SFU’s Refugee Livelihood Lab co-creator honoured for commitment to refugees
By Marianne Meadahl
The co-creator of RADIUS SFU’s recently established Refugee Livelihood Lab—who came to Canada as a landed immigrant—is being honoured for her engagement with newcomers to Canada.
Nada El Masry, a Libyan-born Palestinian, is being recognized with a 2019 British Columbia Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Award. She received the award from B.C. Premier John Horgan on March 21, which was International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
“My family and I were among the millions who were forced outside of their country and were deemed stateless,” recalls El Masry, who is currently a project manager at the RADIUS-led lab. “My experiences have helped to foster a deep passion for social justice and have shaped my life goals around values rooted in this field.”
Her contributions to creating the lab, which engages refugee communities in Surrey to actively shape the systems that shape their lives, stem from her awareness of “the great need to support marginalized communities, and the necessity for diversity and inclusivity in society’s decision-making processes.” Her goal is to contribute to the efforts to establish greater accessibility and achieve equity for these communities.
El Masry has been working with newcomers for several years, including a stint with SFU’s International Services for Students, and is based at both SFU’s Vancouver and Surrey campuses.
She is involved in several programs and initiatives including the Inner Activist, SFU CCMS Muslim Fellowship, and Fresh Voices Initiative of the Vancouver Foundation, which offers a way for racialized youth across B.C. to engage in dialogue and action to identify and remove barriers to their success.
El Masry is also actively involved in B.C.'s Muslim community, helping to organize various conferences and events aimed at bringing the community together.
SFU's Refugee Livelihood Lab, started just over a year ago with co-manager Camille Dumond, works to shift systemic barriers and generate opportunities for thriving refugee livelihoods in Surrey. Its goal is to amplify the voices of racialized migrant innovators, convene informed conversations to help shift problematic patterns and co-create new stories, initiatives, and “ways of being together that reflect a vision of justice, dignity and economic empowerment for all.”
Along with her trophy, El Masry, who is currently pursuing a master’s in equity studies in education at SFU, receives a small cash award that will help further the work of the lab’s Beyond Borders project.
The project provides an opportunity for participants to create visionary initiatives that build refugee communities’ social, economic, and political capital in Surrey.