The University of Winnipeg



UWinnipeg prof co-edits new book on refugees

The University of Winnipeg’s resident expert on refugee law and resettlement, Dr. Shauna Labman, has edited a new book Strangers to Neighbours: Refugee Sponsorship in Context with Geoffrey Cameron, University of Toronto. The book evaluates private refugee sponsorship and its potential for global refugee policy. It is part of McGill-Queen’s Refugee and Forced Migration Studies Series.

Canada is a leading country in global refugee resettlement and operates a unique program allowing private groups and individuals to sponsor refugees. This innovative approach has received growing international attention, but there remains a need for a more expansive understanding of the sponsorship framework and its potential implications within Canada and across the world.

Strangers to Neighbours is the first dedicated study of refugee sponsorship policy that assembles leading scholars from a range of disciplines to consider whether Canada’s system is a sustainable model for the world. It also explains the origins and development of refugee sponsorship, paying particular attention to the unintended consequences and ethical dilemmas it produces for refugee policy.

Madison Pearlman, Dr. Shauna Labman

Madison Pearlman, Dr. Shauna Labman

The 31 contributors to this collection draw upon law, social science, and philosophy to bring a more robust and objective perspective on Canada’s historical experience with sponsorship into wider conversations about the refugee crisis and resettlement.

Together, they present recent cases that exemplify how the model has been applied and how it functions, while also analyzing the challenges that emerge in host-sponsor relations. This volume further examines how sponsorship has been implemented differently in countries, such as the United States and Australia.

UWinnipeg alumna and graduate of Global College’s Human Rights program, Madison Pearlman, is one of the book’s contributors and Labman’s former student and research assistant.

“I met Maddie when I did a talk for the Global College Student Advisory Council years ago before I was a faculty member” said Labman. “Later when I was teaching at Robson Hall, she was my research assistant and we co-wrote an article. When I was putting this book together, I asked her if she would write a chapter.”

Pearlman’s chapter is on the sponsorship of Yazidi refugees in Winnipeg through Operation Ezra. She wrote this chapter while articling at the Public Interest Law Centre in Winnipeg. She is now practicing law in Toronto.

Labman will be giving a talk about the book with three other chapter contributors at the Canadian International Council on Friday, October 16 from 7:00 – 8:30 pm via Zoom. This event is open to public. To register, please follow this link at Strangers to Neighbours: Refugee Sponsorship in Context.

Labman’s first book, Crossing Law’s Border: Canada’s Refugee Resettlement Program, made The Hill Times list of 100 best non-fiction Canadian books in 2019.

Labman is an Associate Professor at UWinnipeg’s Global College. She is a legal scholar who writes and speaks extensively on refugee law, resettlement, and private refugee sponsorship within a broader context of human rights and public international law. She focuses on the layered influences of law on public policy and government positioning.



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