Mosaic Institute names new Executive Director

The Mosaic Institute is a ‘think and do’ tank, based in Toronto, which aims to break down racism through dialogue and action.

Today, the Mosaic Institute named its new Executive Director.  From the email blast:

“The Mosaic Institute announces the retirement of Bernie Farber. Bernie has brought his dynamism and understanding of diverse communities together to the Mosaic Institute during his tenure as Executive Director, Vahan Kololian Chair of the Board. We will miss him but understand and respect his desire to move to the next stage of his life.  We are very pleased that he has agreed to remain part of our family as a member of our Advisory Council, Kololian ncluded.

“Bernie has had a long and successful career, starting as a social worker in Ottawa, and moving into leadership roles of various human and civil rights organizations.  These roles included being CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress from 2005 to 2011.  Bernie then went on to the leadership of the Paloma Foundation addressing social issues of the homeless in Toronto.

“Bernie joined the Mosaic team in 2015 where he has helped guide the organization, raising its profile, and bringing his considerable expertise in helping to engage Canada’s diverse communities within the Mosaic family.

“Under his tenure Mosaic continued its seminal work on university campuses through its University of Mosaic initiatives funded by BMO as well as its award winning Next Generation High school global citizenship program funded through the RBC Foundation.

“During his two years at the helm, Bernie established the Mosaic in conversation program that brought together hundreds of individuals to discuss issues from First Nations reconciliation to the dangers of racism and xenophobia in a new world order. He helped steer Mosaic Institute signature fundraising event, its Peace Patron Dinner, one of the most highly anticipated occasions of the spring, ensuring unprecedented sold-out crowds over the last two years, while recognizing outstanding Canadians who exemplify the values of the Institute.

“As Bernie steps down, the Mosaic Institute welcomes Dr. Pamela Divinsky as its new Executive Director. Pamela and Bernie have commenced the transition process. Pamela’s official commencement date is October 1.

“Born and raised in Vancouver, Pamela has been the lead partner of The Divinsky Group which develops and implements strategies for corporations and NGOs that achieve organizational results and positive social impact. …

“Pamela has been responsible for developing initiatives that have combated child poverty, created policy change on numerous health and social issues sparking local community activism.

“Pamela brings a new and exciting skill set to the Mosaic Institute, noted Chair Vahan Kololian. Her years of experience in both the business and social service sector will bring an added and necessary dimension to our work. Her commitment to a progressive social value system complimented by her academic and corporate acumen is embraced by the Mosaic Institute as we move forward. We heartily welcome Pamela as our New Executive Director”.

FRP Perspectives in Family Support (Spring 2010) special issue on immigrant families

The Canadian Association of Family Resource Centres (FRP Canada) has released a special edition of their journal, Perspectives in Family Support with a focus on immigrant families:

In “The Participation of Immigrant Families in the Activities of Family Resource Programs”, Marie Rhéaume reports on a research study conducted in Québéc that examined the issues and “distances” between immigrant mothers and Québécois mothers and found that, overall, family resource centres because of the “values that underlie the work of these community-based organizations, particularly the climate of respect, help build bridges between the two groups”. For more on the study, see here.

In “Taking an Advocacy With Approach”, as opposed to an advocacy for approach, Lianne Fisher argues for the importance of self-reflection of family resource practitioners who work with newcomers to recognize and resolve possible stigmatizing and marginalizing that may occur when practitioners seek to help newcomers.

An excerpt of “Phase 2 of FRP Canada’s Welcome Here Project: A Summary Report of Lessons Learned”, also available on the FRP Canada website welcomehere.ca.

The issue of cultural adaptation and/or interpretation v. simple translation is covered by Betsy Mann in “Reflecting on Issues of Translation and Interpretation”.

Researcher Dr. Judith K. Bernhard writes on “What are the Essential Elements of Valid Research? The Problem of ‘Data’ and their Collection in Cross-Cultural Contexts” from a personal viewpoint as both an immigrant to Canada and now a practicing academic in immigrant-family related studies.

Toronto’s Hot Docs festival offerings on multiculturalism, integration, equity, racism & child rights

Among the showings at Toronto’s annual Hot Docs film festival, running from April 29-May 9, 2010 are:

In the Name of the Family ~ about Aqsa Parvez and her so-called honour killing

Listen to This ~ Pianist Thompson Egbo-Egbo starts a music program at his former school in Toronto’s Jane-Finch community

Babies ~ just babies in settings around the world (also see film website)

Grace, Milly, Lucy … Child Soldiers ~ the lives of Ugandan child soldiers

The Day I Will Never Forget ~ about female genital mutilation in Kenya

Made in India ~ about tourist surrogacy and the reproductive industry in developing countries.

Call for nominations: Children’s Peace Prize 2010

The KidsRights Foundation annually awards the Children’s Peace Prize to a child “whose courageous or otherwise extraordinary efforts have made an impact on behalf of the rights of the child”.

Former award winners include AIDS activist Nkosi Johnson, South Africa, “slave” Om Prakash Gurjar, India, peace activist Mayra Avellar Neves, Brazil.

The Children’s Peace Prize includes prize money, which will be invested by KidsRights in specific projects related to the struggle for peace and interests of the winner.

Do you know a child who works on behalf of the rights of children? Deadline for nominations in April 1, 2010.

