2018 Conference

Integrating Our Voices – 2nd Annual Conference

View our conference summary report here.

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Denise O’Neil Green ​

Dr. Denise O’Neil Green, whose leadership and advocacy have helped to establish Ryerson University’s reputation for excellence in equity, diversity and inclusion, was recently appointed Ryerson’s first Vice-President, Equity and Community Inclusion. Dr. Green has a deep-rooted passion for the advancement of diverse classrooms and inclusive campus climates and has championed organizational change on university campuses, both in the USA and in Canada, for over 25 years. .

Dr. Harald Bauder ​​ ​

Dr. Harald Bauder is a professor of geography and the director of the Graduate Program in Immigration and Settlement Studies at Ryerson University. He is also the founder of the Ryerson Centre for Immigration and Settlement. His books include Migration Borders Freedom and Immigration Dialectic: Imagining Community, Economy, and Nation. Bauder is also a recipient of the Konrad Adenauer Research Award and a senior research fellowship from the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies.

Dr. Shahrzad Mojab

Dr. Shahrzad scholar, teacher, and activist, is internationally known for her work on the impact of war, displacement, and violence on women’s learning and education; gender, state, migration and diaspora; Marxist feminism and anti-racism pedagogy. She is professor of Adult Education and Community Development and Women and Gender Studies at the University of Toronto. She is the Equity Director of New College at University of Toronto, former Director of the Women and Gender Institute, University of Toronto and the recipient of the Royal Society of Canada Award in Gender Studies in 2010.

Honorary Guest Speakers

Senator Ratna Omidvar ​

Ratna Omidvar is an internationally recognized voice on migration, diversity and inclusion. In April 2016, Prime Minister Trudeau appointed Ms. Omidvar to the Senate of Canada as an independent Senator representing Ontario. As a member of the Senate’s Independent Senators Group she holds a leadership position as the Scroll Manager. Senator Omidvar is also the Deputy Chair of the Special Senate Committee on the Charitable Sector. Senator Omidvar is the founding Executive Director at the Global Diversity Exchange (GDX), and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Ryerson University.

Bhutila Karpoche 

Bhutila Karpoche is the Member of Provincial Parliament for Parkdale– High Park. She is passionate about many issues affecting Ontario today, including social justice and public health. She is a longtime advocate of affordable housing, workers’ rights, and improved healthcare. Before joining politics, Bhutila was a public health researcher, focusing on the social determinants of health. As MPP, Bhutila represents her community’s and Ontarians’ needs and interests at Queen’s park and within her constituency.


Living Under the Same Roof (Co-organized & sponsored by The Jack Layton Chair)

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. This is the second installation of Living Under the Same Roof Series

Moderator: Ken Moffatt is the Jack Layton, Chair, Faculty of Arts/ Faculty of Community Services, Ryerson University.  His research and practice interests include critical reflective practice and pedagogy; the effects of neoliberalism and new managerialism on education; community-based, culturally-focused social interventions; arts and symbol creation; as well as the mechanisms of power contributing to social inclusion and exclusion. He is working on a book about reflective practice and education. 


Elder Joanne Dallaire: Elder, Ryerson University, is proudly Cree, her ancestry is Omushkego from Attawapiskat and Mattice Ontario and Hull Quebec, calling Toronto home. Joanne received an Honorary Doctor of Laws in the Community Service Faculty at Ryerson University in recognition of her life’s work, the Minaake Award for Leadership, Herbert H Carnegie Amazing Aces Award for Courage, the City of Toronto Access, Equity and Human Rights Awards – Aboriginal Affairs Award.

 Rachel Reesor: Rachel  completed her bachelor of arts and bachelor of education at Nipissing University. She then worked as a school teacher for four years in the Northwest Territories. Rachel has now moved back to Ontario to be closer to her family and pursue her masters degree in immigration and settlement studies at Ryerson University. She has recently completed her Major Research Paper on how settlement services can build relationships with Indigenous organizations and people.

Phyllis Mackanna is a Ojibwe/Odawa/Celtic Kwe. She is a M’Chigeeng First Nation band member on Manitoulin Island, the Metis and Inuit Chairperson for the Canadian Federation of Students, and VP of Equity and Campaigns at the Continuing Education Student Association of Ryerson. She is an award-winning short-story writer, and a newly published author; Opening and Closing Indigeniety and Decolonial Resistance. She uses her poetry as a powerful way to politize her identity and to challenge academia’s ways of teaching and learning. 

 Alfredo Barahona: is from Cuzcatlan, a Maya – Pipil territory part of what is also known as El Salvador, he moved to Canada as refugee in the mid-eighties. He has worked with refugee and migrant communities through Toronto-based settlement agencies and now with KAIROS Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives. Currently Alfredo is working on Indigenous Rights issues focusing on the development of meaningful relationships and solidarity between Indigenous peoples and newcomers to Canada.

