Migration, the City and the University: WC2 Opening Plenary

August 13, 2018

August 13, 2018, Toronto. The WC2 opening plenary event, “Migration, the City and the University,” highlights three key themes: the impact of the use of language surrounding migration, the reality of policies in practice, and migration seen through a Canadian lens.

Watch keynote addresses by internationally acclaimed experts, Senator Ratna Omidvar and John Ralston Saul, followed by a moderated Q&A session led by distinguished journalist Haroon Siddiqui.



“Toronto is a magnet for migrants from around the world,” says Anver Saloojee, Assistant Vice President (AVP) International at Ryerson University.“The role of the city, and the role of the university, in being responsive to the needs of diverse communities—and particularly migrant communities—is very important to discuss.”

Hosted by Ryerson University, the opening plenary event  is part of this year’s WC2 Toronto 2018 Symposium (August 12-17), an international conference on urban issues that brings scholars and researchers from ten universities to Ryerson for an international forum on the theme of “Migration, the City and the University,” focusing on universities’ social responsibility to their surrounding communities.

The WC2 (World Cities World Class University) network is a collective of top universities from major world cities with a shared interest in the challenges and opportunities of urban areas.


The Honourable Ratna Omidvar, C.M., O.Ont., Senator for Ontario, The Senate of Canada, is an internationally recognized voice on migration, diversity and inclusion. In April 2016, Ms. Omidvar was appointed to the Senate of Canada as an independent Senator representing Ontario. Senator Omidvar is the founding Executive Director at the Global Diversity Exchange (GDX), Ryerson University. She serves as a Councillor on the World Refugee Council and is also a director at the Environics Institute, and Samara Canada and is the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council’s Chair Emerita. Senator Omidvar was appointed to the Order of Ontario in 2005 and became a Member of the Order of Canada in 2011, both honours recognizing her advocacy work on behalf of immigrants and devotion to reducing inequality in Canada. She is the co-author of the book Flight and Freedom: Stories of Escape to Canada (2015).

John Ralston Saul is an award winning essayist and novelist. His fourteen works have been translated into twenty-eight languages in thirty-seven countries. Declared a “prophet” by Time magazine, Saul has received many awards and prizes, including Chile’s Pablo Neruda Medal. He is the co-Founder and co-Chair of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship and 6 Degrees, the annual global forum on citizenship and immigration. He is President Emeritus of PEN International, a global organization dedicated to freedom of expression. In his book, The Collapse of Globalism, Saul predicted the 2007 global financial crisis and the current surge of populism. More recently, his writings on immigration and citizenship are increasingly positioning him as one of the leading global voices on the subject.

Haroon Siddiqui is Editorial Page Editor Emeritus of the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest newspaper, and since 2016 Distinguished Visiting Professor at Ryerson University. He has reported or supervised coverage of Canada for 50 years, and also reported from nearly 50 countries. He’s a recipient of the Order of Canada, the nation’s highest civilian honor; the Order of Ontario; the National Press Club’s UNESCO Award; four citations of the National Newspaper Awards; and numerous other honors.

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