Third International Cities of Migration Conference

Diversity Drives Prosperity

Toronto, March 2, 2016, Westin Harbour Castle



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Nisha Agarwal (New York, USA)

Commissioner, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, City of New York

Nisha Agarwal is an accomplished public interest lawyer and a leading voice in immigration reform at the local and national level. Her tenure as Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs is marked by her entrepreneurial drive and proven record of enacting pro-immigrant legislation. Under her leadership, MOIA led the development and implementation of IDNYC, the country’s largest municipal identification program, ensuring that all New Yorkers can have the peace of mind and security that comes from recognized identification. In addition, during her time as Commissioner MOIA has spearheaded programs to expand access to justice for immigrant communities, from citizenship to deferred action; expanded and improved language access programs citywide; developed new access to health care programs for the undocumented; and built a national coalition of cities to advance immigration reform.

Prior to her MOIA appointment, she worked with Judge Robert A. Katzmann, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, to establish the Immigrant Justice Corps, a new non-profit that will recruit recent law school graduates to partner with nonprofit legal services providers to offer legal representation to undocumented immigrants. She was previously Deputy Director of the Center for Popular Democracy, the groundbreaking nonprofit advocacy group dedicated to advancing pro-immigrant, pro-equality and pro-justice policies at the grassroots and national levels, which she co-founded in 2012. Prior to CPD, Agarwal served as Director of the Health Justice Program at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.

Agarwal received her B.A. summa cum laude from Harvard College and her J.D. from Harvard Law School. She currently lives in Brooklyn.

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Leen Al Zaibak (Toronto, Canada)

Board Member, Lifeline Syria | Co-founder and Director, Jusoor

Leen Al Zaibak is a Senior Manager for Donor Engagement at Free the Children, an international development organization focusing on removing barriers to education. Previously, she served as a policy advisor to the Ontario Minister of Children and Youth Services. Al Zaibak holds an Honorary BA from the University of Toronto, Trinity College and an MA in International Relations from the University of Manchester. Al Zaibak has been an advocate for Syrian newcomers and for the role Canada, provinces and municipalities can play in setting up the Syrian newcomers for success. She is a strong champion of education as a powerful tool in securing a brighter future for youth. In 2011 she co-founded Jusoor, an international NGO that helps Syrian youth continue their education through scholarships at Western universities. Jusoor is a registered charity in Canada, U.S and the U.K. Al Zaibak currently serves on the board of Lifeline Syria and the Telus Greater Toronto Area Community Board.

Toronto’s Lifeline Syria refugee sponsorship initiative is a Cities of Migration Good Idea [coming soon].

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Cameron Bailey (Toronto, Canada)

Artistic Director, Toronto International Film Festival®

Cameron Bailey is the Artistic Director of the Toronto International Film Festival®. He is responsible for the overall vision and execution of Festival programming, as well as maintaining relationships with the Canadian and international film industries. Toronto Life has named him one of Toronto’s 50 Most Influential People four years in a row.

Born in London, Bailey grew up in England and Barbados before migrating to Canada. Before taking up his current position at TIFF, he was a Festival programmer for eleven years, and a writer and broadcaster on film. He reviewed for Toronto’s NOW Magazine, CBC Radio One and CTV’s Canada AM. He presented international cinema nightly on Showcase Television’s national programme The Showcase Revue, and has been published in The Globe and Mail, The Village Voice, CineAction!, and Screen. Cameron has curated film series for Cinematheque Ontario, the National Gallery of Canada, the National Film Board of Canada, and Australia’s Sydney International Film Festival.

Bailey currently sits on the Advisory Council for Western University’s School for Arts and Humanities and for Haiti’s Cine Institute film school. He is also a board member of Tourism Toronto, and a member of the Toronto 2016 NBA All-Star Steering Committee. He teaches a course in programming and curation at the University of Toronto.

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Sayu Bhojwani (New York , USA)

Founder and President, The New American Leaders Project

Sayu Bhojwani is the President and Founder of The New American Leaders Project (NALP), the only national organization specifically focused on preparing first- and second-generation immigrants for civic leadership. For that work, she has been recognized by the Case Foundation as a Fearless Changemaker, honored by Citizens Union New York, and awarded the BMW Foundation’s Young Leaders Award in 2013. From 2002 to 2004, she was New York City’s first Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs, under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, and in 1997 she founded South Asian Youth Action (SAYA!), the first and only organization working with South Asian youth. She is also a Visiting Scholar at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University.

Bhojwani is a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post, CNN In America, and other online publications and currently serves on the board of the National Immigration Forum. She is completing her dissertation on immigrant civic engagement, at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Bhojwani also holds a Ph.D. in Politics and Education and a M.Ed. in Comparative Education from Columbia University. Bhojwani is a naturalized citizen of the United States. She was born in India and grew up in Belize. She moved to New York City in 1984, and currently lives there with her husband and daughter.

