Past Events | First Voices Lecture Series | Fall 2012

First Voices
First Voices Lecture Series 2012-Fall Semester

Lecture No. 1

"Potential Ethnic Identity Formation Challenges at Community Schools: Insights from a Critical Textbook Analysis"

Naghmeh Babaee, PhD Candidate, University of Manitoba
When: Thursday, September 27, 2012
Time: 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Where: Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Room 1840
8771 Lansdowne Road, Richmond, BC

Many studies on identity with immigrants have historically tended to focus on the process of ethnic identity formation (Tse, 1998) and the interplay between ethnic identity and heritage language maintenance (Kouritzin, 1999), the ability to use one’s ancestral language in a host society. Few recent studies such as Chiu’s (2011) have investigated the potential impacts of textbooks taught at community schools on immigrant students’ ethnic identity construction. However, these studies tend to lack implications for heritage language teachers. Moreover, for the large number of Iranian immigrants in Canada, few studies have tended to critically examine literacy resources taught at Farsi community schools. Due to the role of textbooks in transmitting dominant values in society (Apple, 1992) and in constructing ideal citizens (Chiu, 2011), further analysis of textbooks taught at community schools and their impacts on immigrant children’s ethnic identity (re)construction are called for. In an attempt to bridge this gap in the literature, this paper draws on the notions of discourse, Discourse and identity to analyze a Level 1 textbook taught at a Farsi community school in a major Canadian city. Critical discourse analysis reveals that the ideal Iranian citizen constructed in the textbook is a middle-class, Farsi-speaking Muslim in an urban area. Potential ethnic identity formation challenges the textbook poses for immigrant students are discussed and implications for heritage language teachers to facilitate ethnic identity formation for these students are offered in the end.

Naghmeh Babaee received her B.A in English Literature and M.A. in Teaching English as a Foreign Language in Iran. She is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Manitoba. Her areas of research interest include language maintenance and loss, identity, second language acquisition and minority language rights. Her dissertation is focused on language maintenance and loss in an Iranian community in a major Canadian city with a view to identifying potential successes and challenges of Iranian immigrant students in maintaining their heritage language, that is, Farsi, within the contexts of home, school and first language community.

Lecture No. 2

"The Telling of Peace Education: Narratives of Peace Educators in the Context of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict"

Sedi Minachi, Research Associate, SFU, Centre for Comparative Studies of Muslim Societies
When: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Time: 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Where: Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Room 1840
8771 Lansdowne Road, Richmond, BC

Based on her PhD thesis and her on-the-ground experience in Palestine and Israel, Sedi Minachi will explore the narratives of peace educators who use dialogue among their students to create a culture of peace within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She asks: how do they implement peace education programs in their communities? What challenges do they face? She will also outline historical aspects of the conflict, crucial to understanding the existing conflict, and in the end, improving relations between Palestinians and Israelis. Discussion will follow.

Sedi Minachi is a Research Associate at the SFU’s Centre for Comparative Studies of Muslim Societies (CCSMSC) and also is a Postdoctoral researcher with Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Education, Law and Society. The focus of her current research is on the Iranian Diaspora community in BC. She completed her PhD in Education at UBC and her dissertation was recently published as a book ‘The Telling of Peace Education: Narratives of Peace Educators in the Context of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict’. Her BA and MA are from UBC’s Women’s Studies and Gender Relations, and her work experience with several women’s organizations focused on the empowerment of women, particularly in the immigrant and refugee communities.


First Voices Lecture Series 2011-2012-Summer Semester

Lecture No. 1

“Education Under Fire”
A Documentary
Watch the trailer at:

Shima Farhadi, Sociology Student/Community Activist, Kwantlen Polytechnic University
When: Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Time: 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. & 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Where: Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Surrey Campus, Conference Centre A & B Sides, G1205A & B

