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2022 : A Year In Review ๐ŸŽŠโ€Š


Department of Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations, the University of Toronto

As we approach the end of the academic year, NMC-CESI has prepared a retrospective, โ€˜Year in Review,โ€™ on our website, showcasing some of our programming and activities. We look forward to organizing more in-person activities and events on campus in 2023! Our group has continued providing language and cultural exchange workshops, both virtually and in-person, and reaching out to students to join as volunteers. These workshops will gradually include more options for languages other than Arabic, such as our Dari-speaking newcomer workshops (focussed on the newly arrived Afghan newcomer diaspora). We are proud that our student-led organization is growing and becoming even more inclusive in supporting diverse new refugee communities.

Shukran Yusef Al-Molieh (First year, MSc Biochemistry at UofT), Islam Lazakani (First Year Arts & Science at UofT) - Student Workshop Coordinators, Rasha Elendari (NMC-CESI President) & the NMC-CESI Team โœจ

Highlights of the Year


January 2022

Hosted in partnership with ABRAR Trauma and Mental Health Services, UofT students and participants in this online workshop discussed issues relating to mental health and well-being as we moved in to the new year.

ABRAR Trauma and Mental Health Services is a for profit organization dedicated to providing affordable, trauma informed, art based, and culturally sensitive mental support for diverse newcomers and immigrant populations. Services are carried out through professionals with lived experiences, who prioritize the creation of safe and comfortable environments. We resonate with our people, and respect diversity, vulnerability, resilience, new ideas, and passion.


February 2022

February was an exciting month because CESI launched a free registered program that offers activities for newcomer children and their families. These online workshops focus on language development, art, nutrition and cultural exchange.

To register or for more information, please send us a message at

March 2022

NMC-CESI took members of our Family Workshop to Ripley's Aquarium. Thank you to our volunteers and workshop coordinators for organizing this amazing field-trip. We remain grateful to our generous sponsor, the Lo family, and the Department of Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto, for making this event possible.



May 2022

This Spring we hosted a community event at Christie Pits with a live Syrian music. Thank you Cora Pizza for catering our event.

This month NMC-CESI was able to take several groups from our Family Workshops to the Royal Ontario Museum! Thank you to the ROM Community Access Network for generously providing free tickets. #ROM #ROMCAN

June 2022

This summer at High Park, our Workshop Coordinators and student volunteers organized a day of interactive games for children and their families.


July 2022

Session #5 of our Summer Program for Afghan Newcomer Youth was held at the University of Toronto St. George Campus for two workshops and a brief campus tour. Special thank you to New College and the NMC Department at the University of Toronto.

Session #4 of our summer program for Afghan newcomer youth was titled "Hope Through Visual Art," facilitated by visual artist and UofT PhD student Mehdia Hassan, co-facilitated by therapist and UofT alumni (MSW) Sumaya Karimi


August 2022

For our second-last session of the Summer Program for Afghan Newcomer Youth we attended the Royal Ontario Museum, and after exploring the ROM enjoyed a delicious group lunch. Thank you Farah Noori our work-study student for her amazing efforts with this initiative. #romcan #rom

Dari speakers please reach out to volunteer with our Afghan newcomer youth workshop program, or to assist with translation. Please email us if you have any questions or want to volunteer:


September 2022

NMC-CESI took our Family Workshop to the Toronto Zoo. Huge shout out to the Toronto Zoo for providing complimentary admission and access to the zoo-mobile.


October 2022

Check out the amazing pumpkin carving from the CESI community! Our workshops are held on campus at the University of Toronto Student Commons building. Pumpkin carving is a tradition we've maintained since 2016. We appreciate the continued support from our local downtown Metro, they donate pumpkins to our event each year.


Our website doesnโ€™t just have a brand new look. We also added a blog where youโ€™ll find information about community events as well as details on how you can volunteer as a University of Toronto student.



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