Third International Cities of Migration Conference

Diversity Drives Prosperity

Toronto, March 2, 2016, Westin Harbour Castle

 Back to COM2016 Home Page

Download the COM2016 Conference Program  [PDF]                               Download COM2016 Flyer [pdf]

Programme and Agenda

8:00 Registration
8:45 – 9:00 Greetings: Ratna Omidvar, Executive Director, Global Diversity Exchange (Toronto)
9:00 – 9:20 Diversity Drives Prosperity
  Welcoming Address: John Tory, Mayor of TorontoVideo: Watch the address
Video: Interview with John Tory
9:20 – 9:45 Opening Keynote
  Social Innovation in the New Economy
A leading thinker explores how diversity and social innovation drive the entrepreneurial spirit of the new economy.Keynote Speaker: Wendy Cukier, VP Research & Innovation, Ryerson University (Toronto)Video: Watch the keynote

Download the PPT presentation

9:45 – 10:45 Opening Plenary Panel
Ballroom Open, Smart, Diverse? What Cities Need To Do
City leaders take stock of how super-diversity challenges and sustains urban resilience and livability. How can diversity shape the urban economy? What is the DNA of a welcoming city?

Moderator: Tanzeel Merchant, Director, Partnerships and Consultation, Ontario Growth Secretariat (Canada)

Video: Watch the panel
Video: Interview with Wolfgang Spelthahn (in English)
Video: Ein Interview mit Wolfgang Spelthahn (auf Deutsch)

10:45 – 11:00 Break
11:00 – 11:55 Plenary Panel
Ballroom New Talent, New Markets
Business leaders discuss the links between workforce diversity and market opportunity, and the impact of diversity on innovation in products, services, and processes. They discuss the role of evidence, and provide insight on strategies for measuring the return on investment in diverse and inclusive teams. The speakers look forward to emerging challenges and promising solutions in attracting and retaining immigrant talent.

  • Robert Hardt, President and Chief Executive Officer, Siemens Canada (Toronto)
  • Angela White, Segment Manager and Strategy Implementation, Small Business, RBC Royal Bank
  • Mary Stagaman, Vice President of Regional Initiatives and Executive Director of Agenda 360, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber (United States)

Moderator: Josh Hjartarson, VP, Public Sector at KPMG (Toronto)

Video: Watch the panel
Video: Interview with Mary Stagaman

11:55 – 12:45 Plenary Panel
Ballroom Changing Governance in Changing Times
Civic leaders examine institutional innovation and culture shift in the boardroom and around the decision table—from the ballroom and ballpark all the way to the bank.

  • Shaama Saggar-Malik, Founder and Executive Director, DiPA – Diversity in Public Appointments (London, England)
  • Sayu Bhojwani, Founder and President, The New American Leaders Project (New York)
  • Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director, Toronto International Film Festival
  • Myer Siemiatycki, Professor, Ryerson University (Toronto)

Moderator: Bob Ramsay, President, Ramsay Inc. and Founder, RamsayTalks (Toronto)

Video: Watch the panel
Video: Interview with Cameron Bailey

12:45 – 1:30 Lunch
1:30 – 2:00 Keynote Address
Ballroom Migrants and Cities: New Partnerships to Manage MobilityKeynote Speaker: Jill Helke, Director, International Cooperation and Partnerships, International Organization for Migration (Geneva)

Video: Watch the keynote
Read the transcript [PDF]

2:00 – 3:30 Marketplace of Good Ideas
Marketplace HallConcurrent with Policy Lab Showcasing Social Innovation (8 good practices, 8 cities) — Choose 2
Take a multi-city tour of successful strategies and scalable local solutions that help build welcoming, inclusive cities and workplaces. In three rounds of 40 minutes each.

