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Case Study: Migrant Rights and The Syrian Crisis

Date: 20th of November, Monday 2017

Time: 5 PM to 7 PM


A crisis which has engulfed the region, and indeed the world, into an extremely complicated situation, the Syrian crisis has resulted in a mass exodus of the local population. Over 13.5 million people are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance, with the number of people killed and displaced increasing every day to over 11 million. What does the future hold for the region? What is the ultimate solution? We invite domestic and international students to discuss this issue further.


Panelists' biographies:

Ziva Gorani is a Kurdish Syrian pansexual trans woman. Ziva left Syria in September 2014 and moved to Canada via Turkey in October 2016 Turkey. Ziva has a Bachelor Degree in Artificial Intelligence at Informatics Engineering Department. Sha has almost five years of experience working in the humanitarian and civil society sectors in Syria and Turkey with NGOs like Global Community. During her stay in Turkey, Ziva developed an activist voice when she began speaking about her experience as a queer trans woman displaced by war and religious intolerance. Ziva now works in the Region of Peel to increase visibility and inclusion of LGBTQ+ communities through community development and interventions to improve wellbeing. Ziva is now working on her applications to apply for Social Work Departments where she could continue her work to assist the Syrian community in general specially the LGBTQ+ Syrian communities.


Ian Costa is a third-year PhD student in Near and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Toronto. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and received a Master’s from UofT in 2015. Ian works on the politics of contemporary cultural and music production and performance in the Arabian Peninsula, where spent many formative years. He is also interested in the history of ideas in Europe and the Middle East. Ian currently serves as vice-president of NMC-CESI, a student led education group at which fosters community through language exchange between newcomers learning English and students interested in learning Arabic.

Craig Damian Smith is the Associate Director of the Global Migration Lab at the Munk School. He earned his PhD from the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. His research focuses on migration, displacement, European foreign policy, and refugee integration. His doctoral thesis “Malignant Europeanization: Schengen, Irregular Migration Governance, and Insecurity on Europe’s Peripheries” examines the effects of European migration governance on transit states. He has conducted several years of fieldwork throughout the Middle East, North Africa, Western Balkans, and Europe. His current SSHRC-funded research looks at the effects of social networks on refugee integration. In addition to his scholarly work, he has provided media commentary on migration and refugee issues to outlets including the BBC, CBC, and NBC.