Multicultural Awards Honour Multicultural Superheroes
Awards Program Highlights benefits of Diversity
Members of Saskatchewan’s multicultural community gathered at Government House in Regina on November 17, 2018 for MCoS Multicultural Honours to recognize significant contributions to multiculturalism by our very own multicultural superheroes. This annual hallmark event kicks-off Saskatchewan Multicultural Week and our host was His Honour the Honourable W. Thomas Molloy, Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan.
Master of Ceremonies and Executive Director of the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, Heather Salloum, began the event by acknowledging that Government House is in Treaty 4 territory. We pay our respects to the First Nations and Métis ancestors of this place and reaffirm our relationship with one another through mutual respect and partnerships that began over 150 years ago. We are all Treaty People. This land is the traditional meeting ground and homeland of the First Nations, including Nehiyaw/Cree, Saulteaux, Dene, Nakota, Lakota, Dakota, and the Métis.
We were honoured to have Elder Archie Weenie provide the opening blessing, setting the tone for a respectful and meaningful gathering. The Honourable Tom Molloy was sworn-in as Saskatchewan’s 22nd Lieutenant Governor provided opening remarks, underscoring the realities of the Saskatchewan motto From Many Peoples Strength, and his commitment to reduce racism. The Honourable Gene Makowsky, Minister for Parks, Culture and Sport offered remarks, reiterating the benefits of diversity. Finally, Neeraj Saroj, President of the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan, brought remarks celebrating volunteers and multiculturalism in Saskatchewan. He also introduced the presentation.
This year’s presentation highlighted the Sheldon-Williams Collegiate Mindful Creative Writing Course featuring a reading by Mays Al Jamous, student, of her poem titled “Being a Refugee.” The video about the school program and the poetry reading provide excellent examples of multicultural superheroes who inspire us to build welcoming and inclusive communities in our province.
Awards Nominees and Recipients
The MCoS recognition committee, comprised of board and community members, assesses all nominees on their contributions to multiculturalism in Saskatchewan through all five streams of multicultural work – Cultural Continuity, Celebration of Diversity, Anti-Racism, Intercultural Connections, and Integration – and decides the recipients.
The Saskatchewan Government and General Employees’ Union (SGEU) once again partnered with the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan to sponsor the Multicultural Youth Leadership Award. SGEU President, Bob Bymoen, brought remarks and introduced the award.
This year’s Multicultural Youth Leadership Award nominees are Nour Albaradan who stands out for her strong and effective involvement in school in the short time she has been in Canada, and Jiazhi Ding who is an International student at the University of Saskatchewan. He has stood up for the rights of Falun Gong and Black Lives Matter, as well as supported newcomers.
The recipient of the 2018 Multicultural Youth Leadership Award is Nour Albaradan. She received an award of $500 from MCoS and SGEU.
Nour has used her experience, voice, and passion to contribute meaningfully to the recognition and celebration of multiculturalism in Saskatchewan. Nour is proud of her Syrian heritage, so she is happy to share her culture, language, delicious food, and refugee experiences with others. Nour is always willing to let her voice be heard for equity and against discrimination, which requires extra practice in her new language. Her willingness to share her story and experiences in order to foster deeper learning and true understanding makes her an intercultural role model. Nour was part of Sheldon’s first Mindful Creative Writing class, where her openness and dedication to understanding, created an environment of inclusion that allowed other students to learn from her story and become confident in sharing their own stories. Nour’s contributions to her new Canadian home have been truly astounding! She uses her powerful voice to create awareness and connection. She is a multicultural superhero who does not allow anything to stop her. (Read: Nour Albaradan Full Bio)
Muna De Ciman, MCoS Director and Chair of the Recognition Committee, introduced the Betty Szuchewycz Award. In partnership with the Saskatchewan Government Employees’ Union, Muna presented the nominees and recipient of the 2018 Betty Szuchewycz Award.
The committee received four Betty Szuchewycz Award nominees. Barb Dedi stands out for her extensive local work with individuals and groups to bridge gaps between communities. Hasanthi Galhenage is the director of the Cathedral Area Co-operative Daycare. She uses her leadership role to cultivate a learning environment that celebrates commonalities and differences. Paul Kardynal has been a champion for new immigrants to Canada and Ukrainian Canadians in the Battlefords and northwest Saskatchewan for over 30 years. Yaseen Khan is very committed to taking initiatives to create awareness of cultural diversity in the workplace. He has shown leadership in accommodating multifaith practices at SaskTel.
The 2018 Betty Szuchewycz Award recipient is Barb Dedi. She selected Spring Free From Racism for a donation of $500 from MCoS and SGEU.
Barb demonstrates her life-long commitment to multiculturalism in Saskatchewan through extensive local work with individuals, groups and organizations in Regina, as well as involvement with provincial, national and international organizations focusing on human rights, employment equity, labour, racism, and psychiatry issues. Barb is a cultural continuity role model as she promotes ethnocultural organizations to strengthen the diversity in Regina and Canada. Barb’s dedication to recognizing and rejecting racism are readily evident. She is the President of Spring Free From Racism Saskatchewan Association on Human Rights Inc. and has been active in this provincial organization for close to 40 years of its 50-year history. Barb’s life is a story of intercultural connections; she welcomes and creates opportunities for people to share their story, their journey and their intercultural experiences. She supports organizations to develop a deeper understanding of what cultural diversity means and to create a respectful and fair community where everyone is welcome. As a force for integration, ensuring all people are seen as contributors, Barb has been an activist in the labour movement and political realm for human rights, equity and women’s committees. Barb’s impressive work has been noted with awards and nominations, including the Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal, SGEU and YWCA. Through her forty years of leadership, she has fostered new leaders who take significant roles in their own ethnocultural communities, lead workshops, coordinate pavilions to celebrate their culture and our diversity, and address racism and discrimination. (Read: Barb Dedi Full Bio)
Celebrate Saskatchewan Multicultural Week
We celebrate Saskatchewan Multicultural Week to recognize that in 1974, Saskatchewan was the first province to enact multiculturalism legislation. Responsibility for the Act resides with the Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport. Learn more & view the Act: http://mcos.ca/saskatchewan-multicultural-week/
We also celebrate through the campaign: Who’s Your Multicultural Superhero? Tell us and Celebrate Saskatchewan Multicultural Week all November. Use #MulticulturalSuperhero on social media. This campaign outlines successful examples of leaders being able to inspire others through their values, beliefs and actions. Learn more about the campaign: http://mcos.ca/multiculturalsuperhero