My nomination is an indication that our hard work in building Canada is recognized. All we do is to serve the community in return for embracing us when we needed it.  

Mehdi Mahdavi
Ottawa Immigrant Entrepreneurship Awards Nominee
In our city’s history, immigrants have always played an important role. They build our economic prosperity, diversify our culture, contribute to our social vitality.

Jim Watson
Mayor of Ottawa
OLIP helps to unite and share scarce resources for greater impact by working together in the field of student education.

Walter Piovesan
Associate Director of Education, Ottawa Carleton District School Board
The work and expertise that OLIP brings to our community is so important as it helps us to build bridges and break down silos.  I look forward to our continued work together. 

Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa
The Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre is so happy to have joined the OLIP Health and Wellbeing Sector Table. It is clear that OLIP cares about immigrants and refugees and…

Wendy Tang, Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre
I was happy to see integration to Algonquin territory and indigenous culture related programming in 2014 WOW. Please continue to involve local Aboriginal organisations and…

Linda Manning
WOW 2014 participant, Senior Fellow, University of Ottawa
I’m really impressed with the level of energy and commitment around the Health and Wellbeing table and look forward to continuing collaboration between OLIP and OPH.

Marcela Tapia
Ottawa Public Health
The target beneficiary of the work of OLIP is the whole community. In this short period we have planted together important seeds for Ottawa’s development.  

Dick Stewart
OLIP Council
We are very pleased to have done the “Opportunity Cost of Not Investing in Interpretation” report – it is so important to have clarity on these challenges and…

Hindia Mohamoud, Director, OLIP
All the WOW events that I went to were great – WOW does give a sense of a community trying to improve its attraction and retention!

Caroline Andrew
Professor, University of Ottawa

Everyone should find an “Ama”

June 14, 2018

“When you start your university experience as a first-year international student, it may seem like you carry the burden of the world on your shoulders,” says Noura Doumbia a 20 year-old economics student from the Ivory Coast. “There is a crucial moment where you would like to be supported by relatives, but you are far away from home. During my first year at the University of Ottawa in 2015, I experienced homesickness. This was not only my first Canadian winter, but the first Christmas away from my family, and going home was not an affordable option.”

Ama Ouattara and Noura Doumbia

Fortunately Noura had the support of a friend and fellow Ottawa University student named Ama Ouattara. They had been high school friends in the Ivory Coast and discovered by coincidence that they were doing their undergraduate degrees at the same university.  Ama encouraged Noura to get involved in student activities, to be strong, to regain her motivation and to not lose sight of her goals in the face of these new challenges.

In a short time, under Ama’s wing, Noura would learn everything from where to find microwaves on campus to how to visit a family doctor at the campus clinic.

Ama also encouraged Noura to become active in the community, while continuing to focus on her studies. “I participated in as many activities as I could — networking evenings, fundraising for the “Relay for Life”, free salsa classes at City Hall and Ottawa’s famous poutine festival!”, adds Noura. Noura even found a part-time job through one of Ama’s contacts.

“I am really grateful to Noura for nominating me for the 2018 Welcoming Ottawa Ambassador award,” says Ama. “This award comes from the city that welcomed me with open arms and continues to touch me even more. Ottawa helped me to become the young adult that I am today, its people were able to guide me and accept me, what more could I ask for?”

“At the end of my first semester at the University of Ottawa, I learned many lessons, but the most important one is to surround yourself with people who can help you,” concludes Noura.  “Everyone should find an “Ama”.”