Over the years Migration and Diaspora (MDS) Initiative of Carleton has hosted, organized, participated in and offered support to several events that reflect the values and vision of the Initiative. The following are a few highlights of such events and the principles they represent.

Commitment to Research (External and Internal research awards)

The MDS Initiative has garnered the recognition and respect of both internal and external funding support through its attention to research advancement of the field. In fall of 2015 MDS was acknowledged with a Carleton Research Award for building connections across university departments with a lasting impact on the development of research both within our institution and beyond.

That commitment to innovative advancement of the field continues to earn the respect of external funding bodies such as the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, among other external partners, who recently in 2018, was recognized for the work of MDS steering committee member, James Milner and awarded substantial funding to support a seven-year project addressing refugee policy. Milner’s project, Civil Society and the Global Refugee Regime: Understanding and Enhancing Impact through the Implementation of Global Refugee Policy, will address these questions in partnership with global NGOs and academics.

National and International advocacy

MDS works in a spirit of collaboration spanning the scope of both national and international spheres. The vision of Carleton’s MDS initiative engenders one of praxis in which advocacy is an important component.

In December, 2016, Kevin Dunbar, from CARE Canada, and James Milner, from MDS Carleton, submitted a policy brief -through the Refugee Research Network to the Government of Canada highlighting the need to promote closer collaboration between humanitarian and development programming.

In July 2016 MDS Researcher James Milner, urged the UN to actively address the current refugee challenges facing countries across the globe by reforming its refugee system and modify the way the global community responds to the current refugee crisis.

Creative space for scholarship

MDS takes an interdisciplinary approach to knowledge sharing and dissemination and thereby embraces the value in artistic expression as a medium for critical social reflection and activism. The pioneering work of creative film maker, Med Hondo captures all of these characteristics and Carleton’s MDS was privileged to host this influential figure in World Cinema as well as benefit from his wisdom shared with members of the Carleton community and the city of Ottawa through an installation viewing at the National Gallery of Canada. The February 2016 event was facilitated by Aboubakar Sanogo (Carleton Film Studies) and Daniel McNeil (MDS scholar and history professor).

By facilitating creative environments for scholarship, MDS initiative can expand to reach places beyond the campus walls having dialogue people from diverse communities and perspectives.

Engaging Students and Faculty

The MDS Initiative is one that continually engages its students and faculty by providing opportunities to grow and thrive intellectually. November 2015 marked MDS initiative’s first Graduate student colloquium. Organized by Johnny Alam (TD Fellow in Migration and Diaspora Studies and President of the Migration and Diaspora Student Society), it brought together students and professionals from many disciplines and fields to discuss concepts such as affect, coloniality, and state violence that are key to our understanding of contemporary debates about the movement of people and ideas.

The following year in October 2016, MDS steering committee member, Diava Stasiulis of MDS, organized the Symposium and Exhibition on Migration and Intersectionality. Diava was one of two keynote speakers at the event was a collaborative effort by Carleton’s MDS initiative and African Centre for Migration and Society (University of the Witwatersrand) that featured the work of students both local and abroad.

In fall of 2017, MDS contributed its generous support to the publication of a special issue focusing on the theme of Power and Influence in the Global Refugee Regime in the Journal, Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees. The publication was the result of a 2-day workshop of the same name, hosted by Carleton in 2015. During the workshop scholars, practitioners and policy makers came together to brainstorm the affect that different actors can have on the global refugee scene. The journal is a non-profit, interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed, bilingual journal that provides space for discussion of emerging themes and debates, as well as ongoing topics.

Fall, 2017 saw the continuation of the bi-weekly Decolonial/Postcolonial Reading Group organized by grad student and Faculty of Arts Student Society (FASS) member, William Filapchuck of MDS.

Fostering Community Connections

2018’s Black History month featured a compelling talk led by Dr. Pablo Idahosa of York University that deals with the dimensions of African diasporic identities. The discussion, titled, From Old to New African Diasporas: The Multiple Difficulties of Entangling Displacements and Identities was organized by Carleton’s Institute of African Studies and supported by MDS initiative and open to the public. It

discussed the ways in which Diasporic identities were being ‘instrumentalized’ by African nation states within a discourse of development.

Cultivating the Future: Sustaining Educational Transitions

In May 2016, Daniel McNeil and Louise de la Gorgendière delivered presentations to over 100 high-school students from across Canada as part of the National Student Commonwealth Forum (NSCF), a conference held annually in Ottawa since 1973. The forum provides secondary students an opportunity to engage with youth from across the country and learn about Canadian culture particularly as it relates to government processes in international affairs and diplomacy.