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A warm welcome to our new and returning undergraduate and graduate students, colleagues, and friends to the 2023-2024 academic year. The start of a new academic year is an opportunity to acknowledge our successes and work together to address ongoing challenges.

I am excited to begin my second year as Director of the Feminist Institute of Social Transformation, encompassing Women’s and Gender Studies, Sexuality Studies, Disability Studies (since 2018), and Critical Race Studies (launched in 2021).

We congratulate our incredible 2022-2023 graduates – we are so proud of you!

This year we express our heartfelt appreciation to Dr. Nadia Abu-Zahra for her contributions during her tenure as the Joint Chair in Women’s Studies (2019-2023). Dr. Abu-Zahra has engaged in transformative work on feminist pedagogies and solidarity in the learning environment, part of which was conducted during a challenging pandemic.

I’m thrilled to welcome our new Joint Chair in Women’s Studies, Dr. Marie-Eve Carrier-Moisan, our 2023-2024 Fulbright Distinguished Chair, Dr. Michele Lewis, and our new cross-appointed faculty – Dr. Susana Vargas Cervantes, Dr. Julie Garlen, Dr. Andrés López, and Dr. Vivian Solana.

Dr. Carrier-Moisan will build on her extensive experience in feminist research, teaching, and social justice. Dr. Lewis will lead a virtual project centering Black-identifying individuals in the 2SLGBTQ+ community, fostering connection, identity exploration, and authentic expression.

In FIST, we remain committed to addressing systemic oppression and social injustice while striving for collective change. Our work, alongside that of our colleagues and students, is vital to the university community. We reiterate our dedication to inclusive teaching and learning that focuses on gender, sexuality, race, disability, intersectionality, and social justice. Recent events at the University of Waterloo underscore the urgency of dismantling systems of oppression and gender-based violence. We stand with those advocating for safety, respect, and immediate action against gender-based violence. 

Please join us for our upcoming events, including our returning Feminist Futures Lecture Series and annual student conference. Our institute is made stronger by our students, esteemed faculty, and dedicated staff, and supportive who make significant contributions to our research, teaching, and learning successes. 

Wishing you all a wonderful academic year ahead and please follow us on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

Dr. Amrita Hari
Director, Feminist Institute of Social Transformation (FIST)