TORONTO, March 18, 2014 /CNW/ - A new study by the Mosaic Institute shows that while many Canadians maintain connections to overseas conflicts, Canada does not "import" violent conflict. The study, The Perception & Reality of 'Imported Conflict' in Canada, found that communities of Canadians who come from conflict repudiate violence in Canada - without exception. However, global conflicts do still have a large and lingering effect on the lives of many Canadians. The study was funded as part of the Government of Canada's Kanishka Project.
"Virtually everyone we interviewed told us how their relationships to the conflicts they came from have changed since coming to Canada," said John Monahan, Executive Director of The Mosaic Institute. "It shows us that living in Canada transforms the way we see the world."
The extensive study that examines both Canadians' perceptions and lived experience of "imported conflict" is a result of surveys of almost 5000 people, and interviews and focus groups with 300 Canadians with family connections to conflict zones including:
- The Sudans
- The Horn of Africa
- The Middle East
- Armenia and Turkey
- Countries of the former Yugoslavia
- Sri Lanka
- India and Pakistan.
"We don't import violent conflict, but we do import trauma," said Rima Berns-McGown, Ph.D, Research Director for the Mosaic Institute's study. "That trauma is a heavy burden, and can transcend generations. How we treat it will have a major impact on our social cohesion."
The survey and interviews found that:
- Canadians care about overseas conflicts, even if they don't come from one. 1 in 5 Canadians reports having some personal, family or community connection to at least one of the eight (8) conflicts studied.
- 57% of Canadians believe that people who have experienced conflict hold onto intercommunity tensions after coming to Canada.
- Canadians often remain invested in their conflicts, but living in Canada tends to dramatically transform their perceptions of them, as well as their view of possible solutions.
- Many Canadians suffer from conflict-related trauma which, if left untreated, can impede their integration and negatively affect their attachment to Canada.
- Racism and other forms of serious social exclusion risk undermining Canada's social cohesion and security because they make it more difficult for Canadians to reframe their understanding of conflicts they left behind when they came to Canada. Conversely, the single most powerful factor in Canadians' ability to reframe their understanding of such conflicts is social, economic and political inclusion.
In the study, the Mosaic Institute lists a number of recommendations, including:
- Implementing specific proposals to combat racism and exclusion in the labour market and public institutions.
- Mobilizing healthcare resources to address conflict-related trauma.
- Establishing a national education strategy related to conflict and its effects.
- Encouraging Canadians from all sides of overseas conflicts to engage in constructive dialogue.
The full report can be found in English and French at www.mosaicinstitute.ca.
With the assistance of The Strategic Counsel, 4,498 Canadians were randomly selected to complete the online survey, which resulted in a low margin of error of +/- 1.46%, 19 times out of 20. 220 interviews were also conducted across Canada with people who come from or whose families come from eight regions that have experienced or are currently experiencing conflict. Twelve focus groups were also conducted with groups of Canadians that included Hindus and Sikhs of Indian background; Tamils and Sinhalese with origins in Sri Lanka; and Arabs and Jews connected to the Middle East.
About the Mosaic Institute
The Mosaic Institute is a "think and do" tank that promotes the constructive engagement of Canadians with connections to all corners of the globe in the promotion of peace and the resolution of entrenched conflicts around the world - starting right at home. Through its original research, innovative inter-community dialogues and other programming, the Mosaic Institute is helping to produce the next generation of Canadian "global citizens" committed to advancing the cause of peace.
SOURCE: The Mosaic Institute
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