  1. Diverse Cities
    • Vancouver, Canada: DiverseCity onBoard
      Bill Walters, Executive Director, Laurier Institution
    • London, UK: Diversity in Public Appointments
      Shaama Saggar-Malik, Founder and Executive Director, DiPA
  2. Open City
    • Paris, France: Mozaik RH
      Gabriel Lenot, Head of Apprenticeship and Internship, Mozaik RH
    • Toronto, Canada: Professional Immigrant Networks (PINs)
      Beatrice Kohlenberg, Project Coordinator, Professional Immigrant Networks (PINs) Initiative, TRIEC

    Video: Interview with Gabriel Lenot (in English)
    Vidéo: Une entrevue avec Gabriel Lenot (en français)

  3. Welcoming Economies
    • Calgary, Canada: Immigrant Access Fund
      Dianne Fehr, Executive Director, Immigrant Access Fund
    • Saint Paul, USA: Neighbourhood Development Center
      Mihailo Temali, Executive Director, Neighbourhood Development Center
  4. Refugee Cities
    • Toronto, Canada: Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge
      Samantha Jackson, PhD Candidate, McMaster University (Hamilton)
    • Berlin, Germany: SINGA Deutschland
      Sima Gatea, Founder, SINGA Deutschland

    Video: Interview with Sima Gatea

2:00 – 3:30 Policy Lab
BallroomConcurrent with Marketplace How Cities Compete for Young Talent
By comparing and contrasting the legal frameworks, policy levers and integration challenges across selected cities, this policy lab seeks to provide an in-depth view of how city actors manage the attraction, retention, and economic inclusion of young immigrants.

  • Simon Morris-Lange, Head of Research, Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration (SVR) (Berlin)
  • Orkan Kösemen, Integration and Education Program, Bertelsmann Stiftung (Gütersloh)
  • Audrey Singer, Senior Fellow, Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institution (Washington DC)

Moderator: Howard Duncan, International Metropolis Project, Carleton University (Ottawa)

Video: Interview with Orkan Kösemen (in English)
Video: Ein Interview mit Orkan Kösemen (auf Deutsch)

3:30 – 3:45 Break
3:45 – 4:30 Issues Panel
Ballroom Welcoming Refugees in Cities
A litmus test for urban resilience might be local capacity to respond and integrate refugees. A conversation about why building a welcoming culture is fast becoming an economic, social and political imperative.

Moderator: Jennifer Ditchburn, Editor-in-Chief of Policy Options, IRPP (Montreal)

Video: Watch the panel
Video: Interview with Rachel Peric

4:30 – 5:00 Sunny Ways
Ballroom The Honourable John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Government of Canada

  • In conversation with Ratna Omidvar, Executive Director, Global Diversity Exchange (Toronto)

Video: Watch the conversation

5:00 – 5:15 Closing — Conference Good Ideas Round-up
  With: Ratna Omidvar, Executive Director, Global Diversity Exchange
5:30 – 6:30Ballroom Foyer COM2016 Networking Reception
Time to relax! share notes, swap ideas, meet new friends and catch up with colleagues over hors d’oeuvres and refreshments.
6:30 – 7:00Ballroom Foyer 2016 GDX Annual Lecture Registration
7:00 – 8:00 2016 Global Diversity Exchange Annual Lecture
 Ballroom Global Citizen: Khalid Koser, Executive Director, Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (Geneva)

  • Q&A with John Stackhouse, Senior Vice-President, Office of the CEO, RBC Royal Bank (Toronto)

Video: Watch the Lecture
Video: Watch the Q&A

The 2016 Cities of Migration Conference is brought to you by the Global Diversity Exchange, Ryerson University, in collaboration with the 18th National Metropolis Conference, March 3-5, 2016. Map.

For more information, visit COM2016 at the Metropolis website.


Download the COM2016 Conference Program  [PDF]            Download COM2016 Flyer [pdf]

COM2016 is a one-day pre-conference at the 18th National Metropolis, March 3-5, 2016, in Toronto. Metropolis registration does not include COM2016 registration.

Inquiries at Join us on Twitter @CitiesMigration and #COM2016 !

Recent Good Ideas

Leamington, Canada


From Survival Jobs to Rich Harvest
Highline Mushrooms  

Brandon, Canada


Industry Leaders Connect to Recruit Newcomers
Maple Leaf Foods  

Toronto, Canada
Eliminating Barriers for Displaced Individuals
WES Gateway Program  

Kuopio, Finland
Encouraging Cities to Bring Locals and Immigrants Together
City of Kuopio  

New York City, United States
Emma’s Torch: Creating Culinary Space for Refugees Dreams
Emma's Torch   

View all