2017 Conference

Integrating Our Voices: Centring Stories of Migration

2017 Conference

Guest Speakers

Honorary Guest Speaker: Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish

Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is a Palestinian Canadian physician, teacher and an internationally recognized human rights and inspirational peace activist devoted to advancing health and education opportunities for women and girls in the Middle East, through both his research and his charitable organization The Daughters for Life Foundation. A four-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, he is known as the “Gaza Doctor” who has dedicated his life to using health as a vehicle for peace.​

Keynote Speaker: Olivia Chow

For over thirty years, Olivia Chow has been an effective and well-known public figure, serving in Toronto’s municipal politics and on the national stage as a Canadian Member of Parliament. She was voted Best City Councillor seven times by readers of NOW magazine and Best MP in 2010. Readers of the Toronto Sun voted her Top Torontonian in 2012 and Canadian Immigrant magazine named her as one of Canada’s Top 25 Immigrants. In 2015, Olivia Chow joined Ryerson University as a Distinguished Visiting Professor. 

Keynote Speaker: Haroon Siddiqui

A Canadian newspaper management executive, editor and columnist, he has been appointed distinguished visiting professor in the Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Communication & Design (FCAD). Siddiqui is the former longtime columnist and editorial page editor emeritus of the Toronto Star. He joins Ryerson after a distinguished 47-year career, where he held senior editorial and management positions including news editor, national editor and editorial page editor at The Toronto Star.


Nasim Asgari

She is a thinker and dreamer, born in Tehran and based in Toronto. Nasim is currently in her third year at York University studying human rights and equity studies. A seeker and student of the truth who passionately writes and performs poetry. Nasim began writing at the age of 10 when she decided to use her voice and written words to express herself and bring awareness to issues that are often undermined by today’s world. Nasim has shared her poems at events, poetry slams and protests including TEDX Rouge River, R.I.S.E. Edutainment, Gardiner Museum, and Art Gallery of Ontario. Her poems will soon be available in her upcoming literary release titled, “what was swept under the persian rug”.


Media’s Role in Storytelling

Media’s role in covering migrant stories, realities, struggles and success stories. How the media is influencing the discourse of migration.

Moderator: Doreen Fumia is a Ryerson professor in the sociology department. She teaches sociological perspectives with a special interest in sexual identities, unequal social relations and community-based equity issues. She is also the Jack Layton Chair at Ryerson University.


Harald Bauder is a Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, and the Graduate Program Director for Immigration and Settlement Studies (ISS) at Ryerson. He is also the founding Academic Director of the Ryerson Centre for Immigration and Settlement (RCIS).

George Abraham is founder and publisher of New Canadian Media, an online platform for news and views from an immigrant perspective. He was a Nieman scholar at Harvard University (1995) and has a Master’s in Journalism from Carleton University in Ottawa.

Dr. Mojgan Rahbari-Jawoko has an interdisciplinary academic expertise with a Ph.D. in Social/ Public Policy and Administration (2007) with specialization in immigration and refugee intake and control and immigrant settlement/social integration. She has been an instructor within the Immigration and Settlement Studies (ISS) program teaching undergraduate certificate level courses through The Chang School as well as the MA program at Ryerson University since 2013.

Jacky Tuinstra Harrison is the President and Manager of CJRU 1280AM- a non-profit radio station at Ryerson. Jacky started her career as a Junior Reporter in Cairo. She is a contributing author featured in the new book Journalism in Crisis and freelanced previously to CBC, TVO and the Globe and Mail. Jacky recently completed a post-graduate certificate in non-profit management and holds a Bachelor degree in Journalism

Migration and Student Life

A discussion on the needs and status of immigrant, refugee and international students on campus. This panel also look at the different resources, programs available for internationally educated professionals, international and refugee students.

Moderator: Sara Asalya is the founder and president of the Newcomer Students’ Association of Ryerson, the first student group of its kind that supports and empowers immigrant, refugee and international students at Ryerson campus.  Sara holds a B.A in English language and literature and a post-graduate certificate in Community Engagement, Leadership and Development; and in Immigration and Settlement Studies. She is the VP Events and Outreach at the Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson. Sara has a passion for community development and social justice issues, with a particular interest in migration issues and diaspora communities.


Dr. Shafi Bhuiyan is an internationally-recognized leader in global public health education and research initiatives, with diverse experience in both developed and developing countries. He is Co-Founder and Program Manager of the innovative Internationally Trained Medical Doctors (ITMD) Bridging Program at Ryerson University, which provides ITMDs with training to transition into non-licensed healthcare positions.

Abu Arif is the Coordinator of International Student Support office of Ryerson University, responsible for managing, developing and implementing services to enhance and support the academic and personal success of over 2000 international students. In 2013, Arif was awarded prestigious North Star Emerging Leader in International Education by the Canadian Bureau of International Education (CBIE).  Arif is the Co-Chair of Internationalization of Student Affairs CoP of CACUSS and founder of INTL a professional network of CBIE dedicated to building next generation of international educators.