Sayu Bhwojani is a Cities of Migration thought leader.

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Alan Broadbent (Toronto, Canada)

Chairman, Maytree

Alan Broadbent is Chairman and Founder of Maytree, and Chairman and CEO of Avana Capital Corporation. He co-founded and chairs the Caledon Institute of Social Policy, Tamarack – An Institute for Community Engagement, Diaspora Dialogues, and the Institute for Municipal Finance and Governance at the Munk Centre, University of Toronto. In addition, Broadbent is a Director of Sustainalytics Holdings B.V., Senior Fellow and Governing Board member of Massey College, Member of the Governors’ Council of the Toronto Public Library Foundation, and Member of the Order of Canada and recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Broadbent is the author of Urban Nation: Why We Need to Give Power Back to the Cities to Make Canada Strong, and co-editor of Five Good Ideas:  Practical Strategies for Non-Profit Success, and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Ryerson University in 2009, and from Queen’s University in 2015.

Alan Broadbent is a Cities of Migration thought leader.

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Wendy Cukier (Toronto, Canada)

Vice President, Research and Innovation, Ryerson University

As Vice-President of Research and Innovation at Ryerson University, Wendy Cukier leads the strategy to grow research and to promote innovation and commercialization. Previously, she was the Associate Dean of the Ted Rogers School of Management. She has written more than 200 papers or reports on enabling technologies and innovation including the recent report called Transformation of Work, which explores the role of mobile technologies in the Canadian workforce and is the coauthor of the bestseller “Innovation Nation: From Java to Jurassic Park”. She has led Ryerson’s effort to become Canada’s first Ashoka Changemaker Campus and is a co-investigator on global study of social innovation SI Drive which brings together researchers in 26 countries. She is also the founder of the Diversity Institute which undertakes action oriented research in collaboration with government, private sector and non-profit organizations.

Cukier serves on the Board of Directors of the Consortium for Aerospace Research and Innovation in Canada (CARIC), NPower, Women’s College Hospital and several hi-tech start-ups. She is a recipient of the Governor General’s Meritorious Cross, one of Canada’s highest civilian honours and was named one of the University of Toronto’s 100 Alumni Who Shaped the Century. In 2010 was selected as one of 25 Transformational Canadians by The Globe and Mail.

She holds a PhD in management science (York); an MBA and an MA (Toronto) and honorary doctorates from Laval and Concordia. It was recently announced that she was selected as the first alumni and first woman to lead Brock University in St. Catharines, effective September 2016.

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Jennifer Ditchburn (Montreal, Canada)

Editor-in-Chief, Policy Options, Institute for Research on Public Policy

Jennifer Ditchburn is the newly appointed editor-in-chief of Policy Options magazine, an independent publication of the Institute for Research on Public Policy. Prior to joining the IRPP team, Ditchburn worked for the better part of two decades on Parliament Hill as a parliamentary correspondent with both The Canadian Press and CBC national television news. She has also worked as a reporter and editor for CP in Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal. She is a regular contributor to television and radio current affairs programs, including the CBC’s At Issue panel, Power and Politics and The Current.

She is a recipient of the Charles Lynch Award for outstanding coverage of national issues, and a three-time National Newspaper Award winner. Ditchburn holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Concordia University, and a Master of Journalism from Carleton University.

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Howard Duncan (Ottawa, Canada)

Executive Head, International Metropolis Project

Howard Duncan received his Ph.D. in Philosophy in 1981 from the University of Western Ontario where he studied the history and philosophy of science. In 1987, Dr. Duncan entered the field of consulting in strategic planning, policy development and program evaluation. In 1989 he joined the Department of Health and Welfare in Ottawa where he worked in program evaluation, strategic planning, policy, and extramural research.

In 1997, Duncan joined the Metropolis Project at Citizenship and Immigration Canada as its International Project Director, and became its Executive Head in 2002. He has concentrated on increasing the geographic reach of Metropolis, enlarging the range of the issues it confronts, and increasing its benefits to the international migration policy community by creating opportunities for direct and frank exchanges between researchers, practitioners, and policy makers. Recent of his projects have included the creation of the Metropolis North America and Metropolis Asia initiatives and the creation of a tri-partite Metropolis Secretariat in Asia (Seoul, Manila, and Beijing) to supplement the Secretariats in Ottawa and Amsterdam. In 2012, he moved the Ottawa Secretariat operations from the Government of Canada to Carleton University in Ottawa where he established the training arm of Metropolis under the name Metropolis Professional Development in 2014. He was named Editor of the journal, International Migration, in 2015. Duncan is a frequent speaker on the management of migration and integration.

