Submitted by Steven Baileys, Community Development Coordinator
Last week’s CPN Diversity Seminar brought together more than 80 members to learn about the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the Greater Victoria region. The seminar included panel presentations with Jean McRae (ICA’s Executive Director), Sabine Lehr (ICA’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees Manager), Dr. Timothy Black (Associate Professor and Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies Chair, University of Victoria), and Darcy Bromley (Senior Policy/Program Advisor, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada).
Panel members provided a rich overview of the refugee resettlement process and outlined possible psychological impacts on refugees forced to flee their homeland. CPN members learned about key supports and programs needed to assist refugees such as: housing, education, health, community integration and employment. Another lively Global Café discussion followed the panel with participants exploring how each of their organizations can support refugee resettlement.
As you will likely already know, following the seminar, ICA coordinated a media conference announcing a partnership with the Canadian Red Cross – BC & Yukon in settling 290 Government Assisted Refugees into Greater Victoria by the end of February. Speaking at the media event: the Honourable Shirley Bond (Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour), Jean McRae (Executive Director of the Inter-Cultural Assocation of Greater Victoria), Kimberley Nemrava (Vice President, Canadian Red Cross B.C. & Yukon), and Patricia Jelinski (Chief Executive Officer, United Way Greater Victoria).
Thank you to the Royal BC Museum for hosting the event and to the United Way for funding the CPN Diversity Seminar series.