By: Cheryl Lu, Social Media Coordinator
On Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021, MCIS held its virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM) for fiscal year 2020/21. This is the second year in which the AGM took place virtually.
Despite not being able to meet in-person, the evening was filled with celebration, prizes, awards, joy, and excitement. Latha Sukumar, MCIS’ Executive Director, Shash Anand, the Chair of MCIS’ Board of Directors, kicked off the evening and the business portion of the AGM with a joint review of the last year. They spoke about how, in an unprecedented year, when the whole world was caught in the middle of the pandemic and exploring new realities, our organization not only weathered the storm, but came out doing “spectacularly well” on many different fronts.
Serving a large population of newcomers, immigrants and refugees, and representing the voice of some of the most vulnerable, it was important for MCIS to be able to immediately adapt to the change and shift the provision services to remote use employing various platforms. Not only did MCIS successfully move its call centre, and interpretation and translation management systems to the cloud, MCIS also managed to provide free services to address the urgent needs of Limited-English Speakers, formed a communications task force, and recruited more resources. At the end of the year, MCIS succeeded in both growing and developing, all thanks to visionary thinking.
Following the business portion of the AGM, MCIS welcomed Nuzhat Abbas from trace press as the keynote speaker (view the keynote speech HERE). Passionate about literature, Abbas has a poetic point of view towards the power of language and translation, and has devoted many years of her work towards her love of the arts, education and social justice. In the presentation, she discussed the impact of translators’ works in a locked down world, the beauty and rhythm of Indigenous languages, the significance of enabling information, voices and opinions to travel and exchange across borders, and the importance of publishing the voices of women and ethnic minorities. Abbas called for attention to be paid to the rights and safety of translators and interpreters who work in areas where peace is a luxury, and where language professionals are sometimes viewed as traitors to their own countries and often risk their lives to do their jobs, as they speak their enemies’ languages.
“Language, as all of you know, especially those of you who translate, also carries ideas, relationships to land, histories, people and memories.”
– Nuzhat Abbas, MCIS’ AGM Keynote Speaker
After keynote speech was awards time. As in past years, MCIS presented awards in six categories.
The Training Facilitator of the Year Award went to Hind Saq. (Nominee: Elizabeth Martinez)
Shameel Jasvir was named Translator of the Year. (Nominees: Kathrin König and Enrique Cerini)
And, the Interpreter of the Year award was given to Khalil Popal. (Nominees: Mariam Serhan and Harsha Baxi)
The Community Partner of the Year Award went to MAXIMUS Canada, and Toronto District School Board received Professional Partner of the Year Award. Finally, London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph’s Health Care London, together, were awarded Strategic Partner of the Year.
Several MCIS staff members were also recognized on their milestone anniversaries. Aster Estifanos, Gregory Bourne and Selam Aregai all received their five-year anniversary plaques.
In the last part of the AGM, each department director provided a brief review of their year, their teams, and their departmental achievements over the past year. Due to COVID-19, many new staff hired have spent the entire time working from home, and these short-but-sweet presentations were dedicated to giving everyone a chance to get to know each other, as well as to foster a sense of belonging in our big MCIS community.
The evening was capped off with a prize draw. We are extremely grateful for what we have achieved in the past year and all the opportunities that we were fortunate to have. We would like to extend our congratulations to all the awards and prizes winners, our gratitude to everyone who attended the meeting, and our thanks to those who worked hard to put this amazing event together.
For those who weren’t able to attend the meeting, the full stream of our AGM will be posted to our YouTube channel soon.