February 2015 • Faculty of Public Affairs in Review • carleton.ca/fpa
FPA Voices Emily Chan
Brings Rwanda Home
Karim Karim Field Notes
My Career Path CM m
Welcome to FPA Voices Message from our Dean
What an exciting time at the Faculty of Public Affairs! We heard from so many of you who enjoyed our first issue of FPA Voices and appreciated our idea to celebrate the inspiring people, outstanding programs of study, and groundbreaking research within our Faculty.
Our celebration continues with 2015 FPA Research Month, which runs from February 24 to March 24. We’ve packed 30 days with the best public affairs lectures and research we have to offer, covering topics such as government surveillance, the rise of the new Russian state, intersections of Muslim and Western societies, investigative journalism, income inequality and more. See the schedule here. One of the highlights will be the 2015 Dick, Ruth and Judy Bell Lecture on March 9 featuring noted economist Jim Stanford speaking on the topic of “Economic Literacy: Getting Past Supply and Demand”. We gratefully acknowledge Dr. Ruth Bell’s generous support for a wide range of activities in the Faculty of Public Affairs related to the study of the political and public life of Canada. Another highlight is our Undergraduate Research Showcase on March 3. This event will feature 27 undergraduate researchers, and will highlight the opportunities we give our undergraduates to
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integrate research into their programs of study. Emily Chan is one of these young researchers and the focus of this month’s FPA People profile. Emily was one of 15 School of Journalism and Communication students who travelled to Rwanda last summer and conducted research with Rwandan students in their home country. They will be presenting their findings this month. We also highlight the research of Karim H. Karim, a professor in the School of Journalism and Communication and the director of Carleton University’s Centre for the Study of Islam. His work on Western and Muslim societies is strikingly relevant these days. Lastly, we are celebrating one of our School of Social Work graduates who is still involved with FPA research—but as one of our community partners. Natasha Pei describes her important work for an anti-poverty organization in our Career Paths segment. After reading these stories, I think you will agree that we at the Faculty of Public Affairs are conducting vital research on the most pressing issues facing our society today. We are striving to influence and inform the public discourse, and we invite you to join us for lectures and discussions of this research throughout the month of March.
If you can’t make it on to campus, you can read about the highlights on our website. All the best to you,
André Plourde Dean, Faculty of Public Affairs Carleton University
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Emily Chan: 4th year, Double Major in Journalism and Human Rights
with the daily life going on in the surrounding communities. It was just so hard to comprehend how it could have happened. You visited the Murambi Technical School, where tens of thousands of people were killed in 1994. It’s now a genocide memorial centre.
Emily Chan travelled to Rwanda last summer to take part in a course entitled, “Rwanda: The Media in a Post-Atrocity Setting”. After three weeks in the That was a really difficult experience. They excavated the mass graves after the genocide, and African country, she came away with meaningful preserved some of the bodies in lime and laid friendships and plans for a new academic path. them out in the classrooms as irrefutable proof of what had happened there. We were there with You flew to Rwanda with 15 FPA students and journalism professor Allan Thompson, who had three local journalism students who had all been personally affected by the country’s history, so covered the Rwandan genocide for the Toronto it was especially emotional to see how deeply Star. What was your assignment? they were affected at Murambi. But there was something very hopeful in the way they comforted We were given access to archives at the Gisozi each other and took care of each other at the Genocide Memorial and we studied how the memorials. It seemed like a good symbol that media and propaganda contributed to the maybe this generation could move forward from mindset leading up to and during the Rwandan the country’s past. genocide, as well as the current media climate. The media was used as a tool during the genocide, particularly popular radio stations. What did you learn? More than anything, I learned that Rwanda is a very complicated country. The evidence and memory of the genocide co-exists with modern life. Kigali, the capital, has a very developed downtown core: it’s clean; there’s Wi-Fi; everybody has a cellphone. But we also visited the sites of massacres, which were hard to reconcile
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You spent three weeks studying and travelling with these students. What did you learn from them? Denise, Alain, and Noel are journalism students at the National University of Rwanda and they were a huge part of our learning experience. We became close friends. We had long car rides together and we would ask them about what we were seeing out the window and then we struggled to explain what life is like in Canada. Finally, we decided to invite them back here so we could share our lives with them.
What was their reaction to that invitation? They were surprised. None of them had been on a plane before and only one had been outside of Rwanda. It was difficult to secure visas for them, but the Faculty of Public Affairs and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences agreed to sponsor a conference about our experience as part of FPA Research Month. Once we formally invited them, they were granted visas. Ottawa in February could be a bit of a shock. Obviously they’ve never experienced cold like this, but they’ll be staying with us and we’ll lend them jackets, scarves, etc. We want to show them Parliament, the Byward Market, and the Rideau Canal, depending on how long they can endure being outside. I think we are as excited as they are.
experts, Rwandan professors, and local journalists. It’s an experience that will always stay with me. In fact, it’s shaped your future plans. I was so interested in the course material that I wanted to continue studying it. I’ve applied to a few master’s programs to study the genocide and media. I think it will be a natural progression once I finish my degree in journalism and human rights. Emily Chan and her fellow journalism students joined the Rwandan university students for a public presentation entitled Kigali to Canada during FPA Research Month. More details here.
One of our primary objectives at FPA is to broaden the international experiences offered to undergraduates through programs like the Bachelor’s for Global and International Studies, Alternative Spring Break, and courses like this one. How did you find this experience valuable? It’s the type of learning experience you never get in the classroom. We were learning from government
First row: Noel Manishimwe and Emily Chan. Second row: Alain Mbarushimana, Kirsten Fenn, Denise Nwase Muvunyi, Megan Lalonde, Noah Lefevre.
