The following is a list of Workshop Participants (in alphabetical order).

Dahabo Noor Abdi (Discussant)

Dahabo Noor Abdi originates from Somalia and once lived as a refugee in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya. She has completed her high school in Kakuma refugee camp and came to Canada through World University Services of Canada scholarship. In 2008 she returned to Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camp as part of a team to mentor and encourage young girls about the prospects of pursing higher education.

Since her migration to Canada, Dahabo has served as a keynote speaker and panellist on girl child education at various Canadian universities and organizations. Ms. Abdi is a graduate of Carleton University and is currently working at citizenship and immigration Canada.

Abraham Abraham


Abraham Abraham is a representative of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Canada.Born in Tanzania, Mr. Abraham ABRAHAM, a national from India, was appointed as UNHCR Representative in Canada in January 2008. He brings with him over twenty-nine years of experience in refugee work.

Since joining UNHCR in 1979, Mr. ABRAHAM has held a number of operational/management/administrative positions at UNHCR Headquarters, as well as in a good number of UNHCR Field Offices, including as Chief of Staff Administration Section, Chief of Programme Management Service, and as Senior Evaluation Officer. He also has undertaken a number of field assignments, including as Programme Officer/Deputy Representative in Viet Nam, Assistant Representative in Somalia,  Head of Field Office in Mannar and later Deputy Representative in Sri-Lanka, Deputy Chief of Mission in Guinea, Deputy Representative in Rwanda (1997-1998) and as UNHCR Representative in Nepal before coming to Canada.

Mr. ABRAHAM holds a dual major Master of Arts in Economics and Finance, Management from Webster College – St. Louis, Missouri, USA and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Kerala, India. His wife Ariane is a Swiss national and they have four adult children.

Michael Barutciski

(Session Chair)

Michael Barutciski is Associate Professor at the Glendon School of Public and International Affairs. He chaired Glendon College’s Department of Multidisciplinary Studies before taking his sabbatical leave in 2009. Prior to joining Toronto’s York University and the Glendon faculty, he directed the diplomacy programme at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, and held a full-time appointment at the University of Oxford’s department of international development for four years. He has authored reports for UNHCR, the British Department for International Development and the South African parliament. Barutciski holds a doctorate from the Paris law faculty, and has been a member of the Quebec bar for over fifteen years.
Kumari Beck


Kumari Beck is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University. Beck holds a PhD and an MA in Education, and brings a strong international perspective on curriculum development as well as a critical approach to the ethics underlying such approaches to the Workshop.
Ranu Basu


Ranu Basu is an Associate Professor in Geography at York University. Basu has studied access to education within the Greater Toronto Area, particularly in schools with high immigrant and refugee populations. She will bring an important critical perspective to the needs, rights and access of urban refugees to post secondary education.
Amanda Coffie


Amanda Coffie is a PhD student at Carleton University in Ottawa. Coffie is working on refugee repatriation and peace building in Liberia. She looks at the experience of exile and the possibilities for capacity-building in exile to support peace building upon return. Ms. Coffie has had important front line experiences in refugee camps in Africa as a research assistant.
Negin Dahya


Negin Dahya is a 2nd year doctoral candidate in the Faculty of Education, York University. Negin completed her BA in English Literature and Psychology at the University of British Columbia and her Master’s of Education at York. Her research interests include gender and technology in education, community and school-based media production projects as forms of education and social activism, and postcolonial feminist theory.
Julia Dicum


A federal public servant since March 2007, Julia Dicum has been the Senior Policy Analyst, Education in CIDA’s Strategic Policy and Performance Branch since November, 2007.  Among others, key policy files she works on include education in emergencies, conflict, post-conflict and fragile states and skills for employment. Dr. Dicum has a PhD in Comparative International Development Education from the University of Toronto focusing on learner experiences of the curriculum during war and migration. She has published in the fields of education on community-based refugee education and the use of ICTs in emergency education and education in developing contexts. Earlier in her career, she taught ESL overseas and later managed a variety of aid programs targeting refugees, rural populations and girls.  When not at work, she can be found in a swimming pool, kicking up her heels on a dance floor, or taking in a film.
Don Dippo

(Organizing Committee)

Don Dippo is currently Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs in the Faculty of Education at York University. His interests include: the social and political organization of knowledge, environmental and sustainability education, global migration and settlement; university/community relations; and teacher education. He serves on the Executive Committee of the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University and is a member of the Caring Village, a network of community-based organizations centred in the Jane/Finch community of Toronto.
Sarah Dryden-Peterson

(Presenter/Organizing Committee)

