Webinar: Family Matters: Local Strategies for Integrating Immigrant and Refugee Families

May 17, 2017

Immigration is a family affair. National policy may define your status, but the experience of arrival and integration, especially in the case of families, is felt locally. In Spain, the City of Barcelona makes family reunification a local priority; in Canada, cities like Toronto have welcomed hundreds of refugee families through citizen-led responses to Canada’s  national refugee sponsorship program. What works?  Successful integration means navigating the complexity of new cultural, social, educational and economic systems for the whole family, including the young and old. How can city and community stakeholders ensure a promising future for every member of the newcomer family?

Learn how innovative initiatives in Toronto and Barcelona are putting family first and welcoming refugee and reunified immigrant families based on the first principles of living together – building relationships, support, trust and a community of welcome – while engaging private citizens and public institutions as active agents of integration.

Webinar Video

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Featured Good Ideas

  • In Barcelona, Barcelona City Council’s Immigration and Interculturality office started the New Families in Barcelona program in 2007. It provides orientation and support to families before, during and after the process of family reunification with different specialized programs that address the unique challenge for families who have experienced years of separation, including: re-establishing relationships with teenage children and spouses; reunified women; integrating youth into schools.
  • In Toronto, the Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge (RULSC) was launched in July 2015 with the goal of supporting private refugee family resettlement by engaging community groups of students, colleges and universities. The RULSC was Canada’s first ever university-led refugee sponsorship organization that incorporates the needs of newcomer Syrian refugee families, students, and private citizens within Canada’s private sponsorship program.


Tamara Sabarini, Project Coordinator, Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge (Toronto, Canada)

Tamara is the Project Coordinator of the Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge (RULSC). In her role, she supports RULSC sponsorship groups through the private refugee sponsorship process and manages student experiential learning opportunities within the program. Tamara has a background in the immigration and not-for-profit sector, working at organizations such as COSTI Immigrant Services and the Toronto Palestine Film Festival. Tamara graduated from Ryerson University with a Masters of Arts in Immigration and Settlement Studies, where her research explored the formation of refugee identity within the context of refugee camps. She completed her undergraduate studies in Political Science at Mcgill University and the University of Toronto.

Ramon Sanahuja, Director of Migrants Attention and Welcoming Policies, City of Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain)

Since August 2015, Ramon has been the Director of Migrants Attention and Welcoming policies of the City of Barcelona. He is currently overseeing the Nausica program for asylum seekers in Barcelona. Previously, he was the Director of Social Innovation in the Municipality of Barcelona. He was responsible for implementing the Vincles Project, winner of the 2014 Mayor’s award of the Bloomberg Philanthropies. Ramon is a member and former Chairman of the Migration working group of Eurocites. While he was the Director of Immigration and Interculturality, he was in charge of implementing the Anti-rumor strategy of Barcelona. He was also responsible for the development of Barcelona’s Intercultural plan. Between 2005-2009, he was the Director of the Immigration Department of the Barcelona’s City Council which promoted Barcelona’s Local Immigration Plan, the Immigration Hosting policies, and was responsible for creating the “New families” family reunification program.

Technical Requirements

No cost to participate. You will need a computer with internet access and speakers.  Pre-test System Requirements.  Adobe Connect requires the Flash Player plugin, download version 13.0 or above to run.

  • Inquiries: citiesofmigration@ryerson.ca
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