WHO ARE WE?
CMIC began as a response to the war in Syria and consequent jeopardization of postsecondary education for millions of refugees and internally displaced persons. In 2014, the President of the University of Ottawa, Allan Rock, brought together researchers from the university to identify and develop a distance-learning program for Syrian refugees. CMIC then grew into a transnational project across five continents that aims to not only support access to postsecondary education for Lebanese host communities and Syrian, Palestinian and other refugees but also to support community mobilization on a much broader scale.
Many of CMIC’s team members have lived through crisis and have been mobilizers in their own communities. Our greatest contributors continue to be youth working as researchers and mobilizers of all ages whose time, knowledge, and energy drives our work.
CMIC is a member of the Connected Learning in Crisis Consortium, co-founded by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to promote and support the provision of quality higher education in crisis contexts.
Nadia Abu-Zahra holds the Joint Chair in Women’s Studies at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University, and works with students, staff and faculty as well as local and transnational organizations toward transforming the structures and contexts of learning. Previously based at the University of Oxford’s Refugee Studies Centre, Nadia is a member of the University of Ottawa’s Human Rights Research and Education Centre, Centre for Research on Educational and Community Services, and Centre for International Policy Studies, and served on the Board and Reconciliation Committee of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.
Emily Regan Wills
Emily Regan Wills is an associate professor of comparative politics at the University of Ottawa. Her current research focuses on the effects of transnational linkages between Middle East and North America on everyday politics in the Arab world, with a particular focus on Palestinian transnationalisms. She is a teacher of research methods, social movements, and social change, and integrates a decolonial approach to political science throughout her teaching. Beyond CMIC, she is active in the Women’s Caucus of the Canadian Political Science Association, as a board member for the journal Studies in Political Economy: A Socialist Review, and in LGBTQ refugee resettlement in Ottawa.
Judy El-Mohtadi is a local organizer, researcher and advocate who works on feminist pedagogy and solidarity that reimagine structures of learning to be more socially just and accessible. She has a special interest in knowledge mobilization, equity organizing and project management. She serves on the Board of the Ontario Public Interest Research Group, and she is the Project Manager with the Community Mobilization in Crisis Project, where she co-creates open educational resources centered around social change. In her spare time, Judy loves to immerse herself in nature; she’s an avid hiker who loves to take her cat Koda on adventures.
Student of the Master’s Degree in International Relations at the University of Montréal (Udem) and of the MBA in Project Management at the University of São Paulo (USP), Isadora Branco has a degree in International Relations from the University of Brasília (UnB). Since the beginning of her training, she works with the sociocultural integration of immigrants, mainly through community mobilization. She was the founder and coordinator of the Coral Solusyon, the founder and coordinator of the Tempo de Plantar Movement’s Structural Committee, and recently served as a Community Mobilization Assistant at a Shelter Center for Venezuelan Refugees in Brasília, Brazil. Isadora was responsible for the evaluation plan of the first CMIC pilot in 2018 and also implemented a version of the Community Mobilization course at the University of Brasília (UnB). As a Research Assistant at CMIC, she is responsible for collecting case studies, conducting interviews and contributing to CMIC’s materials.
Diana El Richani
Diana El Richani is a Beiruti anthropologist based in Toronto. She holds a BA in Sociology and Anthropology, with a double major in Philosophy, from the American University of Beirut, and an MA in Anthropology from the University of Ottawa. Her MA thesis focused on the political imaginaries of the alternative and the ways through which they navigated the complex political terrain during the Beirut municipality elections in 2016. She is currently a PhD student in Anthropology at the University of Toronto. From 2017-2020, she was the project manager for CMIC. Her interests include social movements and community mobilizations in the Middle East, relationships to the state and its apparatuses, and extends to questions on postwar architectures, transitional justice, and ideas of decolonial cultural expressions.
Colleagues and Collaborators
Ruby Dagher is a Replacement Professor at the School of International Development and Global Studies at the University of Ottawa, a researcher, and a consultant. She has a PhD in Public Policy and Administration with research focused on issues related to bias, diversity, and racism, gender equality, conflict, development studies, and evaluation. She previously worked for the Bank of Montreal, TD Bank, and the Canadian International Development Agency, now Global Affairs Canada – Development. Ruby has also consulted for the Caribbean Development Bank, the University of Central Asia, the Canadian Foreign Service Institute, and the Association of Part-time Professors at the University of Ottawa.
