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14th Annual Concordia-Siena Conference on Globalization

Affecting Change in a Globalized World




November 17th & 18th, 2017

Concordia University

The main objective of the conference is to foster exchange and discussion among students and faculty from Siena College in upstate New York and the Loyola College for Diversity and Sustainability (LCDS) of Concordia University as to how to bring about positive change in an increasingly complex world. This theme speaks to a common interest of the students of the LCDS in the Minor in Diversity and the Contemporary World, those in the Minor in Sustainability Studies, and Siena College’s students in the Minor in International Studies. Concordia University has long been at the forefront of this movement, with units such as the LCDS and CEED Concordia leading the way towards enhanced social engagement.  The highlights of this conference will be the keynote speaker on Friday evening and Saturday workshops and student presentations, all designed to foster discussion about community engagement for positive change.

This year's conference will feature Dr. Aziz Choudry, Associate Professor of Integrated Studies in Education at McGill University. Dr. Choudry currently holds a Canada Research Chair in Social Movement Learning and Knowledge Production. His research focuses on learning in social action and knowledge production in social movements. The title of Dr. Choudry's keynote address is Building a politics of resistance, learning from movements, and organizing for change: Radical roots/radical routes?

For Saturday morning, LCDS fellow Dr. Satoshi Ikeda and Ms. Irina Grecu have agreed to present a workshop on community resilience based on their work with Transitions NDG, a community cooperative the main goal of which is to mobilize and organize local skills and resources for the benefit of the community. This workshop will be followed by parallel workshops on urban agriculture, food preservation, and cooperative business models.

Through the speakers and the Saturday workshops, as well as through the research presentations of our students and those of Siena College, this conference will provide an active learning experience and empower participants to work towards positive change at a local and/or global scale.

Conference Schedule

The conference will begin with words for welcome from Concordia's Professor Adeela Arshad-Ayaz and Siena College's Professors Chingyen Mayer and John Cummings.

Concordia and Siena students and faculty are invited to get to know each other over dinner.

Abstract: History reveals that organizing and building movements for social, political and environmental justice are vital to fight injustice and change the world. Yet most accounts which discuss social change tend to overlook the significance of the collective nature and ‘grunt work’ of organizing, as well as the importance of ideas and visions that are produced in struggles for change. This often leaves us with simplistic, sanitized, and misleading descriptions of movements, activism, power and social change that tend to fixate on individuals, clever slogans, professional spokespeople, and more recently techno-utopian claims about the use of digital media and technology.

Drawing from a range of historical and contemporary examples, this talk suggests that in order to understand what it actually takes to bring about change, we should seriously engage with the learning and production of knowledge that occurs when ordinary people come together to try to address the roots of problems, confront injustice, build solidarity, and act collectively. Notwithstanding their tensions and contradictions, these struggles are incubators for ideas that can enrich our understanding and analysis. Indeed, they can take us beyond ‘common sense’ horizons of possibility that many have accepted as the only way to think, while helping us to think through, in our own lives and locations, the possibilities and ways to change the world.

Biography of the speaker:

Dr. Choudry is Associate Professor in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education at McGill University. His research focuses on learning in social action and knowledge production in activist/social movement milieus. He is interested in examining issues of power, knowledge and social relations in local and transnational community organizing, NGO, trade union and social movement networks, and histories, knowledge and theory ‘from below’. Dr. Choudry holds a Canada Research Chair in social movement learning and knowledge production.

The conference will begin with words for welcome from Concordia's Professor Adeela Arshad-Ayaz and Siena College's Professors Chingyen Mayer and John Cummings.

9:15: Communication (Internet, TV, and phones) by Megan Connolly, Hannah Gregg, Cassidy Palladino, and Shay Curtis

9:35: Vaccines by Emily Boucher, Eileen Fitzgerald, and Kerry Dunn

9:55: How Technology has Affected Climate Change, Communication by Jules Finnucan, Deborah Moore, Chelsea Staniec

Coffee, tea, and snacks will be served

Irina Grecu and Satoshi Ikeda will examine the Transition project, which looks into the social economies as possible alternatives to the dysfunctional and unsustainable corporate economy.   

Concordia and Siena students and faculty are invited to a buffet lunch.

This presentation is an investigation into the mediation and aesthetics surrounding the growing production of visual culture concerning climate intervention (also called climate engineering and geoengineering). As prestigious universities and think-tanks open departments into climate intervention research, I briefly outline the ethical quandaries before investigating the symbolic and semantic implications of the new and developing lexicon and imagery.

This presentation will use a statement made by the Dalai Lama to highlight the obstacles which may hinder Tibet’s cultural resilience, while showcasing the efforts put forth by Tibetans to maintain their identity. I will explain the present situation in Tibet by discussing the importance of education, religion, geography and economy in respect to culture. 


Outlined in this presentation are the characteristics of The Great Blasket Island civilization, a population that resided off the west coast of County Kerry, Ireland and ultimately declined by cause of evacuation in 1953. Through the availability of an autobiography of an Island woman, an exploration is made of the non-resilient aspects of Blasket life, providing an explanation as to why their culture, though romanticized, proved inherently stagnant.   


This is an exploration into the correlation between nostalgia and (psychological) resilience. Theoretically, the study of nostalgia as a conceptual framework is still in its infancy. With origins in psychopathology, nostalgia has experienced a contemporary shift to contain powerful sentimental meaning. How may memories offer relief from displacement, identity threats, and collective trauma? I wish to demonstrate that nostalgia is not simply the longing for another time or place, or even a ‘homecoming’, but is concerned with internal strength. I reference firsthand narratives of Residential School Survivors as evidence to draw upon potential links between nostalgia and the development of positive effect, and whether it may provide protective factors that mitigate experienced injustice.

Coffee, tea, and snacks will be served

Monica Dantas and Irina Grecu will talk about the millenary food preservation method, fermentation, explore the benefits of consuming fermented food, and reflect about its historical association with resilience.

Monica Dantas works with Season Jars and Irina Grecu, with Transition NDG.

In this info session, Sheena Swirlz from the Concordia Greenhouse will be giving an overview of the various campus growing projects, ways to get involved, followed by an introduction to sprouting at home. Participants will receive a free sprouting kit!

This workshop will explore what it means to “work together”, and how the structure of a cooperative creates sustainability. We will also discuss why strength in community matters more than strength in dollars, the force in purchasing power, and the value in trust and loyalty.

Registration is required but free.

For more information, contact the conference organizers.

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