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Remembering the Indo-Chinese Refugee Movement and the Lessons for Today's Refugee Crises

Jan 22, 2014, 12pm-2pm

Moderator: Professor James Simeon, director, School of Public Policy and Administration, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, York University

Panelists:

  • Mike Molloy, president, Canadian Immigration Historical Society, adjunct professor and senior Fellow, Graduate School of Public International Affairs, Faculty of Social Science, University of Ottawa;
  • Howard Adelman, professor emeritus, Centre for Refugee Studies (CRS), scholar and founding director of CRS, York University; and
  • Naomi Alboim, adjunct professor and chair of the School of Policy Studies (SPS) Forum, SPS, Queen’s University.

The protracted civil and geo-political wars in Southeast Asia, principally Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, that ended in the mid- to late-1970s, led to an unprecedented exodus of Indo-Chinese refugees over land and sea seeking sanctuary from the wartorn turmoil in their home countries. Those who fled by boat in the South China Sea became known as the "Indo-Chinese Boat People”. Their flight experiences equaled or surpassed the horrors that they faced in their home countries and many hundreds of thousands have been estimated to have perished en route seeking refuge. Eventually, the international community responded under the leadership of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and countries such as Canada that pledged to take some 60,000 refugees through both Canadian government-sponsored and a highly innovative private-sponsored refugee programs. In 1986, the UNHCR awarded "the people of Canada" with the Nansen Medal for their contribution to the protection of refugees and, especially, the resettlement of thousands of Indo-Chinese refugees across Canada.

This special panel session will examine in detail Canada's outstanding contribution during the Indo- Chinese refugee movement in the 1970s and '80s from the perspective of the lessons learned about how we can continue to make a significant contribution to today's global refugee crises.


Location:Junior Common Room, 014 McLaughlin College
Sponsor:Co-sponsored by the Office of the Master, McLaughlin College and the Centre for Refugee Studies
Posted by:Lorraine Myrie
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