Kawkab Alwadeai has a doctorate in Mental health and counseling. She is the founding director of the Canadian non-profit organization, Bridges to Peace and Solidarity (BPS). This organization provides online training to mental health specialists, students of psychology, teachers, and community workers on the ground in Yemen. BPS also runs a telemental health network, enabling mental health services by distance in a context where in-person psychological services are few and far between. Over the past four years, Kawkab brought together an international team of mental health counseling experts, to build open educational resources and develop workshops and training for counselors in crisis contexts, including but not limited to war-torn Yemen.
Ruth G. Kane
Ruth Kane is Director of Graduate Studies (Anglophone) within the Faculty of Education. Her research focuses on the preparation of teachers for urban schools and equity in teaching and teacher education in Canada and internationally. She leads annual international practicums to Uganda through which Canadian teachers engage in teaching within a very different context. Ruth is co-Director of the Réseau de Savoir sur l’Équité | Equity Knowledge Network , an Ontario-wide bilingual Knowledge Network and principal investigator in a five-year SSHRC-funded study, of how school boards, teachers, and students take up citizenship within urban schools that serve youth from indigenous and first-generation refugee and immigrant communities. She is currently co-lead in a 3-year ArcticNet-funded study of sustainable inuit-centered teacher education for Inuit Nunangat, a collaborative project bringing together researchers from five universities (uOttawa, UPEI, Memorial, Winnipeg, Queens) and the four Inuit Nunangat jurisdictions. Ruth has also recently launched a collaborative study of graduate supervision and the well-being of graduate students with colleagues internationally.
El Hadji Yaya Koné
El Hadji Yaya Koné is an assistant professor of online learning and teaching in higher education (Faculty of Education at uOttawa). Dr Koné investigates issues of digital pedagogy across academic disciplines with respect to learning assessment, inclusive education, collaborative learning, cross-border distance education. His research methodology is primarily qualitative and grounded theory oriented. Dr Koné has been a distance education intern at the Télé-université du Québec (Téluq), a lecturer in the Faculty of Education at the University of Montreal, an educational developer at the University of Quebec in Abitibi-Temiscamingue (UQAT) and a professor in the department of education at the same University where he developed and directed the graduate certificate program in pedagogy for higher education.
Anoush Fraser Terjanian
Anoush Fraser Terjanian combines research interests in the connections between democracy, capitalism, and imperialism, with practices of inclusive, equitable, and collaborative management through various roles in university and research administration: most recently as Assistant Vice Dean, Partnerships and Research Networks, Faculty of Social Sciences, Special Adviser to the Vice-President International and Francophonie, and Founding Director of the US Social Science Research Council’s Anxieties of Democracy program. In 2021, she was re-appointed to the Governing Council of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) where she serves on the Executive Committee. Anoush was born on unceded Algonquin Anishnaabeg land of proud Canadian immigrants, has lived and studied in Egypt, the UK, France, Italy, and the US, and continues to enjoy learning English, French, Armenian (and Krapar), Arabic, Russian, Latin, Ancient Greek, Italian, Swahili, and Anishnaabemowin.
Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh is Professor of Migration and Refugee Studies at University College London (UCL) where she is Co-Director of UCL’s Migration Research Unit, and is the Founder and Director of the Institute of Advanced Studies Refuge in a Moving World research network across UCL. Drawing on critical theoretical approaches, her research focuses on local and Southern-led responses to conflict-induced displacement, with a particular focus on the Middle East and the Caribbean (see www.refugeehosts.org and www.southernresponses.org). As part of this research, she is particularly interested in better understanding refugee-led responses to displacement, and the roles that members of local faith communities across the global South play in promoting the rights of people who have been displaced.
Rodrigo Pires de Campos
Rodrigo Pires de Campos is a professor of the Institute of International Relations and of the Center for Advanced Multidisciplinary Studies, University of Brasilia (UnB), Brazil. He is a teacher of International cooperation, and Critical studies on gender, race, and culture. His current research focuses on international cooperation from the perspective of decolonial human subjectivity. At UnB, he also belongs to the Center of Global Studies and the Center for Asia-Latin America Studies.
Gustavo Severo de Borb
Peter Milley is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education and Director of the Centre for Research on Educational and Community Services (CRECS) at the University of Ottawa. Peter teaches and conducts research on topics related to educational leadership, administration, policy, and evaluation. His recent research, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, has focused on the leadership of social innovation in Canadian universities. Peter also studies inclusive, participatory methods for conducting evaluation activities in social innovation and international development contexts. Prior to joining the University, Peter served as Senior Advisor in the Canadian federal public service on a variety public service-wide administrative reforms and international development projects targeting governance reforms.
