MCoS Honours 2017 demonstrates what makes a multicultural superhero

On Saturday, November 18, 2017 in the beautiful and sacred surroundings of Wanuskewin Heritage Park, over 60 people gathered to honour volunteers who have made significant contributions to multiculturalism in Saskatchewan. This annual event is the highlight of Saskatchewan Multicultural Week, which takes place November 18-26, 2017. This week recognizes that Saskatchewan was the first province in Canada to enact multicultural legislation. We celebrate our strength in diversity and recognize that our cultures enrich all aspects of life in our province.

2017 Multicultural Youth Leadership Award Recipient Bwe Doh Soe and 2017 Betty Szuchewycz Award Recipient Bula Ghosh

Jebunnessa Chapola, past recipient of the Betty Szuchewycz Award, was the Master of Ceremonies. Harvey Knight, MCoS Board member and member of Muskoday First Nation, commenced the event with a blessing. We were pleased Mr. David Buckingham, MLA for Saskatoon Westview, joined us and brought remarks on behalf of the Minister for Parks, Culture and Sport, who is responsible for the Saskatchewan Multiculturalism Act. MCoS President Asit Sarkar provided opening remarks and introduced the video and spoken word presentation.
The presentation highlighted this year’s public campaign. For the video, we created a 30-second ad that featured Janelle Pewapsconias, 2015 recipient of the Multicultural Youth Leadership Award, sharing her multicultural superhero Zoey Pricelys Roy. Then, Zoey replied live by sharing her multicultural superhero, Kadane Headley, through spoken word. Zoey is a powerful speaker and her impactful sharing left an impression on the audience.
Guests were invited to attend a reception following the program that featured delicious cultural cuisine created by Wanuskewin Heritage Park Authority Catering, including Three Sisters Chili, bannock and Saskatoon Berry Tarts. Guests were also welcome to view an educational public dance performance and participate in a walking tour of Wanuskwein.

MLA David Buckingham, SGEU Secretary-Treasurer, Roseann Strelezki, 2017 Multicultural Youth Leadership Award Recipient Bwe Doh Soe, MCoS ED Rhonda Rosenberg, 2017 Betty Szuchewycz Award Recipient Bula Ghosh, MCoS Secretary and Chair of the Recognition Committee Renata Cosic and MCoS President Asit Sarkar.

Nominees for both awards are assessed on their contributions to multiculturalism in Saskatchewan through the five streams of multicultural work: cultural continuity, cultural diversity, anti-racism, intercultural connections and integration. A recognition committee decides the recipients.
The Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan was pleased to present the 2017 Multicultural Youth Leadership Award in partnership with the Saskatchewan Government Employees’ Union (SGEU). Roseann Strelezki, SGEU Secretary-Treasurer, brought remarks and introduced the award. SGEU also generously donated a $500 reward.
Bwe Doh Soe received the 2017 Multicultural Youth Leadership Award. Bwe arrived in Saskatoon as a Karen refugee in 2007. Not only has Bwe survived ethnic cleansing and life as a refugee, but he has become a crusader for the Karen people. He has been impressively active in continuing and preserving his own cultural practices and supporting others in the Karen community. He has more recently begun to connect his experiences to both Syrian refugees and Indigenous people in Canada and acted as a leader for creative reconciliation. (Read full bio)
Once again, the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan presented the 2017 Betty Szuchewycz Award. Renata Cosic, MCoS Secretary and Chair of the Recognition Committee, introduced the award and the recipient. The recipient will select a charity for a donation of $500 from MCoS.

Spoken Word artist, Zoey Pricelys Roy, shares her multicultural superhero, Kadane Headley.

