Public panel to discuss immigrant experiences in small cities

Human Geography professor Carlos Teixeira is organizing a Nov. 13 public forum at UBC Okanagan looking at immigrant experiences in small and medium-sized cities across Canada and the U.S. (Photo by Tim Swanky)

Academics, government and non-government policy-makers from across North America will meet in Kelowna next week to discuss the issues that face immigrants in small and medium-sized cities in Canada and the United States.

The public is invited to participate in a public forum titled The Experiences of Immigrants in Small/Medium-Sized Cities in Canada and the United States on Friday, Nov. 13, from 1 to 3 p.m. in UNC200, the Ballroom of the new University Centre.

Immigration to Canada and the U.S. has been recognized as an essential element in demographic development and economic growth, says Carlos Teixeira, Associate Professor of Human Geography at UBC Okanagan, who is organizing the forum along with Wei Li, Associate Professor of Asian Pacific American Studies and Geography at Arizona State University.

"While all levels of Canadian government and their agencies have introduced policies and programs to support the regional re-distribution of new immigrants across the country, results show that small and mid-sized cities and rural communities continue to face attraction and retention challenges for newcomers," Teixeira says.

"In contrast, immigrants to the U.S. have been attracted and recruited, through job opportunities, to settle in cities of widely-ranging sizes. This being said, the current recession is further complicating these dynamics."

In the public forum, panelists will discuss the major barriers and challenges new immigrants face in "non-gateway" and emergent gateway cities, offering an opportunity for open and critical engagement on the subject of welcoming communities.

Bernard Bauer, Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Geography and director of the Okanagan Sustainability Institute at UBC Okanagan, will Chair the panel discussion. UBC Okanagan Provost Alaa Abd-El-Aziz will offer opening remarks. Panelists include:

  • James Allen (California State University)
  • Joyce Brinkerhoff (Intercultural Society of Central Okanagan)
  • Tom Carter (University of Winnipeg)
  • Shirley Chau (UBC Okanagan)
  • Audrey Kobayashi (Queen's University)
  • Ron Mattiussi (City of Kelowna)
  • Heather Smith (University of North Carolina, Charlotte)
  • Lucy Swib (Government of British Columbia - Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development)
  • Carlos Teixeira (UBC Okanagan)

Admission is free and the forum is open to everyone. Visitor parking is available in Lot H.

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