Lavagnon Ika is Full Professor of Project Management (PM), former Program Director for the MSc in Management, Faculty Leader for uOttawa partnerships with African Universities, and Founding Director of the Major Projects Observatory at the Telfer School of Management (uOttawa). Over the past 20 years, he has taught PM at the B.Com, MBA/EMBA, MSc and PhD levels in both the French and English languages, in Canada but also in Europe, Africa, Australia, and the Middle East. In his research, Professor Ika looks into different types of projects with a keen interest in why projects deviate from plan and experience cost overruns and benefit shortfalls.Professor Ika is Associate Editor for the top International Journal of Project Management and a member of the Academic Boards of the prestigious international PM associations, the US-based Project Management Institute (PMI) and the Europe-based International Project Management Association (IPMA). He received many coveted recognitions including the IPMA Research Award in 2017.
Estefânia Franca de Farias
Zahraa Beydoun is a Researcher and a Project Coordinator at the Health Promotion and Community Health Department at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the American University of Beirut (AUB) in Lebanon and an instructor of Public Health at Phoenicia University in Lebanon. She is a graduate of the American University of Beirut where she obtained her BSc. in Nutrition and Dietetics and then her MPH in Health Promotion and Community Health. After her graduation Zahraa started working at UNRWA as part of her internship and then joined the American University of Beirut in 2013. In 2015 she joined Phoenicia University as an instructor of Public Health teaching courses in public health and population health for undergraduate students. Her areas of research interests are social inequalities in health and refugees’ health and rights. Her previous work has focused on the social determinants of health of the Lebanese population and refugees in Lebanon. Currently she is performing research on the social determinants of cardiovascular diseases among the Lebanese Population.
I am a researcher, organizer, and friend. I believe that change is the product of many small choices overtime and I approach issues through this lens. I am currently a Pathy Foundation Fellow. As a fellow, I am continuing my work of connecting Black, Indigenous, and Afro-Indigenous communities and organizations using an intersectional framework. Through collaborative resource building, in-depth discussions and knowledge sharing, I work to foster collaboration and reduce silos within and across communities. I strongly believe that by expanding our understanding of the world around us, we expand our capacity for compassion.
Dr. Sawsan Abdulrahim is an Associate Professor and Chair in the Department of Health Promotion and Community Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, at the American University of Beirut. She obtained her doctoral degree from the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Abdulrahim’s research focuses on social inequalities and health, the social and cultural meanings of subjective health evaluations, and the structural conditions that influence the wellbeing of labor migrants and refugees. Her previous work has focused on the social determinants of health of Arab immigrants in the United States and migrant domestic workers in the Arab region. Currently, she is undertaking research on the health of Syrian refugee women in Lebanon, with an emphasis on reproductive health outcomes and early marriage. She teaches courses in health promotion theory, forced migration and health, and global public health.
Fajr Alsayed is a student of Communication and Political Science at the University of Ottawa. He first worked with Dr. Emily Regan Wills as a research assistant on the project “Organizing in Racialized, Indigenous and Refugee Communities in Canada.” Later, he helped translating, editing, and uploading content on the CMIC website. Fajr is currently working as a media analyst with Environment and Climate Change Canada as part of the Co-operative Education program at the University of Ottawa, and he is the co-head of campaigns with Amnesty International UOttawa. Beyond the University of Ottawa, Fajr worked as a translator and social worker with several NGOs in Syria and Germany that support people fleeing crisis zones, including Arabesque For Development in Syria and Refugees Welcome Ilmenau in Germany. He also volunteered at the Erasmus Student Network as a social work coordinator for international exchange students in Germany. He is a journalist, article writer, and advocate for global justice, social protection, and social development causes.
Ursula Johansson Rivero
Ursula Johansson Rivero is a third year student at the University of Ottawa. She is studying International Development and Globalization with a minor in management. Born and raised in Belgium, Ursula has also a Spanish and Swedish nationality which has sparked her interest in international relations and international politics. Her interests also include social movements as well as immigration and refugees issues. She has recently written a critical essay about Europe’s response to the migrant crisis and is looking to start a Master’s Degree in International studies.
André Vellino is an associate professor in the School of Information Studies at the University of Ottawa. He has had over twenty-six years of experience in the field of computing technology for the representation of and reasoning about information. Prior to his university appointment in 2012, he spent six years at the NRC’s Canada National Science Library (formerly the Institute for Scientific and Technical Information – CISTI) working on the advancement of recommender systems technologies to serve in the context of a digital library. His work in the private sector his work included the design and development of Natural Language Processing software for the analysis of emails at Entrust and developed constraint logic programming software for Nortel Networks. André is also cross appointed to the Department of Computer Science, a Faculty Affiliate at the Institute for Science, Society and Policy and a founding member of the Academy for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies at the University of Ottawa.