The President of Iranian Canadian Congress (ICC), Dr. Moslem Noori, began the AGM session by declaring the quorum has been reached with more than 50% of members voted in the online election.
He began the presidential report with outlining 3 questions to be answered in his report: When we started? Where we are? And what is next?
Dr. Noori started with explaining the situation of ICC when the last AGM happened and how the management of the ICC was transferred to the new team:
- Organization’s financial status
- Open legal cases
- Limited access to the website
- No access to the membership information
- Internal processes
- Electoral polarization
- Trust and transparency
These challenges were addressed by the board of directors one by one:
- Reducing operational cost
- Identifying places where we could cut cost
- Finding free or low-cost alternatives such as Microsoft
- Negotiate for better pricing on Nationbuilder to host the website and membership
- Closing legal cases
- Pursuing the option to close the case in a timely, yet cost-effective, manner
- Securing organizational insurance for the ICC and its board members
- Defining internal processes on issuing statements, ICC Forum management, etc.
- Improving members relation
Dr. Noori continued with explaining the efforts and achievements of ICC through the last year and outlined the activities in 7 different categories:
The most important task taken by ICC was advocacy for different issues concerning the Iranian Canadian Community. He separated the advocacy efforts to two parts, the ones initiated by ICC and the ones promoted by ICC.
The advocacy efforts initiated by ICC:
At this point, Dr. Noori mentioned that only after a few hours of sending the emails to foreign minister and parliament members, he was contacted by Mr. Majid Jowhari, the Iranian Canadian MP of Richmondhill and was told that this issue is followed to get resolved as soon as possible. He emphasized that the Iranian Canadian community is united on this issue and such incident should not happen again.
- Calling for answers, accountability, transparency and justice for the families of PS752 victims
- Communicating important topics for the Iranian-Canadians with all national parties
- Following up on banking issues of the affected members of the Iranian-Canadian community
- Iranian-Canadians’ challenges for child adoption from Iran
- Letter campaign to repeal PEQ, affecting international students
- Discrimination against Iranian-Canadian men who had mandatory military services at IRGC
- Immigration issues
- Prolonged delay visa, permanent residency, and citizenship cases
- Granting permanent residency to the families of the international student victims of flight PS752
On the issues promoted by ICC, there were advocacy campaigns initiated by other Canadian organizations and ICC decided to support and promote them:
- #EqualChance campaign by Institute for Canadian Citizenship to give equal chance to medical doctors who studied outside Canada
- Campaigns against Islamophobia
- “Farsi dar BC” campaign to include Farsi as a second language at schools
- NCCM petition regarding Quebec Bill 21
The second category of activities was charity and humanitarian works. Dr. Noori outlined the efforts and as follows:
- Offering help to Iranian-Canadian charitable organizations
- Connecting charity groups across Canada
- Asking the Canadian Government to donate vaccines to COVAX
- Contacting Relief International and Red Cross about sending medication to Iran
- Supporting a petition asking Canada to send extra AstraZeneca vaccines to Iran
Art and culture is another category for which ICC hosted 3 exhibitions and produced a few podcast episodes.
- Art projects 1400
- New beginnings: Started on 8th of March to celebrate the Persian New Year and the Iranian Canadian women artists.
- Building up community resilience: To build up community resilience during the Covid pandemic
- Roots and cultural heritage: To bond the Iranian and Indigenous culture in Canada and is the first of its kind.
- ICC podcasts
ICC had many activities on the topic of mental health. Announcing sources on mental health on the mental health week, Interview with Mr. Majid Jowhari on this issue and three workshops with Dr. Gerami and Dr. Dabbagh.
- Mental Health week program
- Mental health workshops
- Children, teens, and cyberspace
- Importance of family therapy
- Self-esteem and self-confidence
On public health, Dr. Noori described the efforts to establish a temporary Vaccine clinic in Toronto and the appreciation lunch for the healthcare workers of Markham Stouffville hospital, made possible by a generous donation from one of the ICC members.
- Vaccine clinic
- Appreciation lunch for the healthcare workers, made possible by an ICC member’s donation
On Members Relation, the president of ICC explained the two surveys done on priorities and the increase of membership fees. He emphasized that the first survey was the first of its kind in this capacity among the Iranian Canadian community. He then thanked Kayhan Razavi for his time and efforts to publish 5 newsletters last year and hoped that ICC will continue publishing the newsletters with the help and support of its volunteers. Meetings for the Persian New year, Discussion on member’s priorities and the public meeting to discuss proposed changes to article 1 of the bylaws were done and published on ICC’s YouTube channel for everyone to watch. Also he explained the reopening of ICC Forum in facebook and encouraged all members to keep the discussions around ICC and its activities.
Dr. Noori then discussed the sessions and workshops presented by Iranian Canadian Congress on different subjects. The Employment sessions were done with Dr. Beheshti and Dr. Abbaszadeh; The session on “Imact of sanctions on Iran and Iranian diaspora” was done with Dr. Hooglund; Two “indigenous rights” sessions were done with Daniel Bagheri Sarvestani and one session on Immigration was delivered by Shahram Hamraz.
Another activity done by ICC was informing the community by using its information channels.
- Participation in the Canada 2021 Census and Election
- Canada Blood Services Stem Cells for Life program
- Volunteers for research projects related to the Iranian-Canadian community
- Internship and employment opportunities at governmental organizations
- Loss of renowned members of our community
- Government resource for seniors
- “My Why” social campaign
- Farsi resources for Covid-19 related topics
- Extension of PGWP because of Covid-19
- New permanent residency program for international students
Dr.Noori then proceeded to explain the ICC efforts to develop a website to serve as the database for Iranian Canadian community. The website address is iccongress.net which is still in its early days, but more content will be added over time. This was the interesting part of the presentation since this was the first time that ICC released the information about this. Everyone can visit this website at the following address: www.iccongress.net
The president of ICC outlined the plans for the next year at the end of his report. He mentioned that the financial situation of the organization would be a priority for the coming year. A focused advocacy plan would be a priority to achieve well defined goals
- Continuing existing initiatives
- Improving financial health of the organization
- A focused advocacy plan
- Expanding the Iranian-Canadians database website
The ICC advocates for the Iranian-Canadian community and promotes greater participation in Canada's civic and political life. We are able to do this work through the financial support of individuals like you. https://www.iccongress.ca/donate