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New Podcast Tackles The Question of What is “Home”

Diaspora is a term used to describe populations of people whose origin lies in a separate geographic locale. A mass exodus of people from their indigenous origins. Diaspora tells everyone who leaves their homeland through war, famine, geological disaster, or a search for new opportunities.

A new podcast by the Toronto-based Zoryan Institute is taking a deep dive into the stories of diaspora, their diverse and shared experiences of living away from, and returning to, their homelands. The 6 episode series connects with people who had to leave their homes and tells their stories in a format readily available and understandable to all audiences.

“We would talk about these things in the office[genocide, human rights, diaspora homeland relations], and one day we were thinking, wouldn’t it be great if we were able to share this on a broader platform,” says Dispersion Podcast Host Jen Haddow. “These issues are not things of the past. They are very much in our future and our lives these days.”

The podcast tackles the question of what is ‘home.’ Navigating the concept of ‘home’ can have dramatically different interpretations depending on who you ask and what life experiences they’ve had. Each episode looks to answer a different perspective of that question. Guests were explicitly chosen for each episode, but which ones were something the group debated vigorously, says Haddow, tackling with the idea of a more academic focus. In the pursuit of ensuring the accessibility remained for each episode, they found guests who were just everyday people, someone who could be your neighbour.

With the robust network cultivated by the Zoryan Institute over the years, the podcast had access to academics who have gone through the Genocide and Human Rights University program, the wider network, and individuals related to the institute representing a diaspora community. Each episode features two fantastic guests, sometimes strangers from other sides of Canada, to answer the same questions, realizing they had shared experiences. This was a core aspect the podcast sought to articulate.

“All of these episodes are with people who identify as Canadian or reside in Canada. We kept it to a Canadian context because of Canada’s unique multicultural diverse approach,” says Haddow. ” We wanted to identify the similarities in experiences between very different diaspora communities. Take two, the Ethiopian and Ukrainian diaspora. On paper, you might think, I’m sure they have nothing in common, very different geographic locations, cultures, food, and language. But when you get two people from those diasporas, or any two, and get them in a room, and you start having these conversations, you have amazing moments.”

She adds that the podcast can challenge the stereotypes and discrimination many diaspora communities face in Canada and worldwide while building relationships and bringing people together.

The podcast is one of the latest in many projects by the Zoryan Institute. The institute seeks to raise awareness of genocide, human rights, and diaspora homeland relations through vigorous research, documentation, seminars, tools, and journals. With the 40th anniversary of the institute and the 30th of the journal, there is a lot in the works for 2022.

Dispersion Podcast

– Ryan Funk, U Multicultural

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of U Multicultural.

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