Sarah Dryden-Peterson is a Post Doctoral Fellow in Adult Education and Community Development at the University of Toronto, OISE. She holds an Ed.D from Harvard Graduate School of Education and an M.A. from Tufts University and M.Phil from the University of Cape Town. Dryden-Peterson is an expert in the field of education and forced migration, with a number of years experience in areas directly affected by protracted refugee situations in Africa, particularly within the educational context; she has done significant work on the issues surrounding local integration of refugees.
Amani El Jack


Amani El Jack is an Assistant Professor (Tenure-Track) in the Department of Women’s Studies at the University of Massachusetts. El Jack holds a PhD in Women’s Studies from York University and a M.A. in Political Science from the American University in Cairo, Egypt. El Jack has worked on the gender relations of forced migration. She currently has a lead role in the Boston Consortium on gender and war at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Her knowledge of the situation of Sudanese refugees and internally displaced will be very important to the workshop.
Martha K. Ferede


Martha K. Ferede is a doctoral student and presidential fellow at Harvard University in the Graduate School of Education. Her primary fields of interest are access to and success in higher education for refugees and immigrants. An advisee of Dr. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, Martha earned her master’s from Harvard and her bachelor’s from York University. Martha is a former teacher with the Toronto District School Board where she taught students from 16 different nationalities
Veronica Patience Fynn

Ms Fynn holds a BSc (University of Ghana), BA (University of British Columbia), MPH (University of Nottingham), LLM (Osgoode Hall Law School), and is currently doing her PhD in Law at Osgoode Hall Law School. As an undergraduate student at UBC, she founded Africa Awareness, a student driven initiative, responsible for the establishment of the first ever interdisciplinary African Studies Program. Before law school she worked as a Program/Research Analyst with the BC Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons. She also worked with the Migration Health Department of the International Organization for Migration in Geneva where she developed information/policy document on Health Consequences of Human Trafficking. She is the Founder/CEO of EV Research Inc. and the founder of the first ever academic Journal of Internal Displacement. As an author, Ms Fynn has published two books Documenting the Undocumented: Redefining Refugee Status (2009) and Legal Discrepancies: Internal Displacement of Women and Children in Africa (2010) and several journal articles. Ms Fynn, originally from Liberia, West Africa, immigrated to Canada in 2001, after living as a refugee in Ghana for well over 9 years.
Wenona Giles

(Workshop Chair)

Wenona Giles, is Deputy Director of the Centre for Refugee Studies and Professor, Anthropology Department, York University, where she teaches and publishes in the areas of gender, forced migration, globalization, migration, nationalism, and war. Her many articles and books include Immigration and Nationalism: Two Generations of Portuguese Women in Toronto (University of Toronto Press 2002),  co-edited publications: Development and Diaspora: Gender and the Refugee Experience(Artemis, 1996); a two-volume issue of Refuge on Gender Relations and Refugee Issues (1995); Feminists under Fire: Exchanges across War Zones (Between the Lines Press, Toronto 2003); with co-editor Jennifer Hyndman, she published Sites of Violence: Gender and Conflict Zones (University of California Press, 2004). She co-founded and co-coordinated the International Women in Conflict Zones Research Network (1993-2004).  Her recently completed SSHRC funded research (with Hyndman) (2005- 09) on protracted refugee situations focuses on Somali refugees in Kenya and Afghan refugees in Iran. She is the senior co-investigator for a Social Science and Humanities Council of Canada funded international multi-year initiative: “A Refugee Research Network: Globalizing Knowledge” (2008-14). She is currently developing a project concerning the delivery of tertiary education to long-term refugees in camps. In addition to chairing the workshop, Giles will guest edit (with 1-2 other Presenters), a special issue of Refuge: Canada’s Periodical on Refugees.
Jennifer Hyndman

(Presenter/Organizing Committee)

Jennifer Hyndman is a Professor and the Associate Director of the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University, as well as a member of the Workshop Organizing Committee and co-applicant of the SSHRC funded Refugee Research Network. Hyndman has published extensively on Geographies of forced migration/immigration; humanitarian aid in response to conflict/asylum/disasters; refugee (re)settlement and critical and feminist geopolitics, gender and conflict zones and is currently involved in a SSHRC funded project on the globalization of long term refugee camps. Her critical analyses on how policies created in the Global North have impacted on the duration of protracted refugee situations, and how the lack of opportunities, particularly of access to tertiary education has impacted on these populations will be important to the Workshop.
Ndungu Kalihu


