2016 Refugee Advocacy Week in partnership with Osgoode’s International Legal Partnership (ILP)

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Refugees welcome here

Refugee Advocacy Week (Feb 29-March 6 2016) at York University is co-organized by York’s Syria Response and Refugee Initiative and Osgoode Hall’s International Legal Partnership (ILP) . It also features the participation of York’s local World University Service of Canada (WUSC) committees, the Middle Eastern Law Students’ Association (MELSA) and York’s Music and Friends Syrian Refugee Sponsorship Team. This week of joint activities is meant to highlight, support and offer ways for the Osgoode and wider York University community to get involved in refugee advocacy and support.

Day 1: Monday, February 29- Refugee Advocacy Training

Day 2: Tuesday, March 1- Film Screening and Discussion

Day 3: Wednesday, March 2- 1) Refugee Advocacy, Education and Engagement Fair & 2) World University Service of Canada Refugee Sponsorship Panel Discussion

Day 4: Saturday, March 5- A Night of Music & Dance of Iran- Syrian Refugee Sponsorship Fundraiser

Refugee Advocacy week will begin with advocacy training, an exceptional educational opportunity offered by the Canadian Council for Refugees and Amnesty International Canada as part of their Refugees Welcome Here! campaign. While open to the wider community, it will have a student focus and is open to students throughout the Greater Toronto Area.

Tuesday’s events will feature a film screening and panel discussion, final details to be confirmed.

Wednesday will feature a panel highlighting the important, longstanding and growing work of York’s World University Service of Canada Committees, who will be sponsoring five refugee students per year beginning in Fall, 2016. They are actively seeking new members to join in refugee support. It will also include an information fair in Vari Hall on how the York community can get involved in refugee advocacy, education and support.

On Saturday York’s Music and Friends Refugee Sponsorship Team is hosting a fundraising concert to raise funds to sponsor a Syrian refugee family to come to Canada.

This is both a stand-alone week of activities and a mobilizing opportunity in advance of Refugee Rights Day (April 4th) in Canada and World Refugee Day (June 20th). Please come out and join us, and invite your friends, students and colleagues! Please follow the latest updates on the week’s facebook page.

The International Legal Partnership (“ILP”) is a student-directed, non-profit, nonpartisan, organization at Osgoode Hall Law School whose mission is to provide public interest legal research and assistance for the Global South. This year its campus initiative addresses the global refugee crisis. York’s Syria Response and Refugee Initiative, housed at York’s Centre for Refugee Studies and supported by Osgoode Hall Law School is leading York’s efforts to sponsor Syrian refugees, raise awareness and promote education and University-wide collaboration on refugee issues.

Day 1: Monday, February 29

 Refugees Welcome Here! Canadian Council for Refugees/Amnesty International Refugee Advocacy Training, 12:30-3:30pm,

 Location and time: 12:30-3:30pm, Moot Court, Osgoode Hall Law School, (Ignatt Kaneff Building), York University Keele Campus

Please RSVP to this event.

It will be immediately followed by a reception nearby.

Following a brief introduction to the week and York’s Syria Response and Refugee Initiative, this event will feature an intensive session of refugee advocacy education and training.

Refugee protection in Canada is enjoying a renaissance, with the generous response of people across the country to the dire situation of Syrian refugees. The CCR/Amnesty International Canada Refugees Welcome Here! campaign seeks to build on this compassion and energy to ensure that Canada 1) creates sustainable systems and an ongoing commitment to refugee resettlement, 2) ensures fairness for refugees who claim protection when they arrive in Canada and 3) gives refugees a warm welcome and the best possible opportunity to make Canada a happy home for themselves and their families, by making sure Canadians are well informed about refugees, their needs and rights, and work together with refugees to ensure that respect for refugee rights is an integral part of Canadian policy.

The “Refugees Welcome Here!” training will be delivered by Christina Harrison Baird (Osgoode ’96), a lawyer specializing in international human rights and migration. Christina has worked to protect refugees as a part of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on three continents: Asia, Africa and North America. From 2003-2007, she was the Canadian focal point for the UNHCR¹s work on human trafficking, and was the Coordinator for the Anti-trafficking Project of the Canadian Council for Refugees from 2010-2011. She has taught International Refugee Law, Public International Law and Human Rights at Carleton University. Christina is coordinating the Canada-wide refugee awareness campaign of Amnesty International, internationale and the Canadian Council for Refugees.

Topics the training is intended to cover 1) an Introduction to Refugee Rights in Canada, 2) Advocacy for Refugee Rights and 3) Calls for Action, particularly revolving around Refugee Rights Day in Canada (April 4 2016).

If you wish to be involved in York’s participation in Refugee Rights Day organizing please write to refugees@yorku.ca .


Canadian Council for Refugees

Amnesty International Canada Information Page on the Syria Refugee Crisis

Day 2: Tuesday, March 1 2016

TUESDAY MARCH 1ST : 2:30 – 5:00 Helliwell Center/ADR Room , Osgoode Hall Law School

Osgoode’s International Legal Partnership (ILP) and Middle Eastern Law Students Association (MELSA) will be holding a panel discussion and screening two short documentaries: A requiem for Syrian Refugees & We Walk Together: A Syrian refugee family’s journey to the heart of Europe.

Light movie snacks will be served.

Day 3: Wednesday, March 2 2016- 2 events

1) Refugee Advocacy, Education and Engagement Fair– Vari Hall, 10am-4pm (attend the WUSC seminar from 12:30-2:00!)

If you would like to have a space at the Refugee Advocacy, Education and Engagement Fair please contact ILP’s Saquiba Rahman at saquiba.rahman@gmail.com

2) March 2 CRS Seminar: World University Service of Canada (WUSC)- Working within refugee studies, advocacy and support (12:30-2:00pm)
March 2, 2016 @ 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM, 280N York Lanes, YorkU Keele Campus

York is increasing its number of WUSC sponsored refugee students from 1-2 to 5 per year- learn about these crucial refugee-supporting University committees’ work and how you can get involved!


Heather Dirckze, WUSC CO-Chair, Keele Committee
Heather Donald, WUSC Alumna, Refugee Sponsorship Training Program (RSTP)
Adol Mawien, WUSC Student
Emily Leahy, Glendon WUSC Committee
Chair: Don Dippo, Professor, Faculty of Education

Inspiring recent Y-File story on WUSC on York’s campuses

The WUSC Refugee Sponsorship Program explained

York’s WUSC Sponsorship increase explained

WUSC-Keele Campus Facebook Page

WUSC-Glendon Campus Facebook Page

Day 4:  Saturday, March 5, 2016

A Night of Music & Dance of Iran
(Fundraising Concert for Syrian Refugees- organized by the York Music and Friends Syrian Refugee Sponsorship Team)

Buy tickets online (only 60 seats!) and learn more about the event.

180 Shaw Street, Studio 101
Toronto ON M6J 2W5
Date & Time: 5 March 2016, 8:00 pm

Confirmed performers in trio & quartet:
Alinima Madani, tombak
Amin Reyhani, santur
Amir Samimi, percussion
Arash Javadi, oud
Bamdad Fotouhi, daf & tombak
Farshid Meshkinfam, vocal
Mehdi Rezania, santur
Raman, Miteran, vocal
Shahrokh Saeedi, tar
Mahsa, dance
Nouchin Davar, dance

Event contact: Sherry Johnson, Team Lead, York Music and Friends Syrian Refugee Sponsorship Team, sherryj@yorku.ca

You may donate to the Music and Friends Sponsorship Team

International Legal Partnership@Osgoode