Bula Ghosh received the 2017 Betty Szuchewycz Award. There is no question that Bula’s contributions to multiculturalism in Saskatchewan have been outstanding. As an English as a Subsequent Language instructor in Yorkton and Swift Current, Bula has ensured that integration efforts go far beyond the classroom. She has contributed to local organizations, including revitalizing the Southwest Multicultural Association, to provincial boards and committees, including SaskCulture, and has been recognized at the national level. Bula never hesitates to share rural perspectives and she has demonstrated commitment to relationship building and anti-racism. Bula has made it known that truth and reconciliation is very much part of a dream that she has for her community. Bula embodies the five streams of multicultural work. (Read full bio)
The Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan wishes to thank everyone for participating in the MCoS Multicultural Honours Awards. This event highlighted some of Saskatchewan’s very own multicultural superheroes. We encourage everyone to participate in the provincial campaign, Who’s Your Multicultural Superhero | #MulticulturalSuperhero running until November 30, 2017.

Learn more and participate

Who’s your Multicultural Superhero Campaign
Saskatchewan Multicultural Week 2017
Building Welcoming Communities Resources

Campaign Video

Event photos (resized for the web)

 

MCoS Multicultural Honours features Multicultural Superheroes

Honouring Significant Contributions to Multiculturalism in Saskatchewan

Event Highlights

On Saturday, November 19, 2016 over 100 members of Saskatchewan’s multicultural community gathered at Government House to kick off Saskatchewan Multicultural Week and honour some of Saskatchewan’s multicultural superheroes – people who have made significant contributions to the multicultural community in Saskatchewan.
Her Honour the Honourable Vaughn solomon Schofield, Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan hosted the event and was joined by Mark Docherty, MLA for Regina Coronation Park and

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Over 100 members of the multicultural community gathered to celebrate significant contributions made to multiculturalism in Saskatchewan.

Legislative Secretary to the Premier of Saskatchewan for Immigration and Culture, Neeraj Saroj, Vice-President, Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan and Bob Bymoen, President, Saskatchewan Government and General Employees’ Union (SGEU). Other special guests included Joanne McDonald, President, SaskCulture President, Muna DeCiman, Past Betty Szuchewycz Award recipient, and Joyce Vandall, former MCoS Board Member, Secretary and undisputed multicultural superhero.
Everyone gathered in the festive surroundings of Government House today to recognize significant contributions of Saskatchewan multicultural superheroes. All speakers touched on the fact that all of Saskatchewan is treaty land. We are all treaty people and each one of us can act on the TRC recommendations. Mr. Docherty was recognized for being a devoted supporter of all five streams of multicultural work in this province. It is through the support of Her Honour, Mr. Docherty and the Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport that multicultural superheroes are nurtured in Saskatchewan.
This event officially launched Saskatchewan Multicultural Week 2016, while the related campaign, Who’s Your Multicultural Superhero?, has been running all November. During this week, the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan celebrates both the benefits of and contributions to multiculturalism in our province. We do this by focusing on the multicultural values of Respect for Diversity, Recognition and Rejection of Racism, Intercultural Connections, and Integration, which are the cornerstones that inform our work and also engaging in the five streams of multicultural work: Cultural Continuity, Celebration of Diversity, Anti-Racism, Intercultural Connections and Integration.
These multicultural values and streams of work are rooted in the provincial motto From Many Peoples Strength and the treaty relationships that define our province. MCoS is proud to have been instrumental in developing the motto in our early days. This motto expresses Saskatchewan’s multicultural heritage, the contributions of First Nations and Métis cultures, and the key role of immigration in the province.
Each year at this time, we celebrate the anniversary of the Saskatchewan Multicultural Act. We can be proud that Saskatchewan was the first province to enact such legislation demonstrating that our political and community leaders chose to preserve, protect and promote all cultures in both the 1974 Saskatchewan Multiculturalism Act and the provincial motto: From Many Peoples Strength.
Time was taken to acknowledge and praise all volunteers – especially those voluteers of MCoS and its members. The many volunteers around the province make multiculturalism central to the cultural, economic, social and political life of Saskatchewan. In 2015-16, among MCoS members over 14,430 volunteers contributed over 299,203 hours of time – making them multicultural superheroes! Volunteers and staff with different cultural backgrounds bring different ways of seeing the world which can contribute to more effective decision-making and problem-solving.