"For the past thirty years, the Iranian government has made it a state policy to "block the progress" of its largest non-Muslim religious minority. 300,000 Iranian Baha’is have faced every kind of abuse including arrest, imprisonment, torture and even execution.
Since the 1979 revolution, young Baha’is have not been allowed to attend any of Iran’s universities. Imagine a government in this day and age withholding the right to education from an entire population of its own people. This type of abuse is in violation of every international human rights charter and even Iran’s own constitution.
In 1987, the Iranian Baha’i community started an informal university, which has evolved into the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE for short). With classes taught peacefully in the living rooms and kitchens of homes across Iran by Baha’i academics that have themselves been barred from teaching professionally as a result of their religious beliefs, the BIHE represents the only chance that Baha’i youth have for higher education.
In May 2011, the government launched a coordinated attack against the BIHE"raiding dozens of homes, confiscating computers and materials and detaining eighteen professors and administrators. Seven of those arrested have received four or five year prison terms" their only crime: educating the youth in their community.
Education Under Fire is a campaign designed to help mitigate the effects of these discriminatory policies and to raise awareness of the importance of defending Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees education as an inalienable right of every human being.
The campaign has produced a 30 minute documentary, co-presented by Amnesty International. It tells the poignant and compelling story of the BIHE. I’d like to invite you to see the film and to participate in a conversation about what we can do together to make a difference."

Shima Farhadi is a Bachelors of Arts Student, majoring in sociology. She is actively involved in her community; however she did not always have the opportunity to contribute her skills and abilities for the betterment of the society. Shima was born on May 17th 1989 in Zahedan, Iran. She is the third child of a Baha’i mother and a Muslim father. At the age of two, she lost her father to cancer. The way her father lived his life set an example for her by emphasizing the importance of love, unity and selflessness, which she will carry with her forever. The greatest act of selflessness and symbol of love that he showed was when he converted to the Baha’i faith, even though he was part of an extremely religious Muslim family; he put his life in danger for his passion for human rights and unity by converting to the Baha’i faith. Her father’s courageous act inspired her to become the person she is today.
When she was twelve, her family decided to immigrate to Canada so that Shima and her siblings could receive a better education that they could receive in Iran. As member of the Baha’i faith, the Iranian government does not grant permission to attend post-secondary educational institutes. Even though her older brother and sister had completed their high school education and fulfilled the requirements to attend post-secondary school, their faith was a barrier to their acceptance. It was for this reason that her family moved to Turkey in the pursuit of immigration.
As a young child, she was faced with many difficulties that allowed her to view life in different perspectives. Such as not being accepted into after-school programs, being forced to attend Muslim prayer sessions at school and having to constantly struggle with teachers and principals because of her Baha’i viewpoint and lifestyle. Escaping the cruelty of discriminations against Baha’is was not the end of this mental abuse; many of her Baha’i friends in Iran are imprisoned for attending BIHE (Baha’i Institution of Higher Education) She is now determined more than ever to shine a light on this issue and to raise awareness of it all around the world.

Lecture No. 2

"Violence, Media Representations, and Families: Recruiting Student Researchers for Media Literacy Program"

Battered Women's Support Services ( )
When: Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Where: Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Room 1840
8771 Lansdowne Road, Richmond, BC


Lecture No. 3

"A Comparative Analysis of Iranian and Venezuelan Coups of 1953 and 2001"

Ali Salehi (MA), Sociology Department (Latin American Studies), Simon Fraser University
When: Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Time: 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Where: Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Room 1840
8771 Lansdowne Road, Richmond, BC

Two geopolitically important and petroleum-rich countries are Iran and Venezuela. The modern history of these two countries has been greatly influenced by the fact that both countries lie on top of large petroleum reserves. Each country experienced political coups d’état that were directly linked to their petroleum policies and economic dependence on their petroleum reserves. The coup in Iran occurred on the 19th of August, 1953, leading to the removal of Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh from office. The Venezuelan coup occurred on the 12th of April 2002, but failed to permanently remove Hugo Chavez from office. Organized resistance played an essential role in the results of these two coups. Using Gramscian concepts the resistance to the Iranian coup d’état of 1953 and the Venezuelan coup attempt of 2002 were analyzed. In the national-popular forces in Iran 1953 failed to keep Mossadegh in office in Iran, while the Venezuelan popular-democratic movement helped Hugo Chavez to remain in office in 2002. Four main variables emerge that explain the differing outcomes of the coups in terms of the resistance. The first is the relative efficacy of international versus domestic forces in determining the outcomes of coups d’état. The second and third variables are the class composition and strategy of the popular forces. The fourth variable relates to the technological context in which the two coups occurred. By studying the interaction of these variables, conclusions can be made regarding how best to combat coup attempts.

