CEMA member Thiruchelvam first Sri Lankan recipient of Ontario’s Newcomer Champion Award

January 26, 2015

Renowned journalist, political analyst and editor in chief of Tamils Information Canada, Thiru S. Thiruchelvam is the firstSri Lankan to be honoured with Ontario’s newly established Newcome ChampionAward at a special ceremony held at the Royal Ontario Museum on July 9. He was among the first 14 outstanding persons to be chosen by a high ranking selection panel as the first time recipients of this award.

The other award winnes are: Delfino Callengari of Guelph, Susan Coffee of Toronto, Bob Dufton of London, Ehsan Ghrear of Kitchener, Anita Hobbs of Sarnia, Paul Hogedoorn of London, Olfat Ibrahim of Toronto, Morteza Jafarpour of Hamilton, Gus Kotsiomitis of London, Vivian S. Rambihar of Toronto, Phyllis Retty of London, Chirag Shah of London and Shalija Verma of Ottawa.

The award honours outstanding persons in Ontario for their contributions toward integrating newcomers and celebrating cultural diversity.

Ontarios Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Mike Cole presented the award to Mr.Thiruchelvam and 13 other recipients for their contributions toward fostering cultural diversity and making their communities more welcoming to new comers.

“These Newcomer Champion Award winners have been outstanding in their efforts to build bridges that promote cultural understanding and help new immigrants settle and succeed in our great province said Minister Colle. “Ontarians value diversity for the social and economic richness it brings and the Ontario government is pleased to recognize those who move values into action in a way that benefits us all.”

Rick Beaver, manager of the Ontario Honours and Awards Secretariat had the following words of praise and admiration for Mr.Thiruchelvam in his citation:

Mr. Thiru S.Thiruchelvam has been named a Newcomer Champion Award recipient for his relentless efforts and dedication to the Tamil community in Canada. Thiru S. Thiruchelvam overcame personal tragedy to become a beacon in Canadas Tamil community. A journalist by profession in Sri Lanka, he and his wife immigrated to Canada in 1989. Amnesty International and the international writers group PEN were instrumental in bringing them to Canada for their own safety. Thiru S. Thiruchelvam created Tamils Information, a monthly magazine that helps Tamil newcomers settle and integrate into Canada. The magazine has flourished for the past 17 years without missing an issue. Thiru also volunteers over a hundred hours a month with many service organizations.

The initial sacrifices and barriers that many of these nominees and recipients faced did not deter them in their willingness to truly make a difference, said selection committee member Doreen Tannuzzi. As a Canadian and as an Ontarian, it was particularly inspiring to discover and learn of the personal stories of those who have done so much for our province, in our cities, even in our rural areas. Their efforts to positively impact the lives of our Newcomers have enriched us all.