October 2014

October 2014 Bulletin

In this issue: 

AnchorCAI Reports on Canadian Arabs 

Income Distribution in the Canadian Arab Community 

The fifth in a series analyzing the 2011 census data released by Statistics Canada, this report shows the income distribution among Canadian Arabs..READ ON

Small, Professional Steps for a Better, Bigger Tomorrow

The Canadian Arab institute successfully held its Second Annual Professional Development Conference for Canadian Arab Youth on September 27th, with over 200 participants and 40 panellists, spread over 12 panels that focused on careers in various fields such as Politics and the Public Sector, Arts, Civil Society, Media and Communication, Engineering, Law, and Entrepreneurship.
The day started with CAI’s president and co-founder Raja Khouri’s welcoming speech, followed by some hopeful and practical advice from Dalal Al-Waheidi on starting out. The participants then dispersed, attending any of the 12 panels throughout the day. Each panel started with a conversation with the panellists, and was later followed by a Q&A session.
Lunch break was quite busy with people exchanging ideas, backgrounds, names, and business cards. Both official and custom-made cards. Yes, there were blank business cards for attendees to write their names and profession on them, courtesy of the Canadian Arab Institute.
The day ended with the young members of the Arab Development Initiative (ADI) sharing their (on-going) story of the highs and lows of founding and maintaining an organization, insisting that it is their passion for the cause, respect for each other, and the open, non-hierarchical communication between them that keeps them, and the organization, going. They also welcomed anyone with new ideas and initiatives, encouraging them to get on board with any vision that could help create a better Arab world. 

Photos and comments from our panelist and participant HERE!


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.

tahani.jpgTahani Aburaneh: for leading the way in real estate

Of Real Estate and Self-Empowerment
Tahani Aburaneh is one of Canada’s leading female expert in real estate investment. She is a real estate land developer, entrepreneur, international speaker, trainer, and proud mother of two grown children.
She is also the author of Real Estate Riches: A Money-Making Game Plan for the Canadian Investor, which ranked on Amazon’s real estate bestsellers list.
Knowing this, it’s hard to imagine the rough and humble beginning that Tahani had. From a refugee camp to an unfamiliar and new country – Canada – Tahani had to resort to her entrepreneurial spirit from a very young age, and her drive and creativity inspired her to venture into various projects at the camp, as well as upon starting afresh in Canada.
Here, she decided to make the best out of the new place. She focused on education, self-empowerment, and self-belief to get to where she’s at today, eventually breaking gender taboos and emerging as a highly accomplished figure in a traditionally male-dominated industry.
Focusing on the human side of real-estate, her passion and commitment drove her to found the Ellie Realtor Training Program SIAC, where she trains professional real estate agents all across Canada on working with real estate investors, transforming their lives and businesses.
Her story, and program, have inspired so many that she’s now invited to speak both locally and internationally, channeling the spirit that has guided her thus far and sharing her story and expertise.
She has spoken across North America and appeared on many TV and radio shows. Some of her speaking clients have included National Bank, Scotiabank, The Real Estate Investing Network, and the eWomen Network. She has also shared the stage with the likes of Don R Campbell, Debbie Travis and David Chilton, all prominent figures in the real estate, motivation, and entrepreneurial industries.
If asked the secret behind her success, she’ll say it’s her children, her passion for transforming other people’s lives, businesses, and environments, and the wish to inspire others. Despite all that she’s been through, and maybe because of it, her mantra remains of maintaining a positive approach, and never ceasing to follow one’s dreams.

Featuring a Performer in CAI's Upcoming Sultans and Divas Concert

The Arabic of the Opera 

 Sung by Miriam Khalil

Miriam Khalil short

December 4th, Koerner Hall is where you’ll meet Miriam Khalil, one of the Divas who will adorn the stage with her beautiful voice during the upcoming Sultans and Divas concert.
She will be bringing Fairuz melodies, love stories, and marriages, along with a little bit of heartbreak and a little bit of comedy - La Boheme and The Marriage of Figaro are a couple of names that could come up.
Both are operas, and both adopt the art of good storytelling. You might want to read about them prior to the concert, engage in the ups and downs of the plot and hear it happen on stage. But you might also want to not read it, and rather guess where the plot thickens, where the hero dies, or gets a new dress, based on Miriam’s trills and gestures.
Described as a “lush lyric with spinto overtones”, Miriam’s voice got its first training during childhood while singing with the church choir, which was followed by a more formal education of classical music, as well as music therapy.
But it was the first opera she attended that set the current track she’s on. She attended it as a performer, not as a member of the audience. She was performing it on stage when she got hooked – the drama, the singing, the visual art and set design – she couldn’t not do it again. And she couldn’t do anything else.
Nothing else besides singing, that is.
Because she loves singing in Arabic too. Transforming western lyrics into Arabic ones, singing Arabic words to Western tunes. Which she’ll also do at the concert. Fairuz songs come to mind, naturally.
So, if you haven’t gotten your tickets yet, think of the centuries-old stories that will be told in cheerful scales and melancholic tones, mixed with the uniqueness of Fairuz sung under a canoes-covered canopy – and reconsider.

