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Background Information



Background: The Metropolis Project


The Metropolis Project exists as both an international and a Canadian initiative.  Internationally, Metropolis is a network of policy analysts and researchers from more than 20 countries, as well as a number of representatives of international organizations including intergovernmental bodies and NGOs.  The Project is governed by an International Steering Committee that sets the strategic directions of the Metropolis Project, facilitates information exchange between members, plans annual conferences, and stimulates international research collaboration.  There have been ten International Metropolis Conferences to date, and the most recent was in Toronto in October, 2005, which was attended by more than 1,200 participants.


In Canada, a consortium of 11 federal ministries, led by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), in partnership with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), provides funds to support five Centres of Excellence across the country, which are headquartered in Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal, and Halifax.  The Centres operate at armís length from government and facilitate policy-relevant research on immigration and diversity.  Some 350 university researchers are affiliated with the centres.  The Metropolis Project also includes a Project Secretariat, housed in CIC, which is dedicated to ensuring communication between researchers and government.  The Secretariat is vital to enabling the connection between research and policy that is at the heart of the Metropolis Project.


Seven national Metropolis conferences have been held in Canada, in each case hosted by one of the Centres of Excellence or, once, by the Secretariat.  Participants are drawn from the three core constituent parts of the Metropolis Project: academia; government; and the NGO sector.  Attendance at these events has grown from about 250 in 1997 to over 700 in 2004.


The objectives of the Metropolis Project, writ large, are: to build research capacity in the areas of immigration, multiculturalism, and cultural diversity; to develop a new generation of researchers interested and prepared to study these issues; to provide a forum for the major stakeholders in immigration and multicultural policy to meet and learn from each other; and, above all, to engage in research that will inform public policy.  The national conference plays a fundamental role in all of these areas.