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Jim Estill (Guelph, Canada)

President and Chief Executive Officer, Danby Products Limited

Jim Estill is the President and CEO at Danby Products Ltd. in Guelph, Ontario, and author of two management books, Time Leadership and Zero to $2Billion. He started a computer distribution company, EMJ Data, from the trunk of his car in 1979. With a great team he built the company up to $350,000,000 in sales and sold it to SYNNEX in September 2004. He was SYNNEX Chairman until 2009, growing sales from $800,000,000 to $2 billion. Jim has long had an interest in early stage technology businesses and was on the Board of Research in Motion (RIM) / BlackBerry for 13 years before they went public.

In response to the global refugee crisis in 2015, Estill took his private sector expertise and a personal donation of over $1 million and created a volunteer organizational structure to ensure that 50 Syrian families arriving in Guelph settle successfully.

Danby’s Jim Estill is a Hire Immigrants Champion.

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Dianne Fehr (Calgary, Canada)

Executive Director, Immigrant Access Fund

Dianne Fehr joined IAF in 2006 as Executive Director of IAF Alberta. In May 2013 she became Executive Director of IAF’s Canada organization, and in 2015 was appointed Executive Director for the newly amalgamated Immigrant Access Fund Canada. Before joining the charitable sector in 2000, Fehr was Manager of Marketing for one of Canada’s largest international law firms. Previous to joining IAF, Fehr was a member of The Calgary Foundation’s fund development team. Fehr is a founding board member and the past chair of the Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council (CRIEC).

Calgary’s Immigrant Access Fund is a Cities of Migration Good Idea.

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Sima Gatea (Berlin, Germany)

SINGA Deutschland

Sima Gatea is a local in Toronto, Heidelberg and Berlin and is passionate about the transcultural processes of migration, identity and home-making. While writing her M.A. thesis on the international transfer of diversity and urbanisation initiatives at the University of Heidelberg, she also began teaching German to asylum seekers, allowing her to experience the simultaneous potential and exclusion of many newcomers first-hand. As an Ashoka stipendary, Gatea recently moved back to Berlin to co-found SINGA Deutschland, a social start-up that connects refugees and locals by creating opportunities for them to participate in and co-create social, professional and entrepreneurial projects together. SINGA is part of an international network of initiatives that began in France in 2012 and later took root in Morocco, Canada and now Germany. Gatea likes to experiment with the adaptation of “best practices” because she believes in innovation through collaboration.

Berlin’s SINGA Deutschland is a Cities of Migration Good Idea [coming soon].

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Robert Hardt (Toronto, Canada)

President and Chief Executive Officer, Siemens Canada Limited

Robert Hardt has served as President and CEO of Siemens Canada since 2012. Prior to his appointment, Hardt held senior management positions within Siemens Canada since joining in 2007. Trained as an electrical engineer, Hardt began his career with Siemens AG Germany in 1988. Prior coming to Canada in 2007 he was responsible for the global Mining business and later for the global Air Cargo Logistics business at Siemens’ headquarters in Germany.

Hardt is a seasoned engineering expert and is a regular contributor on the manufacturing and technology dialogue in national media and through speaking engagements. He is passionate about fostering the engineering profession and skills education in Canada by building strong collaboration networks between industry and educational institutions.

Hardt is Chair of the Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CGCIC). He is also an active member of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE), The Learning Partnership, International Chief Executives in Canada (Conference Board of Canada) and is on the Advisory Council, Manufacturing, for the Canadian Manufactures & Exporters (CME).

For more than 100 years Siemens Canada has stood for engineering excellence, innovation, quality and reliability. Siemens technology in the fields of electrification, automation and digitalization helps make real what matters to Canadians. From the Atlantic to Pacific oceans, more than 4,800 employees in Canada work together to deliver solutions for sustainable energy, intelligent infrastructure, healthcare, and the future of manufacturing. One of the world’s largest producers of energy-efficient, resource-saving technologies, Siemens is a leading supplier of gas and steam turbines for power generation, a major provider of power transmission solutions and a pioneer in infrastructure solutions and automation, drive and software solutions for industry. The company is also a foremost provider of medical imaging equipment and a leader in laboratory diagnostics. Sales for Siemens Canada in fiscal 2015 (ended September 30), were $3.0 billion CAD. The company has 46 offices and 15 production facilities across Canada.

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Sybille Haussmann (Kreis Düren, Germany)

Head, Migration and Integration, Kreis Düren

Sybille Haussmann is Head of the Office of School, Education and Integration for the county district of Kreis Düren, Germany.

