July 2014

July 2014 Bulletin

In this issue:
In Memorium: Casey Kasem
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"Basically, radio hasn't changed over the years. Despite all the technical improvements, it still boils down to a man or a woman and a microphone, playing music, sharing stories, talking about issues -­‐ communicating with an audience."

 CAI Reports on Religion and Marital Status Within the Arab Community

 The 2011 census shows that 50% of the Canadian Arab community reported belonging to a Christian faith and 41% reported belonging to a Muslim faith.  These numbers differ measurably from the numbers reported in the 2001 census, which showed an even split in the Canadian Arab community between those who practice the Muslim faith (44%) and those who practice the Christian faith (44%)... READ ON

 

Yalla Network! CAI holds its Second Professional Development Conference

Are you young in spirit? A university student or recent graduate? Wondering how to link your studies with a future profession? If so, please mark the 27th of September on your calendar.

That's the day the Canadian Arab Institute plans to reproduce, with your attendance, last year's huge success at the Professional Development Conference for Canadian Arab Youth, to be held at Ryerson University.

Prepare to meet Canadian Arab professionals who are leading in their fields, attend a few of their 12 panel discussions, then shake hands with them, break the ice with a few smiles, ask questions, and receive some words of advice to inspire you to start or continue your career path.  Then round out the day with a reception where all can mix and mingle.

Please stay tuned for more details on the event and registration as we certainly look forward to seeing you there.


CAI's Canadian Arab to Watch

Our Canadian Arab to Watch initiative is going strong, launched in December 2013 to highlight the wealth of leadership, innovation and contributions within our community. For more details about the program, past honourees and for nominations forms, please go here.

Farouk Chebib: Sustaining the Mosaic with Bridges

Farouk Chebib2.jpgAfter sixty books and publications, one mosque, ten years on a NASA space shuttle, and many years of professorship, at 81, instead of enjoying some quiet time at home, Dr. Farouk Chebib spends most of his time travelling, with his laptop, to oversee a project that is taking up all of his waking hours.

But that's ok. The cause is worth every minute of investment.

It was one day in late March 2012 that showed Dr. Chebib how much the Canada he knew had changed. Its multicultural and multi-religious mosaic was being reshaped by prejudices brought in by wars, 9/11, and the spreading wave of Islamophobia: a nationwide poll indicated that more than half of Canadians now mistrusted Muslims.

 The Canada Dr. Chebib recalls is the one that welcomed him as the first Syrian to settle in Manitoba in 1958, and the one that helped him fundraise for the construction of the first mosque in the province. It's also the one that granted him his PhD in computer science and watched him teach at the University of Manitoba, where no discrimination or racism were involved.

 However, seeing that matters were slightly different today, Dr. Chebib, and (as behind every great man there stands a great woman) his wife, Laila, founded the Canadian Federation of Bridge Builders (CFOBB) in July 2012, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building multi-faith, multi-ethnic, and multi-cultural bridges of understanding and respect among Canadians.

 Built with creativity, innovation, and self-expression, these bridges would be constructed by high school students who employ any form of art and incorporate it in activities inside and outside school, spreading awareness and tolerance between the different racial, faith, and cultural groups of Canada.

 And the incentive? Teachers and counselors of participating schools watch and pick the most dedicated of these builders and eventually nominate them for the "Bridge Builder" award. Once chosen as a "Bridge Builder," they become a life-long member of the CFOBB and receive at least $500 upon graduation.

 Not a bad start to the summer.

 Although naturally, along with titles come responsibilities. Once given the title of "Bridge Builder," Dr. Chebib hopes that the receivers will live up to this title for the rest of their lives, becoming leaders in their own communities and defenders of human rights.

 But, as comedian Lily Tomlin mischievously notes, "the road to success is always under construction," and, in this case, good-old bureaucracy is to be credited for most of the scaffoldings. While partially satisfied with the ten "Bridge Builders" awarded in Manitoba, Dr. Chebib cannot but feel slightly disappointed with the bureaucracy that held back most of the other schools in the other provinces. Besides the ten schools in Manitoba, only one school in the province of Alberta adopted Dr. Chebib's initiative, granting their awards in graduation ceremonies held this past June.

 Still, this is only the beginning – Dr. Chebib knows that time is key and that locating more "Bridge Builders" will take over the bureaucratic and administrative hassle. Their fresh energy will team up with his and Laila's vision, affecting future lives and changing preconceived notions.

 And maybe when that happens, his laptop companion will take a back seat while the couple enjoys a work-free vacation.

 

 

 Wraps, Fashion and Cairo: An Exhibit and Lecture at the ROM

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 How is fashion shaped by form? And how does its context affect its design? Can fashion accommodate efficiency? And what can we learn when viewing it from the distance of its history?

