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Cesar Suva: In Remembrance

November 3, 2023


TIES family mourns the tragic loss of our friend and colleague, Dr. Cesar Suva.

TIES is devastated to announce the sudden passing of Dr. Cesar Suva, Vice President, Research & Program Development, but more importantly, the passing of our amazing friend, partner, ally, and kuya.

Cesar joined TIES in 2016, and quickly established himself in all of our hearts. He was a man with big ideas and a big heart, passionately working to help newcomers flourish in Canada, but equally driven by his belief in fun and exploration. He wore his doctorate with pride, but was even more excited to recount his rec hockey team’s successes, or stop and chat about topics completely unrelated to work (such as Teslas, the best European cities for a beer, and the Korean boy band BTS). You were always left smiling (and a little wiser) after a conversation with Cesar.

Cesar had a knack for big ideas with a real plan. In his early years with TIES, he developed the programs that would become closest to his heart, including GROW (Gardens for Refugees and Other Newcomers Welcomed), which established a community garden for newcomers in the heart of Forest Lawn, and ReNEW (Refugees and Newcomers Emotional Wellness), a three-year research study into the emotional wellness of newcomers across Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. With his guidance, ReNEW would grow into the much larger TIES Healthy Minds program, which continues to provide professional counselling, workshops, and safe space for hundreds of newcomers and low-income Canadian citizens. Through these programs and dozens of others, Cesar worked tirelessly to identify the needs of Calgary’s newcomers, ultimately realizing his vision to embed academic research in Calgary’s newcomer-serving community with the creation of the Research & Program Development (RPD) department in 2019. The culmination of Cesar’s vision and foresight, RPD significantly advanced the collection of evidence-based knowledge and data across Calgary’s newcomer-serving sector, a legacy which will benefit tens of thousands of newcomers to Canada in the coming decades.

With Cesar’s passing, we are suddenly bereft of our friend, our kuya, and our spark, and it is a loss we will carry deeply in the years to come. Cesar’s legacy lives on in the thousands of lives he touched across our community, some unknowingly and some with gratitude, some big and some small, both near and far. We will think of him as we carry his work forward and honour his work with our own. We hope you will join us in honouring him by exploring a little further, playing a little longer, and loving a little harder.

“A life is not important except in the impact it has on others.” – Jackie Robinson

Please see Cesar’s obituary on McInnis and Holloway’s website HERE. We also invite you to share your memories of him in the comments below.

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