Current Ph. D. Students

Aklilu Teferi

There is nothing in the world, I venture to say, that
would so effectively help one to survive even the worst
conditions ,as the knowledge that there is a meaning in one's life
.- Viktor E. Frankl

Aklilu Teferi is a doctoral student in the PhD program in the faculty of Social work at University of Manitoba. Born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Aklilu has developed a passion for interdisciplinary and integrated approaches to best understand the complexity of human behavior. Several years of work experience in the customer care field, in Ethiopia, that required frequent interaction with diverse populations, ignited his curiosity to learn new information about the complexity of human behavior. Having spent the last ten years working in the social services field, Aklilu realized that his passion lies in understanding and providing alternate solutions for social issues of individuals and groups who are less advantaged, particularly immigrant and refugee children.

In addition to his undergraduate studies in management, in Ethiopia, Aklilu earned both a BSW and a MSW from U of M, where his research area focused on human migration and resettlement issues. Staying rooted in the ecological systems theory, and backed by diverse academic and professional experiences in cross-cultural settings, presently, his research turns towards global migration and children’s education.

Aklilu’s doctoral research focuses on the psychosocial and educational needs of children affected by conflict. His doctoral study aims to explore the impact of traumas caused by conflict, war and displacement, on children’s’ education in the context of the combined influence that psychological factors and the surrounding social environment have on children’s physical and mental wellness and their ability to function. In recent years, Aklilu has worked as a counsellor and case manger for a not for profit organization and for the Government of Manitoba in a variety of settings and with diverse clients, including refugee children from war affected regions.

Aklilu has taught a course-Social work practice with Newcomers - at Booth University College. Aklilu is affiliated with a number of organizations and is actively involved in the community service as an agency board member, event organizer, workshop facilitator, etc. He currently serves as a member of the Advisory Committee in the New Canadian initiative at the Winnipeg Child and Family Services, General Authority and as a member of the Planning Committee of the Strangers in New Homelands Conference (an annual international conference on migration, refugee movements, settlement and integration challenges). Aklilu also volunteers in various organizations including the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and is a cofounder and chairperson of Afri-Can- Social Services for Newcomer Youth and Families.


  • The Margret Mary Burns Award - for students in the first year of PhD degree program in Social Work with high academic standing-(2017/2018) 
  • The Enid Driben-Triller Memorial Scholarship in Social Work- for students admitted to the program with the highest grade average -(2017/2018)
  • The Howard and Ruth S.L Winkler Bursary in Social Work from University of Manitoba (2007)


  • With Dr. Osman Ba , studied and developed Refugee Youth Gang Reduction Strategies for Labor and Immigration, Manitoba (2007-2008) 
  • Conducted qualitative research on the impact of culture in providing and receiving services at the Health Sciences Centre (2011-2012)
  • Conducted a program evaluation on settlement and employment barriers, at Employment Projects of Winnipeg (2008-2010)