Inclusion dialogue attracts passionate crowd
November 13, 2015
Just days following an international report ranking Canada as the world’s most tolerant country, a public forum at NorQuest College has reinforced its role as a leader in inclusive education.
On November 6, the NorQuest College Community Dialogue on Inclusion brought together about 75 participants, all seeking to create better understanding through conversation.
“Inclusion is a core value at NorQuest College,” Jonathan Robb, NorQuest’s director of strategic integration and stakeholder relations, said in his welcoming address. “We recognize it in our vision and our brand attributes.”
Throughout the full-day event, participants were able to attend a number of talking circles and dialogue groups covering common subjects such as racism and prejudice. Other less talked about subjects such as exclusion within teaching methods shed new light on the scope of the issue, and how exclusion isn’t always malicious, but none-the-less still evident in everyday society.
In all, there were 17 sessions available. Many, like the circle led by NorQuest Resident Elder Delores Cardinal, were soaked in emotion as people with Aboriginal, African, European, and second and third generation Canadian backgrounds, spoke openly about issues that were sometimes very painful to express.
“I think this event showed that we can hold space for new understanding. By doing so, we help equip each other and our community for the important tasks we face like reconciliation and inclusion,” said NorQuest intercultural specialist and event organizer Sarah Apedaile.
Hopes are that the event will become an annual fixture at NorQuest. Almost 70 languages are spoken on the college’s five campuses and more than 60 per cent of the student population was born outside of this country.