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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
December 2, 2016
Canadian Excellence

L-R: Mike Molloy, Alyshea Cummins and Margaret Walton-Roberts
L-R: Mike Molloy, Alyshea Cummins and Margaret Walton-Roberts

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Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

Laurier graduate student receives national award for immigration research

Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing

Oct 21/11| For Immediate Release


Margaret Walton-Roberts, Director
International Migration Research Centre
519-884-0710 ext. 2263 or


Kevin Crowley, Director, Communications & Public Affairs
Wilfrid Laurier University
(519) 884-0710 ext. 3070 or

WATERLOO – Wilfrid Laurier University master’s student Alyshea Cummins was presented with the national Gunn Award for excellence in immigration research by the Honorable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, at a ceremony in Ottawa Oct. 20.

The Gunn Award, in its second year, is an initiative of the Canadian Immigration Historical Society (CIHS) and the International Migration Research Centre (IMRC) at Laurier. It is named after the late Al Gunn, a founding member of the CIHS, and is open to fourth year and graduate students who submit essays on a historical aspect of international migration in Canada.

Kenney congratulated Cummins, who is studying Religion and Culture at Laurier, on her paper entitled, “A Comparison of the Refugee Resettlement of Ugandan Ismaili Muslims and Cambodia Theravada Buddhists in Canada.”

“It is important that Canada – a country of newcomers – understand the factors behind the successful integration of the immigrants and refugees who come here to make a better life,” said Kenney. “The Canadian Immigration Historical Society and The International Migration Research Centre are rightly promoting important work in this field by university students.”

In her paper, Cummins concludes that the Ismailis had three advantages over the Cambodians that made their resettlement experiences in Canada more successful: respected community leadership, pre-migration skills for adaptation and integration, and transnational connections. The Cambodians, as survivors of vast cultural and religious devastations that had damaged the social fabric and eliminated civil and religious leaders, had a much more difficult time rebuilding their community in Canada.

“Ms. Cummins shows the growing academic interest amongst university students in questions of refugee and immigration matters,” said Margaret Walton-Roberts, director of the IMRC and associate professor of Geography and Environmental Studies at Laurier. “The centre looks forward to a continued collaboration with the CIHS in promoting and recognizing such student research.”

Mike Molloy, CIHS president, congratulated Cummins on her work and recognized the important partnership with IMRC. “The society was keen to encourage students to research and present issues in Canadian migration history and found a willing partner in the IMRC to support this award program,” said Molloy.

Wilfrid Laurier University’s IMRC is based at the Balsillie School of International Affairs. It serves as a focal point for debate, research, policy analysis and proposal development related to international migration and mobility at the global, national and regional scale. 


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