Questions to be probed at the exhibits at the Royal Ontario Museum: Cairo Under Wraps: Early Islamic Textiles and Fashion Follows Form: Designs for Sitting. They opened on the 21st of June and will be removed on the 25th of January.

Should you visit the first exhibit, you could try to decode the name, date, and place of manufacture of delicate "tiraz" textiles, whose Arabic inscriptions date back to the Early Islamic period. You might also wish to inspect some Arabic letters transformed into Nilotic boats, and imagine the life‐story of the musician seated on an 11th century stonepaste bowl.

Should you be interested in understanding the city whose culture harboured the majority of these 80 rare fabrics on display, you might want to consider attending the lecture titled "Cairo: A Brief History of an Islamic Metropolis," to be held on July 15th from 7:30 to 8:30pm at the ROM.

On the same level as the exhibit is a new work by Toronto-based artist Michael Awad, whose ROM edition of the Entire City Project literally scans the Royal Ontario Museum, presenting it and its exhibits in a refreshing light, inviting the onlooker to both estrange and re-­‐examine their surroundings, wherever those may be.

History, culture, fashion, and photography – all to be experienced at the ROM. Visit it this summer, autumn, or winter, or any time before the 25th  of January.


Mona Nemer Receives the Order of Canada

 

Mona_Nemer_Headshot1451196d68c0.jpgThe Canadian Arab Institute proudly congratulates its advisory board member, Dr. Mona Nemer, for her receipt of one of Canada's highest official honours – the Order of Canada.

Dr. Nemer was recognized as a member of the Order of Canada for her contributions to the understanding of specific genes related to heart health as well as for her leadership in the academic research community.

Dr. Nemer is currently Vice-President, Research at the University of Ottawa, and is most renowned for her pioneering work on the regulation of natriuretic heart hormones and the identification of several genes essential for heart development. She joined the Canadian Arab Institute as an advisory board member in March, 2014.


 

CAI Welcomes Six New Interns

 

Lyan Khazanchi – Communications

With a smile on her face, Lyan Khazanchi is happy to intern with the Canadian Arab institute, all while balancing her responsibilities as a Vice President of the Middle Eastern Students Association at York University. There, Lyan is also starting her 4th  year as a Communications undergraduate, after which she will pursue a future in public relations and/or advertising. She hopes that her motivation, diligence, and enthusiasm will help her on her way there.

Dina H. Bayoumy – Projects and Grants

A challenge seeker, human rights advocate, and women's rights activist, Egyptian-born, Kuwaiti-raised Dina has recently graduated from the University of Toronto with an Honours BSc in Global Health and Biology. While interning at the Canadian Arab Institute, Dina aims to develop her extensive research experience to inspect the policies that directly and indirectly shape the health status of Arabs in Canada. She is also currently completing a Specialized Honours BHSc in Health Policy, all the while balancing it with her involvement on campus, where she co-presides over the international network of "Students Offering Support: University of Toronto Chapter." She has been described as an effervescent individual, constantly seeking to accomplish more by investing in her high energy; an investment which could only benefit from Dina's love of coffee.

Ahmer Khan - Research

An avid reader of aboriginal literature with a genuine interest in exploring multiculturalism, Ahmer brings to CAI his knowledge of diaspora studies, political science, and historical studies, all of which he majored in at the University of Toronto, and from which he  graduated in 2012. To expand on his interest in Canadian multiculturalism, Ahmer became a research assistant to Dr. Rima Berns-McGown, whose research initiative "The Imported Conflict Study" was held at the Mosaic Institute. He later joined the Couchiching Institute of Public Affairs as a Conversations Committee Member. In the near future, Ahmer will be pursuing a Master's degree in comparative multiculturalism, and hopes to keep enjoying the sounds of smooth jazz.

Manaal N. Farooqi – Research

Manal brings her interest in ethnography, the Canadian MOSAIC, and community resilience to the Canadian Arab Institute. She is a recent Mount Allison University graduate with double majors in International Relations and Political Science and is also interning at the Helena-Maria Foundation.

Rami Bahgat - Research

Rami is an MA candidate in cultural studies at Queen's University. His research focuses on non-violent political contestation in Egypt from the early aughts (2000's) and leading up to the January 25th revolution. His other interests include the intersection of gender, race, and religion, as well as contemporary Middle Eastern studies, cultural studies, and historiography.

Bahaa Samy - Policy

Having completed an MSc in Investments from the Arab Academy of Science and Technology, Bahaa is now finishing his final year in MBA studies at McMaster University. For the summer, besides interning with the Canadian Arab Institute, Bahaa will be working as a research analyst in the Economic Policy office at the Ontario Ministry of Finance. Bahaa held a similar position in the past while working at the Canadian Council for Public Private Partnerships, and has also worked in wealth management and retail banking at HSBC.

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