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Weekly Speaker Program

December 16, 2016: Dr Michael Duggan, Professor, St Mary's University.   St Mary's University webpage

Joe Klassen introduced our guest speaker, Dr Michael Duggan. While Dr. Duggan's nominal role is a professor at St Mary's University, he spreads his expertise and passion far more widely, leading research through committees and organizations studying Islam, Christianity and Judaism in a search for peace across all religions.

Dr. Duggan told us of his conviction that there has never been a time in the world when so many people are engaged in doing so much good. Rotary is a prime example.

His experiences awoke in him a "survivor's guilt" and an awareness of not to take any breath for granted. We must understand the trauma of war refugees in a new way that is different from our historical understanding of economic refugees. We have opportunities to become better citizens of the world and we grow through our experiences with them.

Refugee families are enormously courageous and supportive of each other. The 12-month support that our government provides these newcomers to Canada is very beneficial to them, but the support must continue. There is no defined end to the need for sustaining them and our relationship with them. Private sponsorship can be much more successful than government sponsorship, because it continues much longer and fosters better interaction and integration into our society.

Key factors to their success are an ability in English and employment. We are encouraged to seek the services of skilled refugees for applicable projects, providing them with an understanding of Canadian businesses and the dignity of being employed.

Cell phones connect people to the world, for better or worse, and are essential in helping refugees connect to each other and to the supports available.

The refugee crisis is ongoing and we must ensure we maintain/increase our cultural expansiveness.

David Williams thanked Dr. Duggan for his extremely thoughtful perspective. A donation to Operation Eyesight has been made in his name.

  • Tony Knight, Michael Duggan, Joe Klassen, and David Williams
    Tony Knight, Michael Duggan, Joe Klassen, and David Williams

reported by Les Morgan

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