Tomorrow: The Canada-US asylum (dis)agreement; how one grad chose to make an impact

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

Canadian Studies Announcements
In this issue:
  • TOMORROW: Refugee policy and the Canadian courts
  • Catch up with former Hildebrand Fellow Daniel Suarez
  • Upcoming event: Return: Blackness and Belonging in North America
  • Fellowship: International Affairs Fellowship in Canada
Event Tomorrow
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 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.
“It’s Very Meaningful to Impart What I Know”
Catching Up With 2012 Hildebrand Fellow Daniel Suarez
Early in his academic career, Daniel Suarez knew that he wanted to pursue research that blended science and social science. He earned undergraduate degrees in environmental science and anthropology at the University of British Columbia; a master’s in geography at University of Toronto; and his PhD in environmental science, policy, and management at UC Berkeley. Dr. Suarez wrote his dissertation on the rise of ecosystem services (a framework emphasizing nature’s benefits to humanity), and the people shaping that movement. As part of his research, he received Hildebrand funding to conduct a longitudinal study on the rise and fall of ecosystems services in British Columbia, where he grew up.
Dr. Suarez is now an assistant professor at Middlebury College, a liberal arts college in Vermont. He has become deeply invested in developing his pedagogy and understanding how students from Generation Z engage with environmental education. Canadian Studies asked current Hildebrand Fellow Kimberly Huynh to catch up with Dr. Suarez to learn more about his work and how his experiences shaped his career. Highlights from the interview are below; read the full piece here.
What was your research about?
It was an ethnographic research project which explored the network of practitioners at the forefront of mainstreaming “ecosystem services,” which at that time was really blowing up. The idea marked a remarkable shift in environmentalism, from protecting nature “from” people to protecting nature “for” people. The framing was more about dollars and cents, a kind of “business case” for conservation. British Columbia was a case study for me to examine how these ideas were playing out on the ground.
How did the Hildebrand Fellowship support your research goals?
I got a Hildebrand Fellowship in 2012, near the start of my work in British Columbia. The work that I proposed was pretty ambitious (and expensive). So Canadian Studies being willing to step up for me to actually get started was really key. It was a helpful seed grant that allowed me to produce preliminary findings that then made further rounds of grant proposals much easier to pursue. Other organizations were much more willing to take a chance on me because I was able to demonstrate momentum. I’m very grateful for that.
How did your research develop over the course of your project?
When I started my work, the BC provincial government was really, really keen on ecosystem services. The government talked about it as a sort of game-changing idea. Five years later, and again with the support of the Canadian Studies program, I returned to British Columbia. To my surprise, ecosystem services had fallen out of the picture entirely. Pipeline politics had sort of superseded other aspects of environmental politics in the province, and the debate was much more polarized and adversarial.
Stephen Harper staked a lot of his political capital on turning Canada into what he described as a “natural resource superpower”, and ecosystem services, which at its core meant meeting one another halfway, just wasn’t relevant under these conditions. Environmental groups had their backs to the wall, and no longer courted power nor tried to work with power. Instead, they chose to confront and fight. And the interesting part is that they won. All of these pipelines that the government was advancing just broke on the rocks of fierce political resistance from First Nations, local communities and others, using strategies that really had little to do with ecosystem services.
What was your takeaway from your research experience?
As I was beginning to wrap up my research, which coincided with the seismic 2016 election, I began to engage a lot more deeply with the implications of climate and global change science. I began to question how to be impactful in this incredibly dire and important moment. At Middlebury, I’ve come to appreciate how important teaching is. For many academics, teaching is an afterthought, just this thing that gets in the way of research. It’s been surprising to me how much I have switched from seeing teaching as an obligation to something I really look forward to doing. It’s very meaningful to get to impart what I know, and to help students do what I can – potentially much more consequential than writing esoteric journal articles.
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.
Applications Open: International Affairs Fellowship in Canada
Launched in 2016, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)’s International Affairs Fellowship (IAF) in Canada, sponsored by Power Corporation of Canada, seeks to strengthen mutual understanding and cooperation between rising generations of leaders and thinkers in the United States and Canada. The program provides for one to two mid-career professionals per year to spend six to twelve months hosted by a Canadian institution to deepen their knowledge of Canada. Fellows are drawn from academia, business, government, media, NGOs, and think tanks. CFR will work with its network of contacts to assist the fellows in finding suitable host organizations in Canada. The duration of the fellowship is between six and twelve months. The program awards a stipend of $95,000 for a period of twelve months as well as a modest travel allowance. Fellows are considered independent contractors rather than employees of CFR and are not eligible for employment benefits, including health insurance.
Applications are due by October 31st, 2020: apply here.
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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