Ndungu Kalihu is a Regional Advisor for Plan Canada. He is currently based in Nairobi, Kenya. His professional background is in Education, Management and International Development. He has worked and traveled in many parts of the World including Africa, Europe and North America. His current work chiefly involves providing technical support in program development and implementation as well as training in support of Plan programs and staff in Canada and overseas. This work includes projects that address post conflict reconstruction in Sudan through the development of technical and vocational education as well as child protection. Ndungu was born in Kenya but lives in Toronto, Canada. He has worked in the field of international development for over 17 years.
Rana Khan


Rana Khan is a human rights lawyer with a keen interest in and commitment to refugee protection, in particular the issues surrounding vulnerable groups.  Prior to joining UNHCR as Legal Officer responsible for Ontario region in 1994, she held positions as Legal Counsel at the Ontario Human Rights Commission and was in private practice in human rights law.  Rana has been the UNHCR lead in Canada on Gender, Children and Detention issues and lead regional working groups on children, detention and mental health issues to promote and develop best practices in line with international standards.  She has trained government officials, military and academic institutions and members of the NGO community on refugee protection issues.Rana has also taken part in some of the organization’s international operations for refugee protection and humanitarian assistance.  In 1998, Rana went on mission to Luau, Angola as part of a technical team that conducted refugee status determinations of Rwandan refugees.  In 1999, Rana undertook a mission as UNHCR Protection Officer to Kosovo and was based in Mitrovica and Prizren.
Philip Landon


Philip Landon is the Director of Programs for the World University Service of Canada. Landon has been involved in international development and education for over twenty years. His work has focused on the design and management of sustainable education and international development projects and programs that address marginalized populations and engage Canadians in the issues. He is currently the Director of Programs at World University Service of Canada, responsible for strategic orientation, program development and implementation of WUSC’s programs in Canada and overseas.

Lynne LeBlanc (Discussant)

Lynne LeBlanc, Manager of Campus Engagement of World University Service of Canada (WUSC) has been supporting refugee sponsorship through its  Student Refugee Program (SRP) for the past 5 years. Through the SRP and a variety of public engagement initiatives, Lynne and her team have mobilized, guided and supported a pan-Canadian network of over 80 university and college student groups interested in taking part in tangible, locally-driven activities to raise awareness on refugee issues.  More recently, her involvement in the development of a new strategy to expand and transform the SRP has led to key initiatives aimed at improving girls’ access to education.
Eric Leung


Eric Leung is a recent graduate of York University with a specialized honours degree in global political studies and a certificate in refugee and migration studies. Currently, he is a research assistant to the SSHRC IOF-funded project on “War Crimes and the Status of Refugees” and assisting the Planning &Organizing Committee for the upcoming York 2010 International Conference on “Forced Displacement, Protection Standards and Supervising the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol and Other International Instruments”. From 2005-2009, Eric served as co-chair of the York University WUSC Local Committee and Student Refugee Program coordinator.
Duncan Maclaren


Duncan Maclaren is the coordinator of the Australian Catholic University’s Refugee Program on the Thai-Burma border, which offers university education to Burmese refugees in camps in Thailand. Based at the MacKillop Campus in Sydney, he also lectures in linking Catholic Social Teaching with humanitarian and development work. He worked for Caritas for over 25 years. Prior to coming to Australia in 2007, MacLaren was based in the Vatican as Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis. He has just completed a piece of research on how the Burmese refugee graduates in business and theology used their qualifications for the common good. In a partnership with 4 Jesuit universities from the US, the current cohort of Burmese students will complete a Diploma in Liberal Studies in 2010. He is a member of the Editorial Board of Solidarity: the Journal of Catholic Social Thought and Secular Ethics and the Quality of Life and Social Justice Research Centre in Melbourne.
Elizabeth Mazzocchini (Presenter)

Elizabeth Mazzocchini holds a BA in International Communications (Università degli Studi Roma Tre and Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris III) and an MSc in Humanitarian Action (University College Dublin). She has worked for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Conference on Trade and Development and NGOs in several countries. Since October 2008 she is the International Relations Officer of Unity for Tertiary Refugee Students (UTRS), non-profit organization in South Africa promoting the refugees right to education. Fluent in 6 languages, she is driven for refugee rights, education in forced displacement contexts, and intercultural communications.
Susan McGrath (Presenter/Organizing Committee)

Susan McGrath is the Director of the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University, as well as a member of the Workshop Organizing Committee and PI of the SSHRC funded Refugee Research Network. McGrath has been involved in community development and educational initiatives in neighbourhoods with large populations of immigrants and refugees for a number of years, including access to tertiary education. Her recent work in Sudan on the vocational and training needs of the ex-combatants is very relevant to the themes being addressed in this workshop.
Joseph Mensah (Chair)

