Celebrate the Diversity That Brings Us Together!

International Week at the University of Alberta began on January 30. For a sixth consecutive year at Campus Saint-Jean (CSJ), this International Week began with the raising of the international flags.

Etienne Alary - 1 February 2017

"As symbolized by the flags that adorn the entrance of the McMahon Pavilion throughout the year, CSJ fosters a deep desire to promote this week of tolerance, peace, celebration of diversity and acceptance of others," states Rahimatou Founjouom, a 4th years student and advisor on the AUFSJ (student association), who is Co-Master of Ceremonies.

"Today, while welcoming international students to our campus, we encourage them to proudly show their colours because in doing so, they show their sense of belonging both to their country of origin and to this community that we are all building together," adds Julie Croquison, a 2nd year student at the Centre collégial de l'Alberta and Co-Master of Ceremonies.

Dean Pierre-Yves Mocquais recognized that this celebration was taking place in an uncertain and very particular context. "With what happened in Québec City, with what is happening in the United States, with what has happened around the world in the last few weeks and the last few months, it puts us in a situation that is unusual, to say the least," stated Mr. Mocquais. "However, we have a responsibility to celebrate our differences, as that is what brings us together."

"Remember that we are all part of the same family, the great human family. We recognize this diversity, and we are here to ensure that, together, we respect our differences and love each other," he added, stating that he is extremely proud of the rich diversity of CSJ!

Akram Hammami, an international student counsellor with the AUFSJ and a representative of Tunisia then spoke to share his experience as an international student at CSJ. He noted that, for international students, the key is to feel welcomed. "I can tell you that when I came here, to Campus Saint-Jean, I was welcomed with open arms," he stated.

Following the remarks, a person from each country represented at Campus Saint-Jean raised the flag of his or her country. For International Week 2017, apart from Canada, the following countries are represented at CSJ: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, China, Ivory Coast, Spain, France, Gabon, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Republic of the Congo, Republic of Guinea, Senegal, Tunisia and Turkey.

In addition to these countries, the Franco-Albertan, Cri and Métis flags were also raised.