Tamara Sabarini is the Project Coordinator of the Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge (RULSC). Tamara has a background working in the settlement sector and graduated from Ryerson University with a Masters of Arts in Immigration and Settlement Studies, where her research explored the formation of refugee identity within the context of refugee camps.

Bianca Gomez is a graduate of the Masters of Arts in Immigration and Settlement Studies Program at Ryerson University. Informed by her background in Sociology as well as her personal experience as an international student in Canada, her ongoing research focuses on post-graduation trajectories and experiences, particularly as shaped by Canadian policies and practices. She has previously published on international student experiences in small town universities in Atlantic Canada, and is currently co-producing a chapter for a forthcoming edited book and a podcast series on the post-graduation journey.

Women in Leadership

Celebrating the voices and success stories of migrant women. highlighting the challenges and different barriers they faced in their settlement and integration process and how regardless of these challenges, they became leaders in their communities. 

Moderator: Hodan Ahmed is a diaspora Somali Canadian with a focus on community action researcher, public policy, racialized poverty, incarceration, anti-Black racism, and Islamophobia. She is a co-founder of the Canadian Association of Muslim Women in Law (CAMWL), her article on racial-profiling was included in the OHRC 2015-16 annual report. Her research paper on the intersection of anti-Black racism and Islamophobia was published by the Somali Studies Journal on September 2017 edition, volume 2 and 4.


Antu Hossain  is a Master of Public Health graduate from the University of Toronto with deep interests in migrant identities, race, income inequality, and incarceration. Her interests are fuelled by her identity as a migrant to the U.S, then to Canada, and this has evolved into her work in research, advocacy, policy design and community engagement. She strives to better understand how intersecting social identities of race and newcomer status are linked to health.  She works as a policy researcher with CTAC, a non-profit working to ensure greater access to HIV treatment for the most vulnerable populations.

Sarah Attiah is an educator, community activist, and human rights defender.  In July 2013, Sarah’s husband, Khaled Al-Qazzaz, was unjustly detained in Egypt.  Sarah spearheaded an international grassroots campaign calling for her husband’s freedom.  Khaled was finally released and returned to Canada in August 2016. Together, Sarah and Khaled have formed the QED foundation that serves disadvantaged and refugee communities in Canada.

Shazlin Rahman: From Malaysia, Shazlin is the Inspirit Foundation’s stakeholder engagement specialist. She holds a B.A. in Journalism from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Masters in Communication and Culture at Ryerson University. Her thesis focused on the ways Muslim women use YouTube to challenge stereotypes, address their misrepresentation in the mainstream media, and subvert misconceptions. In her role at Inspirit, Shazlin supports the creation of communications strategies while growing and supporting the organization’s stakeholder networks.

Living Under the Same Roof

Panel discussion on building solidarity between newcomers and indigenous communities and bridging understandings of Canada’s ongoing colonial legacy. Bridging the dialogue between indigeneity and immigration.

Moderator:  Myer Siemiatycki is Professor of Politics at Ryerson University, where he was Founding Director of the Graduate Program in Immigration and Settlement Studies, and past holder of the Jack Layton Chair. 


Doris Rajan is the Director of Social Development at IRIS – Institute for Research and Development on Inclusion and Society, an international Canadian-based human rights organization working with marginalized populations through the entry point of disability. Over the last 15 years Doris has worked as a senior consultant in the non-profit sector with a focus on violence against women, access to justice, the experience of racialization, migrant and Indigenous issues and disability justice. Doris is  currently a PhD Candidate at the UofT’s OISE- Adult Education & Community Development.

Dr. Mehrunnisa Ahmad Ali is a professor at Ryerson University who teaches in three graduate programs: Policy Studies, Immigration and Settlement, and Early Childhood Studies. Her research focuses on immigrant children, youth and families, and the preparation of professionals to serve them. She is the lead author of Making Ontario Home. Her current projects include several chapters for the forthcoming books Migration is a Family Affair (Ed. H. Bauder) and Colonization of Immigrant Families (co-authored with Dr. V. Tyyska).

Camryn Harlick is a two- spirited, Haudenosaunee and Metis student going into their third year in Criminology at Ryerson University. Camryn currently sits as the VP Equity at Ryerson Student Union, Secretary of the Palin foundation, The Canadian Federation of Students Queer Constituency Co-Chair, CO-Founder of the Ryerson Reproductive Justice Collective and also works as a gender educator for their self-started organization GRIPP(Gender Representation in People and Public).

Coty Zachariah is the first Indigenous student to be elected National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. He has committed over 5 years to the Canadian student movement. During that time he has held political positions at 2 post-secondary institutions, and been a national executive for 3 years. What drives him is his family, his community, and his daughter. Proud father of a 1 year old, he wants to leave a better world behind for the next generation. He has put his own education on hold to take the role of National Chairperson, where he develops and promotes campaigns and services across the country.​

Thank you to our Sponsors

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