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Prior to completing a PhD at the University of New Brunswick in 2010 and joining the faculty of Wilfrid Laurier University, I worked for several years in the government and non-governmental sectors of Canada, the United States and Mexico in a number of areas including Canada’s foreign policy toward Latin America and the Caribbean, North American integration, the inclusion of non-governmental actors in international organizations and Summits, social policy and poverty eradication, and foreign qualification recognition. I have spent, and continue to spend some of the best moments of my life working, studying and traveling in Mexico, and I am developing academic connections and research projects in continental Africa.
My research examines migration, with a specific focus on immigrant and refugee youth, migrants with precarious immigration status, and the securitization of the international refugee determination process. I am currently leading a SSHRC Insight Grant-funded study of the postsecondary transition of African Refugee youth across Canada. The national project involves African scholars and education specialists at six Canadian universities along with several community organizations. Four SSHRC-funded community engaged projects involving families with refugee backgrounds from the Horn of Africa in Waterloo and Hamilton, ON are connected to the larger national study.
In addition to my Canadian-based research, I have ongoing projects in Mexico including studies of Central American and African asylum seekers with colleagues at el Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR) and El Tec de Monterrey (ITESM), and narratives of stranded migrants in Mexico and Morocco with WLU colleague Dr. Abderrahman Beggar. I am also deeply involved in ongoing research on the intercultural competence of university students and the ethics of conducting international field courses and internships in Mexico and Ghana.
I consider myself a qualitative researcher who loves to listen to people’s stories. I believe in George Marcus’s (1995) exhortation to “follow the people, not just the places that they are going, but also to the places they happen to go along the way.” I am a member of several research institutes and networks including the Tshepo Institute for the Study of Contemporary Africa (WLU where I serve as current director), the Balsillie School for International Affairs, The Centre for Research on Security Practices (WLU), the International Migration Research Centre (WLU), the Centre for Refugee Research (York), Pathways to Prosperity, and I am on the organizing committee for the annual Strangers in New Homelands Conference at the University of Manitoba.
I have published two books: “Getting Used to the Quiet: Immigrant Adolescents’ Journey to Belonging in New Brunswick, Canada” (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2012), which made a valuable contribution to the academic literature on immigration to small cities and rural communities, and “Immigrant Youth in Canada: Theoretical Approaches, Practical Issues, and Professional Perspectives” (Oxford University Press, 2018), the first university-level textbook on immigrant youth in Canada. I have also published several articles in national and international peer-reviewed journals and frequently contributes short articles and opinion pieces to newspapers. I am the recipient of the 2018 Donald F. Morgenson Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence in Internationalization.
I am Cross-Appointed with the MA in Religion, Culture and Global Justice program, the PhD in Global Governance and the Masters in International Public Policy Programs and welcome the supervision of graduate students. I have research assistantship opportunities for senior undergraduate students interested in the field of immigration and I am always looking for Spanish-speaking students.
Wilson-Forsberg, S. and Parra, C. (2021) “Hanging on to Hope in a Mexican Migrant Shelter: The Empowering Potential of Albergue Tochán/ Aferrándose a una esperanza en una casa de migrante mexicana: el potencial empoderador de Albergue Tochán.” Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, 47(1).
Shizha, E., Abdi, A. A., Wilson-Forsberg, S., and Masakure, O. (2020). “African Immigrant Students and Postsecondary Education in Canada: High School Teachers and School Career Counsellors as Gatekeepers.” Canadian Ethnic Studies Special Issue Beyond Blackness: Sub-Saharan Immigrant Knowledge and Agency in Canada 52(3), 67-86.
Wilson-Forsberg, S., Monaghan, S. R. and Correa Corrales, D. (2022). Witnesses to Inhumanity on Shifting Terrain: Embracing an Ethic of Discomfort for Optimal Learning in an International Field Course. Education, Citizenship, and Social Justice. DOI 10.1177/17461979221097073
Wilson-Forsberg, S., O. Masakure, & R. Kimani-Dupuis (Forthcoming). “Weathering the Storm: Engaging Mothers with refugee Backgrounds to Assist their Children with Online Schooling during the Covid-19 Pandemic,” Journal of Refugee Studies, Special Issue.
Wilson-Forsberg, S., Masakure, O., Shizha, E., Lafrenière, G., and Mfoafo-M’Carthy, M. (2019). “Great Expectations: Perspectives of Young West African Immigrant Men Transitioning to the Labour Market without Postsecondary Education.” Journal of International Migration and Integration, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12134-019-00718-4.
Office location: GRH 130
Office hours: Wednesdays and Fridays, noon to 1:30 p.m. or by appointment.
Languages spoken: English, Spanish
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