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Project Team

Laura Madokoro

Laura Madokoro leads the Sites of Sanctuary project. She is Associate Professor in the Department of History at Carleton University. As a historian of migration, with a particular focus on refugee movements, she brings a wealth of experience and expertise to questions of refuge, humanitarianism and protection. She is the author of Elusive Refuge: Chinese Migrants in the Cold War (Harvard University Press, 2016) and co-editor of Dominion of Race: Rethinking Canada's International History (UBC Press, 2017). Her work has also appeared in a number of venues including RefugeModern Asian Studies and Social History/ Histoire Sociale. She regularly contributes op-eds to major news outlets and is a member of the editorial collective at

Sybill Chen

A global migrant herself, Sybill Chen studies religious immigrants' integration in North America. She is passionate about global immigration history, travel books and languages. She is particularly excited to join the project this year.

Dexter Docherty is a fourth year history honours student at McGill University, with minor concentrations in economics and philosophy. Originally from Vancouver, Dexter moved to Montreal in 2013 and spent a year working at a vegan restaurant before beginning post-secondary. He is a curious student of modern history because of its insights into the world he has grown up in. Voted class clown upon graduation from high school, Dexter prides himself on being fun and friendly and always working to make people laugh or smile. His father was a long time public defender in British Columbia, and this probably is what fostered his passion for social justice and civil rights advocacy. He hopes that working on this project will help create a more nuanced understanding of the battle between benevolence and nefariousness in the development of Western society.

Dexter Docherty

Edward Dunsworth

Edward Dunsworth is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at the University of Toronto. A historian of migration and labour, his dissertation is a transnational history of tobacco farm labour in 20th century Ontario. He is also involved in activist work in support of temporary foreign workers and refugees.

Amanda Hills

Amanda is a fourth year Honors Political Science student at McGill University, with a minor in Philosophy. Originally from Boston, she has slowly assimilated and become a Habs fan. She believes that a critical understanding of history can help us create a better world for those with whom we share it, and is particularly interested in children’s and women’s rights, specifically in the Middle East. Beyond the classroom, Amanda is President of the Political Science Students’ Association, Executive Director of Arts Orientation Week, and a staff member in the Office for Sexual Violence Response, Support, and Education, among other areas of involvement. She is looking forward to doing meaningful work on this project to further the conversation on migration and humanitarianism.

Shaden Hetu-Frankel

Shaden Hetu-Frankel is a third year student at McGill University, studying honours History and Political Science. From a young age, Shaden has always wanted to learn about and to expand his knowledge of the past. He is particularly interested in the history of indigenous peoples in North America, as well as the development of colonial societies. His academic interests also lie in the discipline of political science, specifically  in understanding systems of government and political participation. Shaden is an eager student, motivated to expand his knowledge of the world. He hopes to one day pursue a career related to both disciplines.

Macha Jauvert a fourth year student studying Political Science and History at McGill University, with a minor in Russian language. Macha grew up in Paris, France and moved to Montreal for university. She has always loved history, but developed a passion for North American history when she came to McGill. Macha plans to specialize in American political history, with a focus on civil rights issues and work as a researcher and a professor. For Macha, history is a great way to understand current events better, and sometimes try to find solutions to them in the past.

Macha Jauvert

Bernard Maftei

Bernard Maftei is a third year Joint Honours History and Political Science student at McGill University. His academic interests are voting behaviour, democratization, and immigration. Originally from Romania, Bernard moved to Montreal at the age of five. The Sites of Sanctuary Project provides a unique opportunity to observe how collective action translates to political outcomes. Having always had a passion for history, Bernard decided to pursue his interests in the field of voting behaviour, specifically looking at the historical influence of minority groups on government. He hopes to one day become a professor at the university or CEGEP level. 

Nicole Kim

Nicole Kim is a U3 honours student majoring in International Development at McGill University. Her interests span across a wide range of disciplines as a product of her diverse academic environment, including but not limited to: punishment and crime; feminism and gender politics; refugee and immigration policy; and development discourse. Nicole’s experiences as a first generation immigrant has led her to the Sites of Sanctuary project in order to contribute to insights on the history of refuge, sanctuaries and the politics of Otherness in a Canadian context. She has pursued and applied her scholarly concerns to positions beyond the classroom as co-president of McGill Women in Leadership Students’ Association and as a research and development intern for Pivot International. 

