The following blog post was written by Tahira Ebrahim, Centre Liaison Officer at the Centre for Excellence in Immigrant and Intercultural Advancement.
This month I had the opportunity to attend a citizenship ceremony, hosted by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship at the Jack Singer Concert Hall. An event that felt very appropriate, as October 10 -16 marked Citizenship Week in Canada.
Having never been to a citizenship ceremony before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I attended as a volunteer designated to facilitate discussion with our about-to-be new citizens on their thoughts about Canada and their experiences. I was moved by the stories and by the outlook that the people I spoke to had about what it was to be Canadian.
So what does being a citizen mean? How do we ensure that it doesn’t get lost in our day to day lives? Judge Woodard, who presided over the ceremony, reminded all of us in the crowd that citizenship is not learned, it’s exercised. Whether it’s volunteering at a school’s parent council or shoveling the driveway for an elderly neighbor, each time we exercise our citizenship, our communities become a better place.
Judge Woodard also stated that citizenship can come in all shapes and forms. If you’re unsure of where to start, consider helping to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. If you’re not quite ready for such a feat, on campus you can take part in Intercultural Week, the Intercultural Centre’s own event on national and global citizenship held in March 2017.
In the meantime, take a moment and share with us: What does citizenship mean to you?