Dr. Phil Okeke-Ihejirika is a full professor in the Women’s and Gender Studies Department of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. Her areas of expertise include Gender and Higher Education in Africa, and African International Migration. Her research, teaching and other professional activities contribute to a wide array of scholarly forums, embracing a broad network of academic institutions, scholars and international agencies, including the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Council for the Development of Economic and Social Research in Africa (CODESRIA). Dr. Okeke-Ihejirika is also actively involved in community building as a resource person to many community organizations, service providers and public agencies in Alberta. She belongs, among others, to the Women Advocacy Voice of Edmonton (WAVE), a 15-member advisory committee on gender issues to the city’s Mayor-and-Council. She has earned many academic, professional and community awards locally and in international circles.
Areas of Expertise:
Most Current Awards:
2018: Research Celebration, Faculty of Arts
2017: Opens minds - U of A's innovated and talented humanities and social sciences researchers
2016: Collaborating researcher with the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development
2016. Member, College of Mentors for African Universities
2016. African Diaspora Fellowship, Carnegie Corporation, New York
2016. Visiting Professorship, Council for the Development of Economic and Social research in Africa (CODESRIA)
2015: African Diaspora Fellowship, Carnegie Corporation, New York
2014: Special Mention – Human Right Activist, Alberta Legislature
2013: Outstanding Service to Community - African Center
Selected Leadership Roles and Consultancies:
2018: Director, Gender Institute, Council for the Development of Economic and Social Research in Africa, Dakar, Senegal.
2018: Director, Pan African Collaboration for Excellence (PACE), University of Alberta.
2017: Director, Transnational Initiatives on Gender and Education Research (TIGER), University of Alberta, Canada.
2017: Member, Integrative Health Institute, University of Alberta, Canada.
2017: Institutional Liaison, Development of Memorandum of Understanding, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa.
2016 - Present: Academic mentor, Immigrant and Visible Minority Students in Post-Secondary Institutions
2016: Status of Women, Alberta – Development of a Framework for Staff Training on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
2014- Present: Appointed as part of a 15 member team to advise the city of Edmonton's mayor and council on gender issues: Women's Advocacy Voice of Edmonton (WAVE)
2009 - Present: Appointed as consultant to work on Memorandum of Understanding (MoU); work with FUTA stakeholders to develop programs for CEGIST. Federal University of Technology (FUTA) and Center for Gender Issues in Science and Technology:
2010-2011: Director of the Research Funding Office of Kwara State University, Nigeria; developing new curriculum. Conducted during Sabbatical Leave
2011-2012: Member of an advisory group for my university's internationalization program developed to advise the Vice President (Academic)
2004-2008: Participated in the CODERSRIA Project, Multi-national Working Group (MWGs)
2018-2021: Kule Institute for Advanced Study; $70,000 - "African Immigrant and Refugee Families’ Resilience in Transnational Contexts: A Pan African Collaboration for Excellence (PACE) Research Agenda". (Principal Investigator)
2018-2019: Policy-Wise Alberta; $40,000 - “A participatory action research project to promote the mental health of African, Black and Caribbean Youths in Alberta." (Co-PI)
2018: Killam Cornerstone Grant; $48,750 - “Access to healthcare for immigrant children in Alberta.” (Co-PI)
2017-2018: Kule Institute for Advanced Studies Research Team Grant. $5,700 - "Strengthening parenting practices of African immigrants in Alberta: Mobilizing African immigrant communities and developing a research team". (Co-PI)
2017- 2020: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Grant. $201,981 - “Transforming gender relations among African immigrants in Alberta - A participatory action study.” (Principal Investigator)
2017-2020: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Grant; $197,145 - “Migration and precarity: From the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to permanent resident, student and undocumented migrant status.” (Co-PI)
2017-2018: World University Network – Research Development Fund. $25,000 - “Communicating Good Health and Wellbeing: Promotion, Advocacy and Resilience.” (Co-PI)
2017-2018. Kule Institute for Advanced Studies Research Team Grant. $5,700 - "Strengthening parenting practices of African immigrants in Alberta: Mobilizing African immigrant communities and developing a research team." (Co-PI)
2017: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Knowledge Synthesis Grant; $25,000 - “Addressing Domestic Violence in Post-Migration Gender Relations - A Prerequisite for Building Sustainable, Resilient Immigrant Communities.” (Principal Investigator)
2016-2017: Kule Institute for Advanced Study - University of Alberta; $7,000 - “A Pilot Study on the Experiences of and Support Services Needs of Internally Displaced Persons and Host Communities in Nigeria.” (Principal Investigator)
