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Meet the Team

Partnership Directorate

Philomina Okeke-Ihejirika

PRAN Director Professor, Women’s & Gender Studies, and Director, Pan African Collaboration for Excellence, University of Alberta, Edmonton
pokeke@ualberta.ca

Dr. Philomina Okeke-Ihejirika is a Full Professor in Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Alberta. She is also Director of the $2.5 million SSHRC-funded Partnership on Research with African Newcomers and the Pan African Collaboration for Excellence (PACE), and the co-lead, Central Region, for the federal government’s $5 million Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub BEKH). With broad interests in transnational, post-colonial, and intersectional feminist theories, and community-based participatory methodologies, she investigates gender and international migration, and gender and development in Africa. Dr. Okeke-Ihejirika is a Killam scholar, Carnegie fellow, among many other awards. She is a founding member of the College of Mentors for African Universities, and a collaborating researcher with the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development. Find her on LinkedIn, Google Scholar, or her website.

Heidi Hoernig, PhD

PRAN Senior Research Manager
pranrpm@ualberta.ca

Dr. Heidi has 25 years of experience in research, research development, grant writing and facilitation, and project management across social science and health fields, including immigration. She holds a PhD and MA in Urban Planning from the University of Waterloo, and undergraduate degrees in Geography and Anthropology from the University of Calgary. Find her on LinkedIn

Advisory Committee of Experts (ACE)

Debbie Douglas

Director
Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI)
ddouglas@ocasi.org

Ms. Douglas is interested in the issues of equity and inclusion, race, gender, and sexuality within the immigration system, while creating welcoming space in the settlement and integration sector. She is a management consultant who has worked both with non-governmental organizations and public institutions on organizational development and change. She co-founded Zami, a political and support group for LGBTI Black and Caribbean people in the early 1980’s. She currently works as the co-editor of Maka Juks: Writings by Queers of African Descent. Her interest in migration and gender has led to her co-production of Canada’s first docu-drama on women and AIDS, AnOther Love Story. She also produced and co-wrote Tama Ba, Tama Na: Enough is Enough, a film on immigrant women and intimate partner violence. Find her on X @ocasi_policy. LinkedIn.

Norma Schneider

Vice-President, Academic
Norquest College, Edmonton
norma.schneider@norquest.ca

Norma joined NorQuest College in 2004 as the Dean of Academics for Careers and Employment and transitioned to the Dean of Business and Community Studies in 2005. She became NorQuest’s Vice President, Academic in 2011.

Norma is passionate about learning and believes the power of learning transforms lives. In her time at NorQuest, she has been successful in significantly increasing student satisfaction and employee engagement, growing the number and breadth of programs available for learners, quality improvement, and promoting staff and faculty development.

Norma is involved in additional leadership and volunteer roles in the community including organizations and initiatives dedicated to ending poverty such as Homeless Connect or those that promote both formal and informal learning such as the City of Learners.

Norma graduated from University of Alberta with a Masters of Education in Adult Education and a Doctorate in Business Administration from Athabasca University.

Valerie Preston

Professor
York University
vpreston@yorku.ca

Professor Valerie Preston is Professor Emerita of Geography in the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, York University. She has published extensively on issues related to migration and settlement in Canada. She is Principal Investigator of the SSHRC-funded partnership on Building Migrant Resilience in Cities. She has worked as the Director of Institute for Social Research (ISR) and Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Settlement (CERIS). Additionally, she served as the Co-Chair of the CERIS Management Board. She has been a co-applicant for several major research partnerships, and consultant, collaborator and advisor with not-for-profit organizations and government; all of the experiences have collectively provided her with the expertise to lead the partnership’s objectives of developing a robust body of evidence for policy development and program innovations that improve migrant resilience. Find her on Google Scholar.

