October 20th, 2020

Student refugee program SACPA topic


By Mabell, Dave on December 12, 2019.

Lethbridge Herald

He came to Lethbridge as a student refugee. Three years later Abdullah Mouslli is helping newly arrived refugees settle in, while working on a combined degree at the University of Lethbridge.

Along with art history and museum studies professor Anne Dymond, he’ll be featured speaker at today’s session of the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs.

Mouslli became the first refugee student brought to Lethbridge through a program organized by the World University Service of Canada. It’s a non-profit organization focused on international development which aims at improving education, employment and empowerment opportunities for youth, women and refugees in more than 25 overseas nations.

At the U of L, speakers will point out, the program has literally changed the lives of young people. A key to its success, they say, is a unique youth-to-youth sponsorship model which sees Canadian students play an active role in the process.

Here, U of L students have a critical role in the financial support of a newly arrived student as well as providing day-to-day academic and social support. Speakers at the noon-hour session will describe the successes and challenges they’ve encountered, and share their thoughts on what the program might do in the future.

Since arriving in the city, Mouslli has served as an Arabic interpreter for Lethbridge Family Services, has co-founded a social enterprise to empower women who are new to the city, and has become a co-ordinator with the U of L student refugee committee. He’s studying new media and marketing.

Dymond, co-chair of the university’s refugee action committee and faculty adviser to the World University Service group, is also a member of the board of directors for the local United Way. She’s been presented a “Women of Distinction Award” by the YWCA as well as the university’s Senate Volunteer Award.

SACPA sessions are open to all interested, and offer a hot lunch at $14 or a hot beverage for $2. They’re held Thursdays in the Royal Canadian Legion Hall, with doors open at 11:30 a.m.

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