2016-2017: Killam Operating Grant; $6,024 - “A Scoping Review of Literature on Intimate Partner Violence in Africa and African Immigrant Communities in Western Industrialized Countries.” (Principal Investigator)
2016 – 2018: M.S.I Foundation; $66,000 - “Parenting and Mental Health Promotion Practices of African Immigrants in Alberta.” (Co-PI)
2016 – 2017: World University Network – Research Development Fund. $30,000. “Migration Policy, Welfare Boundary, Social Integration & Health-related Quality of Life of Children from Immigrant Families.” (Co-PI)
2016: Kule Institute for Advanced Studies. $2,000 - "Creating Gender Spaces for African Immigrant Families’ Successful Transition and Integration into the Canadian Society: Men’s Experiences.” (Principal Investigator)
2015-2016: Kule Institute for Advanced Studies Research Team Grant. $7,500 - "Interrogating the Impact of Recent Changes to Canadian Temporary Foreign Workers Policy on Canadians and Temporary Foreign Workers in Alberta: Developing a Research Team." (Co-PI)
2015-2016 : Kule Institute for Advanced Studies. $2000 - “Creating Gender Spaces for African Immigrant Families’ Successful Transition and Integration into the Canadian society: Women’s Experiences.” (Principal Investigator)
2015-2016: Carnegie Corporation of New York, Council for the Development of Economic and Social Research in Africa, and Faculty of Arts, University of Alberta, Canada. $6,000 - “Exploring the Experiences of Female Graduate Students in African Universities: Questions about Voice, Power and Responsibility.” (Principal Investigator)
2012-2013: Endowment Fund for the Future: Support for the Advancement of Scholarship (EFF-SAS) Research Fund; $5,542 - “Review of Existing Knowledge on International Obligations to Refugees in Advanced Industrial Countries.” (Principal Investigator)
Examines social and cultural constructions of gender, sexuality, race, class, and disability as well as visions for social justice.Winter Term 2022
Introduction to how women experience political conflicts, either in contemporary or historical contexts, focusing on how violence, access to resources, public decision-making, and social security impact women during and after conflict.Winter Term 2022
2018 - 2021
PACE is a new University of Alberta-based interdisciplinary, international initiative between scholars, policymakers, service providers and communities that seeks to build capacity for research and scholarly output, graduate training and community engagement related to Africans globally. PACE focuses on research collaborations that engage the diversity of histories, cultures and conditions of life Africans embody, the dimensions of social inequality largely rooted in cultural formations, colonization and capitalist expansion, including their experiences of migration and displacement within and outside the continent. PACE also invites comparative research that could be mutually beneficial to Africans and other populations. Drawing from the collective expertise of a rapidly growing network of partners, PACE seeks to generate significant capacity for broader collaboration among partners in academia, public agencies, civil society and community to achieve the above objectives.PACE Website
Video presentation for research collaboration with Nigerian partners; July 31, 2017:
National Emergency Management Agency (NEMAP); Center for Clinical Care and Clinical Research (CCCCR); Initiative for Good Health (IGH); Obafemi Awolowo University.
Interdisciplinary collaboration in an effort to tackle issues that result from internal displacement in Nigeria. The initiative seeks to address common infectious diseases, common maternal and child conditions and psychological trauma. Women are placed at the center of the initiative to become agents of change: responsible to deliver healthcare. They will be trained to monitor and address healthcare concerns within the Gurku camp and other healthcare facilities. It is a community based approach.More Information
2017 - 2020
Understanding Gender Relations in African Immigrant Families: A Participatory Action Research (PAR) Sub-Saharan Africans (SSA) are one of the fastest growing populations of newcomers in Canada, but they remain largely under-researched. Often overlooked in the existing literature are the ways in which gender relations mediate migration and settlement. Yet, they are a crucial determinant of Africa immigrants' capacity to transit and integrate into Canada, especially as gender relations are likely to undergo significant shifts as immigrants settle in host countries. This participatory action research (PAR) thus aims to generate a nuanced understanding of these complex gender interactions, in light of the subordinate status women usually have in SSA cultures. Gender relations shape decision making, parenting, ties to extended family, access to resources, and relationships with service providers---these are critical aspects of family life that affect men and women differently in post-migration contexts, such as Canada is for those who come here from away. Our study will draw from all these stakeholders to generate relevant information and strategies to enhance gender relations within African immigrant families, which in turn has implications for several domains, such as social opportunities and networks, employment, parenting, and safety.Celebration of Research: Gender Relations