Trained as a social worker, Haussmann began working as a refugee consultant in 1992 for the Protestant Church of Jürich, North-Rhine Westphalia, moving, after 1996, to the district government of Kreis Düren. During her first five years Düren, Haussmann worked on developing the equality strategy for the district government based on Germany’s new Equality Act.

From 2000 to 2005 Haussmann was a member of the Green Party in the Parliament of North-Rhine Westphalia, returning to the district government of Kreis Düren in 2005 to work on its integration strategy. Since that time Haussman has worked on various policies and projects to improve the participation of immigrants. From 2010 to 2015 Haussmann was head of the naturalization service, and since 2015 she has been head of the Office of School, Education and Integration of the district government in Düren.

Haussmann is an active board volunteer with the Protestant Church in Düren. She also volunteers at the Heinrich-Böll-Haus Langenbroich, a former residence of the Böll family, which offers respite to writers world-wide who are persecuted or who are otherwise unable to work creatively – be it for reasons of censorship, civil unrest, or because of their economic situation.

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Jill Helke (Geneva, Switzerland)

Director, International Cooperation and Partnerships, International Organization for Migration

Jill Helke has worked for IOM since April 1999 and is currently Director, International Cooperation and Partnerships, at IOM Headquarters. She worked in the Office of the Director General from 1999-2009 and was Chief of Mission for IOM in Sudan from 2009 to 2012. Before joining IOM she was in the British Foreign Service from 1978 to 1999, serving at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, the British Embassy in China, and the UK Missions to the UN both in New York and Geneva.

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Josh Hjartarson (Toronto, Canada)

Vice President, Public Sector, KPMG

Josh Hjartarson is the Vice President, Public Sector at KPMG and Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto’s School of Public Policy.

He joined KPMG from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, where he was Vice President, Policy & Government Relations. He was also Policy Director at the Mowat Centre, where he helped build one of Canada’s most prolific and respected think tanks. He has emerged as one of Canada’s foremost thought leaders on the pressing policy challenges facing Canada and Ontario.

Josh received a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Toronto in 2005, where he teaches intergovernmental negotiations and government relations. He has written and lectured extensively on Ontario politics and government, public sector transformation, and regulatory reform.

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Samantha Jackson (Hamilton, Canada)

PhD Candidate, McMaster University

Samantha Jackson is a researcher, social innovator, and community activist whose work with the Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge focused on student engagement in refugee resettlement. Prior to working with the RULSC as a program and volunteer coordinator, Jackson produced evidence-based industry and academic research on immigration, women and leadership at the Diversity Institute at the Ted Rogers School of Management. Jackson currently holds a Vanier Scholarship at McMaster University, where her PhD research focuses on global refugee health care policy.

Toronto’s Ryerson Lifeline Syria Challenge is a Cities of Migration Good Idea [coming soon].

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Beatrice Kohlenberg (Toronto, Canada)

Program Coordinator, Professional Immigrant Networks (PINs), TRIEC

Beatrice Kohlenberg is the Program Coordinator for TRIEC’s Professional Immigrant Networks (PINs) program. She has extensive experience in coordinating programs for immigrants and covering all aspects of program development, implementation and evaluation. Before joining TRIEC, Kohlenberg worked with JVS Toronto and the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC). She is also a PINs leader, volunteering her time as a Director of Marketing with the Association of Romanian Engineers in Canada. In this capacity she has been involved with the PINs program for over 5 years.

Kohlenberg holds a Bachelor’s of Engineering from University of Bucharest, Romania, a Master’s Degree in Communication and Culture from Ryerson and York Universities, and is a certified Project Management Professional.

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Orkan Kösemen (Gütersloh, Germany)

Project Manager, International and Education Program, Bertelsmann Stiftung

Dr. Orkan Kösemen is Project Manager and team leader in the Migration Department at the Bertelsmann Stiftung where he is responsible for various projects, including the Leadership-Program for Migrant Organizations, Strategies for Combating Right-Wing Extremism in Europe and the Diversity Monitor. He holds a doctorate in social sciences (political science) which he obtained at Humboldt University in Berlin. His areas of research include migration/integration policies, immigrant associations, participation, right-wing extremism, reform strategies, institutional change and leadership.

In recent years he edited several publications for the Bertelsmann Stiftung, including Implementing Migration Policy Reform: An Outline for Germany (2015), ReformCompass: Managing Immigration, Participation and a Culture of Welcome (2014), Building Bridges: Perspectives from the Immigration Country Germany (2013), Unlocking Germany: Establishing Diversity in Mainstream Society (2012), Who is Part of It?: Sense of Belonging as Prerequisite for Integration (2011), Strategies for Combating Right-Wing Extremism in Europe” (2009) and “Giving Up is Not My Way: Education in the Immigration Society (2008).

Orkan Kösemen is a Cities of Migration thought leader.

