2017 Welcoming Ottawa Ambassadors

WOW Ambassador: Rudi Aksim

Nominator: Jiehan Zhou

The power of mentoring a newcomer

Rudi Aksim, a retired Algonquin College professor, first met Jiehan Zhou in 2013 when he taught him a course on navigating the IT workplace at the Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre. After completing the 10-week course, Rudi began became Jiehan’s mentor on a volunteer basis.

WOW Ambassador: Mike Brosseau

Nominator: Majid Al Yamoory

Mentors through the Matching Program

As with many newcomers to Ottawa, Majid Al Yamoory, turned to the Catholic Centre for Immigrants’ Matching Program for help in adapting and integrating into to his new life. Through this program, the 74 year-old civil engineer from Iraq was paired with Bruce Grant and Mike Brosseau.

WOW Ambassador: Jo-Annie Castonguay

Nominator: Emmanuel Israel

Overcoming the challenge of finding the first job

Emmanuel Israel, originally from Nigeria, came to Ottawa in 2012, after studying in Cyprus for five years. When he began his Master’s Degree in Education at the University of Ottawa, the soft spoken young man didn’t know anyone in his new city and needed to begin a job search.

WOW Ambassador: Nasser El-Batal

Nominator: Hassan Gardesh

Long-time Ottawa resident “pays it forward” to another immigrant

Nasser El-Batal immigrated to Canada from war-torn Lebanon in 1984. Although he had a university degree from his home country, he worked in construction, drove a taxi and was a carpet layer for his first few years in Ottawa.  

WOW Ambassador: Bruce Grant

Nominator: Majid Al Yamoory

Mentors through the Matching Program

As with many newcomers to Ottawa, Majid Al Yamoory, turned to the Catholic Centre for Immigrants’ Matching Program for help in adapting and integrating into to his new life. Through this program, the 74 year-old civil engineer from Iraq was paired with Bruce Grant and Mike Brosseau.

WOW Ambassador: Carol Jolin

Nominator: Omer Livvarcin

Buying a car, finding a good friend

When Omer Livvarcin responded to Carol Jolin’s Kijiji ad to buy a car in Ottawa last September, little did he know it lead him to a new friendship. Omer had just moved with his spouse and two sons from Turkey, and they were quite literally sleeping on the floor of their Orleans home. They had arrived in Canada with nothing and knew no one.

WOW Ambassador: Aaron Kabemba

Nominator: Chabel and Johny Dawhari

Student Helps Newcomers from Syria Adapt to Life in Ottawa

When Syrian teenaged twins, Chabel and Johny Dawhari arrived in Ottawa in February 2016, they were struck by the cold weather and worried about what the future would hold for them. Five years earlier they had fled their home in war-torn Syria with their older brother and parents for Beirut, Lebanon.

WOW Ambassador: Murielle Lemay

Nominator: Omer Livvarcin

“Teyze” Murielle

In Turkish culture, the term “teyze” mean an incredible aunt, sort of a half-mother.After Omer Livvarcin moved from Turkey to Ottawa in September 2016 with his spouse and two sons, little did he know he would find a “teyze” in the form of Murielle Lemay.

WOW Ambassador: Claudine Revert-Gravel

Nominator: Mustapha Altinkaya

The importance of friendship to a newcomer

Mustapha arrived in Ottawa in October 2016 with his 11 year-old son and spouse. Although he is fluent in English and well educated, he still has found the transition to a new home challenging at times.

WOW Ambassador: Shukria Samnter

Nominator: Entisar Yusuf

Welcome to Ottawa

The first time Entisar Yusuf met Shukria Samanter, a few months after Entisar immigrated to Ottawa from Ethiopia in 2011, Shukria said “Welcome to Ottawa.”

WOW Ambassador: Murilo Torres

Nominator: Meysam Safari

An Uber ride and a promise

Some people believe in fate and for two Ottawa men – Meysam Safari and Murilo Torres – that fate came in the form of an Uber ride on a cold December evening. Meysam –more commonly called Sam – had immigrated to Canada from Iran with his spouse and infant son three months before.