Public Engagement Forum 2019

Food, Climate Change & Migration - Public Engagement Forums

February 08, 2023

These three-part forums are the most significant achievement of the Centre to date. They were organized at SFU in September, October and November 2019 in partnership with SFU Public Square and Continuing Studies, as well as several community organizations. Dr. Harriet Friedmann from the University of Toronto was the invited scholar for the September forum; Dr. Saskia Sassen from Columbia University was invited for the October forum; and Dr. Jason Moore from Binghamton University was the invited scholar for the November forum. (The October event was cancelled just one week before its commencement due to Dr. Saskia Sassen’s health concerns.)

These forums were an innovative, timely and important collaborative project exploring the intersection of climate change, food insecurity, displacement, and migration. Each forum convened two dialogues – one in the morning and another in the afternoon. Morning dialogues were centred on the voices and lived experiences of refugees and immigrants, and the barriers, challenges, and opportunities that they face in relation to food, land, culture, and climate change. It was equally important to explore how these issues were part of refugees’ decision-making process before migration.

Afternoon sessions were joint dialogues between people with lived experiences of displacement and migration who participated in the morning sessions – and academics, policy analysts, students and the general public. Afternoon sessions were built upon points of conversation and themes identified in the morning sessions and aimed to identify patterns, challenges and opportunities for further research and collaboration with community partners. Dialogues were carried out as round-table discussions, mediated by volunteers who also took notes of the discussions and were supported by contracted dialogue facilitators.

Each morning and afternoon dialogues included indigenous voices as well. Kim Haxton of Indigeneyez opened the November event and co-hosted the event with our invited scholar, setting the colonial context on Turtle Island and identifying commonalities of displacement and food-climate change concerns. Similarly, our September event was opened and co-hosted by T’uy’t’tanat - Cease Wyss (a Coast Salish ethnobotanist). There was simultaneous Spanish, Farsi, and Arabic interpretation at each of these forums. We also developed a webpage for the forums. We are pleased to note that we were able to provide honoraria of $50 and return translink tickets for registered participants (refugee and displaced individuals) in order to recognize their time and contribution to the events.

You can examine the details by clicking on the following link. Food, Climate Change & Migration - Public Engagement Forums:

Attendance at the forums exceeded our expectations. For example, while we aimed to have 40 refugee individuals in the morning refugee session of the November event, we had 88 individual refugees in attendance. And while we aimed to secure 100 participants for the afternoon public engagement session, we had more than 200.