Strengthening our Democracy with Newcomer Communities

Discussion on the importance of engaging newcomers in politics and democracy and the need to re-conceptualize newcomer civic engagement in ways that go beyond electoral politics and voting.


John Beebe: is Senior Advisor on Democratic Engagement to the Faculty of Arts and leads the Democratic Engagement Exchange.  Prior to joining Ryerson, John led community based outreach programs for Samara Canada. At Samara, John developed the Democracy Talks and Vote PopUp programs that have been adopted by national and regional community organizations across the country and showcased as an example of programs that work by the Canada’s Chief Electoral Officer in his report to Parliament. John began his career working for the US Congress where he served as Chief of Staff to a US Congressman and worked on several political campaigns. He has also worked as an educator and served on the board of the organization that successfully campaigned for the first system of public financing for state elections in the United States. Since immigrating to Canada in 2008, John led the development of national tutoring initiatives for Pathways to Education. He also served as founding board member and chair of Park People. John earned his BA from Tufts University and MA from John Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies.


  • Arezoo Najibzadeh: is a leading voice for women's civic and political participation in Canada. In her role as the Co-founder and Executive Director of Young Women’s Leadership Network, she works with young women leaders and civic institutions to identify and address barriers to young women’s engagement and success within grassroots and institutional politics, namely gender-based violence. As an advocate for democratic reform and active citizen participation in decision-making, Arezoo has worked on topics such as electoral reform, equity and inclusion, and youth empowerment. She is regularly consulted by political and civic institutions on issues impacting young women and girls in Canada and globally. Most recently she established ‘It’s time’, a set of survivor-centric, trauma- informed resources for addressing sexual violence in political institution which has provided training to more than 100 politicians, political staff, and volunteers on creating consent culture within campaigns and on legislatures. She is regularly consulted by political and civic institutions on issues impacting young women and girls.She is currently pursuing a degree in public administration with a focus on equity and inclusion at Ryerson University.
  •  Peggy Nash: is a former NDP Member of Parliament from Toronto, serving in the portfolios of Finance and Industry. She has built her career in non-traditional fields for women: parliamentary politics and private sector labour negotiations. In these areas she worked to enhance broad democratic engagement, helping the less powerful join together with a united voice to make change. Prior to her two terms in office, she was a top negotiator with the largest private sector union in Canada. She has pioneered initiatives to end gender-based violence, create workplace child care and foster political involvement. She is a co-founder of Equal Voice, and multi-partisan organization with the goal of electing more women. She has served on Boards and Executives, including Invest Toronto, the Canadian Labour Congress and the Ontario Arts Council. In 2009, she was named a YWCA Women’ of Distinction. She is a frequent media commentator and an international speaker on the economy, women’s rights, and democratic engagement.
  •  Anjum Sultana: is the Manager of Policy and Strategic Communications at the YWCA Canada. YWCA Canada is the largest provider of housing and shelter services for women and girls across the country and the second largest provider of child care. Anjum has nearly ten years of experience working in the fields of community development, strategic communications and advocacy to facilitate social action and systemic change. Through her experience in applied research, social policy analysis and knowledge translation, she has worked on initiatives to achieve social and economic justice for diverse equity-seeking groups. Her work to date has focused on improving equitable outcomes for women, newcomers, immigrants, refugees and racialized communities. Anjum Sultana graduated with a Masters of Public Health from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. During her graduate studies, Anjum received the Ontario Graduate Scholarship, was accepted into the Public Health Policy Collaborative, and was a Junior Fellow at Massey College. 


Dr. Harald Bauder 

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.


Check out our Conference Summary Report here

cONFERENCE pAPER: Stories of migration from the archives

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 under the co-supervision of Dr. Will Straw and Dr. Charmaine Nelson. 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. Prior to her position at Ryerson, Cheryl was a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow (2016-2018) in the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto and the Dept. of English and Drama at the University of Toronto Mississauga. 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.”

Panel and guest information

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.