Kimberly Jean Pharuns

La Fédération des Communautés Francophones et Acadienne (FCFA)
immigration@fcfa.ca

Ms. Kimberly Jean Pharuns is the Director of Francophone Immigration, with the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne (FCFA) du Canada, a leading spokesperson for la francophonie. Kimberly was born in Les Cayes, Haiti. She immigrated to Canada at the age of eleven and made her mark in the Franco-Ontarian community. Kimberly is passionate about community involvement, and began her career at FESFO, where she had the opportunity to work with young Francophones from coast to coast. As a Project Management Institute accredited project management professional, she is dedicated to helping non-profit organizations build their capacity. She also holds an MBA from the Australian Institute of Business. Her experience in international education has enabled her to develop partnerships with institutions in several countries, including Vietnam, Germany, Mexico and Brazil, as well as collaborating with numerous CEGEPs, colleges, universities and school boards. Kimberly is enthusiastic about contributing to the Francophone immigration file. 

Find her on X @projectlvt and LinkedIn.

Madlen Christianson

Manager, Office of EDI
NAIT
madlenc@nait.ca

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Paul Yachnin

Professor; Director of the TRaCE program
McGill University

paul.yachnin@mcgill.ca

Paul Yachnin, Tomlinson Professor of Shakespeare Studies at McGill University in Montreal, has published widely on early modern literature and culture. He was Director of the project, Early Modern Conversions (2013-2019). Before that, he directed the Making Publics project (2005-2010). His ideas about the social life of art were featured on the CBC Radio IDEAS series, “The Origins of the Modern Public.” Among his publications are the books, Stage-Wrights and The Culture of Playgoing in Early Modern England (with Anthony Dawson), editions of Richard II and The Tempest, and co-edited books such as Making Publics in Early Modern Europe and the forthcoming Conversion Machines: Apparatus, Artifice, Body. With Bronwen Wilson (Art History, UCLA), he is co-editor of a multi-year, multi-volume series from Edinburgh University Press — Conversions: Religions, Cultures, and Transformations in Early Modern Europe and its Worlds. He publishes non-academic essays about Shakespeare and modern life, including titles such as “Alzheimer’s Disease: What would Shakespeare Do?” and “Tragedy as a Way of Life.” For the past ten years, he has been working on higher education practice and policy. He was lead author of the White Paper on the Future of the PhD in the Humanities. He recently wrapped up TRaCE McGill, which tracked the career pathways of more than 4,500 PhD grads from across all the faculties at McGill and told the stories of more than 100 of them. He is presently director of the TRaCE Transborder project– https://www.mcgill.ca/trace/

Alphonse Ahola

Executive Director (FRAP)
Francophonie Albertaine Plurielle
alphonse.a@frap.ca

Alphonse’s community involvement led him to assume the responsibilities of Chairman of the Board of Directors of FRAP, the settlement agency for Francophone newcomers to Alberta based in Edmonton and President of the Francophone Immigration Network of Alberta (RIFA). Alphonse has worked as vice-president of the Graduate Students Association (GSA), assistant instructor and seasonal teacher at the Faculté saint jean and research assistant at the University of Alberta. Alphonse is a member of the National Francophone Settlement Advisory Committee (CCNEF) and Head of Francophone Issues for the Immigration and Settlement Working Group of the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR). After a brief career with the Government of Alberta as a Field Services Analyst for the Ministry of Education, Alphonse returned to his community involvement as Executive Director of FRAP.

Samuel Juru

Executive Director (AC)
Africa Centre

samuel.juru@africacentre.ca

Mr. Samuel Juru is an active member of the African community. Using his wide range of knowledge in the public sector, he has led a variety of community initiatives in different parts of Canada. His career has also led him to different African countries working with Global Affairs Canada and other international development organizations.  Samuel joined the Africa Centre from the City of Edmonton, where he worked as the City’s Lead for Immigration and Settlement. Samuel is an experienced strategic planner with a demonstrated history of utilizing social innovation and project management skills to solve complex socio-economic problems in government and in the nonprofit sector. Find him on LinkedIn.

