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Haydar Sultan

Haydar Sultan

Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Degree: Bridging Program - Canadian Workplace Culture - Enhanced Language Training

Year of graduation: 2010

Giving Thanks

I grew up in Bagdad. Following the Iraq invasion in 2003, I volunteered with a community organization in Bagdad helping sick and injured children. It was heartbreaking to witness the suffering of so many youngsters and I made my mind up then that I was taking my family out of the country. People in Iraq were optimistic following the end of the war, hoping that the situation was going to improve, but I saw the picture from a different angle.

So I left my business and several members of my family behind and moved to Turkey with my wife and infant son. For a decade I worked as a Project Manager and Assistant Manager for ALESSAMCO, a prominent contracting company in the Middle East. In 2008, I received a Post Graduate Diploma in E-Management from the University of Jordan where I had graduated with a Bachelor of Computer Science/Information Technology in 2000.

But the continuing instability of the Middle East region gave me further impetus to build a life elsewhere. Through my extensive travels throughout the world and positive feedback from others, I found Canada to be an exceptional country on many levels. Thus we made plans to move here, arriving in late 2009. I now live in Mississauga with my wife and nine-year-old son.

After investigating bridging programs for internationally trained professionals in the GTA, I chose Sheridan’s because of its excellent reputation. While visiting the Davis campus I was surprised by the warmth, assistance and understanding of the staff, particularly Prof. Joanne Graham Gill, whom I was lucky enough to meet that day.

One of the most important lessons I learned from faculty and advisors at Sheridan was to take advantage of opportunities that came my way. Those who are new to this country must forget the negative thoughts, stereotyping and pre-judgements we learned earlier in our lives!

At Sheridan, I was encouraged to step out of my comfort zone (thank you Donna Fundy Golden) and am now Project Manager-Media Relations at Diversity Marketing Services in Toronto. Part of the Multimedia Nova Group, our Diversity Marketing includes hundreds of cultural publications, 50 broadcast and 170 online partners. Multimedia Nova Group has a national reach of more than 4 million households, including two dozen ethno-cultural groups covering over 40 languages. Although these communities seem dissimilar, we don’t look at them in their cultural or linguistic silos but rather as The New Mainstream® of Canada — proud of their heritage, but committed to their new home.

I, for one, am thankful every day for the opportunity to establish roots in my new home. Canada is unique, as it combines the best values of humanity. I realize that nothing is perfect, but for the most part, people here are hard-working, caring, respectful and helpful. From my perspective, this is as close to Utopia as it gets.
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