adds that with the high cost of textbooks, students in developing nations sometimes do not have access to basic learning materials. OER within niche fields like hers can be shared with learners globally, opening them up to the world.

Eric Armstrong
Eric Armstrong

Eric Armstrong, chair and associate professor, Department of Theatre, School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD), also touches on the global reach OER can have on communities. His open textbook, Lexical Sets for Actors, is internationally accessible and has garnered interest from the United Kingdom (U.K.), fulfilling a need they have for accent training.

“There are lots of resources to teach people accents and phonetics (the sounds of language) but the lexical resources available are outdated, buried in a philosophy and pedagogy that’s often biased towards a standard speech,” he explains.

Armstrong says he is open to working with others to make variations of the book for different audiences and needs. He has even received feedback from his U.K. partner on changes they would like to see. Because Armstrong’s OER is licensed with a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, his OER allows for other instructors and educational institutions to remix and adapt the OER to tailor it to their local teaching context.

He approached the creation of the textbook learner with variability in mind. There are sample sentences for actors to practice their accents, which employs a creative writing component. It was also written with accessibility and many demographics in mind, including BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and non-binary communities. The OER’s inclusivity impacts areas outside the university as well.

“I’m also using the book with colleagues who are learning to be this type of teacher or trainer,” he adds. “Not working just in university settings but with professional actors, coaching them for roles. This resource stretches beyond the walls of academia.”

In looking towards the future of OER, Armstrong says, “The OER we are creating now will serve as models for others to get involved and to show that it can be done. People start to think differently about the nature of teaching, the nature of resources and about the nature of our responsibility to create a different kind of learning experience.”

Contributions of the acclaimed economic theorist Nanak Kakwani will be celebrated Sept. 28

hands holding a globe

The international event will feature a number of keynote presentations and is organized by Glendon Professors Omar F. Hamouda and Betsey Price. Pre-registration is required, all are welcome.

The two Glendon professors are playing an integral role in an international event to mark the contributions of the acclaimed economic theorist, Nanak Kakwani. The event, which will feature the launch of a special issue of the Journal of Income Distribution dedicated to Kakwani along with an accompanying celebratory event, will take place on Sept. 28 over Zoom, is open to the University community. Pre-registration is required and can be completed at https://tinyurl.com/yum23m6u.

Nanak Kakwani
Nanak Kakwani

The launch of the special issue of the Journal of Income Distribution in honor of Kakwani’s legacy on the “Study of Income Inequality, Poverty, and Tax Progressivity,” will feature contributions from an impressive number of keynote speakers, including economists and thought leaders Jacques Silber, Hyun Son, Stephen Jenkins, Nora Lustig, Gary Fields, Kunal Sen and Francisco Ferreira.

The gathering introduces the next issue of the journal, guested edited by Jacques Silber and Hyun Son, on the central theme of “Nanak Kakwani’s Legacy on the Study of Income Inequality, Poverty, and Tax Progressivity.”

Kakwani’s imposing and inspiring theoretical and empirical economic contributions are impressive, both in depth and breath. The central focus of his research is the development of measurement tools needed to evaluate poverty, inequality, and disparity and to provide the empirical evidence and policy guidance required to help lift the underprivileged from their deprivation and destitution. He has developed many statistical methods and sets of indices, along the lines of the Lorenz curve, the Gini coefficient, and social-welfare functions, that bear his name, as published in the top economics journals: Econometrica, Econometric Theory, Applied Econometrics, Applied Welfare Economics, Quantitative Economics, the International Economic Review, and many others, including the Journal of income Distribution, Journal of Economic Inequality, and the Review of Income and Wealth

Aware that poverty has multidimensional characteristics and consequences, Kakwani has skillfully set out to disentangle its facets through theoretical and empirical methodologies. He investigates and studies the various aspects of deprivation and tackles each one from the angles of its specific impact on growth, taxation, standard of living, social protections, prices, labour opportunities or health prospects. In each of his studies, Kakwani’s intuitive approach is original and has pioneered empirical research in economic development.