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. Her books include Youth as/in Crisis: Young People, Public Policy, and the Politics of Learning (co-edited with Sara Carpenter, 2017); Revolutionary Learning: Marxism, Feminism and Knowledge (co-authored with Sara Carpenter, 2017); Marxism and Feminism (editor, 2015); Educating from Marx: Race, Gender and Learning (co-edited with Sara Carpenter, 2012) and Women, War, Violence, and Learning (editor, 2010); Violence in the Name of Honour: Theoretical and Political Challenges (co-edited with Nahla Abdo, 2004); Of Property and Propriety: The Role of Gender and Class in Imperialism and Nationalism (c-edited with Himani Bannerji and Judith Whitehead, 2001); and in 2001 edited the first anthology on Kurdish women, Women of a Non-State Nation: The Kurds. A unique feature of Shahrzad's work is making knowledge accessible to public through the use of arts such as story-telling, dance, drama, painting and film. She has been the guest editor of the special issue ofComparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East Journal and International Journal of Lifelong Education. Her most recent Social Science and Humanities Research Council research projects are Youth in Transition: War, Migration, and ‘Regenerative Possibilities’ and The Pedagogy and Policy of Refugee Youth Resettlement. The Ontario Arts Council has funded her project with Roshanak Jaberi and Doris Rajan, No Woman’s Land, which is a dance project to capture the experience of refugee women of sexual violence.

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. Previously, Senator Omidvar was the President of Maytree, where she played a lead role in local, national and international efforts to promote the integration of immigrants. Senator Omidvar serves as a Councillor on the World Refugee Council and is also a director at the Environics Institute, and Samara Canada and is the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council’s Chair Emerita. She was formerly the Co-Chair of the Global Future Council on Migration hosted by the World Economic Forum and the Chair of Lifeline Syria. Senator Omidvar received a Honorary Degree, Doctor of Laws, from Ryerson University in 2018 and from York University in 2012. Senator Omidvar was appointed to the Order of Ontario in 2005 and became a Member of the Order of Canada in 2011, with both honours recognizing her advocacy work on behalf of immigrants and devotion to reducing inequality in Canada. In 2014, she received the Cross of he Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in recognition of her contribution to the advancement of German-Canadian relations.

Youth, War and Migration funded by SSHRC

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. She is an inclusive, strategic leader, under whose direction Ryerson has been recognized as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for each of the past three years. She migrated to Canada from the United States in 2012 and joined Ryerson as the inaugural
Assistant Vice-President/Vice-Provost EDI. She holds extensive academic and administrative experience and has served as Associate Vice President for Institutional Diversity, a professor, and director for student success programs. She has published and presented many book chapters, journal articles, papers, and is the Executive Editor of She is the co-author of 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women – 2016. A frequent speaker on issues of equity and inclusion in higher education, she has received several awards including the 2016 Pioneers for Change Award for Excellence in Women in Leadership, President’s Blue and Gold Award of Excellence, 2017 and named a “Woman Worth Watching” by Profiles in Diversity Journal, in 2015. Dr. Green earned her PhD from the University of Michigan, a Master’s from Princeton and a Bachelor’s from the University of Chicago.

Special thanks to our sponsors:

- Unifor National Chair in Social   Justice and Democracy 

- Immigration and Settlement     Studies Graduate Program

​- Office of Vice President Equity   and Community Inclusion



Senator Ratna will engage in a fireside chat moderated by Sara Asalya around diversity, inclusion, migration and refugee empowerment. Audience will have the opportunity to engage in this discussion and ask any questions. 


Sara Asalya: is a Palestinian immigrant, mother, community organizer, and a student leader. Sara is the Founder of the Newcomer Students' Association of Ryerson. She is currently pursuing her Masters degree in Higher Education with a collaborative specialization in International, Comparative and Development Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at University of Toronto. She holds a bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature, and a post-graduate certificate in Community Engagement, Leadership and Development; and in Immigration and Settlement Studies. Sara has a passion for community development and social justice issues, with a particular interest in migration issues and diaspora communities. She believes in  immigrants' rights in just and equitable opportunities in the community regardless of their immigration status and was recently named as one of Canada's top 25 Canadian immigrants. 