Joseph Mensah is an Associate Professor of Geography and the Coordinator of International Development Studies at York University.  His research focuses on issues of globalization and cultures; transnational migration; race, gender, and employment; and health and African development. Professor Mensah has received several competitive awards and grants from the likes of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Global Development Network. He has written several journal articles and books, including the well-received Black Canadians: History, Experience, and Social Conditions (Fernwood, 2nd Edition 2010).
Michele Millard

(Organizing Committee)

Michele Millard is the Coordinator of the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University, the Project Coordinator of the Refugee Research Network and previously the Volunteer Coordinator at the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture. A former member of the Executive Committee at the Canadian Council for Refugees as well as of the Community Council at the Salvation Army’s Immigrant and Refugee Services, Michele is currently President of the Board of Sojourn House, a refugee shelter and transitional housing unit for refugees in Toronto. She has been volunteering for organizations providing settlement, protection and advocacy services to refugees and refugee claimants for the last 10 years. Michele holds a Master’s degree in Art History from McGill University and a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from the University of Toronto.
Marangu Njogu (Presenter)

Marangu Njogu is the Executive Director for Windle Trust Kenya. Njogu has over 28 years professional experience in government and non-governmental organizations in the field of national development and humanitarian work in a range of implementation, senior management and leadership positions. He is currently responsible for overseeing the implementation of WTK programs (English Language Program, Scholarship Programme, WUSC Programme and the Teacher Education Programme), in Kenya and management of project personnel to achieve the objectives agreed to in grants and contracts.
Aida Orgocka (Session Chair)

Aida Orgocka is a Research Associate and Resource Development Officer at the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University. She received her PhD degree in Human and Community Development from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA in 2003. An active contributor to both policy and academic fields, she has worked in areas of gender, migration and development in Albania, Canada and USA. Her early work on migration focused on emigration desires and decisions of Albanian youth and women as well integration of Muslim immigrant families in USA. Most recently, she has focused on the exploration of unaccompanied child migration for work from Albania and development of multi-level programmatic responses to the phenomenon. Her work has appeared in peer-reviewed journals and edited book volumes.
Oana Petrica(Discussant)

Oana Petrica is a PhD Candidate in the School of Women’s Studies working from a transnational feminist perspective on migration and movements, especially as they are connected to the postsocialist Eastern European sites. Her dissertation project focuses on the gendered racialized invisible accounts through which Eastern European immigrants become subjects for labour capital in the “Western” market while opening insights for inter-state accountabilities and critiques of global unjust transnational migration flows. Some of her publications include “Metabolizing” the Body Politic: Feminized Postcommunist State Budgets, Social Reproduction & Transnational Migration” (forthcoming Summer 2010) in Migration and Feminisms (Glenda Bonifacio ed.), Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press; “Postsocialist Deskilled Proletarian Masculinities, Late Capitalist Car Culture Collapse & Sexual Violence: Transnational Feminist Responses to Masculinities in Crises” (forthcoming Spring 2010) in Transnational Feminist Encounters (Grace Adeniyi, Kathleen Gamble, Leanne Townsend, and Oana Petrica eds), Toronto: York
Robyn Plasterer(Presenter)

Robyn Plasterer currently works as the WUSC Campus Liaison for Western Canada to help increase access to post-secondary education for forced migrants and strengthen refugee sponsorships. Plasterer travelled to Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps in August 2009 as a Research Assistant for the Globalization of Protracted Refugee Situations Project, to conduct an educational inventory of both camps. As a co-founder of the Refugee Education Initiative, she also assisted with the design and delivery of a pre-departure orientation for refugee students being re-settled to Canada. Presently, she is an Interim Executive for the New Scholars Network (of the Refugee Research Network), and intends to pursue a Master’s degree in Forced Migration next fall.
Heather Peters(Rapporteur)