Nominees and Recipients

Multicultural Youth Leadership Award 2016

The Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees’ Union (SGEU) will present the third annual Multicultural Youth Leadership Award to an individual who is 29 years of age and under. The 2016 award nominees are:

The 2016 Multicultural Youth Leadership Award recipient is Jellyn Ayudan who also received a $500 reward from SGEU. While still in high school, Jellyn is already active in all five streams of

The 2016 Multicultural Youth Leadership Award recipient is Jellyn Ayudan who also received a $500 reward from SGEU. While still in high school, Jellyn is already active in all five streams of multicultural work. She is pictured here with her high school mentor and family.

The 2016 Multicultural Youth Leadership Award recipient is Jellyn Ayudan who also received a $500 reward from SGEU. While still in high school, Jellyn is already active in all five streams of multicultural work. She is pictured here with her high school mentor and family.

multicultural work. As an immigrant herself, arriving in Canada in October of 2009 from the Philippines, she dedicates her life to empowering other new immigrants and refugees to achieve their fullest potential. A strong contributor to the stream of cultural continuity, Jellyn has been the President of Dr. Martin LeBoldus High School’s Multicultural Club for four years. This has enabled her to showcase her Filipino culture at the school and in the community. Extremely active in fulfilling the stream of celebration of diversity, Jellyn has been organizing the school’s Multicultural Week for four years. She aims to include as many cultures as possible while celebrating their differences and similarities. Some initiatives Jellyn participates in to achieve the anti-racism stream of work include working with “CluedINclude”, attending a workshop to learn about discrimination and privilege and then taking what she had learned and organizing a week-long event dedicated to eliminating racial discrimination. Jellyn has become active as a Regina Open Door Society Peer Leader where she helps newcomers and immigrants to settle and integrate into Canadian life. Jellyn always seeks to improve herself and advance her positive influence in the community through the five streams of multicultural work. Overtime, Jellyn’s contributions to multiculturalism slowly transcended outwards to her community and will continue to grow as she gets older and wiser. Her Honour, MCoS Vice-President Neeraj Saroj and SGEU President Bob Bymoen presented this year’s award to Jellyn.
View full bio of Jellyn Ayudan (pdf)

Betty Szuchewycz Award 2016

Each year, the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan presents the Betty Szuchewycz Award to an adult who has made significant contributions to the multicultural community. The 2016 award nominees are:

The recipient of the 2016 Betty Szuchewycz Award is Faeeza Moolla who will also select a charity for a donation of $500 from MCoS. Faeeza has contributed to multiculturalism in Saskatchewan

The recipient of the 2016 Betty Szuchewycz Award is Faeeza Moolla who will also select a charity for a donation of $500 from MCoS. Faeeza has contributed to multiculturalism in Saskatchewan through all five streams of multicultural work. She is pictured here with her family and friends.

The recipient of the 2016 Betty Szuchewycz Award is Faeeza Moolla who will also select a charity for a donation of $500 from MCoS. Faeeza has contributed to multiculturalism in Saskatchewan through all five streams of multicultural work. She is pictured here with her family and friends.

