A Letter from the President

January 9, 2014

raja.jpgA Year of Achievement and Enchantment

et us start from the very end – because it was sheer beauty.  The end of 2014 brought us Sultans & Divas, a concert of discoveries in Canadian Arab performing arts on the glittering stage of Koerner Hall. A world of enchantment that melded east and west and fused Arab with  Canadian - it was pure musical magic that brought a busy year to a beautiful conclusion!

The highlights in 2014:

  • Six research reports analysing the 2011 census that told us how many we are and where we hail from; where we live and what work we do; the kind of education we’ve had and how much money we make; the faith we follow, our marital status and the state of our citizenship.  All important to know, if we are to know who we are.

  • A policy brief, The Need to Protect Rule of Law that took to task Bill C-24 (An Act to amend the Citizenship Act) and an op-ed What’s the holdup on Syrian refugees? in the Globe and Mail urging the relocation of 10,000 Syrian refugees to Canada.
  • A conference on Canadian Business Opportunities in the Middle East co-presented with the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.
  • A four-part lecture series featuring Perspectives on a Changing Middle East co-presented with the Bill Graham Centre for International Contemporary History at the University of Toronto.
  • A partnership with the Ontario Science Museum in promoting the Sultans of Science Exhibition
  • A partnership with the Royal Conservatory of Music in producing and presenting Sultans & Divas
  • #YallaNetwork, a youth professional development conference co-sponsored by Ryerson University and attracting over 200 participants

  • A Diversity onBoard workshop in partnership with the Maytree Foundation, promoting service on organizational, municipal, and provincial boards
  • A celebration of twelve Canadian Arab individuals for their achievement and contribution to society though the Canadian Arab to Watch program

I am particularly proud of the many partnerships we developed and the enthusiasm shown by so many Canadian institutions for working with us.  I’m also delighted by the good progress we made in expanding our donor base and our volunteer base (critical to our growth), as well as attracting new corporate sponsors for our events.  CAI’s message is clearly resonating!

In our third year we will continue to build on our achievements and aim to reach new heights.  Our voice needs to be heard more often on matters of policy; our culture and history need better exposure in the face of corrupting world events; and our community’s civic and political engagement need expansion at a more rapid pace.

Many have said that we at CAI have been punching above our weight – if so, we must continue, given the vexing challenges that face us, and the unrealized opportunities that await us.

And with your support – inshallah we will!

My very best for 2015.

Raja G. Khouri

President and Co-founder


a letter from the president