Fourth Annual Coptic Canadian History Project (CCHP) Conference

We are saddend to announce that our next conference at the University of Minnesota, in collaboration with the Global Studies Institute’s Human Rights Program is cancelled due to the risks of COVID-19.

Click HERE for more details

Third Annual Coptic Canadian History Project (CCHP) Conference

“Who am I? Who are We? Family, History, and Immigrant Identities” was held Saturday, May 4th, 2019. Noted scholars representing diverse ethnic groups gathered to discuss scholarly efforts to unearth personal histories and craft contextualized research that is both self-reflective and sensitive to the perceptions, thought categories, language, and local idioms of people in various settings. Both the study and analysis of Coptic immigrants position them as insular and marginal to larger national and transnational developments. As such, on May 4th we engaged new approaches in immigration scholarship and situated Copts within stories of North American immigration and ethnicity.

Public Lecture on March 21 at 7PM, York University

At the invite of the Orthodox Christian Students’ Association at York University, Toronto we provided a public lecture on the experiences of Copts throughout Egypt’s twentieth century. A wonderful opportunity to share with second and third generation youth of multiple ethno-religious backgrounds the role Copts and many minorities continue to play in Middle Eastern societies.

Sixth Annual Public History Symposium, York University

The Coptic Canadian History Project was one of eight public history organizations participating in York University’s sixth annual Public History Symposium on Friday September 28, 2018. Titled “Diversity in the Archives,” this event at the Archives of Ontario included representatives of  organizations in Toronto who spoke to their dedication to preserving the historical records of immigrants and their institutions, and democratizing access to historical knowledge in and about their communities.

Second Annual Coptic Canadian History Project (CCHP) Conference

Focused on the theme of “Egypt’s Diasporas: Migration, Memory, and Political Activism in Canada and the United States,” the second annual CCHP conference was held on Friday and Saturday, April 13 – 14, 2018 in the George Spragge Classroom, Archives of Ontario. This two-day event brought together international scholars and local community members to discuss diverse topics related to Egypt and its diasporas. The Conference included a tour of the Archives of Ontario by Dr. Jay Young to explore some of the most cutting-edge archival facilities in the country, such as its Preservation Services lab and records storage vaults. Our keynote speaker was Dr. Carolyn Ramzy, Assistant Professor at Carleton University, whose engaging talk was entitled: “Coptic Church as Woman: Feminist Ethnomusicology, Popular Song, and Minority Belonging in Egypt.”



– Amy Fallas, MA Candidate, Yale University: “‘That they all may be one:’ Global Ecumenicalism, National Coptic Reform, and the Egyptian Student Movement, 1900-1922”
– Weston Bland, PhD Candidate, University of Pennsylvania: “Claims on Community in the 1949-50 al-Majlis al Milli Electoral Crisis”
– Mirna Wasef, PhD Candidate, UC San Diego: “Configuring Coptic Protestantism: The Expulsion of American Missionaries and the Formation of Transnational Coptic Protestant Identity in Egypt
– Dr. Safwat Marzouk, Associate Professor, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary: “The Joseph Narrative and Migration: Assimilation, Separation, and Cross-Border Relations”
– Maged Atiya, Independent Scholar: “Immigration as a Reinvention of Coptic Cultural Identity”
– Candace B. Lukasik, PhD Candidate, UC Berkeley: “Dreams of Migration: Time and Memory in an Upper Egyptian Village”
– Fr. Pishoy Salama, Markham, ON, St. Maurice and St. Verena Coptic Orthodox Church
– Fr. Paul Guirgis, Mississauga, ON, the Virgin Mary and St. Athanasius Coptic Orthodox Church
– Joseph Youssef, PhD Candidate, University of Toronto: “(Re)imagining the Desert: Making Coptic Monks in North America”
– Michael Akladios, PhD Candidate, York University: “‘God Help You!’ Orality, Memory, and the Historian”
– Lydia Yousief, MA Candidate, University of Chicago: “An Introductory Ethnography of the Nashville Coptic Community”
– Isaac Friesen, PhD Candidate, University of Toronto: “On Crossing and Midans: Religious Identifications in Provincial Egyptian Streets”
– Daniel Girgis, Independent Scholar: “Coptic Hymnology: Diffusion of Egyptian Regional Variance into the Diaspora”
– Bishoy Dawood, PhD Candidate, St. Michael’s College: “‘Shut it down!’ How a Facebook Page Created Revolt and Revolution in Coptic Communities”