ChuDou Lynhiavu

Director, Research and Evaluation
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Toronto
ChuDou.Lynhiavu@cic.gc.ca

Dr. ChuDou Lynhiavu is a Senior Research and Evaluation Analyst with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Ottawa. He possesses a PhD in Diplomatic History from Carleton University in Ottawa.

City Leads

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Research Team Members

Sophie Yohani

Professor and registered psychologist, Educational Psychology, University of Alberta, Edmonton
sophie.yohani@ualberta.ca

Dr. Sophie Yohani is a psychologist and professor of Counselling Psychology at the University of Alberta. Her research focus includes critical multicultural issues in counselling psychology, participatory research methods, innovations in community-based mental health practice, and the intersections of migration and mental health. She was the co-director of the Division of Clinical Services at the University of Alberta, and has served as an expert consultant for non-profit and public sectors. Dr. Yohani is originally from Tanzania and held an adjunct visiting professorship at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) in Tanzania. Dr. Yohani is the recipient of the University of Alberta’s Killam Annual Professorship (2021) and Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers (EMCN)’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2016), recognizing the achievement and contributions of an immigrant in education and health in Alberta. Visit her website for more details.

Michael Frishkopf

Professor of Music, University of Alberta Director, Canadian Centre for Ethnomusicology
michaelf@ualberta.ca

Michael Frishkopf, PhD (frishkopf.org) is Professor of Music at the University of Alberta, and Director of the Canadian Centre for Ethnomusicology. His research centers on fieldwork and applied projects in Africa (Egypt, Ghana, Liberia, Ethiopia), and includes Music and Islam, Music and Immigration, Music and Development (m4ghd.org), Music and Global Health, Music and Architecture, Music and Soundscape Therapies, Digital Repositories, Virtual Reality, AI & Machine Learning, and Social Network Analysis. He is also a performer and composer (Third Stream, Jazz, Middle Eastern, West African styles).

Michael Frishkopf, PhD (frishkopf.org) is Professor of Music at the University of Alberta, and Director of the Canadian Centre for Ethnomusicology. His research centers on fieldwork and applied projects in Africa (Egypt, Ghana, Liberia, Ethiopia), and includes Music and Islam, Music and Immigration, Music and Development (m4ghd.org), Music and Global Health, Music and Architecture, Music and Soundscape Therapies, Digital Repositories, Virtual Reality, AI & Machine Learning, and Social Network Analysis. He is also a performer and composer (Third Stream, Jazz, Middle Eastern, West African styles).

Farida Fozdar

Professor, Sociology, University of Western Australia (UWA), Deputy Head of Social Sciences (Research), Chair of the UWA Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Working Group
farida.fozdar@curtin.edu.au

Farida Fozdar is Professor of Sociology and Global Futures at Curtin University, Western Australia. She has published over 150 papers and book chapters, and headed significant research grants focusing on cultural diversity and social inclusion. She has extensive experience using mixed methods, in research on migration and mobilities, race and ethnicity, refugee settlement, racism, nationalism and cosmopolitanism. Much of her work is undertaken with Africans in Australia, particularly focused on the labour market, settlement services, mental health, and racism, plus recent projects on African-Australian young people’s identities, and an Australian Research Council funded project on African-Australians’ political and economic agency.

Alicia Boatswain-Kyte

Social Work, McGill University
alicia.kyte@mcgill.ca

Dr. Alicia Boatswain-Kyte is an Assistant Professor at the McGill School of Social Work. Her research addresses anti-Black racism across sectors of education, health, and justice. Her doctoral research provided the first Quebec study to longitudinally describe the disparate service trajectory of Black children reported to the child welfare system. Findings from this research were presented during the Quebec Special Commission on the Rights of the Child and Youth Protection, for the purpose of demonstrating the need for more tailored responses for Black children and their families. More recently, Dr. Boatswain-Kyte has engaged in a number of emancipatory action-research projects seeking the development of Black community accountability. In 2021, she was awarded two tri-council grants to address the anti-Black racism experienced by Black youth.  These research projects use afro-emancipatory action research methods that centre the lived experience and expertise of Black community actors and organizations in the development of innovative solutions to improve the health and social conditions of Black youth in Quebec.