​First Day

9:00am - 9:30am            Registration and Breakfast

9:30am - 10:00am          Welcoming Remarks, Equity Statement &                                                                Land acknowledgement       

10:00am - 11:00am         Keynote - Dr. Denise O'Neil Green ​& Dr. Harald Bauder​

11:00am - 12:30pm        Panel Discussion: Living Under the Same Roof

12:30pm - 1:30pm          Lunch

1:30pm - 2:15pm            Fireside Chat with Senator Ratna Omidvar

2:15pm - 2:30pm            Health break 

2:30pm - 4:00pm             Panel Discussion: Is Canada a Safe Haven?

4:00pm - 4:15pm             Health break 

4:15pm - 5:00pm             Conference Paper: Stories of Migration from the                                                     Archives                                                        

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS - Opening and Closing Plenary 


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


​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. She sat as the Elder for Ryerson University, Ryerson’s Aboriginal Education Council, and the Truth and Reconciliation directive and as a Traditional counsellor at Ryerson’s Aboriginal Student Services for 10 years. 
  •  Rachel Reesor: Rachel  completed her bachelor of arts and bachelor of education at Nipissing University. After completing her degree she moved to the Northwest Territories where she taught at Elizabeth Mackenzie Elementary School in Behchoko for 3 years before teaching at Alexis Arrowmaker School in Wekweeti for an additional year. After 4 years up north Rachel decided to move back to Ontario to be closer to her family and pursue her masters degree. She is currently completing her masters 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. She is also actively involved in the St. James Town community as she volunteers at the St. James Town Community Corner, teaching english language to adults and providing a leadership program for youth in the community. 
  • Phyllis Mackanna:  is a Ojibwe/Odawa/Celtic Kwe who resides in Toronto. She is a M'Chigeeng First Nation band member on Manitoulin Island, Ontario. She is the National Circle of First Nations, Metis and Inuit Chairperson for the Canadian Federation of Students and vice president 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: Alternatives to colonial thinking and practice (an Educator's textbook), edited by George J. Sefa Dei & Cristina Jaimungal. She used her poetry as a powerful way to politize her Identity and to challenge academia's ways of teaching and learning. 
  •  Alfredo Barahona: is originally from Cuzcatlan, a Maya – Pipil territory part of what is also known as El Salvador, 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. Alfredo has facilitated the KAIROS Blanket Exercise (KBE) extensively in English and Spanish through all of Canada including training KBE facilitators. Alfredo is responsible for the international work related to the KAIROS Blanket Exercise. Facilitating the effective and meaningful participation of affected communities in advocacy and solidarity work is a key principle in Alfredo’s work. As a tool for social change, music within a faith ecumenical and solidarity context, is an integral part of Alfredo’s life and social justice work.

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.  


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. In 2005 he took on the role as special advisor to the presidency of the Government of South Africa, returning to Ryerson in 2008 and in 2014 was named special advisor to Ryerson’s president and provost. Anver has an extensive record of service including a number of roles at the Canadian Association of University Teachers including vice-president as well as chair, equity committee. He has also served as president, Ryerson Faculty Association; president, Laidlaw Foundation; and president, Community Planning Council of Toronto.


  •  Idil Atak : Idil is the Graduate program director for the department of Criminology. She joined the Department of Criminology in 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). She is a member of the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration’s (IASFM) Executive Committee, the past president of the Canadian Association for Refugee and Forced Migration Studies (CARFMS), and a research associate at Hans & Tamar Oppenheimer Chair in Public International Law (McGill University). 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 B.A. (Hons) in History and Philosophy from York University, a J.D. from the University of Toronto, an LL.M. from Queen's University, 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. Graham is an Executive Member of the Canadian Association for Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, and a Senior Research Affiliate with the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society.
  • 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. She is Chair of the Social Accountability Working Group at the College of Family Physicians of Canada, a Board Member of Canadian Doctors for Medicare and a founding member of the OHIP for All campaign.
  •  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


