About

NMC-CESI is a student-led educational and humanitarian initiative created by students and faculty at the Department of Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto. Since April 2016, this initiative has served as a springboard for Syrian newcomer youth who need help with language acquisition, are interested in continuing their studies, and are looking for support in their settlement process.

NMC-CESI weekly workshops are unique in their “exchange” principle: UofT students learn Arabic from Syrian newcomers, who learn English from UofT students through worksheets on topics related to Canadian society. Our group of volunteers—over 200 members!—also assist with a range of activities and needs across Toronto, helping sponsors and newcomers to communicate and perform necessary tasks for adjustment to life in Canada.

MISSION STATEMENT

NMC-CESI’s educational mission is to create a positive learning space and provide educational experiences for newcomer youth and students to grow as individuals, find assistance with language acquisition & writing skills, and exchange knowledge of the culture & history of their lands.

picnic (1)

We aim to provide newcomer youth with not only educational workshops, but also scholarships and support networks that will help them continue their studies and adjust positively to their new lives in Toronto.

May 2016(1).jpg

By bringing different communities together to exchange their cultures & experiences, our group endeavors to actively counter Islamophobia, homophobia, and all forms of racism—replacing this negativity with true connection, open exchange, and cultural understanding & belonging.

OUR TEAM

NMC-CESI is supported by our team of enthusiastic volunteers that share their time and knowledge weekly during the language exchange supported by our executive team. We thank them all for their efforts every week!

Rasha Elendari
PhD Candidate – NMC Department 
President / Co-Founder 

Robert Martin
PhD candidate – NMC Department
Public relations (formerly) – Co-founder.

Buzz Lanthier-Rogers
B.A., University of Toronto
Treasurer

Farah Haleem
B.Sc (Hons), University of Toronto
Victoria College Representative

Ted Kellin
MA in Immigration & Settlement Studies – Ryerson
CESI Coordinator for English Language Strategy & Development

Diala Lteif
PhD Candidate – Geography and Planning – UofT
Communications