Thashika Pillay

Assistant Professor, Education, Queen’s University
thashika.pillay@queensu.ca

Dr. Thashika Pillay is Assistant Professor in Education Policy in the Faculty of Education, Queen’s University. Thashika completed her PhD in Social Justice and International Education in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Alberta. Thashika has extensive research and teaching experience in K-12 and higher education in Canada, Australia, and Ethiopia. Thashika’s research program explores questions of social, cultural, economic, political, and epistemic justice in working towards reimagining education for anti-colonial futures with regards to curriculum and policy in formal and informal educational contexts both in Canada and global South contexts.

Alana Butler

Assistant Professor, Education, Queen’s University
alana.butler@queensu.ca

Dr. Alana Butler is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at Queen’s University. In 2015, she graduated with a Ph.D. in Education from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Her research interests include the academic achievement of low-socio economic students, race and schooling, equity and inclusion, and multicultural education. She is currently Principal Investigator on a 2019 Insight Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for a study on post-secondary access for low-income youth. She is co-investigator on a number of projects funded by SSHRC including a 2021 Partnership Engage Grant on the academic outcomes and well-being of foster children, and a 2021 Partnership Engage Grant on anti-oppressive, anti-racist pedagogy for secondary schools. Her publications engage with theories such as critical race theory, black feminist theory, postcolonial theory, and anti-racism.

Joseph Mensah

Professor, Geography, York University
jmensah@yorku.ca

Joseph Mensah is a Full Professor of Geography at York University in Toronto. He was the Head of Geography at York, from 2016 to 2019. Professor Mensah’s specialties are in Social and Cultural Geography, Migration Studies, and Research Methodology. His current research interests are in the continental African diaspora in Canada, immigrant transnationalism, critical development theory, and dialectics. He has written several books and journal articles. Best known among his publications is Black Canadians: History, Experience, and Social Conditions (Fernwood, 2002 & 2010). His latest book (co-authored with Christopher Williams) is Boomerang Ethics: How Racism Affects Us All. Professor Mensah has received several competitive grants from the likes of SSHRC, the Gates Foundation, the Commonwealth Secretariat, ILO, and IDRC. He was the recipient of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa’s (CODESRIA) Inaugural Diaspora Visiting Professor Fellowship at the University of Ghana in 2016.

Amos Nkrumah

Assistant Professor, Sociology & Anthropology, Mount Royal University
ankrumah@mtroyal.ca

Dr. Joseph Mensah is a Full Professor of Geography at York University in Toronto. He was the Head of Geography at York, from 2016 to 2019. Professor Mensah’s specialties are in social and cultural geography, migration studies, and research methodology. His current research interests are in the continental African diaspora in Canada, immigrant transnationalism, critical development theory, and dialectics. He has written several books and journal articles. Best known among his publications is Black Canadians: History, Experience, and Social Conditions (Fernwood, 2002 & 2010). His latest book (co-authored with Christopher Williams) is Boomerang Ethics: How Racism Affects Us All. Professor Mensah has received several competitive grants from the likes of SSHRC, the Gates Foundation, the Commonwealth Secretariat, ILO, and IDRC. He was the recipient of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa’s (CODESRIA) Inaugural Diaspora Visiting Professor Fellowship at the University of Ghana in 2016.Find him on LinkedIn at Joseph Mensah.