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. She was a regular commentator on current and legal affairs for CTV News and has appeared as a spokesperson on a variety of issues. She is co-author of the book Politically Speaking. Kiké has designed and led workshops for the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, and the United Steel Workers. She has addressed audiences across Canada and in the United States 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. In the past two years after the Canadian government decided to welcome 25,000 Syrian Refugees, D r . Fakih made headlines in Canadian News when he travelled to Lebanon to visit the Islamic Relief Camps for Syrian Refugees to gain a deeper understanding of current relief efforts. Hoping to lead by example, Mohamad partnered with Ryerson University, Toronto for the Lifeline Syrian Challenge – allowing Paramount Fine Foods to fund employment support counsel to help recruit new Syrian Canadians during their job search. Mohamad opened the doors of Paramount restaurants to the skills and drive many refugees bring to Canada by providing up to 150 jobs for the newcomers in his restaurants in year 2017. Along with being named a finalist in the 2 0 1 4 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Dr. Fakih made the cover of Canadian Immigrant Magazine for both his business success and inspiring life story. In addition, The Globe and Mail titled Dr. Fakih one of Toronto’s “16 to watch in 2016”. The list, released in January included other notable Canadians such as John Tory, Mayor of Toronto and Alessia Cara( International Artist). Toronto Life Magazine named Dr. Fakih as one of the Top 50 Most Influential People in 2017, including him in an affluent list of successful politicians, international businessmen, media and tech titans who are changing the world as we know it.
  •  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 (Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Afghanistan and the Middle-East and North Africa region) 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. He was previously appointed as the Deputy Director of the Human Rights Unit of UN Peace- Keeping/DPKO mission in Afghanistan/UNAMA (2008-10) focusing on women’s rights, elections, poverty and the protection of civilians. He previously worked as a Research Director in a human rights think-tank (International Council on Human Rights Policy) on issues of peace agreements, transitional justice, national human rights institutions and the reform of the UN human rights system. Jean-Nicolas Beuze holds a LL.M in international human rights law from Essex University, UK, and a Master in international relations from the Graduate Institute of International Relations, Geneva/Switzerland.
  •  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.


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 University of Toronto'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. she is a highly funded and well published researcher , who  has had impact on policy and program changes at the federal and provincial levels.  Her 1998 article” To stay or not to stay: characteristics associated with newcomers planning to stay in Canada” was used by the parliamentary committee on family reunification and Dr George appeared before the committee on Oct 6, 2016. Dr. George received the Errol Aspevig Award for Outstanding Academic Leadership in 2015.


  •  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. With a background in the performing arts and as a singer/song-writer, Lisa’s passion and vision is to bring the arts into settlement programs and expose clients to ‘the heart and soul’ of their new home through these experiences. She also writes poetry and occasionally performs original pieces. Lisa is also a member of the Roncesvalles Refugee Relief refugee sponsorship group.
  •  Pearlita Juan: Pearlita is currently working as a Settlement Counsellor at TNO-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 began volunteering with TNO in 2010 and was the Program Advisory Committee Chairperson of the TNO-Caregivers-in-Transition Program. She is a former Peer Researcher with Migrant Mother’s Project, as well as a former member of the Research Advisory Committee with the Caregivers Journey-Migrant Mother’s Project. 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 University of Toronto. 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: Esel” Laxa 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. She currently provides phone services to caregivers in the evening and weekend itinerant and mobile services to reach out and engage isolated and vulnerable live-in caregivers. Aside from providing direct services, she is involved in several community organizing, research and advocacy projects.

Second Day

9:00am – 10:00am               Registration & Breakfast

10:00am – 12:00pm            Panel Discussion: A world on the Move:                                                                  Building Solidarity Beyond Borders           

12:00pm – 1:00 pm              Lunch

1:00pm – 2:30pm                 Panel Discussion: On the Front Lines:                                                                     Sustaining and Strengthening Newcomer                                                               Settlement Services

2:30pm – 3:00pm                 Honorary Guest Speaker (MPP Bhutila Karpoche)

3:00pm – 4:15pm                 Panel Discussion: Strengthening our Democracy                                                   with Newcomer Communities

4:15pm – 4:30pm                 Health Break

4:30pm – 5:00pm                 Closing Plenary - Dr. Shahrzad Mojab "Settling in                                                   the Land of Settler Colonialism”