I was born in Iran during the rule of Mohammad Reza Shah, at time of extreme poverty and oppression. Mohammad Reza Shah was a pro-western ruler that allowed for the profits created by the Iranian oil industry to be sent to abroad to help the United States and Britain. During the 1970s I became politically involved and took part in opposition movements. By 1979 when the Iranian Revolution occurred I was part of one of the opposition movements, involved in the overthrow of the Shah. After the fall of the Shah, Ayatollah Khomeini took power and created the Islamic Regime of Iran. At this point I decided to go back to school to finish my education, but was not allowed because of my involvement in the revolution. After the start of the Iran-Iraq war the regime began to arrest opposition, causing me to leave Iran. My family and I after years of fear and rough living escaped to Turkey and eventually with help from the U.N. came to Canada. We lived in Winnipeg for 10 years where my wife and I both got our high school equivalency and when my wife started University, I worked minimum jobs and drove taxi to provide for my family. After my wife graduated we moved to Vancouver, where I began going to school. In the last few years that I have been in school I have gotten my Bachelor’s of Arts in Sociology and Anthropology from Simon Fraser University and I have recently finished my Master’s of Arts in Latin American Studies at SFU as well.


First Voices Lecture Series 2011-2012-Fall

Lecture No. 1Poster_Paul

“Disability and the State”

Paul Caune, Founder, Civil Rights Now!
When: Tuesday, July 7, 2011
Time: 10 a.m. - 11:20 a.m. & 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Where: Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Room 1840
8771 Lansdowne Road, Richmond, BC

British Columbian voters with disabilities do not get equal benefit and protection from the law as is guaranteed every individual by section 15 of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Civil Rights Now! is an all-volunteer, non-partisan, not for profit society with a single goal:
“To get laws passed that gives Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms real force in the daily lives of British Columbian voters with disabilities”.
Paul Caune will be addressing these issues as well as speaking about his own experiences with being forcefully institutionalization by the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.
In addition to Civil Rights Now! Paul is on the Boards of BC Association of Individualized Technology and Supports for People with Disabilities (BCITS), and Medicare For Autism Now.


Lecture No. 2

"Adjusting the Lens: Anthropology and the Use of Audio-Visual Techniques"

Professor Sam Migliore and Dr. Margaret Dorazio-Migliore, Anthropology Department, KPU
When: Monday, October 24, 2011
Time: 1:00 p.m. – 2:20 p.m.
Where: Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Surrey Campus, Conference Centre A Side, G1205A

Professor Sam Migliore and Dr. Margaret Dorazio-Migliore will explore and illustrate how they draw upon audio-visual techniques in their research through photos and short film clips.

Lecture No. 3

"Confronting the Witness: Evaluating a Dialogical Archive of the Holocaust"

Dr. Fred Ribkoff, English Department, KPU & Dr. Mark Olyan, Living Testimonies Archive at McGill University
When: Monday, October 31, 2011
Time: 1:00 p.m. – 2:20 p.m.
Where: Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Surrey Campus, Room C3820

Until the 1970’s, historians of the Holocaust paid little attention to the testimony of individual survivors. In the 1980s, this slowly began to change. Our research focuses on the testimony of survivors who eventually settled in Montreal and gave their testimony to the McGill Living Testimonies archive. Unlike other collections, Living Testimonies is often dialogical and at times even dialectical: our lecture examines the pros and cons of interactive, and at times aggressive, interviewing techniques.

Fred Ribkoff has a doctorate from Simon Fraser University and teaches a course on Holocaust Testimony at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

Mark Olyan has a doctorate from Concordia University and is affiliated with the Living Testimonies archive at McGill University.


