Learn, talk, transform: Dal and ISANS connect newcomers to opportunities

- July 9, 2024

Ayomide Charles of Nigeria speaks at the Education Empowers event in late June. (Danny Abriel photos)
Ayomide Charles of Nigeria speaks at the Education Empowers event in late June. (Danny Abriel photos)

Dalhousie and the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) have a long-standing partnership focused on community support and newcomer integration. 

This bond was celebrated and strengthened at the “Education Empowers” fundraiser held in late June in the atrium of Dal’s Mona Campbell Building. 

The gathering highlighted the importance of community support and the transformative power of education and empowerment. It also created networking opportunities for newcomers and showcased the rich cultures of the refugee community while raising support for ISANS projects.

Dr. Oyeleye Oyesode shared his testimonial, highlighting how ISANS supported his journey to professional fulfillment when he arrived in Canada from the United States. 

“There is an ISANS program for everyone. For all walks of life,” he remarked, showcasing the breadth of ISANS’ impact.

Dr. Oyeleye Oyesode.

Dr. Ovesode benefitted from an ISANS communication strategy course and the ISANS International Medical Graduates Bridging Program, which included clinical skills review sessions for the Medical Council of Canada exams. (Learn more about his story here).

Ayomide Charles, who came to Canada from Nigeria, shared her inspiring journey of empowerment through the ISANS Settlement Online Pre-Arrival (SOPA) program.

“If my story can encourage just one person, it’s worth it to share,” she said, emphasizing the transformative impact of ISANS on her career and integration into the community.

Take a look back at a few other highlights from the gathering below:

Showing support

The event began with a warm and inviting “pay what you can” reception, where attendees mingled, shared stories, and showed their support for ISANS. This inclusive atmosphere set the tone for an afternoon of connection and learning.

Above, attendees at the pay-what-you-can reception, showing support for ISANS projects.

Paula Knight, CEO of ISANS, expressed her enthusiasm for the collaboration with Dalhousie. She highlighted the ISANS mission and the importance of community support in empowering newcomers.

Jeff Myers, director of community partnerships and projects with the Faculty of Open Learning and Career Development (OLCD), highlighted Dalhousie's commitment to community engagement in his opening remarks.

The event was emceed by Mary-Eleanor Power, director of marketing and communications for OLCD.


A key aspect of “Education Empowers” was providing a space for newcomers to network with potential employers. This opportunity allowed attendees to build valuable connections, paving the way for future career prospects and community involvement.


Global cuisine

The event also showcased the rich cultural heritage of the refugee community through Ukrainian and Syrian cuisine. Attendees enjoyed a variety of dishes that highlighted the diversity and vibrancy of the newcomer community.

Guests enjoying Ukrainian and Syrian cuisine, celebrating cultural heritage.


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