St. Mark’s Coptic Museum – Myseum of Toronto Intersections Festival

From March 12-24, the CCHP partnered with St. Mark’s Coptic Museum in Scarborough to share the history and culture of Canada’s Coptic communities as a part of Myseum Intersections, a city-wide festival of exhibits, events, and interactive community experiences covering a range of historic and contemporary issues. The exhibit was titled: “Arrivals and Departures: the Journeys of the Copts and their Artifacts”

The CCHP presented a multimedia talk titled: “St. Mark’s Parish: Copts’ Journey Through Toronto’s Places of Worship, 1962-1978.”  The CCHP also launched our inaugural digital exhibit, an interactive map of Coptic Places of Worship in Toronto. Organized around the theme of “ecumenism,” this Google fusion map traces the journey of St. Mark’s Coptic parish in Toronto, the first such parish in North America.

The exhibit included a visual panel series that told the stories of the milestones of St. Mark’s Coptic Museum and featured the stories, challenges, and achievements of 22 Coptic professionals. Attendees were then invited to tour the Museum and learn of its first artifacts and memorabilia; portable stories that provide ideas about people who created them, owned and/or used them, and their journeys to their present home.

Presentation At York University, Toronto, ON


On Saturday May 27, Michael Akladios presented on recent developments in Egypt and the future of the CCHP at “Scholarship, Activism, Public History: Celebration of the Work and Leadership of Craig Heron.”

Inaugural Coptic Canadian History Project (CCHP) Conference

Held in the private dining room of the Schulich Executive Learning Centre on Thursday April 6, 2017, the theme of this year’s conference was: “Coptic Studies and the Many Meanings of ‘Diaspora’.” The event was generously supported by professor Marcel Martel, the Avie Bennett Historica Canada Chair in Canadian History, and sponsored by the Department of History, York University.

CCHP conferences participants, April 6 2017

In addition to exciting panels from an interdisciplinary group of researchers from across North America, the CCHP conference featured a keynote address by Paul Sedra, associate Professor of History at Simon Fraser University. His talk addressed the need to historicize escalating sectarian violence in Egypt and its impact on Christian-Muslim relations, both in Egypt and its émigré populations.

– Dr. Gilberto Fernandes (History, York University): “Archiving From Below: Preserving the Collective Memory of Canada’s Immigrant Communities”

– Dr. Christopher Grafos (History, Professor Bridges’ Academy): “The Archive on Display: Public History and the Delivery of Historical Knowledge”

– Dr. Helene Moussa (Volunteer Curator, St. Mark’s Coptic Museum): “The Cultural Role of a Coptic Museum in the Diaspora: a Source of Identity?”

– Bishoy Dawood, PhD. (Theology, University of St. Michael’s College): “Diaspora or Presence? Toward a Coptic Orthodox Theology of Mission”

– Bavly Kost, M.A. (Theology, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary): “The Renewal of Coptic Theology: the Integration of Community in the Coptic Diaspora”

– Joseph Youssef, PhD. (Anthropology, University of Toronto): “(De)Centralizing Egypt: Negotiating Coptic Identity in the North American Diaspora”

– Michael Akladios, PhD. (History, York University): “Pragmatic ‘Ambassadors:’ Coptic Clerical Rhetoric as Performance, 1954-1981”

– Sara Farhan, PhD. (History, York University): “The Sectarianism Fallacy: Observations on a Failing Category of Analysis”

– Miray Philips, PhD. (Sociology, University of Minnesota): “Emerging Narratives by Diasporic Copts in Response to Sectarianism in Egypt”

– Candace B. Lukasik, PhD. (Anthropology, University of California): “Copts and ‘the Persecuted Body’: Migration and Transnational Networks between Egypt and the United States”

Canadian Society For Coptic Studies, Junior Scholars Initiative

Friday April 1, 2016 (NMC, University of Toronto, St George Campus)



Bishoy Dawood, PhD candidate (Faculty of Theology at St. Michael’s College)

Roxanne Bélanger Sarrazin, MA (Département d’Études anciennes et Sciences des religions, Université d’Ottawa)

Emile Tadros, MA (Department of Religious Studies, McMaster Divinity College)

Joseph Youssef, PhD Candidate (Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto)

Bavly Kost, MA (Chaplain, Sunnybook Hospital Toronto)

Michael Akladios, PhD Candidate (Department of History, York University)

Dr. Carolyn Ramzy, assistant professor (Department of Ethnomusicology, Carleton University)

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