Brampton Multicultural Youth Council is hosting its very first conference called, One World: Exploring Cultures, Discovering Diversity. It aims to address the various cultural issues of our time through interactive activities and engaging speakers.
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By living in a diverse society, we are surrounded by people from different cultural backgrounds, but how much do we really know about their cultures? This question sparked one of the main messages of the conference: the need for cultural appreciation. We believe that by learning and interacting with various cultures, we can cultivate appreciation, which goes beyond the acceptance and tolerance we commonly see promoted.
BMYC feels that most people have a certain perception of cultures around the world. This one sided perspective alters their opinion of that culture and its people. Having a single story of a place creates stereotypes and discrimination. We aspire to showcase that stereotypes are not representative of a culture, because they only show one side of the story. It is important to understand that diversity exists even within small regions such as Pakistan, the culture in the northern area is very different from the culture cultivated in cities. We aspire to highlight these issues of cultural diversity throughout the conference.
Additionally, youth are becoming increasingly ignorant of their own cultures. By learning to appreciate your own culture, one finds it easier to respect other people’s heritage. It is common to experience cultural loss, but there is benefit in being aware of your own background. Through the understanding of our own cultures, we can find common ground with our parents and the values they have instilled in us. BMYC wants to encourage youth to go out and discover the importance of culture in their own lives and the lives of others. We believe that this will lead them to be more comfortable with where they come from and reduce the cultural gap between their grandparents and parents.
These messages are the core of our conference, and we will bring them across through engaging and thought provoking activities. In the beginning of the day, students will be put in six different families and get a chance to learn about one specific culture. Then, they will broaden their understanding by learning from each other. The second half of the conference will have a variety of inspiring speakers and presenters, who will highlight cultural issues through their personal experiences and philosophies. It is set to be an interactive and fun day, where youth will get the chance to meet new people, try new food, explore cultures and discover diversity.
When: Saturday, March 22nd, 2014 from 10 am - 5 pm
Where: Bramalea Secondary School at 510 Balmoral Dr, Brampton, ON L6T
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Dr. Brad Bass received his PhD in Geography from Penn State University, in 1989. He is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for Green Roof Research, and was one of the scientists that contributed to the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize that was awarded to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Dr. Bass is also an Adjunct Professor at University of Toronto in the School of the Environment and Brad has been very successful at networking and his own network includes his former students as well as collaborators from around the world.
Taaha Muhammad is a first-year Bachelor of Health Sciences student at McMaster University who loves to write, talk, and motivate people to do their best. He is currently the Publicity and Multimedia Coordinator for McMaster’s Interprofessional Student Collaborative and Registration Coordinator for MIST Toronto – an annual interscholastic tournament for high school students in the GTA. He loves working with people and practicing effective communication. As a former DECA President, he also has a knack for networking and entrepreneurship. Taaha also enjoys doing photography and honing his French skills with any French-speaking people he encounters.
Amy Swinimer is a recent graduate of Humber College's Graphic Design for Print and Web program. She is currently an intern for International Fashion Festival Toronto as their graphic designer. She has had her writing published in Brampton Library's Inspirations in 2012, and has participated in their Teen Author's Reading for the past two years. In her spare time she enjoys reading, writing, watching movies/TV and listening to music.
Alyestal Hamilton is an emerging spoken word artist, speaker, and writer. Her poetry has been seen on the pages of North American literary journals, the stages of London, England, and the walls of Uganda. Through speaking engagements and performance poetry Alyestal shares her heart, ideas, and perspective to inspire others to share their stories and find power in their experiences.
United Way of Peel Region and Volunteer MBC are sponsoring BMYC's event "One World" through the Youth in Action grant. The grant provides funding to youth for them to pursue their own unique ideas. We are honored to be participating in the program again and would like to thank this program for allowing us to bring our ideas to life. Volunteer MBC is the sponsoring organization for the grant. They have been our mentor throughout the planning process and we are really happy to be working with them. We would like to sincerely thank the United Way of Peel Region and Volunteer MBC for supporting us in this initiative.