Blog Action Day ’08 – Poverty

immigrantchildren.ca is participating in today’s Blog Action Day ’08 – Poverty

Blog Action Day is an annual non-profit event that unites the world’s bloggers, videographers, writers and activists to take action on the same issue on the same day, and “trigger a global discussion”.

For immigrant children and their families in Canada, poverty is certainly an issue. In their annual report on the state of Canada’s children, Campaign 2000 last year highlighted that children of recent immigrants are more likely to live in poverty in their report, It Takes a Nation to raise a Generation.

Community Foundations of Canada annual report card Canada’s Vital Signs 2008 also highlights the issue of poverty among immigrant families. 

A related upcoming event: The Canadian Council on Social Development is holding their first Canadian Social Forum on poverty in Calgary May 19-22/09. Delegates might consider raising the issue of poverty among immigrant families with young children.

Changes to IRPA

Over the last couple of weeks, this blog has posted on proposed changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, complete with links to debates and news releases. Some of these links have moved and I am trying my best to relocate them.

The changes proposed to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act by Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Diane Finley will impact family reunification and therefore, children. It’s time for the Canadian Coalition for Immigrant Children and Youth to start lobbying their MPs, liberal and otherwise, to stop these changes from going through.

The federal liberals, with the support of another opposition party could stop the proposed amendments. A vote against the amendments (as early as a week from now) would trigger an election. Some say they don’t want an election. The tories say they’re ready for an election.

Here’s what the NDP says. “The offensive changes include giving major new powers to the minister of Citizenship and Immigration to impose quotas, discard immigration applications and facilitate queue jumping by certain categories of immigrants. In addition, they would limit the ability of ordinary Canadians to be reunited with overseas family members based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds”.

Here’s what the liberals say.“The Liberal Opposition feels strongly that the drastic immigration reforms introduced by the Conservative government should be removed from the budget bill debated in Parliament”.

Here’s how to find your MP and have your say.

Entre deux mers * Between two seas: Bridging children and communities, BC conference

The Early Childhood Educators of BC, the Canadian Child Care Federation, Ryerson University and the University of Victoria School of Child and Youth Care are sponsoring a conference in Richmond, BC May 29-31/08. Entre Deux Mers * Between Two Seas: Bridging Children and Communities includes many workshops, keynotes and sessions on topics related to immigrant and refugee children and families, including:

The Ethics of Enacting Children’s Right to Citizenship, with Kylie Smith, research fellow at the Centre for Equity and Innovation in Early Childhood at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Refugee Preschool Children as Cultural Mediators, with Darcey M. Dachyshyn, University of Alberta.

Bridging Children and Communities through Integration of Diversity Training and Teacher Education, with Valerie Rhomberg,  .

Working with Newcomer Children and Families: The Research and the Realities, with Penny Coates, Office of Early Childhood Development, Learning, and Care, Daljit Gill-Badesha, DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society and Gany Wawa Tut, a Southern Sudanese refugee and parent in Surrey.

Skilled Dialogue Strategies for Responding to Cultural Diversity, with Cathy Robb, Affiliated Services for Children and Youth.

Looking Back and Looking Forward: A Pan-Canadian Perspective on Diversity Theory and Practice in Early Childhood, with Gyda Chud, Vancouver Community College, Maryann Bird, formerly of the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada, and Debra Mayer, SpeciaLink.

Faces of Diversity: Supporting Children in Early Childhood Programs, with Becky Kelley, Bow Valley Community College.

Visit the ECEBC website for the conference brochure with registration details and more.

Transnational families

The Nanny Economy is the title of a National Post item in the Saturday edition (February 23/08). From the story:

“More than 6,000 Filipinas arrive in Canada under the federal government’s live-in caregiver program. They make up more than one in five female immigrants to Canada and more than nine out of 10 of the live-in caregiver program’s participants”.

The story outlines the issues in the live-in caregiver program, which brings many women to Canada to care for Canadian children, while leaving their own children behind.

For more on transnational families, see Bernhard, J., Landolt, P. & Goldring, L. (2005). Transnational, multi-local motherhood: Experiences of separation and reunification among Latin American families in Canada. Joint Centre of Excellence for Research in Immigration Studies (CERIS), Working Paper No. 40, or for a summary see Policy Matters No. 24, January 2006 at the CERIS website.

Also see INTERCEDE for the Rights of Domestic Workers, Caregivers and Newcomers. INTERCEDE is a non-profit community-based organization that works to “support the integration, promote the rights and provide service needs of domestic workers, caregivers, temporary or migrant workers, their families”.

Canadian Council for Refugees winter working group meetings

The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) winter working group meetings will be held February 22-23, 2008 in Toronto.

The working groups provide a forum for CCR members and other refugee and immigrant rights advocates to come together to share information and to work together in areas of common concern.

The CCR working groups meet four times a year. Two of these meetings take place during the semi-annual CCR consultations. The other working group meetings take place in February (in Toronto) and in September (in Montreal).

From the CCR website: “The working group meetings offer an excellent opportunity to:

  • Participate in efforts to promote refugee protection and resettlement, and the settlement of refugees and immigrants
  • Discuss in depth pressing issues affecting refugees and immigrants in Canada
  • Share information and strategies with others from across Canada”.

Fri. Feb 22nd meeting: Inland protection working group & Immigration and settlement working group.

Sat. Feb 23rd meeting: Overseas protection and sponsorship working group.