Is Canada a Safe Haven?

A discussion on Refugee claimants’ and asylum seekers’  laws and policies. This discussion will also include precarious status migrants such as  undocumented people, temporary foreign workers and other uninsured folks. The panel will shed the light on the  policies that hiders those migrant integration and prevent them from accessing essential services.  

Moderator: Anver Saloojee is the Assistant Vice-President (AVP) International, Dr. Anver Saloojee, provides university-wide strategic direction to Ryerson’s international activities and guides Ryerson’s evolution into a global urban university. A member of the Ryerson community for almost 30 years as sessional instructor, lecturer and professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration, Anver has earned a number of teaching awards including Ryerson Professor of the Year.


 Idil Atak : Idil is the Graduate program director for the Department of Criminology since 2013. She received her Ph.D. from the Université de Montréal’s Faculty of Law. She was a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow at the McGill Centre for Human Rights & Legal Pluralism. Idil is the Editor-In-Chief of International Journal of Migration and Border Studies (IJMBS). Her research interests include irregular migration, refugee protection, and international and European human rights law.

 Graham Hudson: is an Associate Professor int Department of Criminology at Ryerson University. He holds a J.D. from the UofT, an LL.M. from Queen’s, and a Ph.D. from Osgoode Hall Law School. His doctoral studies focused on the impact of international and comparative human rights on the Canadian security certificate regime. His current research and teaching interests include: the securitization/criminalization of migration; the role of (“sanctuary”) cities in the governance of migration; criminal law/procedure; and, legal theory.

Ritika Goel: is a family physician and activist in Toronto. She works with people from marginalized communities out of Queen West Community Health Centre and the Inner City Health Associates. Ritika has been involved with organizing around various social justice issues including access to healthcare for uninsured migrants, defending our public healthcare system, and upstream policy change on the social determinants of health.

 Andrew Brouwer:  is a senior legal counsel with Immigration and Refugee Law at Legal Aid Ontario and Advocacy Co-Chair of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers. He acts for the Canadian Council for Refugees, Canadian Council of Churches and Amnesty International in an ongoing legal challenge to the Safe Third Country Agreement. ​

A World on the Move: Building Solidarity Beyond Borders 

A panel discussion on refugee inclusion in policy making and economic empowerment. What are  the political, social and economic trends influencing policy positions regarding refugees and asylum seekers. Assess the impact of policies on health and well-being of refugees and asylum seekers and  discuss the stance and actions taken by Canada and policy makers to respond to the global refugee crisis

Moderator:  Kike Roach is the Unifor National Chair in Social Justice and Democracy at Ryerson University. She has served as an Executive Member of: the National Conference of Black Lawyers, the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, the Women’s Coalition for Employment Equity, and Mpenzi: Black Women’s International Film and Video Festival. As a civil rights lawyer, she has advocated for accountability and reform in policing for many years, representing community organizations, and addressed audiences on issues of anti-racism, feminism, and progressive change.


 Mohamad Fakih: is the founder and CEO of Paramount, the fastest growing Middle Eastern Halal restaurant chain in North America. He travelled to Lebanon to visit the Islamic Relief Camps for Syrian Refugees to gain a deeper understanding of current relief efforts. Mohamad then partnered with Ryerson University, for the Lifeline Syrian Challenge – allowing Paramount to fund employment support counsel to help recruit new Syrian Canadians during their job search. He was named a finalist in the 2014 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, the Globe and Mail titled Dr. Fakih one of Toronto’s “16 to watch in 2016”, and Toronto Life Magazine named listed him as Top 50 Most Influential People in 2017.

 Jean-Nicolas Beuze: Jean-Nicolas Beuze worked for more than 20 years with the United Nations in the areas of Human Rights (OHCHR), Peacekeeping (DPKO) and UNICEF at Headquarters and in the field before joining UNHCR in Lebanon as Deputy Representative for Protection and Inter-Agency Coordination. Prior to joining UNHCR, he was the UNICEF Child Protection Advisor for the MENA region (2010-13) working on emergency responses in Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, and strengthening public child protection and education systems in the region.

 Sana Mustafa:  Sana Mustafa is the Founder and Manager of Sana Mustafa Consulting LLC where she consults with different institutions on designing projects related to refugees and refugees inclusion.Mustafa is a Founding Member of The Network For Refugee Voices, a refugee-led initiative for effective and sustainable refugee policy.

