Layla Yahya, Graphic Designer
Layla recently graduated from OCAD University where she majored in Environmental Design with a focus on architecture. She’s passionate about community development, heritage preservation, and human rights, and dedicated her final year in university designing a sustainable, retrofit welcome house for refugees that integrates the residents with their community and reduces the potential for assistant housing marginalization. Besides studying architecture, she spent time promoting independent Arab artists of various spheres; from visual arts, to film, music, and literature. Layla eventually aspires to create art that has social resonance with displaced Arabs, one that would bring individuals in diaspora together over mutual appreciation for similarities rather than further cultural division.
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Juliana Hayden, Development Coordinator
Juliana is a 4th year undergraduate at McGill University where she studies history and political economy. She has gained insight into the socio-economic issues that accompany diverse urban populations through her past work at the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and POSECO, in Brussels. By interning at CAI she hopes to gain a deeper understanding of the socio-political challenges faced by new immigrants in Canada and how to effectively support Canadian Arab integration and civic engagement. Eventually, she hopes to pursue a career in political conflict resolution.
Sahar El-Kotob, Project Coordinator
Sahar is a recent Bachelor of Arts in psychology graduate from Western University. Sahar strives to educate the public about the challenges minorities in Canada, specifically Arab Canadians, face in their day-to-day lives. Her passion for minority right groups stemmed when she developed a strong interest for photography while in university. She attended numerous events on her campus to refine her photographic skills, especially events that focused on minorities. The events encouraged her to attend and organize national and international conferences highlighting not only the challenges that minorities face but also the positive contributions they have made in Canada. She hopes to attend law school in the fall and one day pursue a career as an international human rights lawyer. .
Yara Salama, Communications
Yara is a third-year undergraduate student at the University of Toronto majoring in Political Sciences and minoring in Diaspora and Transnational Studies and History. She is passionate about political engagement, community development, and global affairs. In the past, Yara has worked with organizations such as AIESEC, Textbooks for Change, and Free the Children in developing their social justice outreach. Yara is thoroughly involved in the Model United Nations community, having had the pleasure of travelling to international debate competitions discussing issues such as women’s reproductive rights, internet governance, and the legal use of humanitarian interventions. Yara is eager to exercise her work-ethic and experiences as an Egyptian-Canadian in her role as CAI’s Communications Intern and apply her academic background to her involvement in the Canadian-Arab community.
FEATURED STORY: Why I Wanted to Become a Parliamentary Intern
My name is Lyan Khazanchi. I am a student at York University, one semester away from graduating in Honours Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies, an interdisciplinary program that seeks to create professionals who can critically engage with the various dimensions of communication. I believe that communication is key, and my ability to communicate is based on my work experiences and studies. I am interested in pursuing a future in public relations and corporate communications.
Last summer, I interned as the Communications and Web intern at the Canadian Arab Institute, which was an incredible learning experience. Part of my tasks included managing the institute’s social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) and creating monthly content management sheets with all the scheduled posts. In addition, I helped in organizing the Youth Professional Development Conference held at Ryerson University and the Sultans and Divas concert at Koerner Hall.
I also interned as Community Manager at a news curation company, Newsana. My tasks included blogging, content management, communicating with members, social media, and more.
At York University, I am the President of the Middle Eastern Students Association, an organization that brings together the student body with the greater community, and provides Middle Eastern students with a voice. I am motivated to creating a constructive change, believing that an optimistic attitude and a positive outlook can revolutionize one’s perspective on any situation.
I am a diligent, determined and enthusiastic individual whose constant organization skills have been consistent and without fail, always ready to work with a smile on my face.
I feel lucky to have been chosen for a parliamentary internship this summer. The internship was opened up thanks to a partnership between the Canadian Arab Institute (CAI) and the National Council on Canada-Arab Relations (NCCAR), which brought the internship to Toronto for the first time. I knew I was going to apply for the internship the minute I saw CAI’s posting. First because I thoroughly enjoyed my internship with the CAI last year, and second because I saw it as an opportunity to gain experience outside my typical field.
I hope to expand my knowledge and experience beyond my comfort zone and common work setting. I’m sure this internship will be nothing short of amazing and I’m excited to be working with a member of parliament. I expect to build knowledge about parliamentary procedures, gain valuable work experience and establish useful connections.