Integrate Refugees27 January, 2016
The recent outpouring of support for asylum seekers, fleeing war in Syria and in other parts of the Middle East, has brought the plight of refugees in Canada to the fore of public consciousness. Images of children drowning at sea, emaciated families fleeing carnage, and towering cities reduced to rubble, have captured the hearts and minds of Canadians. Sixty-five percent of Canadians believe that their government should take steps to welcome refugees in the country.
As a result, ordinary families are opening their doors to newcomers escaping danger in their host countries. Faith communities are raising money to help settle women, children and men fleeing the ravages of war. Governments of all levels—federal, provincial and municipal—are also playing their part to make the transition to life in Canada as smooth as possible.
The Michaëlle Jean Foundation recognizes that the arts have a critical role to play at many levels in the settlement process of newcomers, particularly when they are fleeing war zones and persecution. We also acknowledge that many young people have a unique grasp of the newcomer experience and are using a variety of tools, including the arts, to tell their stories, to overcome trauma, to mobilize their peers, and to engage broader society in integrating refugees, immigrants and migrants into Canadian society.
We are proud to collaborate with Immigrant Settlement Services of British Columbia (ISSBC) and the Vancouver Foundation (VF) on a unique arts for collective impact project, designed to empower youth to use arts to mobilize their community around better integrating newcomers in the province. Over the next four years, the Michaëlle Jean Foundation will be collaborating with ISSBC and VF on a collective impact initiative that will use arts exhibitions, community mobilization and multi-sector planning to improve the integration experience for refugees, immigrants and migrants in Vancouver and throughout the province. Support this initiative.