through all five streams of multicultural work.  Faeeza immigrated to Regina from South Africa 18 years ago to start her newcomer journey. She used her experience of growing up in a country rife with apartheid restrictions, to engage in multiculturalism and build bridges across cultures and faiths. To achieve the stream of Cultural Continuity, Faeeza arrived in Regina and immediately sought out people of common cultural and religious backgrounds to feel at home. She volunteered for activities within her community, ranging from potlucks to religious festivals to children’s and family activities, with the sole purpose of giving new people a home. To carry out the stream of Celebration of Diversity, Faeeza focused on building bridges with other community groups and organizations. She used her connections as a representative of the Islamic Association of Saskatchewan to continuously reach out. Faeeza naturally gravitated to work on the stream of Anti-racism. Growing up in South Africa, Faeeza challenged racial inequality, fighting against the tyrannical apartheid regime until the free elections in 1994. Here in Saskatchewan, she joined Muslims for Peace and Justice, serving as a member, secretary and, vice-president, and president over the course of ten years. Her mission was to facilitate open discussions about systematic racism. In order to facilitate intercultural connections, Faeeza implemented a joint Eid Program for community and Government organizations, which was very successful, receiving several accolades. Faeeza is a long standing member of the Islamic Association of Saskatchewan and serves as a volunteer bridging gaps and overcoming differences. She also serves as a member on the Islamic History Month Canada Board, allowing her to highlight the benefits of integration to strengthen the community as a whole. Due to her significant contributions to the five streams of multicultural work in Saskatchewan, Faeeza was invited to be one of 150 community builders in Regina to participate in a national conversation on the future of Canada. Her Honour, MCoS Vice-President Neeraj Saroj and Renata Cosic, Secretary, Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan and Recognition Committee Chair, presented this year’s award to Faeeza.
View full bio of Faeeza Moolla (pdf)

Who’s Your Multicultural Superhero?

Both recipients are strong examples of a multicultural superhero as their contributions fulfill the five multicultural streams of work: Cultural Continuity, Celebration of Diversity, Anti-Racism, Intercultural Connections and Integration. The five streams underlie the 2016 theme of Saskatchewan Multicultural Week, taking place November 19-27 and this year’s campaign, Who’s Your Multicultural Superhero? running until November 30th. We invite everyone to think about people who inspire you through by using their super powers of respect and inclusion to fight the villains of racism and oppression, people who build bridges between cultures and celebrate diversity in all its forms, people who embrace and share traditions, and people who help others to integrate into society. These people you have thought of are your multicultural superheroes. Share about this on Instagram and Twitter using #multiculturalsuperhero in any way you want. Be creative; the sky is the limit!


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Related Links

Saskatchewan Multicultural Week
Building Welcoming Communities
MCoS Multicultural Honours
Who is Your Multicultural Superhero?
#MulticulturalSuperhero Social Feed

MCoS Multicultural Honours Highlights Intercultural Connections

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Her Honour the Honourable Vaughn Solomon Schofield, Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan provides opening remarks

Over 100 people gathered at Government House in Regina on Saturday, November 14th to celebrate and recognize significant volunteer contributions to multiculturalism in Saskatchewan. This annual flag-ship event for MCoS, is hosted by Her Honour the Honourable Vaughn Solomon Schofield, Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan. It is always a joyous celebration drawing attention to the both the contributions and importance of volunteers to multiculturalism in Saskatchewan. This event is part of Saskatchewan Multicultural Week, proclaimed annually by the provincial government to celebrate the Saskatchewan Multiculturalism Act.
The formal part of the event took place in Sir Richard Lake Hall which provides an elegant setting for the program and awards. Her Honour and MCoS President, Bruno Kossman, recognized and appreciated the historical and current contributions of Saskatchewan’s indigenous people that are foundations for a respectful and harmonious shared future. In that vein, Her Honour acknowledged that we were meeting on land that is the traditional territory of the Cree, Saulteaux and Métis and part of Treaty 4. It is essential to remember that we are all treaty people – we benefit as a result of the relationship agreed to over 150 years ago.
This year, the recent Paris terrorist attacks and the Syrian refugee crisis and were addressed by everyone who spoke at the event. Anti-racism
education and the importance of fostering intercultural connections were echoed through the speeches. During his greetings, the Honourable Mark Docherty, Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport, aptly summed up the current political and social climate by reciting a quote by Somali poet Warsan Shire from her poem “What They Did Yesterday Afternoon”:

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His Honour the Honourable Mark Docherty, Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport brings greetings

later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?
it answered
everywhere
everywhere
everywhere.

