Beyond Mogadishu: Shirin Ramzanali Fazel on Migration, Languages, and Reclaiming Her Voice

Interview by: Eliana Trinaistic, Social Impact Manager Shirin Ramzanali Fazel (1953) is an Italian writer of Somali and Pakistani origin, one of the pioneers of the movement known as Italian Migration Literature (letteratura italiana della migrazione), whose writings have been studied both in Italy and abroad. She was born in Mogadishu at the time of prosperity, tolerance and peaceful living amongst nations, including Somalis, Arabs, Sikhs and Chinese. In 1971, with her husband and young…

Aphasia Awareness: No Matter What Language You Speak, Language Matters

June is Aphasia Awareness Month, which is as good a time as any to share how much it shocks me that so few people know about Aphasia. Consider that 1 in 3 Canadians who survive a stroke have Aphasia. The disorder is not uncommon, and it’s certainly something that cannot be ignored, especially as rates are expected to increase with Canada’s silver tsunami (i.e. ageing population). My first exposure to Aphasia was in the first…

Zdra-vstvuy-te, Let’s Talk Russian on Russian language Day

By Victoria Radvan, Training Content Developer If you have been following our blog for some time now, you likely already know that to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as an equal use of their six official languages, the United Nations established UN Language Days. On June 6th, the world celebrates UN Russian Language Day. Currently, there are about 155 million native Russian speakers in the world. Russian is an official language in Belarus,…

Decolonizing Memories: Takeaways from the Memories of Mogadishu Conference

By Eliana Trinaistic, Social Impact Manager The Memories of Mogadishu Conference (#MOM19), which took place at the Ottawa Art Gallery on May 4th, 2019, was curated by documentary filmmaker and second generation Somali-Canadian Asha Siad. The goal of the conference was to gather international speakers, most of them with strong ties to Somalia and Mogadishu, storytellers, historians, members of the library and archival community, as well as students of Somali origin to explore themes regarding the…

Getting Loud for Mental Health Week

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), mental health is ubiquitous. Just like physical health, we all ‘have’ it; some of us may have poorer mental health, due to the presence of some mental illness, but we are all impacted by it and able to feel mental health via our wellbeing. Extending this to mental illness and disorders, if you are to prescribe to a relatively newer way of thinking among psychologists and other…

Letter to Premier Doug Ford Regarding Cuts to LAO

Please find below, a letter to Premier Doug Ford, from MCIS Executive Director Latha Sukumar, written in response to the Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) funding cuts announced as part of the 2019 budget. April 10, 2019 Honourable Premier Doug Ford Government of Ontario doug.ford@pc.ola.org Honourable Premier Doug Ford Re: Proposed cuts to Legal Aid funding for Refugees and Immigrants I am writing to express my concerns about the proposed cuts to provincial legal aid funding…

English 101: The Evolution of English, from Shakespeare to Sitcom

By Alanna Quinn, RFP Coordinator Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer’s Day? By: William Shakespeare Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate. Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer’s lease hath all too short a date. Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimmed; And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance, or nature’s…

Breaking down Chinese on Chinese Language Day

By: Hongyan (Jack) Xu – Marketing Manager & Conference Interpreter In 2010, the United Nations declared “Language Days at the United Nations”, to celebrate official languages used at the UN. April 20th was declared Chinese Language Day, a date taken from the Chinese lunar calendar called “Guyu”, or the “Rain of Grains”. Legend has it, a man named Cangjie on this day invented the first written Chinese characters based on animal tracks. His wisdom moved…

First, Do No Harm: How Language Plays an Essential and Life-Saving Role in Health Care

By Sanah Matadar, Social Media Coordinator I’m going to mention something and I guarantee I correctly guess what comes to your mind. Ready? Okay, here it goes: Health. You’re thinking of Doctors in some way or form, right? Perhaps you’re remembering that six-month check-up you have to schedule, or thinking back to when one of your loved ones was in the hospital, and the doctors were explaining what was happening; their reports might as well…

A Personal Reflection on Women’s History Month

By Latha Sukumar, Executive Director When I was a young girl, my mother used to take us to the village where my uncle and his family lived. It was a village steeped in rituals and practices that I had never witnessed growing up in Mumbai. On one of these visits my mother moved outside of the house, into a little room by the well; it was a pretty shabby room, with just a small light…