16/12: Invitation to the Seminar Series on Forced Migration: “Refugee Sponsorship: Will Civil Society Keep Stepping Up?”

You are invited to the Seminar Series on Forced Migration. The upcoming seminar will be given by Jennifer Hyndman (York University, Toronto, Centre for Refugee Studies), titled Refugee Sponsorship: Will Civil Society Keep Stepping Up? and is scheduled for Wednesday, December 16, 2020 starting at 5:30pm CET (Vienna time)/ 11:30am EST (Toronto time). The event will be held online. Everyone is welcome and you can register here.

The Seminar Series on Forced Migration is part of Europe-Asia Research Platform on Forced Migration at the Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (IWM) and Mahanirban Calcutta Research Group (CRG); and is hosted at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna.


The Seminar Series brings speakers from different disciplines to discuss topics ranging from changing regimes and forms of governance of migrants/refugees; the solidarity networks and demands for social justice as entangled with increasing inequalities, austerity politics, and racism; the institutional components regulating and managing different forms of displacement; incorporation and exclusion of refugees and migrants from labor markets and protection regimes along the lines of gender, race, religion, and work.


Below, you will find the abstract for Jennifer Hyndman’s presentation, and attached is the flyer. Please kindly forward to your colleagues, networks, institutions, and those who may be interested.


“Refugee Sponsorship: Will Civil Society Keep Stepping Up?”

For more than 40 years, groups of Canadians have raised funds and offered their time to support over 325,000 refugee newcomers through the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program (PSRP). In 2020, planned numbers for private refugee sponsorship (20,000) in Canada were double the number of government-assisted refugees to be resettled.  Based on an original qualitative study, this paper probes how voluntary sponsorship – as a kind of civil society mobilisation – has been sustained over decades. Refugee newcomers who land in Canada as permanent residents become part of the communities and society in which they stay. Many have left family members behind in refugee camps and sanctuary cities without permanent status, and so become sponsors themselves with a view to reuniting in Canada. This phenomenon of ‘family-linked’ sponsorship is a unique, defining and sustaining feature of the program by motivating family members in Canada to team up with experienced sponsors to ‘do more’. Our data show that sponsorship is a community practice that occurs across scales – linking local sites in Canada to countries where human atrocities are common and neighbouring states that host those who flee. Sponsorship connects people in various communities across the world, and these transnational links are important to understanding the sustainability of sponsorship over time in Canada.

The flyer can be found here: Hyndman Poster FINAL