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Event Program: 

Donor Conference Speakers: 

Speech Topic: "Canadian Donors and Sponsors Engagement" 

Jennifer Nagel 

Jennifer is Associate Chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Toronto, Canada. Her research focuses on the theory of knowledge, and she is the author of Knowledge: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2014), as well as many articles on historical and contemporary issues in epistemology. Educated in Canada, the UK and the USA, she has held visiting fellowships in Jerusalem and Oxford, but her favorite place to discuss philosophy is Mississauga, where her undergraduate teaching appointment at the University of Toronto Mississauga brings her into contact with a diverse and vibrant community of students and faculty.  The Refugee Sponsorship group Room for More started as the result of a facebook post of hers in September of 2015. 




Speech Topic:  "Refugee Resettlement: A Canadian Tradition Continues

Brian Dyck 

National Migration and Resettlement Program Coordinator

Brian has been Refugee Assistance Program Coordinator since June 2007. His primary work is helping churches sponsor refugees and think about what a Christian response to refugee situations around the world should be. Since May 2012 he has also been chair of the Canadian National Refugee Sponsorship Agreement Holder Association, a national organization that meets with the Canadian government to help form Canadian policy on refugee resettlement. Before working at MCC Manitoba, Brian was the Canadian coordinator for MCC’s International Volunteer Exchange Program (IVEP). He was also a missionary with Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission in South Africa from 1999 to 2005, and before that a co-pastor with his wife Lynell Bergen of the Arnaud (Manitoba) Mennonite Church. He has received degrees from Canadian Mennonite Bible College, University of Winnipeg and Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary.


 Speech Topic: “The Syrian Crisis and the Role We Might Play to Help Alleviate It”

 Michael Casasola 

Michael is a Resettlement Officer with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Ottawa. He has been working with UNHCR since 2002 and prior was the Director of the R.C. Diocese of London - Refugee Office for eleven years. Throughout these years he has been actively involved nationally and internationally in refugee resettlement policy development and has visited UNHCR operations in the Middle East, Africa and the Americas. He oversaw the completion of UNHCR’s handbook, Refugee Resettlement: An International Handbook to Guide Reception and Integration. He has also written a number of articles on Canadian resettlement including co-authoring “Canada's private sponsorship of refugees program: A practitioners perspective of its past and future” in the Journal of International Migration and Integration. 


Speech Topic: " Resettlement of Syrian Refugees" 


Alexandra Kotyk

Alexandra Kotyk is the project manager for Lifeline Syria. She worked to help refugees be privately sponsored for 9 years with Anglican and United Churches and was an elected board member of the National Sponsorship Agreement Holder council.



Georgina Murphy and Celeste Shankland are immigration and refugee lawyers, both currently working in private practice at the Law Office of Lisa Rosenblatt. They regularly represent clients at refugee hearings and at appeals before the Immigration Appeal Division and the Federal Court of Canada. They also prepare applications for spousal sponsorships, work visas, citizenship, and assist people with numerous other immigration matters.


Georgina Murphy has an LLB/ JD from Dalhousie University, and she has worked with refugees and migrants in Mexico and in South Africa prior to returning to Canada to work in private practice in 2012.


Celeste Shankland has an LLB and a BCL from McGill University, and a post-graduate certificate in refugee and forced migration studies from York University. Celeste has also worked with refugees in South Africa, and has worked in other areas of human rights including housing, access to social programs, gender-based violence, disability, and international public health.