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Research Team

Toronto Metropolitan University Team

Dr. Harald Bauder is a Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies. Dr. Bauder is also the founding Director (2011-2015) of the Ryerson Centre for Immigration and Settlement (RCIS). He received a PhD in Geography in 1998 from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Canada, and MA and BA degrees in Geography and Urban Studies from Wayne State University, Detroit, USA. In 2016, Dr. Bauder received the Sarwan Sahota Distinguished Scholar Award, 2016, which is Ryerson University’s highest annual research award, and in 2015, he received the Konrad Adenauer Research Award, recognizing his life-time contribution to the academic and cultural exchange between the Federal Republic of Germany and Canada. He has published several books, dozens of popular and academic articles on issues of immigration.

Dr. Lujan is a social scientist and an educator who specializes in immigration research and community development. As an experienced researcher, Dr. Lujan has participated in numerous research projects and teaches undergraduate courses in social research.  Dr. Lujan has a multidisciplinary academic background and holds a PhD in Policy Studies from Ryerson University, an M.A. in History from Queen’s University, a B.Ed. from the University of Ottawa, and a B.A. in History from the University of Toronto.

Bridget Collrin is a PhD student in the immigration, settlement, and diaspora stream of the Policy Studies program at Toronto Metropolitan University. She holds a dual Master of Arts in Political Science from Carleton University, Ottawa and the University of Lucerne, Switzerland where she developed a research interest in immigration and integration policies in both respective countries. Her past research has examined topics on the construction of discourse on immigration in multilingual democracies, and on the comparative study of integration policies at the municipal level. Bridget’s professional experience working with local resettlement organizations has also greatly shaped her current research interest in exploring how migrant solidarity and hospitality practices are helping to support newcomers in urban centers across Canada and abroad.

Nick Dreher (he/him) is a PhD student in the migration, settlement and diaspora stream of the Policy Studies program and a recipient of the CERC doctoral fellowship in Migration and Integration. Nick’s research interests focus on social inclusion and belonging among forced migrants and refugees in multicultural urban settings.  He has worked in non-profit settings in a variety of roles supporting migrants and refugees in South Africa, Uganda and several cities in the United States. He holds a B.A. in International Studies from American University and an M.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Oregon.

Rachael Gustave (she/her) is an MA student in the Immigration and Settlement Studies (ISS) program at TMU. With an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Political Science and Equity Studies from the University of Toronto, she focused her research interests on urban governance, social inequality, and diaspora studies. Led by a passion for community and social justice, she has led various government and university-funded projects aimed to address community needs. Currently, her research includes migration policy related to irregular and precarious migrants, newcomer integration, and urban solidarity

Jessica Jung (she/her) is the coordinator of the Toronto Metropolitan Centre for Immigration and Settlment (TMCIS). Jessica is a graduate from the Masters Program in Immigration and Settlement Studies at TMU.  During her Masters, Jessica focused on sanctuary city policies and practices in mid-sized cities in Ontario. She received her HBA from the University of Toronto with a major in Diaspora and Transnational Studies and minors in Linguistics and Canadian Studies. She is interested in the challenges of newcomer settlement and integration in small and mid-sized cities in Canada and is passionate about fostering diversity and inclusion in demographically homogeneous spaces. 

Project Affiliates

Khangelani Moyo (PhD) is a Social Science and Urban Studies Research Specialist with academic training in Sociology, Urban Studies, Anthropology and Migration Studies. He has over 10 years’ experience in conducting research and training and has published scholarly work in peer reviewed international journal publications in the fields of urban studies, migration, and refugee studies. His research interests include Migration Management, Refugee Governance, Migrant Transnationalism and Refugee Integration in the Global South and Global North Contexts

He is a visiting fellow (September – December 2021) at the University of Freiburg’s Africa Centre for Transregional Research (ACT) where he is doing research focusing on refugee integration in the city of Freiburg, Germany.

Dr. Elias Steinhilper is a political sociologist with a particular interest in migration, political conflict, civil society, and social movements. He obtained a PhD in political science and sociology from Scuola Normale Superiore in Florence and currently works as a postdoctoral researcher at the German Centre for Integration and Migration Research (DeZIM) in Berlin. His work has been published in the journals Sociology, Social Movement Studies, International Migration, Social Inclusion and in the monograph “Migrant Protest: Interactive Dynamics in Precarious Mobilizations” (Amsterdam University Press, 2021).

Janina Stürner-Siovitz is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, where she has completed her PhD in Political Science. Interested in migration governance in Africa, Europe and at the global level, she explores urban migration governance in African intermediary cities in cooperation with research partners from Africa and Europe. She has also conducted research on multi-stakeholder interactions and city diplomacy in the development of the Global Compacts for Migration and Refugees as well as in EU policy-making. As a policy-oriented researcher she has developed studies, workshops and policy papers on behalf of organizations such as the European Commission, the German Federal Foreign Office, the Mediterranean City-to-City Migration Project (MC2CM) and various foundations. She is a peer reviewer for the Knowledge Platform of the UN Network on Migration and a Visiting Fellow of the German Marshall Fund.

