Finding Refuge in Canada: Narratives of DislocationExport this event to calendar

Tuesday, April 20, 2021 — 7:00 PM EDT

Decorative graphic, includes title, logos for Renison, Waterloo Public Library and CBC Toronto.

April 20, 2021 at 7:00 pm

Register online at Eventbrite

This event speaks to the experience of refugees in Canada, who receive much needed financial support from the Renison Maple Leaf Fund. Find out more about the Maple Leaf Fund and consider making a donation

Hosted by Ismaila Alfa of CBC Toronto.

About the Event

Millions of people are displaced each year by war, persecution, and famine and the global refugee population continues to grow. Canada has often been regarded as a benevolent country, welcoming refugees from around the globe. However, refugees have encountered varying kinds of reception in Canada. Finding Refuge in Canada: Narratives of Dislocation (AUP, 2021) is a collection of personal narratives about the refugee experience in Canada. It includes critical perspectives from authors from diverse backgrounds, including refugees, advocates, front-line workers, private sponsors, and civil servants.

The narratives dominant public discourse about refugee identities and histories and provide deep insight into the social, political, and cultural challenges and opportunities that refugees experience in Canada. Contributors consider Canada’s response to various groups of refugees and how Canadian perspectives on war, conflict, and peace are constructed through the refugee support experience. These individual stories humanize the global refugee crisis and challenge readers to reflect on the transformative potential of more equitable policies and processes.

Selected chapter contributors will do a short reading from their chapters and engage in dialogue about their experiences. This event will also celebrate the launch of the book and the website: The Refugee Story Bank of Canada (www.refugeestorybank.ca), which is a repository for stories by those who have sought refuge in Canada from violence, war, oppression, discrimination, and persecution.

This project was supported by research grant from the Renison University College affiliated with the University of Waterloo.

Author Biographies:

Shelley Campagnola is the director of the Mennonite Coalition for Refugee Support (MCRS). She is a leader in advocating for organizations who can respond to ensure that refugees are welcomed with compassion and inclusion. Her chapter, Finding Welcome off the Refugee Highway focuses on how the day-to-day challenges of being a refugee in Canada are impacted by government policy.

Matida Dafeh, anti-FGM and feminist activist from Republic of The Gambia, West Africa, is the co-founder of The Girls Agenda, a grassroots feminist movement working to end FGM and other traditional practices that violates the rights of women and girls. Daffeh’s chapter Fleeing The Gambia describes her struggle for women’s rights in Gambia.

Michael Molloy joined the Immigration Foreign Service in 1968 and served in Tokyo, Beirut, Kampala, and Minneapolis before returning to Ottawa in 1976 where he was director, Refugee Policy. Molloy’s first-hand account, The Ugandan Asian Expulsion, 1972: A Personal Memoir, documents how his experience with the Ismailis deportations in Uganda impacted his interpretation of Canada’s refugee processing system.

Christina Parker is an Assistant Professor in Social Development Studies at Renison University College at the University of Waterloo. In her chapter, she discusses how refugee children strive to be included in Canadian classrooms, and the ways in which schools could better support refugee children and their families to facilitate inclusion and integration. She is the co-Editor of Finding Refuge in Canada: Narratives of Dislocation and is the co-creator and moderator for the Refugee Story Bank of Canada: www.refugeestorybank.ca

Cyrus Sundar Singh is a Gemini Award-winning filmmaker. He is also a musician, poet, storyteller, and change maker pursuing a doctorate in the Communications and Culture program. His chapter engages in a critical exploration of male Sri Lankan refugees who arrived to Canada in a lifeboat; a boat that he eventually found as part of his research for a documentary. In his chapter, Floating to the Lure of the Promised Land: Tamil Refugees in Canada he discusses many hidden injustices faced by refugees as they become part of the low-wage economy.

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