VIU Highlights Refugee Stories During International Development Week Feb. 1-5

Jessyca Idi (l to r), co-chair of VIU-WUSC, Nadifo Abdi and Hamdi Aweys, refugees from Somalia study at VIU. Aweys, who arrived as a refugee student supported by WUSC in 2013, will share her story of migration during International Development Week Feb. 2.

February 1, 2016 - 11:30am

Hamdi Aweys knows how it feels to be forced to flee her homeland due to war and destruction, and live in a crowded refugee camp.

 She also knows first-hand what it’s like to move far away from friends and family and build a brand new life in Canada.

 The Vancouver Island University (VIU) student, originally from Somalia, is one of three refugees who will share powerful “Stories of Migration” at a free public event at Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Conference Centre, Shaw Auditorium, on February 2, from 7 to 9 pm.

 An open discussion will follow about how the City can foster a welcoming community for newcomers, as Nanaimo joins cities across Canada in responding to the unfolding Syrian refugee crisis.

 The Stories of Migration event is hosted by VIU’s local committee of the World University Service of Canada in partnership with the City of Nanaimo and the Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society.

 Refugee issues will also be the focus of a special Worldbridger Film screening of A Requiem for Syrian Refugees on February 4, from 7 to 9 pm. Admission will be by donation in support of VIU’s International Refugee Scholarship Fund.

 These are two of several keystone events during VIU’s International Development Week (IDW).

 “Our theme for the week is Global Citizenship,” says Darrell Harvey, Coordinator of International Projects at VIU. “We’ve got a fascinating mix of activities, from panels and podcasts to films and first-person story-telling.

 “We’ll celebrate change makers in the VIU community and beyond – including students, staff and faculty - who are taking action on global development issues at home and around the world.

 “Topics throughout the week will include global health, migration, science and technology, social justice, media and more.” 

 IDW kicks off Monday, February 1 with a Global VIU Showcase in the upper cafeteria at VIU’s Nanaimo campus from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm, featuring global and local development activities at VIU, and how volunteers can get involved.

 VIU will also welcome visiting scholar Dr. Roy Young from the Belize Institute for Local Development, a key partner in VIU’s new Queen Elizabeth II Scholarship Program (QEII). Dr. Young will speak at a QEII Scholar Welcome event on Wednesday, February 3 at 4:30 p.m. Local QEII Scholarship winners will also be introduced.

 All events are free and everyone is welcome. For a full schedule of IDW events, please visit



Janina Stajic, Manager, Vancouver Island University

P: 250.740.6288 E: Twitter: @VIUNews

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