MCoS President, Bruno Kossmann, touched on 2015 being the organization’s 40th anniversary and reviewed MCoS programming and achievements. He thanked all volunteers around the province that make multiculturalism a central factor to the vibrancy of life in Saskatchewan. In 2014-15, among MCoS members over 18,200 volunteers contributed over 358,900 hours of time.  Volunteers and staff with different cultural backgrounds bring different ways of seeing the world which can contribute to more effective decision-making and problem-solving. He also introduced our 40th anniversary video to the audience who enjoyed the taking a journey in photos from MCoS’ inception to the current day to the music of Andrea Menard.
In the awards portion of the event, it was noted that all nominees were considered for the extent of their involvement in the five multicultural streams of work: cultural continuity, celebrating diversity, anti-racism, intercultural connections and integration. This year’s award recipients are both are incredibly deserving individuals. Particularly, their intercultural connections work facilitating different cultural groups coming together over time to build bridges should be noted. By coincidence and unknown to the committee, they share a friendship built through this very work and exemplary of it.

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Her Honour the Honourable Vaughn Solomon Schofield, Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan, Janelle Pewapsconias, 2015 Multicultural Youth Leadership Award Recipient and Bruno Kossman, MCoS President.

MCoS Director and member of the recognition committee, Renata Cosic, introduced Janelle Pewapsconias as the recipient of the 2015 Multicultural Youth Leadership Award. Janelle fulfills many roles focused on cultural continuity within her own community of Little Pine First Nation and in Saskatoon – both of which are in Treaty 6 Territory. She is a strong single mother, a well-rounded advocate for Indigenous, social and environmental justice, an up-and-coming spoken word artist, entrepreneur-in-training, volunteer, public speaker and learner of her language. Janelle is the creator of the Neechi Life Games which are anti-racism tools. She participated in the 2014 intensive summer program called “Next Up: First Nations & Métis Youth in Action” (MCoS strategic initiative investment supported this program) where she was a strong leader within the group. Janelle – who is a budding leader and cultural keeper – is an ambassador of multiculturalism who lives out the multicultural values and her volunteer efforts are rooted in all five streams of multiculturalism. (Read Janelle’s full bio)

As an Indigenous person of this land, I recognize that there are people in the distress around the world and I welcome them here with open arms.
~ Janelle Pewapsconias ~ (excerpt from her acceptance speech)

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Her Honour the Honourable Vaughn Solomon Schofield, Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan, Jebunnessa Chapola, 2015 Betty Szuchewycz Award Recipient and Bruno Kossman, MCoS President.

MCoS Director and member of the recognition committee, Muna DeCiman, introduced Jebunessa Chapola is the recipient of the 2015 Betty Szuchewycz Award. Jebunnessa’s life is dedicated to uplifting marginalized ethnic and indigenous cultures in the local and international arena and creating awareness about the barriers to achieving gender, social and environmental justice, and working within and across new media environments. She has participated in many diverse cultural program committees creating space for ethnic communities, and putting the committee organizers in touch with her community members. Jebunnessa’s involvement as a Cultural Connections Coordinator for the last five years with Ness Creek Music Festival is a prime example of cultural diversity and intercultural connections at work in the community. This program has received several investments through MCoS’ intercultural connections program. Her anti-racism and anti-oppression work is extensive and has had an impact on very broad social sectors. She has participated in MCoS’ Arrêt/Stop Anti-Racism youth leadership workshops for the past three years as a facilitator and was able to take the knowledge learned from these workshops and host additional workshops at Ness creek and in the community. (Read Jebunnessa’s full bio)

Volunteering and being able to share my culture with others has made me feel alive again; I have purpose once again in my life.
~ Jebunnessa Chapola ~ (excerpt from her acceptance speech)

The reception portion of the event took place in the Henry Newlands Ballroom, decorated for the Christmas season, providing both an elegant and festive atmosphere for the reception. Guests enjoyed cultural treats provided by Rushton’s Catering. “Cultural Treats in Context” cards adorned every table with explanations of the savoury, sweet and fresh fruit delicacies. The reception provided a chance for socializing and photos that facilitated intercultural connections.


Photo Gallery for 2015 MCoS Multicultural Honours