A Universe Of A Powerful Force of Global Ideas Showcased Within Our Local Communities
By Rany Ibrahim
Follow @RanyIbrahim on Twitter
Another year has passed that provided us additional opportunity to celebrate and honour another amazing group of leaders in our community at the “Top 25 immigrants in the Maritimes” Gala. A successful and well-attended event for My East Coast Experience. Many countries were represented such as Iran, Bangladesh, Germany, Ireland, Brazil, India, Tunisia, Indonesia, Denmark, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Philippines, China, Italy, Ghana, and Pakistan.
Many heartwarming and inspiring stories from various walks of life. A visionary entrepreneur to an industry leader; A political community-minded leader; An engaged public servant; A refugee paying it forward through inspiring volunteerism, A university professor with a distinguished record of community service; An NGO founder amidst many more. A room full of a united nation – united not just in their leadership, differences and similarities, but also in their love and true devotion to our region. A universe of a powerful force of global ideas showcased within a local context.
Albert Einstein once said “A human being is a part of the whole that we call the universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical illusion of his consciousness. This illusion is a prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for only the few people nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living beings and all of nature.”
Canada has embraced all living beings and is now one of the most multicultural countries in the World, with an incredibly diverse community of indigenous peoples including the Inuit, Metis, and First Nations. Furthermore, two-thirds of Canada’s population growth comes through immigration. Approximately 20% of Canada’s total population is foreign-born according to Statistics Canada. 19% are members of a visible minority group. This means 1 out of 5 persons in Canada’s population was born outside Canada – the highest percentage among the G7 countries. 75% of foreign-born residents have become Canadian naturalized citizens who can also conduct a conversation in more than one language.
The Maritimes region, with its unique location and various assets, has always presented great opportunities to global networks. Nova Scotia was Canada’s immigrant gateway for decades and Halifax’s Pier 21 terminal (now the Canadian Museum of Immigration) welcomed over one million immigrants from 1928 to 1971.
Canada’s compassionate and welcoming attitude is advantageous as there are a number of overwhelming indicators on how diversity and multiculturalism contribute to both our social and economic strength. Immigration has become one of the primary sources of a talented and skilled labour force and population growth in Canada. It is even more impactful in our Maritimes region filling many skill gaps and workforce shortages, thereby helping to level the impact of a growing aging population.
Community organizations are increasingly recognizing multiculturalism and diversity as a strength. They are improving immigrants’ integration while creating pathways to civic and political participation in our communities. Let’s continue to leverage, build-on, and maximize the impact of this positive, powerful World of the Global ideas within our communities. It will only make us stronger.