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Calgary professor receives $1M in funding to research with immigrant, refugee youth

Entrance sign and arch at the University of Calgary. (Getty Images) Entrance sign and arch at the University of Calgary. (Getty Images)

The federal government is giving $1 million in funding to a professor at the University of Calgary so she can study the experiences youth immigrants face when they come to Canada and what supportsthey need.

Dr. Pallavi Banerjee and her research team will work with BIPOC youth from four Calgary-based organizations – the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society, Centre for Newcomers, The Calgary Bridge Foundation for Youthand Calgary Immigrant Women's Association– to learn how to better support youths in their integration journey.

"Research has found that most programming for immigrant and refugee youths is built for them rather than with them," Banerjee explained in a Thursday news release.

The research team will use interviews and observations to look at existing youth programs across the four organizations.

They will then analyze whether current practices include an anti-racist lens and what unaddressed needs persist for youth. 

Next, Banerjee’s team will help six focus groups composed of refugee and immigrant youths from a variety of backgrounds to gain a better understanding of their racialized experiences.

They will then conduct several co-designed workshops to establish an anti-racist and anti-oppressive framework.

Once the framework is established, the team will bring its programs to the broader Calgary community.

"By taking a community-based approach with anti-racist and social-justice oriented framework, we hope to correct the idea that immigration integration is one-sided," Banerjee said.

"As it stands, our society does very little to understand the thoughts and practices that immigrants and refugees bring with them. Proper integration takes understanding from both sides and what better place to start than with our youth. They are, after all, Canada’s future."

The funding was provided by the government's department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. Top Stories

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