2017 Peace Award recipient sharing his experience in Canada

Red River College recognizes and honours the tremendous potential of students who come from various backgrounds. In order to celebrate stories of courage, strength and determination, Diversity and Intercultural Services has implemented the Peace Award, presented annually to current students in full-time academic programs who entered Canada as refugees or refugee claimants. To be eligible for the award, applicants must submit a 1,000-word essay that discusses their adjustment and experience in living and learning in Canada, why they decided to take their current program at RRC and how the Peace Award will help them succeed in reaching their career and life goals. This year’s recipient of a $1,000 Peace Award is Wasim Alkabani.

The Peace Award recognizes Wasim for his strength and determination and for demonstrating perseverance in reaching his educational goals while adapting to a new life in Canada. Wasim arrived in Canada from Syria through the Student Refugee Program and, although he’s not new to travelling and settling in new cities has never been an easy step for him, seeing his name on the big signs with WUSC and RRC logos and 15 people waiting and cheering for him at the airport was overwhelming: “Suddenly the feeling of uncertainty was replaced with intimacy as I was introducing myself to all those lovely people.”

Wasim had graduated from Damascus University with a BA in Finance in 2009, and accounting was one of the key courses each year of the program so it only made sense for him to continue in the Applied Accounting Program at the Exchange District Campus: “I started attending all my classes and I was very enthusiastic about my program as it was something I’m interested in. I was amazed by the teaching techniques and the courses taught at my college and how it’s designed to reflect on the work environment and to get students ready to be a part of the Canadian business community. Approaching our instructors who are always willing to support in everything is something I first experienced here and it has been a big help for me through my studies.”

Wasim made lots of friends while studying at Red River College and staff and classmates helped him experience new activities and events in Winnipeg: “I had the chance to explore the city and visit different parts of it. I enjoyed Santa’s parade which displayed an amazing tradition and celebration of the city. I had a blast trying skating for the first time in my life at the Forks and which in return made me set plans to try other Canadian sports such as hokey, ice fishing and skiing… I was invited to many houses and joined different celebrations that reflected the true values of diversity and mutual respect that Canada stands for.”

In terms of planning and future goals, Wasim would like to continue specializing in his chosen field: Accounting while also supporting his family in Syria who are still experiencing conflict and donate part of his Award to Children’s Wish foundation: “to help draw a smile on a child’s face.”

“I look back to where I was six months ago”, Wasim reflects, “in an area with the biggest ongoing conflicts where I needed to struggle for the simplest rights to have a decent living. And I look to where I stand now, and I feel proud that I made it to this great country and that I have the privilege of living by the honorable values of the Canadian culture and be an active member in the society.”

We congratulate Wasim for his outstanding self-reflection and for sharing his experience and success story with the College community so that we can all celebrate Diversity and potential.

For more info on the Peace Award, please contact Gabriela Ludusan, Mentorship Program Coordinator at gludusan@rrc.ca or 204-632-3847.

Wasim being welcomed at the airport by RRC staff and students.

Wasim skating

Wasim and his first skating adventure!