img_4008On November 11-13 2016, 38 UofMosaic Fellows from 9 different campuses across Canada, gathered in Toronto for a weekend of professional development training. It was an opportunity for all the students to meet as a cohort, to share their experiences on planning events at their universities, to share ideas, and to build skills and meaningful networks across the country.

The three-day event included workshops on topics such as anti-oppression and conflict resolution, the intersections between social innovation and social justice, and diaspora leadership among others.  Four former UofMosaic Fellows also attended the training to speak about their perspectives on community engagement and development.

On the final day, we had a career panel that comprised of 6 incredible speakers, certainly one of the many highlights of the weekend. We concluded our time together with an Indigenous smudging ceremony and Talking Circle led by Kim Wheatley.

Below are some reflections from the anonymous evaluation completed by Fellows after the weekend of training:

“It was honestly amazing to be surrounded by so many like-minded young people in various fields, linked due to their commitment to social justice. I learned a lot from the other fellows and formed lasting friendships with people from across Canada.” (UofMosaic Fellow)

“Thank you for putting together a weekend that catered to the background, passion and interest of everyone in the group. I wish I had more time to engage more deeply in conversation with some of the Fellows. I left the conference feeling rejuvenated, inspired and grounded. It is sometimes easy to get caught up in the stress of academic life and mundane tasks of event-planning and organization. This conference really helped to bring everything back into perspective, and reminded me of my purpose– not only in the Fellowship, but in terms of my overarching life and career goals”. (UofMosaic Fellow)

“I wish everyone had the opportunity to experience something like this – I think that if people, especially people with a lot of privilege, were more aware of the real challenges and systems of oppression that still exist, there would be a lot more action and change”. (UofMosaic Fellow)

“They [career panellists] were incredibly inspiring and empowering. Their diverse backgrounds and their knowledge as well as experience inspires me to do more in my community and made me realize that I can be in hard-core science, but still care about my community and be passionate for change and to improve the lives of others. Hearing a bit of their stories and journey challenged me to not compartmentalize careers and goals, but to take as many opportunities as possible”. (UofMosaic Fellow)

“This [Indigenous smudging ceremony and Talking Circle) was another one of the highlights of my weekend. I didn’t know what to expect, because I had never done anything like this before, but Kim Wheatley, and the whole experience, was amazing. It was a very emotional experience for me – something about the ceremony, and her words, beliefs, and spirit, touched me and made me feel very open and connected. I know you said this was supposed to be the initial activity, but I’m actually very glad it was our closing activity. The whole weekend was quite emotional, and we discussed a lot of intense, and sometimes controversial, topics. Being able to come together in the circle, and experience that together, was a really good way to connect everyone…”. (UofMosaic Fellow)

We would also like to thank all of our incredible guest speakers and workshop facilitators who joined us over the weekend to share their experiences and perspectives. Thank you for making this weekend possible:

  • Fowzia Duale: Youth Outreach Worker, Midaynta Community Services
  • Dalu Ndlovu: UofMosaic Alumnus (York University)
  • Diane Hill: UofMosaic Alumnus (University of Toronto, Scarborough)
  • Teresa Gomes: UofMosaic Alumnus (University of Toronto, Scarborough)
  • Rebecca Hagos: UofMosaic Alumnus (York University)
  • Hawa Y. Mire: Storyteller, Writer, and Strategist
  • Idil Burale: Associate, MaRS Solutions Lab
  • Safiah Chowdhury: Social Policy Developer
  • Semhar Araia: CEO, Semai Consulting / Managing Director, Diaspora & Multicultural Partnerships, UNICEF USA
  • Anne-Marie Kamanye: Executive Director, Amref Canada
  • John Monahan: Warden, Hart House, University of Toronto
  • Katie Ungard: Project Manager, Pollution Probe
  • Leen Al Zaibak: Board Director, Lifeline Syria / Senior Policy Advisor, Province of Ontario
  • Manu Kabahizi: Co-founder & CTO, Ulula
  • Dr.  Praseedha Janakiram: Physician, Crossroads Refugee Clinic / Faculty, Department of Community and Family Medicine at the University of Toronto
  • Kim Wheatley: Educator / Anishinaabe (Ojibway) band member of Shawanaga First Nation


Click here to see pictures from the weekend. Also, stay tuned for an upcoming highlight video and reflection blog posts written by some of the Fellows!