media release

SFU fosters diaspora research

April 22, 2014

Mig Alphonso, IDRE coordinator, (best reached by email)
James Busumtwi-Sam, IDRE director, 778.782.3729,
Caitlin Dawson, PAMR, 778.782.9543,

Simon Fraser University’s new Institute for Diaspora Research and Engagement (IDRE) will be launched at its Surrey campus on April 25, from 5–7 p.m. The event will feature a panel discussion on key diaspora-related issues, including financial and social remittances, development issues and peace and security.

More than 100 government officials, community representative and academics from diverse communities are expected to attend.  

By fostering research and community engagement, the institute hopes to promote a greater awareness of diaspora-related issues and establish a reputation as a leading research centre and incubator of diaspora social innovation.

“The institute will combine interdisciplinary scholarly research with community-based research that will be informed by the community, for the community, ” says IDRE director James Busumtwi-Sam. “Canada is often described as a ‘diaspora nation’ because of its diverse population and the important role of immigrants and immigration.

“The institute will be part of SFU’s continuing effort to engage the world by strengthening relations between diaspora and researchers, government representatives, non-profits and the business community.”

SFU President Andrew Petter will deliver the opening remarks. The roundtable panellists include James Busumtwi-Sam, chair of the Department of Political Science at SFU, John Monahan, executive director of the Mosaic Institute, Cecilia Diocson, a volunteer with the Philippine Women Centre of B.C. and June Francis, a professor in SFU’s Beedie School of Business.

In addition to research, the institute plans to offer community engagement services such as the ‘knowledge hub’ for diaspora knowledge mobilization and exchange, and a social innovation incubator to help find, support and develop diaspora-driven innovation projects.

Services will include advice and mentorship to match diaspora with professionals and academics, capacity building to help diaspora enhance or scale-up their work, and where available, funding to assist in the development of their initiatives.

Panel expert John Monahan of the Mosaic Institute will also give a talk entitled The Perception and Reality of “Imported Conflict” in Canada at the institute’s inaugural public lecture, Thursday, April 24, at SFU’s Vancouver campus.

What: Institute for Diaspora Research and Engagement launch
Where: SFU’s
Surrey campus, 250-13450 102nd Ave, Surrey, room 2740
When: Friday, April 25, 2014, 5-7 p.m.

Simon Fraser University is consistently ranked among Canada's top comprehensive universities and is one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 125,000 alumni in 130 countries.


Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

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