Oshawa university professor named UNESCO Research Chair in Hate Studies


Published November 22, 2022 at 4:43 pm

Dr. Barbara Perry

An Ontario Tech University global authority on hate crime and right-wing extremism in Canada has been named as Research Chair in Hate Studies by the France-based United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Dr. Barbara Perry’s appointment by UNESCO means the Oshawa university will continue to showcase its leadership in the field and also advance the scope and mission of Ontario Tech’s own Centre on Hate, Bias and Extremism, which began operations in 2018. As Research Chair, Perry will develop evidence-based policy to minimize the incidence and impacts of hate crime and targeted hate speech, both online and offline.

“Hate crime arises as a means of defending what appears to be under threat, whether it is status, wealth, privilege, or territory, and manifests itself in various forms of hostility,” explained Perry. “Xenophobia, racism, homophobia, misogyny and other related iterations of hate threaten the security and well-being of targeted communities worldwide.”

The movement also backs a wide range of issues and grievances, including, but not limited to anti-government and anti-law enforcement sentiment. “Recent years have seen dramatic increases in extremist ideas, movements and practices, including radicalization, often with dire consequences.”

As UNESCO Chair, Perry will enhance awareness of diverse forms of hate and hostility affecting communities globally, with the goal of developing anti-hate strategies specific to local needs, developing educational initiatives, and promoting community resilience and empowerment.

Her work extends to policing diverse communities, building resilience among marginalized communities and broader issues of diversity and justice. She has helped to frame the field of hate studies internationally, while fostering global education and support for victims of hate-fuelled violence.

She is a well-known expert sought by broadcast and print media outlets including TVO, CBC, CTV, the Globe and Mail and the New York Times, among others. She is a regular consultant with Justice Canada, Public Safety Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and local social justice organizations.

Objectives and goals of the UNESCO Research Chair in Hate Studies include:

  • Community engagement and awareness through the sharing of research findings via publications, webinars and online modules.
  • Networking with international anti-hate and radicalization-prevention partners, including institutions in Canada, the United States, South Africa, Guyana, the United Kingdom, India, Trinidad and Tobago, Spain and Ireland.
  • Promotion of evidence-based policy, practice and programming.
  • Training of students, postdoctoral fellows, academics, practitioners and the public.

UNESCO was created in 1945 only months after the conclusion of the Second World War with a mission to contribute to global peace and security, to advance universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and for human rights and fundamental freedoms. In addition to reflecting UNESCO’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, the Chair’s agenda aligns with UNESCO’s broad aims of social inclusion and the current UNESCO thematic priorities of ‘learning to live together’ and ‘preventing violent extremism.’

“Hate is a global problem that demands global solutions, and these require innovative research on extremism that will lead to concrete intervention strategies geared toward both offline and virtual delivery platforms,” said Dr. Les Jacobs, Vice-President, Research and Innovation at Ontario Tech. “The UNESCO Chair in Hate Studies affirms Ontario Tech University’s international research leadership in this field and supports Dr. Barbara Perry’s legacy of scholarship in helping policymakers and community leaders understand and respond to the complex processes of hate and prejudice.”

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