LA&PS Response to the Refugee Crisis

Our alumni, students and faculty play an active role

The Department of Sociology is leading an initiative to raise funds that would allow Syrian refugees to make Canada their new home. York University Sociologists and Friends have raised over $30,000 and continue to welcome donations. They have been matched to a family and eagerly awaiting its arrival in Toronto.

The Health & Society Student Association (HESOSA) is launching a Refugee and Migrant Awareness Project led by Professor Megan Davies. This student-led project will showcase York University’s connection with refugee/ migrant communities, culminating in a public exhibit of life stories and artifacts portraying refugees and migrants as people with rich cultural memories and multi-generational life paths. Framing refugees and migrants in this fashion will ‘speak back’ to limited representations that cast displaced people as desperate victims of violence and war or as unwelcome newcomers. Please contact them with your ideas and your support:
Health and Society Student Association Website

School of Social Work Professor Susan McGrath has been recognized for excellence in research with the Social Science & Humanities Research Council of Canada’s Impact Award for her innovative work in leading the Refugee Research Network. Please visit the Center for Refugee Studies (CRS) to learn about the tremendous work that is occurring at York.

LA&PS Political science alumnus Malcolm Brown, currently Deputy Minister for International Development in the Government of Canada, has just been announced as the new Special Advisor to the Clerk of the Privy Council on the Syrian Refugee Initiative.

John Carlaw, who is completing his doctorate in Political Science, has taken on the role of Syria and Refugee Awareness Initiative Project Lead. He is coordinating support for a range of sponsorship groups, in addition to coordinating with research and teaching initiatives in the global refugee response field across the university. He works in close collaboration with York’s Centre for Refugee Studies. You can reach John at

Virgil Haden-Pawlowski (BA Honors, Political Science and International Development Studies, 2012) is currently Head of Programmes at the NGO Syria Relief. He is a . He was also the recipient of the Political Science 50th Anniversary Award for Commitment to Social Justice. He now oversees all project operations for a humanitarian aid and stabilization oriented NGO operating in Syria during the ongoing civil war, a portfolio of more than $10 million USD in development and humanitarian funding.