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Khalid Koser (Geneva, Switzerland)

Executive Director, Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund

Dr. Khalid Koser MBE is Executive Director of the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF) in Geneva, Switzerland. He is also a Non-Resident Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution, Associate Fellow at Chatham House, Non-Resident Fellow at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, and extraordinary Professor in Conflict, Peace and Security at the University of Maastricht. Dr. Koser is chair of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Migration, and editor of the Journal of Refugee Studies. He was awarded the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to asylum seekers and refugees in the Queen’s 2014 New Years Honours List.

Dr. Koser’s areas of expertise include international migration, refugees, internal displacement, global governance, human security, community engagement and counter-radicalization.

Khalid Koser is a Cities of Migration thought leader.

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Gabriel Lenot (Paris, France)

Operations Manager, Apprenticeship and Internships, Mozaik RH

Gabriel Lenot graduated as a psychologist in 2004. Since then he has worked as a Human Resources professional in various firms (such as Adecco, Apple) mostly in the IT sector. In 2010 he joined Mozaik HR where he is Operations Manager in charge of all projects led by the association.

Mozaik RH is a nonprofit recruitment association working to promote equal opportunities and diversity through the professional placement of young graduates originating from disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Through its work with public and private companies, Mozaik helps bring talented leaders from marginalized social groups to the forefront of French society.

Paris’ MOZAIK RH is a Cities of Migration Good Idea.

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The Honourable John McCallum (Ottawa, Canada)

Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Government of Canada

John McCallum was first elected to the House of Commons in 2000. He was re-elected in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2015. He is currently the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

Mr. McCallum has previously served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, and member of the Standing Committee on Finance. He served as Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions) from January to May 2002. From May 2002 to December 2003, he served as Minister of National Defence and, in 2003, as Minister of Veterans Affairs. In July 2004, he was appointed Minister of National Revenue and Chair of the Expenditure Review Committee by Prime Minister Paul Martin. He recently served as the Critic for Citizenship and Immigration, Multiculturalism, and Seniors.

Before entering politics, Mr. McCallum was Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the Royal Bank of Canada.

Mr. McCallum worked as a professor of economics at McGill University (1987-94), as well as at the Université du Québec à Montréal (1982-87), Simon Fraser University (1978-82), and the University of Manitoba (1976-78).

He is the author or co-author of eight books or monographs, and has written on fiscal and monetary issues, comparative macroeconomic performance of OECD countries, Canada-U.S. economic integration, and other economic issues.

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Tanzeel Merchant (Toronto, Canada)

Director, Partnerships and Consultation, Ontario Growth Secretariat

Tanzeel Merchant is Director, Partnerships and Consultation with the Ontario Growth Secretariat. Prior to his re-appointment to the Government of Ontario, Merchant was the founding Executive Director of the Ryerson City Building Institute, a non-partisan centre focused on urban issues relevant to city regions. From 2009 to 2014, Merchant led the development and implementation of the award-winning Places to Grow initiative at the Province’s Ontario Growth Secretariat. This initiative plans for growth and development in a way that supports economic prosperity, protects the environment and helps communities achieve a high quality of life.

In July 2014, Tanzeel was featured in the Toronto Star as one of 24 Canadians nationally with ideas that would shape the future. He sits on the board of Heritage Toronto and the Friends of the Pan Am Path.

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Simon Morris-Lange (Berlin, Germany)

Deputy Head of Research, Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration (SVR)

Simon Morris-Lange is Deputy Head of Research at the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration (SVR). Before joining SVR, Morris-Lange held positions in science and research consulting and the edutech industry in Germany and the United States. Morris-Lange earned his master’s degree in public policy at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. He was also educated in the United States and Singapore. Morris-Lange writes regularly on educational inequality, cross-border student mobility, and skilled migration.

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Ratna Omidvar (Toronto, Canada)

Executive Director, Global Diversity Exchange

Ratna OmidvarRatna Omidvar is an internationally recognized expert on migration, diversity and inclusion. She came to Canada from Iran in 1981 and her own experiences of displacement, integration and citizen engagement have been the foundation of her work.

Omidvar is the founding Executive Director of the Global Diversity Exchange (GDX) at the Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University. GDX is a think-and-do tank on diversity, migration and inclusion that connects local experience and ideas with global networks. It is dedicated to building a community of international leaders who see prosperity in migration. Previously, Omidvar was the President of Maytree, where she played a lead role in local, national and international efforts to promote the integration of immigrants.

Omidvar is Chair of Lifeline Syria, a citizen led program that is supporting residents of Toronto to privately sponsor 1,000 Syrian refugees and bring them to the region over the next two years. She is also a Director of the Centre for Mental Health and Addiction (CAMH), The Environics Institute, and Samara.

