2018 Welcoming Ottawa Ambassadors

WOW Ambassador: Robert Sampson

Nominator: Clémence Naré and Ayokunle Ogundipe

The “Bobby Effect”

Robert (Bobby) Sampson puts his skills as a well-connected lawyer to great use helping newcomers transition to the Canadian workforce. He does this so well, that some of his mentee’s describe his impact as the “Bobby Effect”.

WOW Ambassador: Cheralyn Post

Nominator: Seka Wilfried Adon

Finding a family away from home

“When I arrived in the city in 2016 to study business at the University of Ottawa, I felt like I had landed in the middle of nowhere and was very lonely,” says Seka Wilfried Adon, an international student from the Ivory Coast.

WOW Ambassador: Farhad Derakhshan

Nominator: Mitra Taravat

Helping a newcomer from A to Z

When Mitra Taravat and her husband Amir came to Ottawa in May 2016, there are countless ways that fellow Iranian expatriate Farhad Derakhshan made a difference in her journey. “Farhad is such a great person that I can’t thank him enough,” explains Mitra.

WOW Ambassador: Jean Roberth Souza

Nominator: Priscila Gondim Alves

The power of social media to connect newcomers

“Jean Roberth Souza makes a difference as a very active volunteer within Ottawa’s Brazilian community,” says Priscila Gondim Alves. “He has assisted many newcomers to Ottawa, including myself, with his knowledge, goodwill, friendship and generosity of spirit. 

WOW Ambassador: Justine Nkurunziza

Nominator: Justine Semonde

Connecting Burundian newcomers through WhatsApp

Justine Nkurunziza is an extraordinary woman. In her native Burundi, she was a human rights defender, especially for the rights of women and children. She also worked forAction Aid International in Burundi, before coming to Ottawa as a refugee in 2016. Justine has always had a driving passion to help others.

WOW Ambassador: Kelly McGahey

Nominator: Diane Tuyishime

Welcoming workplaces

“I arrived in Canada in May 2016 and first met Kelly McGahey in October of the same year,” says Diane Tuyishime, a newcomer from Burundi. We were matched through the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO) career mentoring program.

WOW Ambassador: Leocadie Kabogoye

Nominator: Christine Mukuna

Finding the right person to guide your integration path

“When you arrive in a country thousands of kilometres away from your home, where you hardly know anyone, and you have to start making the necessary steps to obtain a work permit, permanent residence status and eventually citizenship, there is nothing more enjoyable than to find the right person to help and guide you,” explains Christine Mukuna…

WOW Ambassador: Hanan Abu-Laban

Nominator: Houda Amine

An angel of welcome

When Hanan Abu-Laban, a charity director at the Ottawa Muslim Association, read a story about a woman in need on a local WhatsApp group, she knew she had to find a way to help her. Hanan, a Community Affairs and Charity Director at the Ottawa Muslim Association, has dealt with similar cases in the past. Over the last 15 years…

WOW Ambassador: Mohamed Jamal Alsharif

Nominator: Yusra Almosuli

Strength of Canadian multiculturalism to newcomers

For the last three years, Mohd Jamal Alsharif has worked with a group of mostly Syrian refugees in Ottawa, trying so hard to make them realize that they are part of the Canadian community and helping them to overcome the cultural differences and challenges they have experienced as newcomers.

WOW Ambassador: Clare Glassco

Nominator: Wasim Soufi and Abdulaziz Aboud

The kindness and generosity of strangers

Before the civil war erupted in his country, Wasim Soufi studied English literature in Aleppo, Syria. His road to Canada was a long one. He fled Syria and worked for a few years in Saudia Arabia, but when his contract ended, Wasim knew returning to war torn Syria was not an option. Fortunately, Wasim had met a Canadian, Andrew Harvey, in Aleppo in 2006, and the two had become fast friends.