New Year’s Message from Dr. Sally Zhao, CEO

On January 2nd our Dr. Sally Zhao, CEO of the Calgary Immigrant Educational Society, delivered her New Year’s address. Here’s what she had to say.

On behalf of everyone at the Calgary Immigrant Educational Society (CIES), I would like to wish you and your family a happy and memorable New Year. As we look to the year ahead, I would like to take a moment to reflect on what we have achieved together in the past year.

2018 was our 30th year of operations, a milestone for our Society. We celebrated with a number of special events throughout the year, which were met with overwhelming support from the community.

To name a few highlights:

One World Mural Unveiling

On January 26, to kick off our 30thAnniversary celebrations, a mural painted by Alison Edwards was unveiled at our Whitehorn location.

Employer Appreciation Brunch

On March 16, to thank the many organizations who partner with our Employment programs, we hosted an Employer Appreciation Brunch and job fair. 

Salim M. Sindhu Memorial Scholarship Launch

On June 25, we launched a scholarship in honour of our founder, Salim M. Sindhu. The first recipient of the scholarship, Raymund Sanchez, was announced at the One World Many Stories Gala on October 30.

Opened Third Location

On August 1, we opened a third location in the Westwinds community, which offered more space for program expansion.

8thAnnual Summer Festival

On August 30, the CIES community gathered together for a day of fun in the sun. Festivities included outdoor games, face painting, henna, ice cream, a photo booth, and a bouncy castle.

30th Anniversary Gala

On October 30, 300 attendees enjoyed live music, multicultural performances, and a delicious food at our keystone event, the One World Many Stories Gala. The event featured a theatrical performance of “The Opposite” by Sleman Aldib. We were honoured to have several politicians and dignitaries in attendance, including the Honourable Lois Mitchell, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta.

One World, Many Stories Commemorative Book Release

At our Gala event on October 30, we released the One World Many Stories commemorative book. The book is a celebration of our history, including photos from throughout the years, details about our programming, and messages of support.

CIES Guides Website Launch

On November 9, we launched the CIES Guides resource, which is designed to help newcomers build a life in Calgary. 95+ articles are available online, including topics such as Community, Education, Health, and more.

CIES Fashion Show

On November 21, our staff and students proudly displayed their cultural outfits at the CIES Fashion Show fundraiser, which was a part of our United Way fundraising campaign throughout the month of November.

RESP Sign-Up Event

On November 22, six financial institutions and Service Canada were onsite at our Whitehorn location, providing RESP sign-up services to our students and the public.

Fill this Basket Campaign and Christmas Donations

On the weekend of December 21, thanks to the generosity of many donors, we were able to give Christmas gift baskets to 113 newcomer children. We also received 40 donated gifts from the Calgary French and International School for our LINC Literacy students, and volunteers from our Refugees & Newcomers Emotional Wellness (ReNew) program put together gifts for 15 more families.

I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to everyone who played a part in this amazing year, including funders, donors, partners, community members, Board, staff, volunteers and clients. It is thanks to this supportive network that we can continue to provide innovative language education, customized employment training and placement, and integration services to newcomers and Canadians based on best practices.

We look forward to your continued partnership in 2019 and beyond.


Dr. Sally Zhao, Chief Executive Officer