Omidvar is the co-author of the newly released book Flight and Freedom: Stories of Escape to Canada (2015) and co-editor of Five Good Ideas: Practical Strategies for Non-Profit Success (2011). She received an Honorary Degree, Doctor of Laws, York University in 2012.

Omidvar was appointed to the Order of Ontario in 2005 and became a Member of the Order of Canada in 2011, with both honours recognizing her advocacy work on behalf of immigrants and devotion to reducing inequality in Canada. In 2010, Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, profiled her as its Nation Builder of the Decade for Citizenship. In 2014, she received the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in recognition of her contribution to the advancement of German-Canadian relations. In 2015 Omidvar was named to the inaugural Global Diversity List sponsored by The Economist magazine, as one of the Top 10 Diversity Champions worldwide.

Ratna Omidvar is a Cities of Migration thought leader.

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Rachel Peric (Atlanta, USA)

Deputy Director, Welcoming America

Rachel PericRachel Peric is the Deputy Director of Welcoming America, where she works to create more prosperous communities where all individuals – including immigrants – have the opportunity to participate and thrive. Prior to Welcoming America, she served as Executive Director of the Montgomery Coalition for Adult English Literacy (MCAEL), a capacity building and advocacy organization supporting adult English and literacy programs in suburban Washington, DC. Her career includes work spanning a number of community building issues at the local and international level, including serving as a regional director with the United Way of the National Capital Area and managing international development programs with a private consulting firm, Management Systems International (MSI).

The granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, Peric also serves on the board of Art and Remembrance, a nonprofit devoted to using art and personal narrative to recognize individual courage and resilience. Peric holds a BA in International Studies from Johns Hopkins University and a Masters in Public Management from the University of Maryland.

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Bob Ramsay (Toronto, Canada)

President, Ramsay Inc. and Founder, RamsayTalks

Bob Ramsay is a long-time communications consultant in Toronto and a regular contributor to the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and Huffington Post. The speaker series he hosts, RamsayTalks, is one of Canada’s leading podiums for influential thinkers from around the world.

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Shaama Saggar-Malik (London, UK)

Director, DiPA – Diversity in Public Appointments

Shaama Saggar-Malik is the founder and Director of DiPA, Diversity and Inclusion in Public Appointments, London, England, whose focus is to improve the diversity of representation in public, non-executive appointments and help grow future potential for other types of public life and community leadership roles. Saggar-Malik is a highly experienced coach and organization and executive development consultant working with Boards and senior executives to improve strategic and leadership performance and impact. Her national and international clients include an extensive range of public, private and third sector organizations. DIPA was the UK partner in a recent 2 year multi-European Learning Exchange project funded by the European Union, to promote diversity and inclusion in leadership.

Shaama Saggar-Malik is a DiverseCity onBoard champion, and a member of its international community of practice.

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Myer Siemiatycki (Toronto, Canada)

Professor of Politics and Public Administration, Ryerson University

Myer Siemiatycki is Professor of Politics and Public Administration at Ryerson University. Myer is the founding past Director of Ryerson’s Interdisciplinary MA Program in Immigration and Settlement Studies. His research and publications span the fields of immigration, urban and labour studies. Select achievements include the Distinguished Educator Award, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (1992); Ryerson Popular Professor Citation, Maclean’s Guide to Canadian Universities (2003-2006); Ryerson University Faculty Service Award and Research Domain Leader, the Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration & Settlement from 2001 to 2006. In 2012, Siemiatycki was appointed as the first Jack Layton Chair, leading the inaugural Jack Layton Book Club and the Jack Layton School for Youth Leadership.

Myer Siemiatycki is a Cities of Migration thought leader.

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Audrey Singer (Washington, USA)

Senior Fellow of the Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institution

Audrey Singer is a senior fellow at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program. Her areas of expertise include demography, U.S. immigration policy and trends, immigrant integration, and urban and metropolitan change. She has written extensively on metropolitan immigrant trends, immigrant incorporation in the suburbs, and undocumented migration. Singer earned a Ph.D. in sociology, with a specialization in demography, from the University of Texas at Austin. She has an M.A. in sociology also from the University of Texas at Austin and a B.A. in sociology from Temple University. She conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Chicago.

Audrey Singer is a Cities of Migration thought leader.

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Wolfgang Spelthahn (Kreis Düren, Germany)

Landrat (County Commissioner), Kreis Düren

Landrat Wolfgang Spelthahn is the County Commissioner for the district of Kreis Düren, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. He was re-elected into Office on September 13, 2015, by the citizens of Düren County on the basis of majority voting. His legislative term will end in 2020.

