The Passing of Aziz Choudry

Message from the GLRC

We are saddened to learn of the passing of Professor Aziz Choudry (23/06/1966 - 26/05/2021). Aziz was a longstanding member of the GLRC Advisory Committee and was a featured speaker at GLRC events. He was a dedicated and prolific scholar-activist who was internationally recognized for both his scholarship and for his solidarity work with migrant, Indigenous, Palestinian, and anticolonial struggles. Aziz was a professor in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education at McGill University for many years and was highly active in organizing and popular education initiatives through the Immigrant Workers Centre in Montreal. We extend our deepest condolences to Aziz’s family and friends.

Aziz was most recently based at the Centre for Education Rights and Transformation (CERT) at the University of Johannesburg. Staff and students of CERT and the SARChI Chair in Community, Adult and Worker Education (CAWE) have provided the following statement in recognition of Aziz’s many contributions and have organized a commemorative virtual event to honour his memory.


Message from the staff and students of the Centre for Education Rights and Transformation (CERT) and the SARChI Chair in Community, Adult and Worker Education (CAWE)

It is with a deep sense of grief that we convey the devastating news of Prof. Aziz Choudry’s passing. We are still in a state of shock and trying to comprehend the enormity of this loss. Aziz had many dear friends, comrades, colleagues and family around the world. We know that all are stunned and are trying to process his passing. We are thinking of you all and hold everyone close to our hearts. We ask you to reach out to all who knew him and support each other emotionally in this difficult time.

Aziz arrived from McGill University to join us as a full-time staff member of our Centre in February this year after a number of years as a visiting professor with our Faculty. He enjoyed a longstanding scholarly relation with all of the staff and expressed a profound affinity with our work.

Aziz was the quintessential scholar-activist and was deeply sensitive to injustices wherever they occurred. He made significant global contributions to social movement learning, knowledge production in community organisations, activist archives, immigrant workers’ education, anti-racist/anti-colonial education and related fields. He will also be remembered for his unstinting and selfless devotion to the students he supervised and taught as well as the many academics and movement activists he mentored throughout the world. He was also an untiring international solidarity activist supporting indigenous, Palestinian and anticolonial struggles. Aziz helped activist work around opposing surveillance and repression, unfair trade, and supported activism around food sovereignty and climate justice. He was a strong advocate of education as a public good and championed the struggle for a decommodified and decolonial academy.

Prof. Choudry wrote prolifically and is the author and co-editor of the following ten books between 2009 and 2020: Organize! Building from the Local for Global Justice (2012); Activists and the Surveillance State: Learning from Repression (2019); Learning from the Ground Up: Global Perspectives on Social Movements and Knowledge Production (2010); Learning Activism: The Intellectual Life of Contemporary Social Movements (2015); Unfree Labour? Struggles of Migrant and Immigrant Workers in Canada (2016); Fight Back: Workplace Justice for Immigrants (2009); NGOization: Complicity, Contradictions and Prospects (2013); The University and Social Justice: Struggle Across the Globe (2020); Just Work? Migrant Workers’ Struggle Today (2016) and Reflections on Knowledge, Learning and Social Movements: History’s Schools (2018).

Aziz’s praxis and vision for a kinder and humane world will always inspire and remain with us.

To honour his memory, an initial virtual meeting will be held on 5 June, 7:30pm SAST, 6:30pm UK time, 1:30pm Montreal, Canada, 5:30am Christchurch, New Zealand.

Here is the link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86266955439
Meeting ID: 862 6695 5439
Passcode: 564376

Please feel free to share this announcement with all who knew Prof. Choudry.