Activists-in-Exile: Professor John Packer leads a workshop to give voice to the politically persecuted

Faculty of Law - Common Law Section

By Common Law

Communication, Faculty of Law

John Packer
Activists-in-Exile are those who are forced to flee their country of origin for fear of persecution owing to their activism. While research on Activists-in-Exile (or AiEs) is still in an emergent phase, Professor John Packer and his colleagues are seeking to open up a new avenue of understanding on the topic and develop options to support AiEs.

Recently, Professor Packer and his co-applicants received a SSHRC Connection Grant in support of a workshop that he will lead alongside Professor Nadia Abu-Zahra, Dr. Philip Leech-Ngo, Dr. Ghuna Bdiwi (an Alex Trebek Post-Doctoral Fellow in Law) and Dr. Kawkab Alwadeai to bring together AiEs from across Canada, as well as scholars, policymakers and civil society organizations. Their pilot project, entitled "Voices: Activists in Exile", has engaged with twelve activists who are working from Canada to improve the situation in their countries of origin. The proposed workshop will aim to develop our shared understanding of AiEs as a discreet category of individuals whose experiences, knowledge and contributions to both their country-of-origin and Canadian society are not adequately recognized under existing laws, policies, or by most academic literature on this topic. Distinctively, their work in their countries of origin does not end with their exile, but continues and sometimes takes new forms and added importance. The workshop will be the first step in forging a community of mutual support and idea-sharing among AiEs and other interested groups, sharing experiences and understandings of current policies and practices in a rapidly evolving space.

The workshop is set to take place from September 28-30, 2022.  On the evening of Wednesday, September 28, there will be a public screening of the documentary film The Cost of Freedom, held at 5:30 p.m. at the Alex Trebek Alumni Hall, followed by a discussion with the filmmaker, James Cullingham, and featured journalist-in-exile, Luis Horacio Nájera, from Mexico.

SSHRC Connection Grants support events and outreach activities geared toward short-term, targeted knowledge mobilization initiatives. These events and activities represent opportunities to exchange knowledge and to engage with participants on research issues of value to them.

Congratulations to Professor Packer and his colleagues for their initiative and upcoming workshop!