Heather is a PhD student in Education, also pursuing a diploma in Refugee and Migration Studies at the Centre (CRS) at York U. She was a teacher in Manitoba for several years before moving to South Eastern Europe to work in a humanitarian aid capacity. This included work with IDPs and refugees in Bosnia-Hercegovina between 1998 and 2000. Her MA was in ethnomusicology and focussed on the traditional song genre, sevdalinka, which is an important part of musical and cultural identity for Muslims, Serbs and Croats living in Bosnia-Hercegovnia. Heather has also been involved in work with and studies concerning Roma people in Hungary, B-H and Macedonia. Her dissertation will focus on transitions and the interaction between schools and families of Roma refugee families living in the Hamilton area
Simon Purnell(Presenter) Simon Purnell is the Programme Advisor for ZOA Refugee Care, based in Thailand and represents ZOA Refugee Care (international) on the working group for the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) working on the update and promotion of the INEE Minimum Standards. Purnell is a social anthropologist whose studies have focused on identity, globalisation and South-East Asia. Additional studies have included educational & developmental psychology, the sociology of education, language tuition and social research. He has worked in the areas of refugee education, rural community development and education research / evaluation on the Thai-Burmese border for around nine years with community-based and international non-governmental organisations. In addition, he has also worked as a teacher at refugee Upper and Post-Secondary programmes.
George Richardson(Presenter) George Richardson is an Associate Dean in Secondary Education at the University of Alberta. Interests include the role of education in citizenship education and national identity formation in plural states, multicultural education, international education, postcolonial theory, psychoanalysis as it applies to education, action research, and teacher identity formation. He brings to the workshop many years of experience in secondary school curriculum design within a multicultural framework and his experience with the University of Alberta’s project in the Buduburam Refugee Camp, Ghana
Noora Sharrab(Discussant)

Noora Sharrab is a Palestinian- Canadian who has successfully completed her MA at York University at the Department of Political Science, the title of her Research was, “Intergenerational Differences of Identity of Palestinian Refugees in Palestinian Refugee Camps in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan: Questioning the Palestinian “Other” and the Romantic Nostalgia of a Palestine.  She is concurrently completing her Graduate Diploma Programme in Refugee and Migration Studies at the CRS. Her research is focused Palestinian Refugee Camps in Jordan, whereby, she recently conducted her field research in both 1948, and 1967 refugee camps. She was also actively engaged with Sudanese refugees in Egypt, where she taught them English through a collaborated Student Action Program through the American University in Cairo. Furthermore, she has been actively engaged with Palestinian Solidarity groups across borders, while simultaneously involved in Peace Research. Sharrab is currently engaged in a scholarship project for women in education with a particular focus towards non-citizens / non-status women in the Middle East.
Jacqueline Strecker(Presenter/Workshop Coordinator)

Jacqueline Strecker is a Research Intern at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), with the Peace, Conflict and Development Program. Strecker was a SSHRC funded M.A. student in the Communication and Culture Program at York and Ryerson University. In 2009, she was the Student Refugee Program Coordinator, World University Service of Canada (WUSC) Committee at Ryerson University. Strecker, along with three other graduate students, founded the Ryerson WUSC Committee, and initiated the annual sponsorship of a student refugee. In 2008, Strecker traveled to the Kakuma Refugee Camp, as a participant with the WUSC’s Refugee Study Seminar. During this time she served as an intern with FilmAid International and delivered pre-departure orientation sessions for Windle Trust Kenya. Strecker also conducted her M.A. field research was also conducted in the Kakuma Refugee Camp where she developed a participatory photography project within the local refugee community.
Alice Wamundiya(Presenter)

Alice Wamundiya is the Vice-Chairperson of Unity for Tertiary Refugee Students (UTRS). Wamundiya is from Rwanda and holds a BA in Psychology, Language and Communication and an Honours degree in Development Studies from the University of the Western Cape in South Africa, her country of asylum. In 2010 she has started a Masters in the same field after being awarded a bursary from the Mandela Rhodes Foundation for African scholars.
Laura-Ashley Wright(Presenter)

Laura-Ashley Wright is a current graduate student at the University of Oxford, UK. Completing an MSc in Comparative and International Education, she focusses on educational attainment in protracted refugee situations, specifically on the current refugee crises in Dadaab and Kakuma camps, Kenya. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Global Resource Systems from the University of British Columbia, and worked there as an International Student Recruiter-Advisor for approximately three years. In 2009, she travelled to Kenya through the Refugee Education Initiative (for which she is Co-Founder), to complete educational research and assist with a pre-departure orientation for refugees selected for the World University Service of Canada’s Student Refugee Program (WUSC SRP).
Barbara Zeus(Presenter)

Barbara Zeus is an MA Graduate in Education and International Development from the Institute of Education in London where she currently works as Junior Analyst with a private company serving the UK education sector. Her research focuses on higher education in protracted refugee situations, educational opportunities for refugee youth and issues surrounding refugeehood and ethnic identity. She has worked on a voluntary basis with Burmese refugees in Thailand between 2004 and 2008 and has closely followed individual stories of refugees resettled to Australia, Canada, the UK and the USA. Interning with the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) Adolescent and Youth Task Team since August 2009, she is working with the Task Team to strengthen the evidence base to be able to effectively articulate and advocate for successful and high quality educational programming for crisis-affected youth worldwide (

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