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Stronger Together: TIES 35th Anniversary Gala Highlights Community Spirit

November 21, 2023


The Immigrant Educational Society (TIES) marked its 35th year of dedicated service to immigrants and low-income Canadians with a memorable anniversary gala, filled with inspiring remarks, multicultural performances, and special moments.

About 350 guests, including government leaders, funders, sponsors, partners, clients, volunteers, and staff came together to celebrate the TIES 35th Anniversary Gala. With the theme “Stronger Together”, this remarkable event took place on October 26 at the Best Western Premier Calgary Plaza Hotel and Conference Centre.

The evening was a testament to the organization’s profound journey over three and a half decades, from a small volunteer-led initiative in 1988 to a thriving organization with over 170 staff members and about 200 dedicated volunteers. Thanks to the visionary leadership of the late Mr. Salim M. Sindhu, who founded TIES and laid the strong foundation for our growth and impact in building a more inclusive community.

Gala attendees enjoyed unique opportunities including inspiring speeches from TIES President and CEO Dr. Sally Zhao; Hon. George Chahal, MP;  Hon. Danielle Smith, Premier of Alberta; Her Worship Jyoti Gondek, Mayor of Calgary; and Hon. Muhammad Yaseen, Minister of Immigration and Multiculturalism of Alberta. The event also featured a silent auction, henna, calligraphy, captivating live art, and multicultural entertainment representing various countries.

 “It has been a real joy and honour to celebrate this significant milestone with our community, marking 35 years of empowering newcomers in their Canadian journey,” Dr. Sally Zhao said. She expressed her heartfelt gratitude to the community, recognizing the invaluable contributions of funders, community partners, and dedicated staff, volunteers, board of directors, and clients who have been the driving force behind TIES’ success.

Premier Danielle Smith commended TIES for its 35 years of remarkable service, echoing the gala’s theme of “Stronger Together."  She remarked: "Community isn’t something that simply exists, it’s something that an organization like TIES helps to create every day. The work you do is invaluable to the successful transition of new residents into Canadian communities and Canadian life. Together you make a difference every day by making Calgary a welcoming and inclusive place.”

Mayor Jyoti Gondek expressed her gratitude for TIES’ contributions in making Calgary the third most diverse city in Canada. “When you see someone who looks like you, when you hear a language that brings you back to that familiar place, when you feel welcome into the new society, it eases the settlement process. And that is the absolute power of TIES and the people who work and volunteer for the organization.”

Manjit K. Minhas, the renowned entrepreneur and star dragon from CBC’s Dragons’ Den, delivered the keynote presentation, sharing her leadership experiences and motivating attendees to take courage in pursuing their dreams.

During the gala, a heartfelt tribute was paid to the memory of Dr. Cesar Suva, a beloved member of the TIES community who joined in 2016. Dr. Suva was known for his enthusiasm, innovative ideas, and compassionate heart. He worked tirelessly to identify the needs of newcomers, ultimately realizing his vision to embed academic research in newcomer-serving community with the establishment of the Research & Program Development (RPD) department in 2019. His family members and friends were present, including his wife, Elaine Suva, and parents to honour his memory and celebrate the enduring impact of his work.

The gala included a diverse lineup of special multicultural performers, featuring Sofia & Mauricio, Michael Boyle & Anastassiia Alexander, Mackenzie Brown, Sparq Productions, Hana Al Qadasi & Nino de la Cabilia, Vykrutas School of Ukrainian Dance, Sabina & Mesfin, and Krakusy Polish Folk Dance Association.

A cultural fashion show capped the evening, featuring TIES students, volunteers and staff in stunning displays of diverse attire and traditions, highlighting the beauty of global diversity and heritage through fashion. The runway experience not only celebrates traditions but also fosters cross-cultural appreciation and understanding.

The emcee for the night, Bindu Suri, an accomplished Global News Reporter and Anchor, brought her wealth of experience and commitment to community events that promote diversity and inclusion. With 16 years at Global Calgary,  Bindu currently co-anchors Global News at Noon on weekdays.

TIES is deeply thankful for everyone's heartwarming presence at the gala and looks forward to many more years of bringing people together!



Royal Bank of Canada

Corus Entertainment (Global Calgary, QR Calgary, and Country105)

Manjit Minhas


Minuteman Press



Avantech Inc.

Clean Club Calgary  


ConnectFirst Credit Union

PBA Group of Companies


Bank of Montreal

Prince Flooring

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