Purchase your ticket online TODAY! Or enjoy this event VIP STYLE!

 To Intervene or not to Intervene?

A Recap from Ambassador Mokhtar Lamani’s Lecture on Syria, Iraq and the Middle East

Ambassador Mokhtar Lamani refused to live in the Green Zone in Iraq because he wanted to be more accessible to Iraqis. He wanted to hear their voices, and staying in the safe, international, Green Zone hub wasn’t going to help eliminate, or understand, really, the corruption, elitism, and sectarianism from the bottom up. 

Yet, despite his dedication and commitment to the cause, he finally quit his station there in 2007, just as he would quit it in Syria in 2012. 

On the 24th of the past month, and in a lecture titled “Syria, Iraq, and the Middle East”, which the Canadian Arab Institute co-presented with the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History and the Munk School of Global Affairs, Lamani explained his reasoning behind quitting and his take on the current dynamics of the Middle East. 

He quit because he was frustrated. Repeated foreign intervention, and the lack of a local conversation, created sectarian splits in both Iraq and Syria, preventing a tangible, sustainable solution. 

The 2005 US-authored constitution in Iraq, promoting sectarian splits, rather than equal citizenship and pluralism; and treating terrorism in Syria as a mere security issue, rather than addressing the political fragmentation, are a couple of approaches that didn’t help resolve the growing violence present in the Arab world today, to put it lightly. 

Similarly, the parties that were supposed to create a new post-US invasion Iraq weren’t helping either. They seemed to have no real interest in benefiting the local population, preferring to focus their efforts on gaining more wealth and power, creating a vacuum, or a fertile ground, for extremism to feast on. 

What, then, is to be done? Is there a solution?

Possibly, but a very bleak and time-consuming one. 

Foreign intervention will not help as long as the local powers have not reconciled. The conversation must come from within, and the international community, including Canada, can help facilitate it once it starts. But it must be a homegrown conversation first and foremost. The people on the ground must decide it, not foreign powers. 

And yes, sadly, it will take time, and lives, Lamani believes. The situation will correct itself, but just as it took the French half a century to stabilize the post-revolution chaos, the Middle East might have to go through the same bloody and lengthy process to find an alternative to the vicious circle of dictators and extremists.

*This lecture series (Perspectives on a Changing Middle East), the first of its kind in Toronto, was launched in 2013 with the goal of informing and engaging international audiences to better understand ongoing issues in the Middle East.  The next lecture will be taking place on Ocotober 29th at the George Ignatieff Thearter - Trintiy College @7pm followed by a reception.  Free Admission.  REGISTER HERE

 Congratulations to Dr. Mamdouh Shoukri!

The Canadian Arab Institute proudly congratulates its advisory board member, Dr. Mamdouh Shoukri, for his receipt of Ontario’s highest official honour – the Order of Ontario.

Dr. Shoukri was recognized as a member of the Order of Ontario for his help in placing Ontar
io’s post-secondary institutions at the forefront of innovation.

He has contributed to the growth and development of McMaster University’s research infrastructure as dean of engineering and vice-president of research and international affairs, and has raised Yrok University’s profile through the creation of a leading-edge engineering school.  

A thousand mabrouks! 

 Upcoming Events

oct29.jpgPerspectives on a Changing Middle East lecture series - In collaboration with the Toronto AUB Alumni Assoc, CAI presents a lecture with Rami Khouri, director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI) at the American University of Beirut, at the George Ignatieff Theatre - Trinity College @ 7PM, followed by a reception.  Free Admission.  REGISTER HERE


december 4.jpgCAI's Gala Concert, Sultans and Divas, Koerner Hall, Toronto.  CAI's first-ever cultural event featuring a tapestry of Canadian Arab artists and showcasing their talent and vibrant contributions to this country.  Buy your tickets HERE.

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