McGill Alert / Alerte de McGill

Updated: Mon, 07/15/2024 - 16:07

Gradual reopening continues on downtown campus. See Campus Public Safety website for details.

La réouverture graduelle du campus du centre-ville se poursuit. Complément d'information : Direction de la protection et de la prévention.

Meet Our MPPs: Sean Celi

With a passion ignited by firsthand experiences in immigration services and a dedication to uplifting marginalized voices, MPP Sean Celi is carving a path towards meaningful change in immigration policy and beyond. Originally from the Philippines, Sean moved to Vancouver over a decade ago to pursue his studies and gain professional experience before joining the 2023-2024 cohort.  

Through his experience as a senior immigration officer at Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, Sean recognized the impact of policy in supporting marginalized communities. His passion for supporting immigrants and asylum seekers inspired him to enroll in a Master of Public Policy program, which he believes is the perfect path in contributing meaningfully to societal progress. 

Sean is excited to leverage his diverse background and passion for policy to tackle complex challenges and drive positive transformation – but first, he’s doing it alongside his peers in the program. “We’re from different backgrounds, different countries, different careers, but we all get along really well,” he says of the diversity within his cohort and the integral support system they provide. He emphasizes the importance of the close relationships he has formed as well with instructors and professors, citing their accessibility and personalized approach as instrumental in making the program feel more intimate and engaging. Outside of the classroom, Sean dove into the many extracurricular opportunities available during the MPP, choosing to lead as an Associate Editor for The Bell and co-founder of The Bellwether. The vibrant community within the cohort and experiences with them – from producing podcast episodes to participating in intramural sports teams – contributes just as much to a successful MPP experience as the coursework does. “I think it goes to show how much fun we’re having. Not just in the classroom, but also outside of class.” 

Coming into the MPP, Sean’s interests in policy focused on immigration – but now, the sky’s the limit. With opportunities to network and meet policy leaders both inside and outside of the classroom, his interests have broadened to encompass international relations and national security. He has developed an interest in housing policy, recognizing its direct correlation with immigration. He also expressed a newfound interest in policy issues related to economic inequality, shaped by courses like macroeconomics and microeconomics. Sean's evolving interests underscore the interdisciplinary nature of the MPP and “generalist” approach in shaping students' perspectives on complex policy challenges. 

Before embarking on the MPP, Sean was working to ensure the inclusion of immigrant and refugee youth in decision-making across municipal, provincial, and federal levels. Sean collaborated closely with Surrey, B.C. city officials to advocate for the inclusion of diverse youth perspectives in policy discussions concerning school policies, housing, and poverty reduction. “I realized from that experience that in a lot of these policy-decision tables, youth have to advocate for themselves in order to be included.” This need for systemic change motivates Sean to address the current paradigm hindering youth inclusion. He envisions a future where inclusivity is ingrained in policymaking processes by design, actively seeking out diverse voices, including LGBTQ+ and immigrant youth, to ensure policies reflect the experiences and needs of all communities. 

Sean’s work at Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada included identifying challenges in the policies implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly at the border. While reviewing refugee files and asylum claims, he encountered applicants facing danger in their home countries but unable to seek refuge due to policies like the Safe Third Country Agreement, restricting their eligibility based on their arrival from the United States. Feeling helpless in his role as a public servant and recognizing the impact of federal government policies on vulnerable individuals stuck in precarious situations is a story shared by many MPPs. This realization led Sean to pursue a career in public policy, driven by a desire to address systemic issues and advocate for more effective policymaking processes. 

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