Tyler Correia is a PhD Candidate at York University Canada’s Social and Political Thought Program (SPTH). Through his work, Tyler explores urban migrant-rights activisms (focusing on sanctuary cities, solidarity and No Borders politics) in their capacity to reconceptualize global institutional frameworks based on principles of hospitality. Likewise, his work is motivated by explorations of the writings of Jacques Derrida and his interlocutors—particularly his organizing around critical education and cities of refuge. Tyler is completing a dissertation on urban migration politics in response to the globalization of the nation-state. He is also pursuing a graduate diploma at York’s Centre for Refugee Studies (CRS).

Afag Javadova is a PhD candidate in Policy Studies program, Immigration, Settlement and Diaspora Policies stream at TMU. Her background spans a diverse range of disciplines, including migration, human rights, sociology, and languages. She received her MA degree in Global Citizenship, Identities and Human Rights from the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom, and MA and BA degrees in English from Azerbaijan University of Languages. Her current research work is focused on political incorporation of immigrants and urban citizenship. Prior to starting her doctorate, Afag served as a policy advisor for the U.S. Department of State. More recently, she has worked as a Graduate Teaching and Research Assistant for Ryerson University and an Integration Program Officer for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

Janika Kuge (she/her) is currently working on her PhD project in Political Geography at the University of Freiburg, Germany. This project focuses on conflicts on citizenship and belonging through the example of Sanctuary Cities in the US. She is particularly interested in the nexus of state, citizenship and migration, in geographies of justice and the complex notion of culture and difference. Bringing forward a critical understanding of geographical knowledge in these categories is the driver of her scholarly but also her activist engagement in the international movement of solidarity cities. Her background is interdisciplinary as she holds a state degree in geography, German language studies and philosophy.

Gülce Safak Özdemir is a PhD Candidate at the Political and Social Sciences Department, Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona, Spain). Her dissertation highlights local policies and civil society practices towards irregular/undocumented migrants in 13 European cities. She has a strong interest in comparative politics. Previously, she worked as a Research Assistant for the Euro-Mediterranean Research Network on Migration to conduct comparative analysis for Mediterranean cities in terms of migration. Currently, she is a consultant at the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research for the project ‘Addressing group-based inequalities’ to support the project team in building a database of affirmative action policies worldwide. She is also a Teaching Assistant of “Comparative Politics and Democratization” in the Master's in International Relations Program of the Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals. 

Simon Sperling is a Research Associate at the Chair of "Migration and Society" at the University of Osnabrück and a member of the Institute for “Migration Research and Intercultural Studies” (IMIS). In his PhD project he analyzes how different forms of social prognosis affect migration politics, focusing especially on the German legal concept ‘Bleibeperspektive’. Simon has studied Political Science at the Bavarian School of Public Policy (Dipl. sc. pol. Univ.) and Social Work (BA) at the KSFH University of Applied Science in Munich. He studied as a doctoral candidate in the PhD program “Boundary Formations in Migration Societies” and was an associated member at the graduate program “The Production of Migration” (Osnabrück). He is also part of the “Network for critical migration and border regime research” (kritnet).

Dr. Benjamin Bruce holds a PhD in Political Science and International Relations from Sciences Po Paris and is Conacyt Research Fellow at El Colegio de la Frontera Norte (El Colef) in Monterrey, Mexico. His primary research interests are migration, diasporas, foreign policy, and transnational religious movements. He is a member of the Mexican National System of Researchers and author of Governing Islam Abroad: Turkish and Moroccan Muslims in Western Europe (Palgrave, 2019), and is currently Primary Investigator for the Conacyt-SEP Project “Sanctuary Cities as Emerging Borders: Transnational Dynamics and Lived Spaces of Undocumented Mexicans in the United States.”

Rasha Arous works closely on issues of urban displacement and development. She had conducted extensive research on Cairo as a place of Refuge. She rolled out an urban development strategy for UNHCR and managed a portfolio on Urban development in refugee hosting areas that yielded an array of participative and community-based projects. Through that, she tested closely questions of housing, urban form and governance with refugees’ everyday life and experiences. She also worked on network analysis and approaches to community empowerment for the diverse refugee communities in Egypt. Her current doctoral research is concerned with the link between culture and heritage specifically with people’s connection to the cities’ they move to and how they develop feelings of belonging.

Ayesha Umme-Jihad is a researcher and a student - currently completing her Ph.D. in Immigration Policy at Toronto Metropolitan University while also working as a Manager of User Experience Research at Sonnet Insurance.

