The Faculty of Arts is pleased to announce that two of its professors – Rukhsana Ahmed (Communication) and Luisa Veronis (Geography), along with their colleague Kevin Pottie (Medicine) – have been awarded a SSHRC grant in the Targeted Research theme: Syrian Refugee Arrival, Resettlement and Integration. This grant is a result of a partnership initiative with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and was established in order to support research and mobilize knowledge in a timely way on key issues and events in the early days of the migration and resettlement process. In 2016, Canada saw a surge in the number of Syrian refugee being admitted as newcomers, a rare event that has produced many challenges, for refuges themselves, Canadians in general and a variety of communities and organisations. SSHRC and the IRCC have therefore partnered up in this time of great need to support pressing, short-term research projects in an effort to produce practical and actionable findings.
With their project Staying in touch, connecting, integrating: Social media use of newly arrived Syrian refugee youth in Canada”, Dr. Ahmed’s team will investigate social media use behavior of newly arrived Syrian refugees and the potential to facilitate their wellbeing, inclusion, and integration in the Canadian society. Specific objectives are to: (1) examine where, when, how, and why Syrian refugee youth use social media; (2) examine the potential of social media use to facilitate newly arrived Syrian refugee youth integration through building new networks and maintaining old connections; and (3) provide policy recommendations and innovative research avenues on social media use for refugee resettlement and integration.