As part of B.C.'s multiculturalism week, the fourth annual Provincial Nesika Awards has recognized four individuals and organizations for their exceptional work to promote diversity and multiculturalism throughout the province.
Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology and Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism John Yap was joined by the award winners, nominees, members of the Multicultural Advisory Council and B.C. diversity champions for a celebratory awards event in Burnaby last night.
This year's awards attracted 160 nominees. Awards were given in four categories: Individual, Organization, Business and for the first time, Youth. The judging criteria included how nominees had contributed to raising awareness of diversity, multiculturalism and anti-racism issues, promoted respect and inclusion and created a welcoming environment in their communities.
The winners in each category received a trophy marking their achievement and a $5,000 cheque to be given to a recognized organization of their choice to further advance multiculturalism in B.C.
This year's recipients are:
Individual - Winnie L. Cheung has been instrumental in establishing several signature programs to foster relationship-building between international and local students, as well as engaging the community with the University of British Columbia and promoting learning through the appreciation of cultural diversity.
Organization - Collingwood Neighbourhood House Society serves the most culturally diverse neighbourhood in Vancouver and embeds intercultural ways of living, playing, learning and working together by offering over 100 programs and services and helping dozens of community development initiatives.
Business - John Donnelly & Associates conceived and produced the Surrey Fusion Festival, B.C.'s largest multicultural festival, which attracted over 75,000 people in its fifth year. Building on the success of the festival, in 2012 the company launched the Surrey International World Music Marathon.
Youth - Jorge E. Salazar currently works for the Vancouver Foundation focusing on immigrant and refugee youth to promote strong community connections with First Nations, urban Aboriginal, immigrant and refugee communities in B.C.
John Yap, Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology and Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism -
"Cultural diversity and increased participation and engagement by all cultures are vitally important to create a strong and vibrant social and economic future for British Columbia. The recipients and nominees of this year's Provincial Nesika Awards reinforce that commitment to those goals on a daily basis and I am proud to congratulate my fellow British Columbians on their success."
Mo Dhaliwal - acting chair, Multicultural Advisory Council -
"A record number of 160 nominees for this year's Nesika Awards proves how the values of multiculturalism are thriving and enriching the province. It also demonstrates that multiculturalism is not just a policy and legislation, it is a way of life and a way of doing business embraced by many British Columbians."
- Nesika (pronounced Ne-SAY-ka) is Chinook for "we, us, our." It comes from a trade language used by many different Aboriginal linguistic groups along the west coast of North America.
- Since 1990, B.C.'s Multicultural Advisory Council has promoted cross-cultural understanding and respect throughout the province and sponsors the Provincial Nesika Awards.
- The award winners are selected by an independent jury.
- One-quarter of the people in B.C. are self-identified visible minorities, and five per cent identify as Aboriginal.
- B.C. is the most ethnically diverse province in Canada and welcomes nearly 40,000 new immigrants every year.
Multicultural Advisory Council: http://www.embracebc.ca/embracebc/multiculturalism/multicultural_advisory_council/index.page
Embrace BC: http://www.embracebc.ca/embracebc/index.page
Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology and Responsible for Multiculturalism