Spelthahn writes: “On October 1, 1999, I took office as County Commissioner of Düren County. Following my re-election in both 2004 and 2009, the citizens of Düren County voted for me to stay in office for a fourth period in 2015. In my role as County Commissioner I have two different tasks: On the one hand, I serve as the head of administration and the representative for Düren County. On the other hand, I am the leader of the Düren County Police Department on behalf of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.”

Wolfgang Spelthahn was born in Jülich in 1963 and did his military service with the German Air Force in Essen and Düren. He studied law in Bonn, worked as a law clerk for different administrations, and was employed as an economic lawyer and business consultant. He serves as a consultant to the European Commission for Economic and Financial Affairs. He has served as the elected County Commissioner of Düren County since 1999.

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John Stackhouse (Toronto, Canada)

Senior Vice-President, Office of the CEO, RBC Royal Bank

John Stackhouse is a Senior Fellow at the C.D. Howe Institute and Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. As Senior Vice President in the Office of the CEO at RBC he advises the executive leadership team and the Board of Directors on global economic, business, political and social trends and provides insights on how these are affecting RBC, its clients, and society at large.

A noted speaker, moderator and writer on national affairs, with a focus on Canada’s role in the world, Stackhouse has championed an array of issues including international competitiveness, education reform, digital innovation, immigration and corporate governance.

Stackhouse offers a unique international perspective gained from over 30 years as an accomplished journalist Having interviewed a range of prominent world leaders and figures, including Vladimir Putin, Kofi Annan, George W. Bush, the Aga Khan, Al Gore, Alan Greenspan, Bono, and Benazir Bhutto, Stackhouse possesses significant insights on national and international affairs. As Editor-in-Chief of The Globe and Mail from 2009 to 2014, Stackhouse led the news organization’s transformation through the launch of a paid website, mobile apps and a historic redesign of the newspaper. Previously Stackhouse held terms as Editor of the Report on Business section, as well as The Globe’s National Editor, Foreign Editor, Correspondent-at-Large and Foreign Correspondent. He has also written for the Report on Business Magazine, the Financial Times, London Free Press, and The Toronto Star.

Stackhouse has won five National Newspaper Awards, a National Magazine Award and an Amnesty International Award for human rights reporting. He has authored three books: Out of Poverty: And Into Something More Comfortable; Timbit Nation: A Hitchhikers Guide to Canada; and, most recently, Mass Disruption: Thirty Years on the Front Lines of a Media Revolution. He was also a contributing author to The Bre-X Fraud, Travels with My Laptop, and Foreign Correspondent: Fifty Years of Reporting South Asia.

In the community, John serves on the Board of Directors for World Literacy Canada and Saint Elizabeth Health Care.

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Mary Stagaman (Cincinnati, USA)

Vice President of Regional Initiatives and Executive Director of Agenda 360, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber

Mary Stagaman is vice president for regional initiatives for the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. Through her leadership, the chamber has become a trusted source for reliable data about the region’s economic progress and has engaged more than 150 organizations in a groundbreaking diversity and inclusion initiative, Diverse by DesignTM.

Diverse by Design’s primary goals are to increase the diversity of the region’s skilled talent pool and promote retention by creating a more welcoming community. Currently, Stagaman is also leading a mayoral initiative to create a Center for New Cincinnatians, creating a portal for integration of immigrants into the life of the region.

Previously, Stagaman was the chief marketing officer and community liaison at the University of Cincinnati, serving in a time of unprecedented growth and reputation building for UC. Stagaman is a frequent speaker on the topic of collective impact, a powerful framework for transformative change employed by Agenda 360 and its partners.

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Mihailo Temali (Saint Paul, USA)

Executive Director, Neighborhood Development Center

Mihailo Temali is Founder and President of the Neighborhood Development Center. In partnership with many community groups, NDC has trained 4,500 low-income entrepreneurs since 1993, in a 20-week course. 500 are in business today, 82% owners of color. NDC is a CDFI, SBA and Reba-Free lender, focusing on start-up and growing inner-city businesses, and provides 5000 hours of business assistance annually. NDC is co-owner, developer and manager of six business incubators including Midtown Global Market, Mercado Central and Frogtown Square. Temali is the author of “Community Economic Development Handbook,” and was a Bush Fellow in Boston and Santiago, Chile.

Saint Paul’s Neighborhood Development Center is a Cities of Migration Good Idea.

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John Tory (Toronto, Canada)

Mayor of Toronto

John Tory is the 65th Mayor of Toronto.

Born and raised in Toronto, Mayor Tory has spent his career promoting and giving back to the city he loves.

As a lawyer, talk show host, businessman, Member of Provincial Parliament and Leader of the Official Opposition at Queen’s Park, and finally as Mayor, he has long believed that the diversity of Toronto is its strength. As Mayor, John’s focus will be on bringing the city together as One Toronto.

