By Karen Kelly
Photos by Bryan Gagnon

As an undergraduate, Danica Dahlin had two passions: competitive hockey and political science. When she decided to pursue her master’s degree at Carleton, her plan was to bring the two together.

“I originally proposed research regarding the use of sport, and specifically in Canada’s reconciliation process with Indigenous peoples,” recalls Dahlin, who has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Lethbridge. “Then I took a course with Professor James Milner on forced migration and refugee studies, and that just opened up this whole other research area that I had never explored before.”

Professor Milner is a global expert on refugees and migration and the director of the Local Engagement Refugee Research Network (LERRN), which aims “to improve the functioning of the global refugee regime and ensure more timely protection and rights-based solutions for refugees.” LERRN researchers work with partners in countries such as Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon and Tanzania.

Danica Dahlin

After taking Milner’s course on the politics of the international refugee system, Dahlin was offered an internship in the United Nations Refugee Agency’s Ottawa office as part of a special arrangement between LERRN and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

While there, Dahlin drew on her experience as a varsity athlete to research pathways for refugee Olympians to attend Canadian universities. Her efforts as an intern helped three athletes get accepted on student scholarships.

“It was kind of serendipitous because sports are a special interest of mine: I had experience with the varsity athletics processes and structures in Canada,” says Dahlin. “I just happened to be there at the time that they were exploring this idea, so I feel very fortunate to have been part of this in a very small way.”

Following that experience, Dahlin joined the LERRN team as a research assistant working with its refugee advisory network, which advocates for refugee participation in the global spaces that affect them.

Moving forward, Dahlin is hoping to find work in the non-profit sector that will enable her to pursue her passions and indulge her curiosity.

Monday, June 20, 2022 in ,
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