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Bwe Doh Soe was born in the border between Thailand and Myanmar/Burma. Bwe is a member of the Karen ethnic group. The Karen have been persecuted by the Burmese military for more than 50 years. Bwe and his mother, brother, and two sisters lived in the jungle to escape military rule. When Bwe was six, his mother decided to take the family to a refugee camp in Thailand. Bwe's mother applied to come to Canada and the family was later accepted. They arrived in Vancouver in 2008, before travelling onward to Saskatchewan. Bwe entered grade ten and took ESL classes to learn English. Bwe later studied to become a disability support worker. Bwe is an active volunteer, serving as a translator for a settlement organization and running a Karen literacy class.

Habib El-Hage was born in Lebanon. He lived through civil war between the ages of eight and twenty-three. Habib studied law but abandoned his studies due to the war. His neighbourhood was divided and dangerous, often having mines on the roads. Habib fled to Cyprus, where he applied to come to Canada. His two brothers living in Montreal supported his application. The process took three months and he arrived in Canada in 1990. After five years, he returned to university to study the psychosocial aspects of immigration and racism, obtaining a doctorate in 2010. Habib has been a social worker and intercultural advisor at Collège Rosemont for over 15 years and was the vice-president of the Intercultural Council of Montreal from 2006 to 2010. In 2005, he won the Quebec provincial Maurice-Pollack award for citizenship.

Ilse Thompson was born in in Berlin in the 1920s. She left Germany as a result of the rescue efforts of a group of Quakers in Germany. This was part of a broader rescue effort, or Kindertransport, of German Jewish children to the United Kingdom (UK) during the Second World War. Ilse joined the military in the UK and became a British citizen. Her brother Hans Albert, likewise brought to the UK, was deemed a higher-risk enemy alien and was interned in Canada during the war. He was released towards the end of the war. Ilse’s mother was taken to Auschwitz in 1943 and was never heard from again. Ilse immigrated to Canada via New York in 1947. She married Ray Thompson in 1950 and the couple had two children.

Kathleen Sigurdson was born in Montreal, Quebec. Her mother, Marguerite, immigrated to Canada in 1955 from Alsace, France via England, where she had spent a year as a nanny. She met Kathleen’s father, John, a Canadian, on board the ship to Canada and they were married in 1957. Kathleen grew up in Montreal and completed two bachelors degrees, in linguistics and education, at the University of Ottawa. She tried teaching before entering federal public service. She was eventually transferred to Foreign Service, and was posted to India, Sri Lanka, The United States (Buffalo), Paris, Abu Dhabi and Moscow, while intermittently working in Canada as well. Her daughter accompanied her on several postings. Kathleen lives in Ottawa and retired in 2015, but still takes on short-term assignments overseas.

Madan Kumar Giri was born in Sipsu, Bhutan. His family belong to the Nepalese-speaking Lhotshampa ethnic group. Beginning in the 1980s, the Bhutanese government enacted measures against the Lhotshampa and eventually ordered many Lhotshampa out of the country. Madan and his family were forced to leave in 1990 and fled to a refugee camp in Nepal, where they remained for almost 16 years. Through the assistance of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR), Madan received a scholarship to finish high school in India, where he later returned to complete both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Madan and his family were able to come to Canada through a UNHCR resettlement pilot project, arriving in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island in 2006. Madan found work as a security guard and an interpreter and he often acts as a spokesperson for the local Bhutanese community in Charlottetown.

Monica Valencia was born in Buga, Colombia. Around 2000, Monica’s family moved to Miami, Florida because her parents felt that Colombia was not safe for their children. After a few years, the family crossed the border at Windsor, Ontario, and claimed refugee status in Canada. Monica and her family settled in Mississauga, Ontario. After high school, Monica studied journalism and English literature at the University of Toronto and went on to complete a master's in immigration and settlement studies. She later worked at the York University Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Settlement as a communications officer. In 2013, Monica married Manuel Arellano, a fellow immigrant from Colombia whom she met during an internship at a Spanish-language newspaper.

Peter Duschinsky was born in Budapest, Hungary into a Jewish family. Peter's mother raised him alone until he immigrated to Canada with his aunt and uncle as a teenager, during the Hungarian Revolution. They arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick on board RMS Empress of Britain in 1957, and Peter then lived with family in Montreal. He studied English the first summer after his arrival and eventually finished high school in Montreal. After two years in engineering at McGill, Peter moved to Vancouver, BC. He first worked, and then enrolled in a History program at UBC, where he met his wife Christiana (Chris). Peter joined the Canadian Foreign Service in 1974. He was posted as an immigration officer in Paris, Chicago, Cairo and Budapest and worked with many refugee movements. He has been an active member of the Canadian Immigration Historical Society.

Richard Tshimanga was born in Kinshasa, The Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire). His father died when he was young, and his mother raised him and his four siblings. Richard studied finance for two years at university, but left due to political persecution. He was involved in a political opposition party and was arrested but later temporarily released. He sought help from a British visitor to flee the DRC. He travelled to Switzerland, where he stayed for seven and a half years, but his asylum request was rejected. His wife and daughter had fled to Zimbabwe while his son had to stay in Kinshasa because he was ill. His wife and daughter were accepted as refugees in Canada in 2009 and came to Halifax. Richard joined them in March 2012.

Umeeda Switlo was born in Uganda but was forced to flee the country at the age of 15 after Idi Amin expelled the Asian population of the country. Umeeda and her older sister left for the United States two weeks after the expulsion order and her parents and other siblings fled Uganda shortly thereafter and settled in Vancouver, BC. Umeeda joined them there once the school year was over. After finishing high school, Umeeda obtained a marine biology degree from the University of Victoria. She worked for both the Ministry of the Environment and Fisheries and Oceans for a time. She later became involved in various entrepreneurial pursuits, including opening a day care, owning and operating a ticketing agency, and managing music artists. She has also worked in the non-profit sector at the Nature Conservancy of Canada, the Canadian Cancer Society, CUSO International, and Naledo, a Belize-based social enterprise.

Van-Nha Tran was born in Saigon, Vietnam. He was the sixth of ten siblings, and was schooled in a seminary through to high school. He attended the University of Saigon, and married in 1980. After graduating from university, he taught high school. He left Vietnam in 1988 to escape the communist regime. He lived in a refugee camp in Thailand for two years, until he was able to immigrate to Canada through sponsorship by his cousin, who had immigrated in 1975. He arrived in Sherbrooke, Quebec in 1990. He worked at Dunkin’ Donuts through a government-sponsored subsidization scheme for new immigrants. After a year, his boss asked him to become a partner in a new location. After five years of separation, he was reunited with his family in January 1993.

Yella and Mooshie Zahirovich arrived in Canada in 1994 with their young daughter Eliza after fleeing the conflict in Bosnia. Yella was born in Šipovo, Bosnia into a Serbian family, and Mooshie was born in Jajce, Bosnia into a Muslim Bosnian family. The couple met while attending the University of Sarajevo. Mooshie graduated with a business degree and Yella with a bachelor's in agricultural science. Yella and Mooshie married in 1990, just before the outbreak of war. They fled to Serbia in April of 1992. They became stateless, and were accepted to come to Canada as refugees. Yella later completed her master's degree at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College and Mooshie completed his MBA at Dalhousie University. The family eventually moved to Montreal where their second daughter, Emily, was born.