The early years of Mayor Tory’s career were spent practicing law in Toronto, and he was later elected as a managing partner of one of Canada’s biggest law firms. In the 1980’s he served as Principal Secretary to Premier Bill Davis and as Associate Secretary of the Ontario Cabinet. In September 2004, Mayor Tory was elected leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. In 2005, as PC Party Leader, Mayor Tory would serve as the Leader of the Official Opposition at Queen’s Park.

Mayor Tory has an extensive background in volunteer community service. He served as volunteer Chairman and Commissioner of the Canadian Football League and has chaired fundraising campaigns for St. Michael’s Hospital and the United Way. He has also held leadership positions in a wide range of charitable organizations ranging from Canadian Paraplegic Association, Crimestoppers, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto Association for Community Living, the United Way, and the Women’s Legal Education & Action Fund (LEAF).

Mayor Tory’s community work has been widely recognized. Mayor Tory was a founding Board Member and Chair of the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance. He is a recipient of both the Paul Harris and Mel Osborne Awards from the Rotary and Kiwanis organizations respectively and was named a Life Member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board. He is also the recipient of an African Canadian Achievement Award and the Harry Jerome Award. Mayor Tory was recently awarded the Order of Ontario for being a “consummate champion for the Greater Toronto Region.”

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Bill Walters (Vancouver, Canada)

Executive Director, Laurier Institution

Bill Walters is currently the Project Lead for DiverseCity onBoard – Metro Vancouver, on behalf of The Laurier Institution. In his over 30-year career as a senior executive in provincial government and the non-profit sector, Bill accumulated extensive experience working with multiple stakeholders in the areas of immigrant settlement and multiculturalism. Working in the public sector he had responsibilities for the selection of hundreds of employees, as well as supporting numerous advisory councils. Bill has been highly engaged with non-profit organizations as an Executive Director and as a board member, and recently spent two years on an elections committee for a large credit union which involved the screening of candidates for the Board of Directors. In his spare time, Bill is an avid musician and performs with several jazz and concert ensembles.

DiverseCity onBoard is a Cities of Migration Good Idea. Vancouver’s Laurier Institution is a DiverseCity onBoard national partner.

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Angela White (Toronto, Canada)

Segment Manager and Strategy Implementation, Small Business, RBC Royal Bank

As Manager of Strategy Implementation Small Business, Angela White’s primary responsibility is to assess the business and technology needs of small businesses, researching emerging trends and best practices to identify growth opportunities for both the client and RBC.

Collaborating with internal and external partners to service the needs of small business, White has led a number of initiatives including the development of tools to increase the capability of small business advisors, fostering third party relationships to deliver value-add services and access to resources and identifying strategic business segments with unique needs, for example, those of newcomers starting their first business in Canada.

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Yuen Pau Woo (Vancouver, Canada)

President, HQ Vancouver

Yuen Pau Woo has over 25 years experience in strategy and policy for business, government and not-for-profit organizations. He is widely recognized as a leading thinker on Asian economic issues and Canada-Asia relations.

Having completed in August 2014 his maximum three terms as President and CEO, Woo continues his association with the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada as Distinguished East Asia Fellow. He is also Senior Fellow in Public Policy at the Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia, and Senior Resident Fellow at the Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University. In March 2015, he was appointed President of HQ Vancouver, a public-private partnership that promotes British Columbia as a location for head office functions of international companies. He is also co-founder and President of China Global: The Vancouver Society for Promotion of Chinese Art and Culture, which was responsible for bringing a major exhibition of the Palace Museum (Beijing) to the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2014.

Woo has previously worked as an Economist for the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation. He has served as an advisor/consultant to the World Bank, the OECD, the Asian Development Bank, APEC, and various government agencies in Northeast and Southeast Asia. For ten years, he was Canada’s representative on the Standing Committee of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC). He was the founding chair of PECC’s State of the Region Report, the Council’s flagship annual report on Asia Pacific regional cooperation. Woo has published on international trade and investment issues, including the regulation of state-owned investment, trade facilitation, and regional economic integration. His 2015 essay on The Future of Foreign Policy Think Tanks in Canada won the Marcel Cadieux distinguished writing award for best article on Canadian foreign policy published in International Journal.

Yuen Pau Woo is chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Vancouver Academy of Music and a member of the board of directors of the Public Policy Forum and the Ontario Brain Institute. He is also on the Global Council of the Asia Society and the Advisory Boards of the Mosaic Institute, the Canadian Ditchley Foundation, and Global Diversity Exchange at Ryerson University. In 2012, he was honoured with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award for his contributions to Canada-Asia relations. In addition to his  research, teaching, and cultural promotion activities, Woo provides advisory services on business and public policy issues in the Asia Pacific region.

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