Derakhshan seeks innovative and holistic ways to address complex issues, by listening to narratives from different perspectives and engaging in conversations at both a policy and grassroots level. She is fascinated by migration, the interconnectivity of the local and the global, and the crossroads of cultures. Born and raised in the Greater Toronto Area, her passion for travel, advocacy and research on the refugee experience have brought her to over a dozen countries around the world, where she has met the individuals who inspire her work today.

Quest Summary: 
During my Quest to Thunder Bay/Northern Ontario, I want to learn first and foremost about First Nations perspectives, narratives, cultures and history. I’d like to better understand the diversity of experience within the country outside of my own realm of experiences and understanding, and outside of a major metropolitan centre such as Toronto. Within this framework, I’m interested in exploring a few specific ideas, such as:
  • Understanding experiences with respect to reconciliation/justice processes, and learning about what best practices can or can not be applied to different communities/global contexts (exp: reconciliation in Afghanistan).
  • The historical and contemporary relationship between First Nations communities and “newcomers.”
  • The concept of solidarity between various social justice movements in Canada (indigenous rights, refugee rights, and other marginalized/racialized communities).
  • The relationship between the land and the communities that live on it.
  • How economic policies affect communities in Northern Ontario.
With that said, I hope to learn things that I didn’t plan for and better understand the issues within communities I’m visiting through the eyes and experiences of those who live there.
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Contact Derakhshan: dqurban-ali@marsdd.com