Allison Kingston, MA MDS

By Michelle Hennessey

In 2013, a legal change in the Dominican Republic revoked the citizenship of hundreds of thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent, leaving them stateless. Without documentation, these people have no ability to participate in civic life, making education, employment, banking, housing and many other necessary daily tasks difficult or impossible.

“I think a lot of Canadians go down to the Dominican as a vacation and don’t understand the implications,” says Allison Kingston, a graduate student with Carleton’s Arthur Kroeger College of Public Affairs.

“Canadians are one of the largest travel groups to the Dominican, so Canadian dollars stimulate the Dominican economy and support a government which continues to perpetuate statelessness for actual citizens.”

Now in the second year of her Master of Arts in Migration and Diaspora Studies (MDS), Kingston studies the realities of stateless women in the Dominican Republic. Through her field work in the Dominican, she researches how stateless women negotiate access to vital resources without documentation.

“When the state limits your access to life, how do you live?” asks Kingston. To answer this, she conducts interviews with community service providers and activists to better understand “how their services fill implementation gaps so stateless women can survive when the government refuses to let them.”

Born in Sarnia, Ontario, Kingston earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Political Science from Carleton in 2018. She went on to work for the federal government and various non-profits. “One of the jobs I landed was in Ghana, so I lived there for just under six months working with an education nonprofit called Worldreader,” she explains. “When I came back to Canada, I knew I wanted to work internationally for a nonprofit.”

Kingston decided to pursue a master’s degree at Carleton to expand her career prospects and grow her ability to enact global social change.

“Carleton really gave me a platform and also legitimacy to pursue my research. It allowed me access to people who may not have given me access otherwise,” she says.

This research has not gone unnoticed. Kingston was recently awarded the Kalmen Kaplansky Scholarship in Human Rights and the Bader Student Travel Award to support her work in the Dominican. She has also secured an internship with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ Durable Solutions Unit in Ottawa, and hosted an podcast episode on The Reality of Statelessness in the Dominican Republic through the nonprofit Rayjon.

Kingston notes that her success at Carleton is bolstered by the incredible support of her supervisor Azar Masoumi and Migration and Diaspora Studies colleagues.

“The program is pretty small and we’ve really built a strong connection between our cohort,” she explains. “You’re not necessarily doing a master’s. You’re going through a master’s program with other people.”

Michelle Hennessey is a student in the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs Master of Arts in International Affairs and Juris Doctor degree (MA/JD) program.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023 in , ,
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