Laura Morlock

Laura Morlock is in her final year of PhD studies in religious minorities and human rights at the University of Waterloo. Her research focuses on how minorities navigate public space in Canada, holding Canadians accountable to their human rights standards and policies, advancing human rights for all Canadians in the process. Her dissertation case studies include controversies over Mennonite women’s bonnets during World War I, Malaysian- and Sikh-Canadian Baltej Singh Dhillon’s challenge to wear a turban with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police uniform in 1989/90, and Pakistani- and Muslim-Canadian Zunera Ishaq’s Supreme Court case to wear her niqab during her citizenship ceremony. She has also worked in refugee issues and sponsorship, both in research and for NGOs. The Sites of Sanctuary project gives her the opportunity to combine several areas of her greatest interest.

Kathryn Schmidt is currently a fourth year student at McGill University pursuing an honors degree in Political Science and History. Her area of concentration lies in the Middle East, with a particular interest in human security, post-conflict reconstruction, and U.S. policy in the region.

Kathryn Schmidt

Aya Omar

Aya Omar is a second year Economics student at McGill University, with an interest in pursuing criminal law upon graduation. Aya holds a strong interest in the politics of developing countries, hoping one day to become involved in UNICEF in order to raise awareness regarding the rights and needs of children in developing countries. Originally from Egypt, Aya lived in Toronto for three years prior to moving to Montréal in 2016. Her passion for community involvement is closely connected to her personal experience moving to Canada. Aya previously volunteered at the Canadian Arab Institute and currently serves as the first-year representative at the Egyptian Student Association and a Model United Nations volunteer at McGill University. Deservingly, Aya has been recognized for her leadership and community involvement. Aya hopes to gain great insight on the history of sanctuary & refuge through this research project

Sarah Wilson is a third year Arts student concentrating in Anthropology and Art History. Her academic interests combine archaeology, library collections, and information science. In her home of Niagara-on-the-Lake, she had the opportunity to work with the Diocese of Niagara as a Heritage Docent and Events Facilitator at St. Mark’s Church which holds the oldest library collection west of Quebec. Her experience learning about the local history in a town that played a key role in the foundation of Upper Canada inspired her to join the Sites of Sanctuary team to discover more about her nation’s history. Apart from her studies, she is also currently the Literary Arts Representative for the Fine Arts Council of McGill which organizes McGill’s annual fine arts showcase event. With a passion for archival research, she looks forward to learning about the history of sanctuary in a Canadian context.

Sarah Wilson

Eleanor Wong is a McGill undergraduate studying History and French Translation. Her academic interests are in European and Asian History as well as English-French translation projects. She also enjoys working with and studying different languages. At the moment, she is proficient in English, French and Chinese and is studying Korean. She has worked for the National Debate Transcription project as part of the Education Support team and translator.

Eleanor Wong


Nicole Yakashiro

Nicole Yakashiro is a Masters student at the University of British Columbia in the Department of History, studying under the supervision of Dr. Laura Ishiguro. Her research explores settler colonialism in Canada by interrogating how the histories of settlers of colour (specifically Japanese-Canadians) relate to the historical and ongoing dispossession of Indigenous communities. She is particularly concerned with place — how it is remembered, inhabited, quantified, qualified, and lost — and the layered-ness of geographies in British Columbia. As a yonsei, Nicole is active in the Japanese-Canadian community and sits on the Powell Street Festival’s Advocacy and Outreach Committee. She lives on unceded xʷməθkʷəy̓əm  (Musqueam), Sḵwxw̱ú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) land.

Michele Zampa

Michele Zampa is a U3 student at McGill University, pursuing a joint honors degree in History and Islamic Studies with a minor in Political Science. He is focused on histories of colonialism,  with special attention to the Middle East. He is passionate about how historical events have been represented by the popular media, especially newspapers.

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