In Focus Lectures

This program is designed as a conversation with Canadians about how those fleeing war and persecution worldwide are protected under Canadian law, how they are welcomed and the place they take up as neighbours in our communities.

Come and attend this session open to all – no prior knowledge needed! Find out more about asylum seekers? Who are they? Why does Canada need to protect them? Are we doing too much or too little?

Offered at 2 locations free to the general public:

  • Tuesday November 22 from 6 – 7:30 pm at Surrey Centre Library, Room 120
    10350 University Dr, Surrey, BC V3T 4B8
  • Monday November 28 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm at the Renfrew Branch of Vancouver Public Library
    2969 E 22nd Ave, Vancouver, BC V5M 2Y3
    Moderated by: Thanh Lam, MAP Co-chair and Manager Youth & Newcomer Services at Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House

No registration necessary – please just drop in!


This dynamic program will be presented by a person with lived experience of making a refugee claim, a refugee lawyer and a settlement worker. They will take turns talking about the journey of arrival, the claim, the Hearing and life afterwards to look at how Canadian and International law applied to his case, and what life was like as a newcomer trying to settle into the community and find employment at the same time.

Speakers for the event

Dennis Juarez

Dennis Juarez is a Honduran citizen who moved to Canada in early 2016. Dennis works for the Métis Provincial Council of BC as the Provincial Employer Relations Manager. He previously worked helping refugees, international students, migrant workers and vulnerable people. Dennis is currently pursuing the Public Sector Management Diploma at the University of Victoria and graduated from Douglas College with a Career Development Practice Certificate. He enjoys spending time with friends and family and is always looking for ways to work towards his professional career.

Karen Jantzen, Lawyer, Immigrant & Refugee Legal Clinic

Karen graduated from UBC with a law degree in 2021 and works as a lawyer at the Immigration and Refugee Legal Clinic. She previously worked and volunteered with various organizations that support refugees, immigrants, and migrant workers in Winnipeg, Edmonton, Victoria, and Vancouver. In her free time, Karen enjoys baking, crocheting, and cycling.

Ana Yansie Parada Settlement Worker, Options Community Services

I am from El Salvador and immigrated to Canada in September 2000. My experience as a new immigrant
taught me many new things; I experienced different values, culture and challenges. These experiences
motivated me to join community service and I decided to help new immigrants in 2001. I started my
journey by volunteering at the Inland Refugee Society in 2001. My career in law back home helped me
to learn the policies in Canada faster. Throughout my professional career, I worked across different
sectors within community and immigrant services including elder care facility, working with individuals
struggling with mental illness, supporting young mothers with providing childminding services and
currently I work as a Settlement worker for the BC Settlement & Integration Services program at Options
Community Services.

Kochar Abubakr is a Kurdish author, Journalist and human right activist.

She has published two books in the Kurdish language: one of poetry and the other a nonfiction book. Some of her work has been translated into other languages. She moved to Canada in late 2016. Right now Kochar is working at Journey Home Community organization as Community, Volunteer and Event coordinator.

MAP's In Focus Series

IN FOCUS is a MAP BC Information Working Group initiative designed to open public dialogue on important refugee claimant issues. The four-part online lecture series, open to everyone, ties local to international refugee claimant issues. IN FOCUS invites well known speakers to address issues of concern and converse directly with participants in open Q&A periods.