City councillors Michael Thompson and Josh Colle are this year’s recipients of the York University International Award for External Members or Groups.
Two years ago, the City of Toronto initiated a program for councillors to attend and welcome new international students at orientations across the Greater Toronto Area. The councillors also established a reception program at Lester B. Pearson International Airport that provides a warm welcome, material introducing the students to their new city, a free phone call home to their loved ones and transportation.
The councillors also set up an International Student Reception at City Hall where recognition and financial awards are distributed to international students who have contributed to the city.
“We are very pleased to present this award to these two outstanding members of Toronto City Council,” said Lorna Wright, the university’s associate vice-president international. “These awards recognize the councillors for their exemplary efforts to create new initiatives that enrich the experience of young people who leave their families and countries to travel to Ontario and, in particular York University, to study.”
Thompson has been a councillor for the past nine years.
“As one of the world’s most diverse cities, Toronto understands the daunting challenges facing newcomers when they arrive in our city,” said Thompson who is also a member of the Toronto Police Service board. “A warm welcome is a simple way we can help international students to begin their life in Toronto knowing that we care about them and want their experience here to be memorable for all of the right reasons.”
Josh Colle, the son of veteran politician, Mike Colle, was elected to city council two years ago.
“The city is grateful for this recognition and looks forward to working with York University and our other partners to make Toronto the premier choice for international students,” he said.
Patrick Monahan, York University’s vice-president academic and provost, nominated the councillors for the awards.
“Their work to establish valuable new programs that welcome and support not just York University’s international students but all international students who call Toronto home is invaluable,” he said.
By RON FANFAIR