Beyond Borders

What is the Beyond Borders Program?

Beyond Borders is a systems change leadership program for people who have lived a refugee or immigrant experience, and who want to level the playing field for these communities. The program takes place during 12 days over 6 months, mostly in Surrey.  You will work alongside a group of other leaders with lived experience of forced/migration to develop projects that create new patterns of thriving beyond survival. We aim to amplify your projects, ground your impact in the communities you serve, and invest in you as a person

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Who Should Apply?

This program is open to everyone who identifies with the refugee or immigrant experience, including new and experienced leaders, settlement workers and managers, artists, activists, funders, employers entrepreneurs, parents, community members and more.

If you answer YES to these questions, then this program is for you.

  • Do you have a passion to address challenges such as credential recognition,language barriers,
    racism, poverty, homophobia, anti-Blackness, Islamophobia, detention policies, access to health care, social and economic exclusion of refugee communities or other issues?
  • Do you have ideas for your community you want to put in action but have not yet found a way?
  • Do you believe in the value of collaboration with people most affected by the
    issues AND people with access to institutional power?
  • Are you willing to invest in your personal leadership and growth?
  • Do you want to contribute to building diverse communities that can create and lead together?
  • Are you able to commit a minimum of 12 days of time over 6 months to the process?
  • Do you identify with the refugee or newcomer experience?

BENEFITS & Eligibility

Program Information

Through a collaborative process, you will develop, test and share community action projects, service innovations, or social ventures (click here to see some examples of projects from last year.)  You will choose your projects to address an issue important to the social, political and economic participation of refugee and immigrant communities. We will challenge and support each team to design their initiative to be able to shift power dynamics towards more equity. You will be part of a group committed to responding to the current moment in communities with fresh narratives, relationships of trust, and increased access for excluded groups.

You will receive:

  • Input from influential stakeholders in the community, helping expand your reach
  • Learning with experienced faculty who have lead systems change as racialized migrants
  • Access to a powerful pool of mentors
  • You will have a voice in shaping the program experience, and co-creating the community.

Schedule and Details

No schedule and details to share right now.

Program Benefits

We have heard the program helps people to grow in the following ways:

  • Grow your confidence

  • Grow your leadership: Learn to influence power dynamics in systems that affect the lives of refugee and newcomer communities

  • Grow your skills: Get hands-on practice of community organizing and project development. Learn how you can make things happen.

  • Skillful coaching: Get tailored support and mentorship

  • Grow your community: Build a base of relationships and shared power with other leaders impacted by forced/migration

  • Grow your influence: Engage with organizational leaders, grassroots groups, and policy makers who also want to affect systemic change


How to apply

Applications are currently closed

We will now hold face to face interviews for short-listed candidates the week of August 19th-27th. The final cohort will be announced on September 18th.

Info Sessions & Help with Applications

If your group or organization would like us to come speak to your team about Beyond Borders, please contact Nada Elmasry ( to schedule an information session, or for support with the application process.

What is Innovation, Anyway?

Innovation happens when people dare to dream another world is possible, and courageously come together to create that world. This process has existed in every culture, region and time in human history. Innovation is natural to us all.

We are curious about how you see innovation – let us know!

What are We Learning at the Refugee Livelihood Lab?

On September 17th, 2019, we co-hosted a sold-out event on Migrant Justice & Systems Change, exploring what we are learning. Our panelists included Harsha Walia from No-one Is Illegal, Reyna Joyce from Fresh Voices, Anthonia Ogundele from Ethos Lab, and Jennifer Reddy from EdMeCo and SFU Continuing Learning. Valeen Jules opened with spoken word, reminding us that land acknowledgment is related to real and ongoing struggles for reclamation of land and Indigenous sovereignty.
Hosted by Nada El Masry, the panellists were real, vulnerable and covered themes including:
  • Who are we as migrant communities? what are the different experiences within the word “refugee”?
  • Who has a role in making change? does it happen in the family? in yourself? in your organization? in your community? all?
  • What about language accessibility?
  • How do we make this relevant to all our people, and use our immense number of languages to support change?
  • Do we change systems slowly, or are they fundamentally broken and need a radical redo?
  • How do we support those who work within existing systems, outside systems, and across many different political perspectives?
  • How do we build nourishing spaces for ourselves as people targeted by oppression?
Adriana Contreras from Drawing Change captured the themes in this graphic recording.

The Program Team

The Refugee Livelihood Lab Trampoline: Ideas Into Action! will be stewarded by the following team of individuals. This team will also invite in a variety of guests from the local community.

Nada El Masry

Program Manager

Nada El Masry (she/her) is a Libyan-born Palestinian who came to the unceded land of the Coast Salish peoples just over 10 years ago. Due to her life experiences and education, Nada has fostered a deep passion for social justice and has shaped her life goals around values rooted in that field. She has been working with and engaging newcomers for several years, and currently manages the Refugee Livelihood Lab, which aims to build social, economic, and political capital for racialized refugee and migrant communities.

Nada is pursuing a Master’s in Equity Studies in Education at SFU, and was recipient of a 2019 BC Anti-Racism Award . She has also been nominated by the Future of Good as a 2020 Top 21 Founders to Watch, and received a 2018 Leadership Award from Voices of Muslim Women. In her free time, Nada enjoys playing and watching soccer.

Camille Dumond


Camille manages and co-designed the Refugee Livelihood Lab at RADIUS. The lab aims to increase the social, political and economic capital of diverse racialized migrant communities. Camille’s role includes using the lab’s resources to amplify initiatives emerging from communities with lived experience of forced displacement and migration. She also works with an incredible team to surface systemic patterns that cause harm, and support new patterns which value the dignity, experiences, skills, and dreams of racialized migrants. She brings 18+ years experience in community-based facilitation, program design, conflict mediation and healing centered engagement.  

In addition to her work at RADIUS, Camille practices somatic therapy. She has a rich connection to the dreaming world, loves poetry, spontaneous dance parties and her two sisters.

Jorge Salazar


Jorge Salazar works as Project Director of the Inner Activist, a project of Tides Canada. The Inner Activist is a leadership education program that is part of a global movement rooted in social justice, equity, self-awareness and our place in nature. Jorge co-founded in partnership with immigrant and refugee youth and allies, the Fresh Voices Initiative with Vancouver Foundation, where he worked as Project Manager. Fresh Voices gathers a network of more than 200 migrant youth to address systemic issues via policy change in BC. Jorge came to Canada as a refugee from Colombia in late 2000. He uses his own immigration journey, life experiences, and training to bridge communities and facilitate positive change.


Paola Ardiles

Curriculum Contributor

Paola Ardiles BSc (hons) MHSc MBA (far right) is a public health advocate, an educator and a social entrepreneur. Throughout her career she has led various collaborative and innovative approaches in research, policy and practice, to enable a broader understanding of our collective role in promoting health and well-being for all. Paola came to Canada as a refugee child in the mid-seventies and formed part of the Chilean diaspora who established itself in Toronto during the military dictatorship. Since then Paola has been driven to create social change by sharing knowledge and creating space for people’s voices to be heard. Today, she serves as a bridge or a “knowledge broker” through her roles as a educator, mentor, advocate, policy analyst, entrepreneur, advisor, facilitator and public speaker. In 2017, Paola was recognized as one of TD Bank’s 10th Most Influential Hispanic Canadians.



For more information, please contact Nada El Masry, Program Manager,

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