Educators in Emergencies? University Responses to Humanitarian Crises

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Senate and Board Chambers, Wilfrid Laurier University

75 University Avenue West

Waterloo, ON N2L 3C5


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How have Canadian and American universities responded to the Syrian refugee crisis? What are the key opportunities and challenges that humanitarianism poses for universities?

Students and administrators from Laurier and other universities, and local NGOs, will come together on Thursday March 5th to tackle these questions.

The desired outcome for this conference is recommendations for future partnerships between NGOs and Universities and a research agenda to study the effectiveness of university responses to the Syrian refugee crisis.

Schedule for Panels and Dialogue

Located in the Senate & Board Chambers, Wilfrid Laurier University

8:00 AM Registration

8:30 AM Welcome and Overview of the Conference

8:45 AM - 9:55 AM Canadian Universities and the Syrian Refugee Crisis

10:00 AM -11:00 AM American Universities and the Syrian Refugee Crisis

11:00 AM -11:20 AM Networking Break

11:20 AM-12:20 PM Syrian Voices: What do Students Have to Say?

12:20 PM -1:30 PM Open Lunch prepared by Syrian members of the Kitchener-Waterloo community. Lunch will be nut-free, and all halal. Gluten-free options will also be available.

Featuring a musical performance by Dawud Wharnsby

For over three decades, Canadian born songwriter and artisan Dawud Wharnsby has worked internationally to bridge nations and tribes through education and the arts. In time-honoured, folk-music tradition, his songs have taken on lives of their own ~ ringing out globally in primary schools, universities, places of worship, rallies and conventions. In addition to his fifteen solo albums, Dawud tours and records with the interfaith trio Abraham Jam and is counted among one of the world’s 500 Most Influential Muslims by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre (Jordan). His work supports an endowment for educational initiatives in northern Pakistan and has inspired a generation of educators, musicians, poets, artists and professionals. In his hometown of Kitchener-Waterloo, Dawud is a frequent collaborator with the Inshallah Singers and co-leader of Inshallah Kids & Families, community-music projects focusing on songs of peace and justice. Learn more here:

1:30-2:30 PM Do Students Make a Difference? Opportunities and Challenges for Universities

2:45-3:45 PM Simultaneous Panels:

  1. Mental Wellness: Supporting Students from Countries in Conflict

  2. Student Leadership: Experiential Learning and Humanitarian Action

3:50 - 4:30 PM Facilitated Dialogue: Participants and panelists will explore “next steps” for how universities can respond to humanitarian crises

4:45 - 5:30 PM Photo Exhibit "Transcending Borders, Transforming Identities?" and Reception at the Laurier Library

Interested in attending The Honourable Bob Rae's talk at 7:00 p.m. on "Universities and the Moral Obligation for Humanitarian Action: The Rohingya of Myanmar"? Register on Eventbrite:


Wilfrid Laurier University is located at 75 University Ave. W., Waterloo, ON N2L 3C5. If you’re visiting the university for the day, there are four pay-and-display parking lots (lots 4, 10, 12, and 20) available from 7 am to 11pm. Pay-and-display machines are located at the entrances to lots 10 and 20. The cost is $3 per hour or $10 per day, and you can pay with quarters, loonies, toonies, or credit card.

Accessible parking spaces are available in numerous visitor parking locations throughout campus. Please view Laurier’s Laurier’s Waterloo campus parking map for these locations. We recommend parking in either Lot 10 or 42 if you are coming to the conference on March 5, as these locations are closest to the Senate & Board Chambers where the day portion of the conference will be held. If you are coming to The Hon. Bob Rae’s keynote address at Lazaridis Hall in the evening of March 5, we recommend parking in Lot 32 (Lazaridis Hall). For more information on accessible parking, please see Laurier’s Accessible Parking website.

For more information on parking, please see Laurier’s Parking website or view Laurier’s Waterloo campus parking map.


If you have any questions about the conference, or require an accommodation, please contact us at

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Senate and Board Chambers, Wilfrid Laurier University

75 University Avenue West

Waterloo, ON N2L 3C5


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