by Barbara Black
Twenty-six people from 12 countries will always associate Concordia University with becoming Canadian.
They were made Canadian citizens at a ceremony held May 10 in the downtown Faculty Club, with Citizenship Judge Barbara Seal, C.M., presiding. Their countries of origin were Algeria, Belgium, England, France, Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Panama, Peru, Portugal and Romania, and several of them were children.
It was a simple but impressive ceremony, bilingual, with French predominating. Mrs. Seal, who has received many awards for her volunteer work, spoke directly to the 26 candidates. She paid tribute to the hardships they may have endured, emphasized their full membership in a democratic country that is held in high esteem around the world, and reminded them of our tradition of helping one another.
The idea of having the citizenship ceremony at Concordia came about through a conversation between Mrs. Seal and Professor Clarence Bayne, Director of the Diploma in Administration and Diploma in Sport Administration (DIA/DSA) programs.
The Diploma in Administration program is aimed particularly at training administrators of cultural and other non-profit enterprises. The Diploma in Sport Administration has an impressive track record of placing graduates in positions across Canada and beyond. The unit also offers three graduate certificates in Administration.
Since the programs are celebrating their 25th year, a citizenship ceremony seemed like an ideal way to highlight their diversity, and their emphasis on contributing to a civil society in many ways, including volunteer work.
Many of the current students in the DIA/DSA program are from around the world. For example, Jimmy Okello will return to Uganda to use what he has learned to help build up the not-for-profit sector there, especially in the rural areas. He and two other students from China and Japan wore their national dress and they and other students greeted the guests to the Faculty Club.
Patricia Sidhom, a student of the program, was the emcee, and Professor Bayne and Vice-Rector Institutional Relations and Secretary-General Marcel Danis welcomed the visitors to the university. Incidental music was provided by DIA graduate Susan
Elliott, flute, and Paul Harrison, guitar, and they also accompanied the singing of O Canada that closed the short ceremony.
Later that day, the DIA/DSA held their annual reception for alumni, representatives of the organizations that provide internships, faculty, students and other supporters, going back over 25 years. The DIA/DSA has its own advisory board, headed by Guy Gilbert, of the law firm Gilbert Simard Tremblay.
Two student greeters at the citizenship ceremony. At left is Kiwa Inatomi, an international student from Japan who is doing the arts administration option in the DIA program. At right is Li Feng, who is doing the community services option in the DIA. Currently, Feng is an intern at Radio-Canada International.
DIA/DSA Director Clarence Bayne cuts the 25th anniversary cake with citizenship court judge Barbara Seal.