150+ Canadians Day 51: Naomi Alboim

Image Credit: Canadian Jewish News

Naomi Alboim contributes to peace as an advocate for refugees and co-founder of Lifeline Syria. #Canada150

Naomi Alboim is a fellow, adjunct professor and Chair of the Policy Forum at the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s University, Kingston.  She is an active public policy consultant, advising governments and NGOs across Canada and abroad in Europe, the Caribbean, Ghana, Vietnam, Indonesia and Kenya.  She also chairs the Intergovernmental Committee of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council and is a co-founder of Lifeline Syria.

Lifeline Syria is a charitable organization which seeks to recruit, train and assist sponsor groups as they support Syrian refugees coming to to Canada. The group’s broad goals are to:

  • Enrich Canada as every other refugee movement has in the past
  • Enhance Canada’s refugee resettlement commitment
  • Provide opportunities for ordinary people to respond to a humanitarian crisis
  • Assist Syrian fami lies in the Greater Toronto Area to be reunited with their friends and family
  • Give refugees an opportunity to restart their lives in Canada

In 2016, the membership at Alboim’s synagogue, Darchei Noam, made headlines in the interfaith community when they decided to sponsor a Syrian refugee family. You can hear the story on CBC’s Tapestry Archive here.

“We, as Jews, understand what it’s like to be a refugee… I think people might be surprised that Jews are helping Muslims… It is irrelevant what the religious denomination is of the groups that we’re helping. They are in need and we want to help.” – Naomi Alboim

She says many members of the congregation are the children and grandchildren of refugees. Others, like Rabbi Grimberg, are refugees themselves. So it made sense for the congregation to sponsor a family.

And doing so brings Rabbi Grimberg’s story full circle. Once she was a scared Soviet teenager arriving in a new country. Now she is welcoming the newcomers and helping them to get settled in their new life.

Ms. Alboim has written extensively on Canadian immigration policy, and advises the federal and provincial governments, universities, colleges, regulatory bodies, and NGO’s on a variety of related topics including immigrant labour market integration and refugee issues.

Ms. Alboim has also worked at senior levels in the Canadian federal and Ontario provincial governments for twenty-five years, including eight years as Deputy Minister in three different portfolios. Her areas of responsibility included immigration, human rights, labour market training, workplace standards, culture, sport and recreation, as well as women’s, seniors’, disability and aboriginal issues. She is a recipient of Queen Elizabeth II’s Gold and Diamond Jubilee Medals and is a member of the Order of Ontario.

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