Jonathan Amoyaw

Assistant Professor, Sociology, Dalhousie University
jonathan.amoyaw@dal.ca

Dr. Jonathan Amoyaw is an Assistant Professor at Dalhousie University, who has research interests in immigration, health, and social inequality. A key aspect of his research focuses on the well-being and integration of immigrants. His research highlights the demographic profile and economic outcomes of immigrants; their settlement patterns; and their vulnerability and resilience to post-migration challenges that can undermine their health and quality of life. Insights from his research have resulted in publications and evidence-based reports, which have been shared with multi-stakeholder agencies to inform policy discussions and support service delivery for immigrants.

Elaine Coburn

Assistant Professor, Sociology, York University Director, York’s Centre for Feminist Research
ecoburn@yorku.ca, ecoburn@glendon.yorku.ca

Elaine Coburn is the Director of the Centre for Feminist Research  and Associate Professor, International Studies at York University. Her scholarship is concerned with unjust inequalities and what we can do to challenge them. She has written about the International Monetary Fund, intellectual histories of Indigenous feminisms, and feminist approaches to challenging anti-Black racisms, among other concerns. She co-edits the interdisciplinary Journal of Canadian Studies with Professor Andrea Davis and she is on the editorial board of the Canadian Review of Sociology. In addition to her scholarly writing, Professor Coburn is a contributor to Canadian Notes and Queries, Herizons and the Literary Review of Canada.

Gertrude Mianda

Professor, Sociology, School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, York University Director, Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on Africa and its Diasporas.
mianda@yorku.ca

Gertrude Mianda holds a PhD in Sociology in Gender and Development from Université Laval in Québec City.  She is a Director of the Tubman Institute for Research on Africa and its Diasporas at York University.  She is a Full Professor in the Gender and Women’s Studies program at Glendon Campus and in the School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, York University. She was the Chair of the School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at York University (2011-2015). Professor Mianda is a feminist, and Africanist with research interests in gender and development, globalization, post-colonialism, decolonialism with focus on Africa.  Her most current research on Gender Based Violence in the DRC funded by SSHRC examines the experiences of women survivors of war rape. Her research focuses as well as on immigration primarily on francophone Africans in the minority francophone community in Canada (Toronto and Ottawa) particularly their economic and social integration. 

Amal Madibbo

Associate Professor, Sociology, University of Calgary
a.madibbo@utoronto.ca

Dr. Amal Madibbo is an associate professor in the Department of Social Justice Education at OISE, University of Toronto. Her research focuses on migration and settlement, Black Studies and the Francophonie. She is the author of many publications including her newest book Blackness and la Francophonie: Anti-Black Racism, Linguicism and the Negotiation of Multiple Minority Identities (2021), and recipient of prestigious awards including The Canadian Sociological Association John Porter Tradition of Excellence Book Award – Honourable Mention (2022). 

Andrea MacLeod

Professor, Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta
aamacleo@ualberta.ca

Dr. MacLeod is a Full Professor, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta. Her research has focused on the speech and language abilities of bilingual children and adults. She works with local stakeholders to better understand the language development of immigrant children in inner city schools, to support early language development of refugee children, and to train clinicians and educators in providing support for these children. She held a Canadian Research Chair in Bilingual Acquisition and Communication Disorders and has received major grants as a principal investigator from organizations such as SSHRC, NSERC, CIHR and the US National Science Foundation to study speech and language development in bilingual children. She is also an active co-investigator on several pan-Canadian grants. She can be found on X @AAN_MacLeod and LinkedIn.

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Other Team Members

Nabiha Atallah

Advisor, Strategic Initiatives, Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia
natallah@isans.ca

Nabiha Atallah has over 25 years’ experience in leadership roles at Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS), a large multi-service immigrant settlement agency in Atlantic Canada. Currently, as Advisor on Strategic Initiatives, she leads ISANS’ research strategy and advises on policy development, sector best practices, institutional knowledge integration and government relations strategy.  She previously held the roles of Manager of Business Development Services and Manager of Communications and Research. 

