Welcome back! Events start next week; plus, Meet Canadian Studies, Pt. 3

A notice from another one of our fellow Canadian organizations in the Bay Area.

Canadian Studies Announcements
In this issue:
  • Welcome message from Program Director Bloemraad
  • Next week: US refugee policy in Canadian Courts
  • Meet Canadian Studies: Board member Russell Kalmacoff
  • Upcoming event: Return: Blackness and Belonging in North America
Welcome Back!
Berkeley’s fall semester starts Wednesday, kicking off a new round of Canadian Studies events and programs. While we won’t physically be on campus, we’re working hard to bring you a digital forum where we can continue to share great research and analysis of Canadian topics. These are unusual times for all of us – students, faculty, and community members – and we think it’s more important than ever to build a digital community to bring us all together. We look forward to seeing you all there.
Irene Bloemraad, Program Co-Director
Next Week:
No Safe Country for Refugees? The Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement Before the Canadian Courts
Panel | September 1 | 12:30 PM | Online – RSVP here
Until recently, certain asylum claimants who entered Canada were routinely returned to the United States under the the Safe Third Country Agreement. However, in July Canada’s Federal Court ordered the agreement suspended, asserting that the US is “not safe” for refugees due to the risk of imprisonment and other basic rights violations. Audrey Macklin, an expert in human rights law at the University of Toronto, joins Berkeley Law professor Leti Volpp to unpack the ruling and what it means for migrants and US-Canada relations. The conversation will be moderated by immigration scholar and Canadian Studies director Irene Bloemraad.
Please RSVP at canada@berkeley.edu to receive a webcast link. You must be signed in to a Zoom account to join. UC Berkeley affiliates can use their CalNet ID’s to sign in to Zoom; other participants can create a free, consumer Zoom account or dial in via phone.
Meet Canadian Studies: Board Member Russell Kalmacoff
In our third entry in a series highlighting Canadian Studies’ friends and supporters, longstanding board member Russell Kalmacoff talks about his deep connection to Berkeley, the importance of Canadian-American exchange, and how he’s seen the program develop over the years.
Mr. Kalmacoff was born in Kamsack, Saskatchewan. After completing his undergraduate degree at the University of Calgary and the University of Manitoba, he moved to the United States to complete his M.B.A. at Berkeley and further post-graduate studies at both Berkeley and New York University on a fellowship from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. He began his financial career in New York, working on Wall Street for a year before returning to Canada. He currently resides in Calgary, where he manages Rockmount Financial Corp., a private investment company, and consults in public policy for government organizations and universities.
Highlights from the interview are below; read the full piece here.
How did you get involved with Canadian Studies at Berkeley?
After getting my bachelor’s degree, I went straight to Berkeley for my M.B.A. I landed at International House in January 1965 when the place was resonating with the Free Speech Movement. Many years later, I volunteered as an alumni rep for Haas. After needling them about Canadian content, they introduced me to Canadian Studies founder Tom Barnes, who asked me to chair the campaign for a professor of Canadian Studies.
How have you seen the program develop?
We hit the campaign out of the ballpark thanks to Dr. Hildebrand of Fresno, originally from Canada. Another board member, Brad Barber, introduced us. It turned out Dr. Hildebrand was from a small town near where I grew up – we Saskatchewan people venerate these little burgs! Working with Dr. Barnes, Nelson Graburn, and Irene, I’ve continued on the board of the program, having lost count of the number of trips from Calgary to San Francisco. Irene is doing a great job. I appreciated her bringing Michael Benarroch, now the president of the University of Manitoba, to explain how Canada avoided the 2008/09 subprime meltdown, because comparative capital markets is an area I am researching.
Why do you believe exchange between Canada and the US is important?
We Canadians can be guilty of simplistic generalizations with respect to the United States. I often say that the U.S. may be ten times larger than Canada, but it’s a hundred times more complicated. We ignore keeping abreast of events there at our peril. Conversely, I tell folks at UC Berkeley that while it is arguably the best public research university west of the Mississippi, that sphere of interest and influence should include Western Canada.
What important trends do you see in education more generally?
Academia is becoming more interdisciplinary. I’ve been able to take advantage of that by joining the advisory board of the Clausen Center, a venue at Berkeley where macroeconomists and central bankers exchange ideas. As the world has become more interconnected, I’ve become an advocate of broader financial literacy. Finance needn’t be mysterious or boring. I’ve crossed paths with Michael Lewis, who lives in Berkeley. He wrote The Big Short, which uses over-the-top humour to describe the sub-prime meltdown of 2008/09, and was made into a good movie, which I highly recommend to those who aren’t familiar with the industry and want to understand that fiasco.
Return: On Blackness and Belonging in North America
Lecture | September 15 | 12:30 p.m. | Online – RSVP here
McGill University professor Debra Thompson, an expert on race and ethnic politics, will explore the complex experience of Black people in North America, juxtaposing her deep, ancestral links to the United States with a parallel but at times competing national affinity with the land to which many enslaved Black Americans once fled: Canada. Thompson uses personal narrative to explore the boundaries of racial belonging; to identify key facets of Canadian ideas about race and racism, including the intersection of racial formations and settler colonialism; to analyze the transnational nuances and contours of the African diaspora in North America; and ultimately, to think through what it means to be in a place, but not be of that place.
Canadian Studies Program
213 Moses Hall #2308
Canadian Studies Program | Univ. of California, Berkeley, 213 Moses Hall #2308, Berkeley, CA 94720

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