 Genevieve Ritchie:  is a doctoral candidate at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, and a recipient of the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Scholarship. Her research critically interrogates the political and economic relations that coordinate the lives of refugee youth as they move through cycles of transit and transition. Her recent publications, for Sense Publishers and Historical Materialism, aim to make the precarious conditions of youth, migration, and resettlement visible. 

On The Front-lines: Sustaining and Strengthening Newcomer Settlement Services

Panel discussion on the role settlement services have in the lives of newcomers, particularly the need for support to be oriented towards newcomer empowerment and self-determination. The importance of training workers on being responsive to the diversity and intersectionalities of clients and their needs are also emphasized, as well as the accessibility and quality of services.

Moderator: Dr. Usha George is professor of Social Work and Director of the Ryerson Centre for Immigration and Settlement. She served as Interim Vice-President, Research and Innovation at Ryerson University after completing her ten-year term as the Dean of the Faculty of Community Services. She came to Ryerson from UofT’s Faculty of Social Work,  Usha’s research and scholarship is in the area of post-migration studies- specifically on the settlement and integration of newcomers to Canada.


 Lisa Randall:  Lisa has worked in health promotion, settlement services and community development in Toronto over the last 20 years. She is Program Manager at CultureLink, where she works closely with newcomer and refugee support activities in the Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS) and other settlement service programs.
Lisa has developed a range of inter-sectoral community partnerships, leadership training for the workplace and community and popular theatre training to strengthen youth resilience.

 Pearlita Juan: Pearlita is currently working as a Settlement Counsellor at The Neighbourhood Organization. Working specifically with the caregivers for their transition from caregiver to permanent resident and to their family reunification including settlement and citizenship. Pearlita is a former Live-in Caregiver, which has led to many years of experience advocating for her peers as well as and present support for migrant caregivers settlement in Canada. 

 Rupaleem Bhuyan: Rupaleem is an Associate Professor of Social Work at the UofT. She is the lead researcher for the Migrant Mothers Project which examines how the structural violence of immigration policy contributes to gender-based violence among immigrants and refugees. Her research and community engagement seeks to foster deeper knowledge about the inequities that shape immigrants’ lives and to identify strategies to collectively improve the well-being, dignity, and human rights for all.

 Esel Panlaqui: Panlaqui is a part-time Settlement Counselor at Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office (TNO). She represents TNO at the Community Advisory Committee of the Migrant Mother’s Project and sits in the Canadian Council for Refugees Sub Committee on Migrant Workers. Stemming from her own lived experience as an immigrant who arrived in Canada in 2005, she has a strong passion for issues that affect newcomers and marginalized groups, including migrant live-in caregivers and other migrant workers.


Senator Ratna will engage in a fireside chat moderated by Sara Asalya Founder and Executive Director of the Newcomer Students’ Association around diversity, inclusion, migration and refugee empowerment. Audience will have the opportunity to engage in this discussion and ask any questions.


The paper will discuss the representation of racial difference in the archive, and about the ways visual culture tells both a story of migration and of belonging to the nation.

Presented by Dr. Cheryl Thompson:  In 2018, Dr. Cheryl Thompson joined the School of Creative Industries as Assistant Professor, Faculty of Communication & Design at Ryerson University. She earned her PhD in Communication Studies at McGill. Her first book, Beauty in a Box: Detangling the Roots of Canada’s Black Beauty Culture will be published with Wilfrid Laurier Press in March 2019. Cheryl was a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow (2016-2018) in the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at UofT and the Dept. of English and Drama at the UTM. Cheryl’s essays have appeared In The Ward Uncovered: The Archaeology of Everyday Life(2018), Emergent Feminisms: Challenging a Post-Feminist Media Culture(2018), the Journal of Canadian Studies, Canadian Journal of History Annales canadiennes d’histoire (CJH/ACH), and Feminist Media Studies. In 2017, Cheryl also gave a TEDx Talk, titled “Why Positive Thinking is Not Enough.”

Community Impact

Conference Engagement

What our Participants and Attendants said…

“To begin with, student engagement was great as it was a sold-out event, hundreds of students came-out for the conference. It was evident that there was a lot of energy in the room as students were actively engaging in discussions, asking questions, networking with speakers, etc.”

“NSAR has organized one of the best panels I’ve ever attended, that highlights the importance of establishing solidarity between the Indigenous community and newcomers to Canada.”

“NSAR organized a great conference that focused on stories of immigrant and refugee communities in an effort to build unity and cohesion with these groups of people. Overall, the conference was a big success and was able to carry out what they stated in their initial pitch.”

85% of participants felt the conference topics were engaging

90% said they would attend future NSA conferences

95% said the conference met its objectives and their expectations

95% rated the conference “Excellent”

Social Media Engagement

Over 200 Tweets

Thank you to our Sponsors

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