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McGill Student Wins Gunn Prize for Immigration History Essay

Lianne Robin Koren (MA, Department of History, McGill University) has received the 2019 Gunn Prize for her essay on ‘Europeanized Moroccans: North African Jewish Immigration to Canada, 1955-1960’. This essay, of the several submitted, was judged the most meritorious for its exploration of this movement of immigrants to Canada. 

Since 2010, the annual Gunn Prize of $1000 has been jointly awarded by the International Migration Research Centre (IMRC) at Wilfrid Laurier University and the Canadian Immigration Historical Society (CIHS), a non-profit organizational that promotes study of and communication about the history of Canada’s immigration and refugee programs. Canadian junior, senior or graduate university students in any social science or humanities discipline are eligible to submit essays addressing international migration to Canada.

In her essay, Ms Koren assesses the strategies of the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) and the Jewish Immigrant Aid Society (JIAS) that led the government of Canada to establish an immigration program for Moroccan Jews in the mid to late-1950s. She finds that the CJC and the JIAS accentuated the “Westernized” identities of North African Jews for the purpose of convincing Canada to accept the migration of this group.

Her winning essay is on-line at Ms Koren obtained both her BA and MA from McGill and will pursue a PhD that furthers her research on Sephardic Jewish migration in the 20th century and explore issues related to migration, identity, community and diaspora.

Said Ms Koren, “The history and experiences of Moroccan Jews in Canada are understudied and deserve greater academic attention. I am proud to have been chosen by the IMRC and the CIHS who appreciate the value and importance of this subject. My essay submission to the Gunn Prize was expanded upon in my Master’s thesis, “North African Jewish Migration to Canada, 1956-1960: A Holocaust Legacy.”

The Gunn Prize is named in honour of a founding member of CIHS, the late Mr. Al Gunn.

The call for essays is made annually by the IMRC. A panel of distinguished persons with knowledge and experience in immigration and refugee issues assesses all submissions and selects the winning essay and presents the award by the fall each year. The deadline for 2020 submissions is June 30, 2020.
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