Algoma University President Rick Myers called a Diversity Symposium, held at the university February 16, an important step in bringing people together from the many cultures that live in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.
“The word university has as its root the word universal, meaning ‘for everyone,’ but we can’t simply open our doors to students from all over the world without working towards providing an environment, both on-campus and off-, that is accepting and understanding of diversity,” Myers said in a press release on the university’s website.
A keynote address titled “The Myths and Truths of Immigration and How Diversity Benefits Us All” by Dr. Victoria Esses, professor of psychology and director of the Centre for Research on Migration and Ethnic Relations at the University of Western Ontario (UWO), identified common misperceptions about immigration and immigrants in Canada. According to the press release, she asked attendees to see past the negative media coverage of newcomers to Canada, and highlighted some of the steps Sault Ste. Marie has made to develop a more inclusive community.
According to the UWO website, Esses has “conducted research on determinants of public attitudes toward immigration and cultural diversity for close to 20 years.”
The symposium agenda also included sessions on cultural diversity, accessibility for people with disabilities, the challenges of integrating newcomers, and inclusiveness, among others.