Kakwani’s theoretical research in the concept of measurement was designed mostly for empirical performance application in specific case studies, in either one or a group of countries: poverty levels in Côte d’Ivoire, redistribution in Australia, poverty alleviation in India, aging in Africa, growth and the labour market in Brazil, cash transfers in African countries, inequality in Thailand, social pensions for the elderly in Sub-Saharan Africa, welfare in Ukraine, poverty program in China, and many other international comparison studies in welfare and growth performance. Dozens of examples of his studies are published in applied journals and various international organizations, such as the United Nations (UN), the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.  

Kakwani has advised many governments and worked for many international organizations, such as UN Development Program (UNDP) director and chief economist of what was then called the International Poverty Centre UNDP, consultant to the Welfare and Human Resources Division of the World Bank, and economist of the Brazilian Development Bank.

The Journal of Income Distribution is hosting the event in connection with the ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research in Mannheim. The editorial office of the Journal of Income Distribution is housed at the Glendon Campus at York University. Its website, https://jid.journals.yorku.ca/index.php/jid and its electronic publication are hosted by the Digital Scholarship Centre of York University Libraries.

Online and print versions of the publication of the special issue in honor of Kakwani are available by individual or institutional subscription, available at: https://jid.journals.yorku.ca/index.php/jid/about/subscriptions.

Join conversation on navigating new normal in international exchanges and mobility

Sustainable on the Go logo

On Nov. 17 during International Education Week 2022, York University and its international partners will host the second Sustainable on the Go Virtual Conference (SOTG 2022), an event designed to engage new voices, partners and stakeholders in creative dialogue formats to further enrich the discussion on sustainable and inclusive internationalization in higher education.

The conference’s theme, Navigating the New Normal in Higher Education, will appeal to anyone working in or pursuing work in a field related to international mobility and their need to consider the challenges and opportunities of navigating the new normal in higher education in ways that are sustainable and inclusive.

The event is co-organized by York International, the UNESCO Chair in Reorienting Education towards Sustainability and international partners, and will aim to ensure youth engagement is central to the conversation.

The conference will focus on three main topics with inclusivity, gender and education for sustainable development (ESD)  cross-cutting all conversations:

  • Sustainable and inclusive global learning: How can universities ensure that all students, regardless of their socio-economic or cultural background, are empowered and supported to participate in international education and global learning opportunities?
  • Connecting the local and global classrooms: What are new or innovative forms of pedagogy in different regions to address diversity, equity and other sustainability themes?​
  • Local and global community engagement: What are the roles and responsibilities of students or graduates of higher education in their local communities? How do we empower and prepare students for continued community and global engagement post-graduation?

The conference is a dialogue platform that will allow participants to tackle these vital questions and come together to discuss workable solutions and plans of action. It has ambitious, but important goals:

  1. Discussing COVID-19’s impact on sustainable and inclusive internationalization: What have we learned? What would we like to continue and move forward with post COVID-19? What would we like to leave behind?  
  2. Contributing to the future vision of sustainable and inclusive internationalization and mobility, informed by the cross-cutting issues of inclusivity, gender and education for sustainable development.  
  3. Providing a platform for dialogue on the role of ethical internationalization in higher education for the entirety of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) including the sharing of innovative programs and practices in global learning. 
  4. Including different speakers and audiences with a focus on Youth (Youth Engagement Program), and historically underrepresented stakeholders by facilitating their participation and highlighting their contributions towards the future of internationalization in higher education. 
  5. Sharing experiences from implementing the commitments of the Toronto Declaration

Students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to contribute to and shape the future of global mobility and exchanges as they discuss the evolving landscape at educational institutions post pandemic.  

Join the conversations – the early bird registration deadline is Friday, Sept. 30. Register here.

For more information, contact: Mario Guerrero (he/him), project officer, York International at sotg@yorku.ca.