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Both Iceland and Canada are welcoming record numbers of newcomers into their societies as domestic fertility rates continue to decline, demand for skilled workers grows ever larger, and global conflicts and climate change induce more people to seek safety and opportunity in foreign countries.
As noted recently by Iceland's Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir, the ratio of foreign-born Icelanders to those born in the country is larger than the former's share of the Icelandic workforce. Her government has therefore recently proposed legislation that will make it easier for people to work in Iceland, including foreign students who have completed their studies locally. Such measures are intended to create a more diverse workforce, better ensure the effective integration of newcomers, and keep Iceland competitive on a global scale. As a nation of immigrants and one recognized for its official multiculturalism policy, Canada has learned that achieving these aims takes political will, resources, and culture change both within organizations and society at large.
In the workplace, leaders and employees will have a responsibility to challenge old assumptions, rethink traditional ways of working, and identify and tackle racism, discrimination, and exclusion when they occur. In this light this webinar will look at issues, experiences, and successful approaches to building diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace both in Canada and Iceland, particularly in a northern context. The event will feature insights from Canadian and Icelandic speakers with expertise and lived experience in this field.
• Devlin Fernandes is the Executive Director of the Gwitchin Council, based in Yellowknife. She has been involved in a number of activities with Iceland over the years (including related to the Sustainable Development Working Group, and attending and participating in panels at the Arctic Circle Assembly over many years).
• Achola Otieno is a policy analyst with over a decade of experience working in Human Rights, both within Iceland and internationally, working with organizations such as the Icelandic local government and the UNHCR, as well as undertaking collaborative advocacy for underrepresented groups.
• Elínborg Kolbeinsdóttir is an advisor for the coordinated reception of refugees at the International Department of the City of Reykjavík. She is one of the founders of Her Voice, a non-profit organization based in Reykjavík, which strives to raise awareness of the experiences of women of foreign origin in Iceland.
• Ambe Chenemu is a community organizer and advocate. Ambe is the Founder and President of the Black Advocacy Coalition, Founding President of the Global Shapers Community in Yellowknife, and one of the Founding Members of Black CAN. Ambe also works as a Policy and Government Relations Advisor with the Tłı̨chǫ Government. Originally from Cameroon, Ambe has lived in the Northwest Territories for 10 years and is passionate about building strong and empowered northern communities. Ambe is also an aspiring candidate for the 2023 Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly elections.