6th International Strangers in New Homelands Migration Conference
held at University of Manitoba
The 6th edition of the Annual International Conference on Migration, Refugee Movements, Settlement and Integration Challenges, dubbed Strangers in News Homelands, was held at the University of Manitoba on October 17th and 18th, 2013.
The main Theme of the Conference was: Pathways and Roadblocks to Settlement and Citizenship in New Homelands: Exploring Critical Issues on Migration, Integration and Adaptation of New Comers in Host Societies.
Hosted by the Faculty of Social Work and Chaired by Dr. Michael Baffoe, the Conference brought together researchers, academics, graduate students, NGOs, government representatives, policy makers and other stakeholders from around the world to promote exchanges and discussion on aspects of the integration and settlement processes of new immigrants and refugees in the diaspora. The conference featured keynote and plenary speeches from policy makers, workshops and presentations from researchers, front-line settlement and integration workers in the field.
In attendance was the Hon. Christine Melnick, Minister of Immigration and Multiculturalism, Province of Manitoba who extolled the innovative immigration and settlement policies of the Manitoba government in attracting resettling new comers into the Province.
The KeyNote Speaker for this year’s Conference was Prof. Peter Li, a renowned expert on immigration and a Professor of Sociology at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon. He spoke on Migration in the Age of Globalization: Social Construction of “Immigrants”. Prof. Li took a look at how economic globalization has changed the nature and volume of world migration.
Other Speakers included Dr. Carlos Parra, a Professor of Spanish and Literature, and Chair of the Modern Languages Department at Southern Adventist University (SAU) in Collegedale, TN, USA. Speaking under the Theme: Biopolitics and the Hispanic/Latino Non-authorized Immigrant Subject, the role of Non-Validity” Status, Dr. Carlos Parras examined how Official-sponsored criminalization and dehumanization of newcomers serve as background to anti-immigrant policies and public attitudes towards newcomers in host societies.
The Luncheon Presentation on the opening day of the conference was delivered by Dr. Emőke Szathmary, President Emeritus, University of Manitoba. Speaking on the topic, What are you - Hungarian or Canadian? Constructing identity and the notion of home, Dr. Emőke Szathmary discussed the challenges involved in identify formation of immigrant youth when immigrant parents are themselves divided on the reasons for their arrival in a new country.
The second day Plenary Presentation was delivered by Mr. Tom Denton, Executive Director, Administration and Sponsorships, Hospitality House Refugee Ministry, Winnipeg. His emotional powerful presentation was under the topic, Straining the Quality of Mercy: dilemmas in contemporary approaches to refugee movements. Mr. Denton took a critical look at the state of the world’s refugee population and the difficulty in getting many of them resettled in new societies.
There were thirty-four presentations from various presenters who came from various institutions and agencies in Canada, the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa. The next edition of the Conference will be held at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg on October 16th and 17th, 2014.