June 2014

June 2014 Bulletin

In this issue:


CAI Reports on Immigration & Refugee Data 

750,925 Canadians Hail from Arab Lands
A look at Canada’s 2011 Census shows that the Canadian Arab Community has increased in number from 563,315 in 2006 to 750,925 in 2011 – an increase of 187,310 people, or 33.25% – and more than doubled the 368,530 Canadian Arab population of 2001 ..READ ON

One in Five Refugees to Canada an Arab
According to CAI analysis of Citizenship and Immigration Canada data, of the 120,373 refugees that gained permanent residence status in Canada between 2008 and 2012, 22.4% originated from Arab countries.  Most Arab refugees accepted in Canada during this period were from Iraq, Somalia and Sudan, with nearly two-thirds of total Arab refugees arriving between 2008 and 2012 originating from Iraq ..READ ON

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 nomination forms, please visit our Canadian Arab to Watch page.

Mariam Hamoui: Challenging Worldviews, Fundraising for Refugees, and Fighting Frustration

Mariam Hamaoui.jpg

If there is one thing Mariam Hamaoui would like to change, it is people’s inclination to give up at the first sign of trouble. She believes that if a vision is in sight, one should avoid the easy entrapment of apathy and follow through.

 With this attitude, Mariam has co-founded RefugeAid in 2012, a non-governmental organization that provides humanitarian aid to refugees, while raising awareness about current and emerging trends affecting refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers.

It all started as a one-week project at the Mosaic Institute. They had planned to raise $10,000 for Syrian refugees, but she and her colleagues were so passionate about the idea that they decided to continue with it beyond the allotted timeframe. And so started RefugeAid.

Collaborating with different nonprofits, such as Doctors Without Borders and UNHCR Canada, RefugeAid has raised just under $30,000 to date, which went towards providing medical aid, food, supplies, and shelter for Syrian refugees.

But to dedicate yourself to an issue like this one could be emotionally taxing. And it could be harsh, Mariam admits. “Constantly motivating ourselves is probably the toughest part of it all, we had no clear goal and no experience in fundraising.” When the donations began flooding in, however, motivation was no longer an issue. They knew they were on the right track.

Perhaps Mariam’s care for others and open worldview can be traced back to her high school religion teacher in Etobicoke. “He was tough on everyone, but specifically on me,” Mariam laughs as she remembers her teacher. He used to point her out and challenge her views about other religions. “He made me think critically about everything.”

This recurring exchange inspired Mariam to major in religious studies at York University. “It was different and interesting; I learned about various polytheistic religions, as well as Sikhism, Buddhism, Confucianism, among others. And I realized how little I knew about other religions.”

At York University, Mariam continued to expand her horizons and became involved in many projects and organizations. Besides presiding over RefugeAid, she is the co-founder of the Middle Eastern Students' Association (MESA) at York University, where she just concluded her presidency, and is the director of the York Federation of Students (YFS) at Vanier College.

Today, Mariam is looking forward to finishing her last year of undergraduate studies at York and apply for a Masters degree in social work. There, she hopes to focus on immigration and refugee questions within the discipline.

She also looks forward to expanding her work at RefugeAid, where she plans to continue fundraising for Syrian refugees as well as shed light on issues that other refugee groups face in both Canada and around the world.

 Introducing Sultans & Divas

sultans & divas.png

Prepare your artistic palates, dresses, and suits. December 4th is approaching, slowly but surely, and so is an evening of opera, world music, art, literature, dance, and cocktails.

The Canadian Arab Institute is proud to announce its prestigious cultural event, “Sultans & Divas – Discoveries in Canadian Arab Performing Arts,” to complement last year’s inaugural gala, “A New Conversation.”

Prepare to watch the award-winning singer and actress Julie Nesrallah perform Arab-inspired arias; listen to the critically acclaimed Miriam Khalil’s soprano renditions of Fairuz; the East-West pastiche of Montreal’s orchestra OktoEcho; along with the liberating music of Juno-nominated Sultans of String.

For fans of the written word, three-time author and multiple award-winner Rawi Hage will be reading from Canadian-Arab works.  For fans of artistic movement, ancient Arabian tunes will be reworked into dances on stage.

Art lovers can stroll around the reception hall before or after the event, admire the exhibited artwork of Arab artists, while enjoying an assortment of refreshments and cocktails.

Talent, tunes, and visual delight is the name. Stay tuned for more details or contact us to find out more about becoming a corporate sponsor of the event.

Tickets are now on sale HERE!

Eliminating Bullying, Fighting for the Young

Cozette Giannini Runs for Councillor in Scarborough-Agincourt

Cozette_Giannin.jpgMP John McCallum and MP Maurizio Bevilacqua are a couple of names that Cozette Giannini has worked for. As early as the age of 16, Cozette has been interested in politics. First came political involvement throughout high school then an honours degree in political science and international relations. Immediately after that, she started an internship in municipal and local politics as a councillor’s assistant at Toronto City Hall. That was the beginning of her journey into politics, and today she is running for councillor in Scarborough-Agincourt.

Encouraged by her current campaign team, and inspired by the diversity of the community of Scarborough-Agincourt and her passion towards promoting its best interests, Cozette decided to run for the councillor position for Ward 39 and started campaigning at the beginning of March 2014.

Her campaign centres around four main issues: a safer environment, a stronger community, better support for young professionals and entrepreneurs, and an enhanced modern transit infrastructure.

Envisioning a safer environment for children, Cozette plans to work with the ward’s various schools and school trustee to help create and fund programs that target social, physical, and cyber bullying, eventually incorporating those programs within schools.

And who would think of bullying when they’re fully integrated into in-school community hours, afterschool programs, and political campaigns? Implementing leadership programs, launching a series of seminars for teenagers, and counselling their future job search are a few of the ideas Cozette has to further the younger generation’s sense of community and reciprocal support.

Libraries, schools, community and art centres will have a smarter infrastructure that offers tools for skills development and counselling, which Cozette plans to localize and spread within the community’s institutions.

The slightly older, yet dynamic and changing, generation of young professionals are also on Cozette’s mind. She plans on fully integrating and funding small business owners and entrepreneurs, encouraging them to stay and establish themselves within the city.

Regardless of age, access to public transit is one of those issues integral to every part of a community’s intactness and development. Cozette understands the complexity and expenses at stake for implementing that type of infrastructure, but also believes that an LRT or a connecting subway line are long overdue in Scarborough-Agincourt. That might not be the easiest task to accomplish, but Cozette is ready to do all it takes to show and meet the need for better public transit.

Easy or not, Cozette’s campaign perseveres with an inspiring Ruth Gordon saying: “Courage is like a muscle; it is strengthened by use.” In that spirit, and with the help of volunteers, an open ear to the community, and informative literature, Cozette will reach out to the 47,000 constituents of Ward 39, whom she hopes will benefit from her past experience and future plans.

If you would like to learn more about Cozette Giannini and her campaign, please visit her website at http://www.votecozette.ca or contact her at info@votecozette.ca.

This story is provided for informational purposes only and does not represent an endorsement or any political affiliation by CAI. We invite you to bring to our attention any Canadian Arab candidates running in the Ontario municipal elections. Email info@canadianarabinstitute.org

Announcing CAI's First Annual Report

annual rep.pngThe Canadian Arab Institute is pleased to present its 2013 Annual Report, “An emerging community: A unique voice” which outlines our work and accomplishments from last year.


Forward to Friend