Lecture No. 4: Poster Iranian Education System & Curriculum &Poster Nasser Asl

"A Critique of Iranian Education System"
"Deconstructing Nationalism and Patriarchy in Iranian School Textbooks"

Dr. Amir Mirfakhraie, Sociology Department, KPU
Nasser Jahani Asl, Ph.D. Candidate, Sociology Department, University of Victoria
When: Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Time: 10:00 a.m.– 11:30 a.m.
Where: Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Surrey Campus, Conference Centre A Side, G1205A

A Critique of Iranian Education System
Nasser Jahani Asl, Ph.D. Candidate

This paper critically analyses the effects of the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and the establishment of the Islamic Republic on the education system as an “ideological-state-apparatus”. I argue that the education system and schooling are organized based on anti-democratic and dictatorial principles that aim at socializing obedient subjects in the service of the ruling theocratic capitalist regime. This paper also examines the effects of the anti-democratic and oppressive characteristics of the education system in terms of curriculum content and methods of teaching and factors such as ethnicity, culture, gender, sexuality, and class. I argue for the establishment of democratic schools based on the principles of critical pedagogy and liberation theories. By drawing upon revolutionary critical pedagogy, I offer a framework for a democratic socialist education system by Reconceptualising the roles of both educators and students as active cultural workers involved in the continuous struggle to achieve revolutionary, anti-imperialist and transformative goals as an alternative to the current oppressive, patriarchal, anti-democratic, and dictatorial education system.

Nasser Jahani Asl is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Victoria. His PhD research examines the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) as the oldest and most influential social movement organization (SMO) whose politics affects the Iranian Kurdish society as well as the rest of the country. In 2007, Nasser received his MA in Education at Simon Fraser University (SFU), entitled, “A Democratic Alternative Education System For Iran: An Historical and Critical Study”. He also completed his BA in Anthropology and Sociology at SFU in 2003. Nasser was born in Mahabad, Kurdistan, Iran. He immigrated to Canada in 1996 and currently resides in Vancouver. His research interest includes social movements, ethnic relations, and education.

Poster Iranian Education System & Curriculum&Poster Nasser Asl


Lecture No.5
: Poster_Charles


Charles Quist-Adade, Ph.D.
Sociology Department, Kwantlen Polytechnic University
When: Monday, November 14, 2011
Time: 7:00 p.m. - 8:20 p.m.
Where: Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Surrey Campus, Conference Centre A Side, G1205A

Canadian mass communication scholar and social philosopher Marshal McLuhan put us all in the "Global Village," where willy-nilly, for better or worse, we inhabitants are increasingly becoming integrated, intermixed, and interconnected. What happens at one corner of the village has almost instantaneously repercussion on other parts of the village. Our actions, and indeed our inactions, affect and are affected by the actions and inactions of legions of people, most of who live in far flung corners of our global landscape, and whose paths may never cross ours in our lifetime. In my presentation, I will take my audience with me on a personal memory lane, sketching my life as scholar-activist using what I call the “global sociological imagination.”

I will begin with a discussion of the concept of Global Sociological Imagination (GSI) and follow up with a “slice of my life-story” beginning with my life back in rural Ghana through Europe and North America. I intend to demonstrate how a “conspiracy of factors”—historical, structural, and personal—have influenced my teaching philosophy and my drive for social justice and social change.

Research and Teaching Interest: Ethnic/Race Relations, Social Justice, Social Theory, Globalization/International Development and Change, Media and Society, African Diaspora, Families, Other interest are centered on ‘Third World”/Global South Issues.

Lecture No. 6:

"Empowering: A woman-centred approach to managing the spectrum of needs from settlement to empowerment"

Battered Women's Support Services (
When: Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. & 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Where: Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Surrey Campus, Conference Centre A Side, G1205A

To access the following manual, click on the link below:
Empowering: Non-Status. Refugee, and Immigrant Women Who Experience Violence

First   Voices   Lecture   Series  2009 -2010

Lecture No. 1Wiiliam_Poster

“What is aboriginal education in B.C.'s public post-secondary system? What isn't it?”
Dr. Gerry William - Scholar, Author & Poet
Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Lecture No. 2Ostrowidzki_Poster

“An Integrated Program of a Holistic Ecology of Aboriginal Literacy”

Dr. Eric Ostrowidzki, Academic and Indigenous Studies, NVIT
Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2009 

Lecture No. 3Billy_Poster

"Community-Based Education"

Verna Billy-Minnabarriet, Vice-President Learning Services, NVIT
Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2009

Lecture No. 4Annett_Poster

"Genocide in Canada: Why Healing and Reconciliation are Not Possible."
Kevin Annett, community minister and the founder of the non-governmental Truth Commission into Genocide in Canada and The Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared
Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Lecture No. 5

“Two Worlds Within One Home: The Immigrant Family Experience”

Tina J. Lee, MA
Monday, June 7th, 2010