Ontario Honours Advocates for Newcomers, Diversity

    McGuinty Government Recognizes Ten Newcomer Champions

    TORONTO, June 26 /CNW/ -


    Ontarians who have gone the extra mile to help newcomers integrate and
share our diverse culture are being honoured by the province. Newcomer
champion awards will be awarded to:

    -   Liban A. Abdi of Hamilton
    -   Dr. Paul Caulford of Toronto
    -   Maureen Geddes of Chatham-Kent
    -   Adit Kumar of Scarborough
    -   Jeffrey Byunghun Min of North York
    -   New Pioneers Awards Team of Toronto (Group award)
    -   Carmela Nini of Guelph
    -   Dr. Peter Ashward Sealy of Toronto
    -   Frances Martino-Soulliere of Amherstburg
    -   Yasmin Vali of Scarborough

    Created in 2007, the Newcomer Champion Awards recognize Ontarians who
have facilitated cultural understanding and diversity and/or helped newcomers
to successfully settle and integrate.
    The ceremony will take place on National Multiculturalism Day, Friday
June 27, 2008 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Lawrence Hall in Toronto.


    "It is especially fitting that we are honouring these champions on
National Multiculturalism Day when we celebrate the economic, social and
cultural benefits of diversity," said Michael Chan, Minister of Citizenship
and Immigration. "Ontario is a more welcoming place because of them."


    -   The Newcomer Champion Awards were inspired by the contributions of
        three Ontario visionaries, who epitomize the spirit of the awards:
        Daniel Iannuzzi, Jean Lumb and Mary Ann Shadd.
    -   Recipients are selected by an independent committee made up of five
        community members involved in helping newcomers and promoting
        cultural diversity.


    -   Background information on the awards and how to nominate.

                                                      Disponible en français



    Created in 2007, the Newcomer Champion Awards recognize Ontarians who
have facilitated cultural understanding and diversity and/or helped newcomers
to successfully settle and integrate.

    -   Liban A. Abdi of Hamilton lends his strength to help newcomers.
        Working at Settlement and Integration Services Organization (SISO),
        he has implemented programs to help settle and integrate newcomers
        into Canadian society, established a Paediatric Clinic with McMaster
        Children's Hospital and initiated a Children's Mental Health Program.

    -   Dr. Paul Caulford of Toronto is a humanitarian and leader in
        diversity and health. Co-founder of the Volunteer Community Health
        Clinic, he serves as its medical director, providing medical care and
        social services to newcomers. He has also served as chief of family
        and community medicine at The Scarborough Hospital.

    -   Maureen Geddes of Chatham-Kent has worked with over 50 organizations
        to integrate equity, inspire personal development and gender
        communication and to build mutual respect. She founded the Cultural
        Coalition of Chatham-Kent, a non-profit organization that welcomes
        and supports all cultural groups and newcomers.

    -   Adit Kumar of Scarborough is the principal organizer of the annual
        South Asian heritage program at the Vedic Cultural Centre. This
        program celebrates the rich cultural heritage of South Asia and
        assists newcomers in adapting to their new homeland. He is also a
        leader in promoting the health and well-being of newcomers through
        community articles and lectures.

    -   Jeffrey Byunghun Min of North York is a dedicated community activist
        and philanthropist for the community of Thornhill. As founder and
        president of the Galleria Supermarket, he has used his business to
        better the community through language heritage programs, scholarships
        and participation in numerous local charities.

    -   The New Pioneers Awards Team of Toronto is a division of Skills for
        Change, a non-profit organization which provides learning and
        training opportunities for Ontario newcomers. The New Pioneers Awards
        have recognized over 100 newcomers over the past 16 years for their
        positive contributions to Ontario communities.

    -   Carmela Nini of Guelph is an advocate of multiculturalism. She
        founded the International Languages Program at Wellington Catholic
        District School Board, which provides instruction in 20 different
        languages to more than 700 students. She also volunteers with
        numerous community organizations including the Guelph and District
        Multicultural Festival, where she engages youth with the festival's
        message of diversity and peace.

    -   Dr. Peter Ashward Sealy of Toronto is a leader in promoting cultural
        harmony among newcomers. He has worked closely with both youth and
        senior newcomers throughout his 30 year career, facilitating cultural
        understanding, diversity and successful integration and settlement.

    -   Frances Martino-Soulliere of Amherstburg has dedicated her life to
        embracing cultural traditions and diversity in Canada. She created
        the English as a Second Language Program at Catholic Central High
        School in Windsor. She also hosts "meet and greets" and organizes an
        annual Christmas dinner and dance for newcomer students to socialize
        and share experiences.

    -   Yasmin Vali of Scarborough held one of the first diversity
        directorships in a Toronto hospital. As director of ethno-racial
        patient services at The Scarborough Hospital, she delivers workshops
        to staff on cultural sensitivity and organizes the annual Celebrate
        Our Diversity Day. She also co-founded the Volunteer Community Health
        Clinic, which provides adjustment services to newcomers and responds
        to their needs for medical and social care.

                                                      Disponible en français

For further information:

For further information: Coralie D'Souza, Minister's Office, (416)
325-6204; Christopher Carbone, Communications Branch, (416) 314-7379

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Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration

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