U of T law professor one of five to receive Trudeau Fellowships

Photo of Audrey Macklin
Audrey Macklin will use her Trudeau Fellowship to research why Canadians stepped up to sponsor refugees in the last few years (photo by Lisa Lightbourn)

Audrey Macklin, director of the University of Toronto's Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies, is one of five scholars in Canada to receive a 2017 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Fellowship, in recognition of her outstanding scholarship and pro bono work advocating for immigrant and refugee rights.

“I will be using my Trudeau funds to support research into why thousands of Canadians have decided to sponsor refugees in the last couple of years,” says Macklin, who is also professor and chair in human rights at U of T's Faculty of Law and teaches at the School of Public Policy & Governance.

“I want to learn more about the sponsors’ backgrounds, motivations, experiences and reflections,” she says. “That means inquiring not only into what sponsors do for refugees, but what the refugee sponsorship does for the sponsors. I ask how the project of making refugees into citizens remakes the citizenship of sponsors.”

The Trudeau Fellowships, valued at $225,000 each over three years, are awarded each year to researchers in the social sciences and humanities who are productive and committed to communicating their work to the greater public.

The interdisciplinary nature of Macklin’s base at U of T – at the intersection of social sciences, humanities and law – will support and enrich her project.

“I know I will benefit from the advice and expertise of my colleagues from other disciplines as we move forward. This is a perfect place for me to be in terms of pursuing the Trudeau Fellowship.”

“This project opens up a new research direction," says Macklin. “As a legal scholar, I am mainly at my desk, reading, thinking and writing. The core of this project is empirical; I want to gather evidence from the field. Working with terrific social scientists from University of Toronto and York University, along with talented graduate students, we have launched an online survey of private sponsors of Syrian refugees. Thanks to the Trudeau Fellowship, we can amplify our reach, and expand into individual interviews and focus groups.  Our project has already attracted inquiries from researchers in other countries, who look to the Canadian model of private refugee sponsorship with great interest.”

The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation is an independent, non-partisan charity established in 2001. Its fellowships are awarded to notable scholars focusing on issues in four key areas: human rights and dignity; responsible citizenship; Canada in the world; and people and their natural environment.

Macklin is the eighth U of T scholar to receive the notable fellowship, and the third at the Faculty of Law. 


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