At work, Ayesha advocates for human-centered design and acts as a translator between users and product teams that develop technology in insurtech and fintech. More importantly, Ayesha idetifies as a critical race scholar - researching and writing about critical multiculturalism policy, white supremacy, anti-colonialism and conducting critical analyses of reconciliation and Indigenous-Crown relations in Canada. Her dissertation work focuses on immigrant settlerhood and solidarity with Indigenous sovereignty.

Dr. Stefan Rother is a senior researcher at the Arnold-Bergstraesser-Institute for socio-cultural research, University of Freiburg, Germany. From 2021 to 2023 he acts as Professor pro tempore for migration, flight and social mobility at the Bundeswehr University Munich. His research focus is on international migration, global governance, social movements, regional integration and migrant self-organizing in “global cities” such as Hong Kong. 

He has conducted extensive fieldwork in Southeast Asia as well as participant observation at global governance fora and civil society parallel and counter-events at the UN, ILO, ASEAN and WTO-level as well as the GFMD and its Mayors Mechanism.

Dr. Laura Madokoro is a historian and Associate Professor in the Department of History at Carleton University. Her work focuses on the history of migration, refuge, and race. She is the author of Elusive Refuge: Chinese Migrants in the Cold War (Harvard University Press, 2016). Her current research focuses on the history of sanctuary in urban contexts, and the relationship between sanctuary and settler colonialism. She is co-director of the journal Histoire Sociale / Social History, a member of the editorial collective at (external link) 

Dr. Raffaele Bazurli is a researcher and teaching associate at the School of Politics and International Relations of Queen Mary, University of London. He has been recently awarded the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship, funded by UK Research and Innovation, for the project Sanctuary Policies for Irregular Migrants in European Cities (SPIMEC). His research focuses on urban governance and politics, immigrant welfare and asylum, and social movements. More information at: (external link) 

Dr. Ammar A. Malik is Senior Research Scientist at AidData, where he leads the Chinese Development Finance Program. His team develops pioneering methods, such as the Tracking Underreported Financial Flows (TUFF) methodology, to track and analyze underreported financial flows from non-traditional donors to developing countries.Prior to joining AidData, Dr. Malik was Director of Research at Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD), a research initiative at Harvard Kennedy School, where he led research-policy collaborations in the Middle East region by deploying evidence-based insights and training to improve public policies and leadership. Dr. Malik obtained his PhD in Public Policy from George Mason University, MA in Public Affairs from Institut d’Etudes Politiques (Sciences Po) Paris, MA in Public Policy from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore and BSc in Economics and Mathematics from the Lahore University of Management Sciences.

Dr. Odessa Gonzalez Benson is an assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work and Detroit School of Urban Studies. Her areas of research are refugee resettlement, grassroots organizations, participatory practice, state-civil society relations and critical policy studies.

Oliver Bakewell is a Reader in Migration Studies at the Global Development Institute (GDI), University of Manchester. His work focuses on the intersections between migration and mobility and processes of development and change, with an empirical focus on migration within Africa. He is currently working on range of projects including the Research and Evidence Facility (external link)  of the EU Trust Fund for Africa (Horn of Africa); Effects of Externalisation (external link) : EU Migration Management in Africa and the Middle East (EFFEXT); and, the Global Challenge Research Hub on South-South Migration and Inequality, co-leading the Poverty and Income Inequalities (external link)  work package.  

Prior to joining GDI, he spent over a decade at the Department of International Development at the University of Oxford. He was one of the founder members of the International Migration Institute and became Co-Director and then Director. Before taking up this role at Oxford, Oliver spent many years working with migrants and refugees both as a researcher and a practitioner with a range of development and humanitarian NGOs.

Juan Carlos Triviño is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Juan de la Cierva research fellow at the Department of Political and Social Sciences at Pompeu Fabra University–Barcelona (UPF). I hold a PhD in Political and Social Sciences from UPF (Cum Laude). Juan Carlos’ field of expertise is primarily focused on governance processes from multilevel and regulatory perspectives in multiple policy sectors but with a special focus on immigration and integration. Juan Carlos studies the urban governance of immigration and integration and the regulatory governance of policy sectors such as immigration, food safety, health, and finance. His work has been published in Public Administration, Ethnic and Racial Studies, International Migration Review, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, among others. Since September 2022, Juan Carlos is the principal investigator of the Spanish Ministry of Science-funded project MUNMIGRA on local policy responses to the presence of precarious migrants in Spanish cities.

Sofia Ntaliou (she/her) is a PhD candidate at the School of Social Justice, Social Policy and Social Work, University College Dublin. Her current research centers on local citizenship for immigrants, focusing on Athens, Greece, and Dublin, Ireland. With an MSc in Human Geography from the University of Amsterdam and a MEng & BEng in Spatial Planning from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, her background includes investigating urban social movements, immigration, and supporting immigrants professionally and personally.

International Advisory Board