Nabiha was born in Egypt and immigrated to Canada with her family when she was seven. Prior to moving to Nova Scotia, she taught and developed English as an Additional Language programs for ten years in Vancouver and Winnipeg, as well as in Cairo. 

Yvonne Chiu

Executive Director, Multicultural Health Brokers Co-op
yswchiu@gmail.com

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Rustum Southwell

CEO, Black Business Initiative
southwell.rustum@bbi.ns.ca

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Tiffany Callender

CEO, Federation of African Canadian Economics
tiffany@facecoalition.com

Executive leader in the non-profit sector, Tiffany Callender has spent her 18 year career successfully developing and implementing programs to support Black Canadians. In addition to being the youngest female Executive Director of one of the oldest Black organizations in Quebec, Tiffany is the co-founder and inaugural CEO of the Federation of African Canadian Economics (FACE) that administers the government of Canada’s $160 million Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund. She was recognized in 2020 by MIPAD as one of the 100 most influential people of African-descent under 40, in 2022 she was named one of Canada’s top 100 Most Influential Black Canadians by Afroglobal TV  and she is the first Black woman from Quebec to receive RBC’s Women of Influence ‘Ones to watch’ Award.

Lori Campbell

Principal of the Colbourne Institute for Inclusive Leadership
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Lisa Rochman

Associate Dean, Immigrant Education, at NorQuest College
lisa.rochman@norquest.ca

Lisa Rochman is the Vice Dean in the Faculty of Skills and Foundational Learning at NorQuest College. She holds a PhD in Linguistics and has additional training in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Essential Skills and immigration matters. Lisa’s portfolio focuses on programs, projects and research for foundational learners and post-secondary learners with an emphasis on language and settlement for newcomers and those who work in organizations that support them. Lisa is active in the settlement community at local and national levels and works towards increasing access to education and student success.

Ayodele Adejumobi

Redeemed Christian Church of God Rhema Chapel – (RCCG)
pastorayo@rhemachapel.ca

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Yaqub Omar

Islamic Family and Social Services
omary@islamicfamily.ca

Omar Yaqub DSL MBA BSc (@somaryaqub Twitter, LinkedIn), serves the team at IslamicFamily, a social change organization that is disrupting systemic inequity through research & beauty. He is the Historian Co-Laureate for the City of Edmonton. He has two decades of experience in the for-benefit sector. During his time with IslamicFamily the organization has become a multi-award winning Imagine Canada & Great Places to Work accredited charity. Omar has been awarded a Doctor of Sacred Letters from St Stephen’s College, EMCN’s RISE award for Community Leadership, and the University of Alberta’s Co-op Mentorship Award. He is a settler on Treaty 6.

Amit Brahme

Senior Director, Newcomer & Cultural Client Segment, Royal Bank of Canada
amit.brahme@rbc.com

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Alicia Boatswain-Kyte

Social Work, McGill University
alicia.kyte@mcgill.ca

Dr. Alicia Boatswain-Kyte is an Assistant Professor at the McGill School of Social Work. Her research addresses anti-Black racism across sectors of education, health, and justice. Her doctoral research provided the first Quebec study to longitudinally describe the disparate service trajectory of Black children reported to the child welfare system. Findings from this research were presented during the Quebec Special Commission on the Rights of the Child and Youth Protection, for the purpose of demonstrating the need for more tailored responses for Black children and their families. More recently, Dr. Boatswain-Kyte has engaged in a number of emancipatory action-research projects seeking the development of Black community accountability. In 2021, she was awarded two tri-council grants to address the anti-Black racism experienced by Black youth.  These research projects use afro-emancipatory action research methods that centre the lived experience and expertise of Black community actors and organizations in the development of innovative solutions to improve the health and social conditions of Black youth in Quebec.

Julie Desrochers

Director, Global Education and Partnerships, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, Edmonton
julied@nait.ca

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Director, Africa Centre, Edmonton
NAME@africacentre.ca

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