FPA believes international learning experiences enrich a student’s education. That’s why we’ve launched the new Bachelor for Global and International Studies program. Click here to learn more.
Chan poses with Alain Mbarushimana, a student from the National University of Rwanda, on their way to Kibuye.
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Career Paths Natasha Pei
Learn more about Career Paths
Name: Natasha Pei Degree and Year: Bachelor of Social Work (’11) Master of Social Work (’14), Carleton University. Occupation: A community animator, or liaison, with Vibrant Communities. Number of Members: Over 30 regional roundtables of private, non-profit, public, and community representatives. We also have representatives in seven provinces and territories. They are all part of an online community of poverty reduction advocates, sharing strategies on what works and what doesn’t and building on each other’s successes.
you don’t see the rewards. With this job, I see all of the knowledge that’s being passed back and forth across the country and the follow-up actions and new policies that are the result of our conversations. What is the most challenging aspect of it? As an online community, our staff (my colleagues) are spread out across the country working from home, so sometimes I feel like a lone wolf doing community engagement work.
What excites you right now? Right now we’re working on a big poverty reduction summit in Ottawa at the beginning of May. We’re bringing advocates and big name leaders from all across the country to align our strategies and carve a way How did you get the job? As a master’s student, forwards. You can see a lot of movement as people I worked as a research assistant for School of recognize that we have to be more intentional Social Work Professor Karen Schwartz, who is a collaborator with Vibrant Communities. (Schwartz about the prevention of poverty. is also the Associate Dean, Research and Graduate How did Carleton University help you? Carleton Affairs.) After graduation, they hired me. So now I am collaborating with my former professors as a broadened my horizons. When I first got into my bachelor degree I was solely interested in child community partner. protection work, but the structural school of social work helped me recognize a lot of the systemic What do you love about your work? You can issues we face in society, and got me interested in actually see the difference this work makes for our community partners. So often in social work, addressing the larger, structural barriers people you put your heart and soul into the work and face every day. Share via:
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Our monthly profile of an FPA researcher: Karim H. Karim
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Karim H. Karim, Professor of Communication Studies and Director of Carleton University’s Centre for the Study of Islam. Co-editor with Mahmoud Eid of two books: Re-imagining the Other and Engaging the Other. The Objective: To identify examples of Western and Muslim societies that successfully coexisted— both contemporary and historical—and offer alternatives to the current use of militarization. The Researchers: Professors Karim and Eid solicited essays for their books, Re-imagining the Other and Engaging the Other, from scholars around the world and across disciplines. The essays detail 1400 years of mutually beneficial and productive relations between Western and Muslim societies. The Findings: The dominant impression that’s emerged over the last few centuries is of a fundamental clash between East and West. However, the authors identified numerous exceptions where Muslim, Christian, and Jewish societies intermingled within art, literature, architecture, governance, and philosophy.
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For instance, Professor Karim surveyed the breadth of Muslim civic organizations that practice maslahah, Islamic ethics related to serving the public good. He discovered these organizations can actually be traced back to Christian Byzantine models and are very much a part of the broader social, cultural, religious and intellectual exchanges between Muslims and other people. These organizations also provide vital services in most Muslim-majority countries and have become an increasingly important feature in several Western societies. In addition, Karim found groups of ordinary believers are actually meeting quietly in places like Lebanon, Egypt, and our own country to reach out across religious divides to find common ground. Some are even praying at each other’s shrines. Quote: “We need to know each other better. We need to understand what causes ignorance about each other and move forward to solve this conflict, which is gripping the entire world.”
Across our Faculty African Studies: “Conflict minerals, Gender and (In) Security in Africa’s Great Lakes Region: the limitations of the sexual violence paradigm” with Joanne Lebert of Partnership Africa Canada. March 4 | More information here
Law and Legal Studies: Chet Mitchell Memorial Lecture – “Of Lemmings, Wolves and Monsters: Sentencing Sex Offenders in the Courtroom Bestiary” with Sameena Mulla. March 11 | More information here
Communication Studies: 2015 Attallah Lecture with Kate Crawford. March 5 | More information here
Journalism: Kesterton Lecture featuring Kevin Donovan speaking on “Saving Journalism One Exposé at a Time: How Investigative Journalism is Turning People on Again”. March 12 | More information here
NPSIA: Benefit Soirée featuring Dr. James Orbinski speaking on “Considerations on Ebola and Us”. March 6 | More information here SPPA: 18th Annual Student Society Gala March 6 | More information here
EURUS: FPA Research Excellence Award Symposium: The Evolution of Russian Society since 1991: Actors, Attitudes, and Practices with Professor Piotr Dutkiewicz. March 17 | More information here
Political Science: Graduate Student Conference: Democracy, Autocracy and Global Change. March 10 | More information here
Political Economy: Political Economy PhD Workshop. March 19 | More information here Social Work: More Than Getting By: Putting Daily Life at the Heart of Our Struggles. March 20 | More information here
2015 FPA Research Month is celebrated in the Faculty of Public Affairs February 24 through March 24 and features more than two dozen events from our academic units. Check out our calendar. iFaculty Units, submit your events here
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Published on Feb 28, 2015
FPA Voices was created to strengthen our FPA community, both on campus and off. We give voice to the people behind the scenes in FPA who mak...