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Shibao Guo University of Calgary November 5, 2011. Immigration, Integration and Welcoming Communities : The Role of Ethnic Community Organizations. Outline. Contextual information Review of research Case study approach Report of findings Conclusion and implications.

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shibao guo university of calgary november 5 2011
ShibaoGuo

University of Calgary

November 5, 2011

Immigration, Integration and Welcoming Communities: The Role of Ethnic Community Organizations
outline
Outline
  • Contextual information
  • Review of research
  • Case study approach
  • Report of findings
  • Conclusion and implications
contextual information
Contextual Information

Demographic Changes

  • 2006 Census: 19.8% foreign born; 16.2% visible minorities
  • 2001- 2006: Canada accepted 1.1 million new immigrants.
  • Chinese in Canada: 1.3 million
  • Alberta: The Chinese are the largest visible minority (26.5%).
  • Calgary and Edmonton: ranked 4th and 5thnationally in receiving Chinese immigrants.
immigrant settlement integration
Immigrant Settlement & Integration
  • How do new immigrants adapt to a society very different from their own, with a different language, culture and tradition?
  • How do they navigate the complex paths that citizenship entails (including all the skills required)?
  • Where do they go for assistance?
  • What is the role of ethnic community organizations in building welcoming communities where immigrants feel they belong?
social services for immigrants
Social Services for Immigrants
  • Immigrants experience low rates of utilization of social and health services, despite evidence of significant need (Reitz, 1995; Stewart et al. 2008).
  • Barriers:lack of information about services, language and cultural difficulties, cultural patterns of help seeking, lack of cultural sensitivity by service providers, financial barriers, and lack of service availability (Reitz, 1995).
  • ‘Democratic racism’ and ‘universalism’ , assuming that people are all the same and therefore require similar modes of service and intervention(Henry et al., 2006).
ethnic community organizations
Ethnic Community Organizations
      • Early demise of ethnic organizations (Moodley, 1983).
      • Ethnic community organizations provide more effective, responsive, and equitable services to minority communities (Henry et al., 2006; Weinfeld, 2000).
      • The role of ethnic community organizations: acting as social service providers, maintaining ethnic identities, promoting integration (Guo, 2007; Jenkins, 1988).
      • Advocating on behalf of immigrants (Beyene et al., 1996).
  • Relationship with the state:
    • "an extension of the coordinated activities of the state" (Ng, 1996)
    • mutual dependence (Holder, 1998)
minority group rights democratic citizenship
Minority Group Rights & Democratic Citizenship
  • Integration does not happen overnight; it is usually a long, difficult, and often painful process.
  • Sometimes special institutions and programs are required to help immigrants with this process.
  • It’s important to recognize and accommodate the distinctive needs of ethno-cultural groups (Kymlicka, 1995)
  • Immigrants and their descendants can have a double tie to the state, which enables meaningful individual choice and supports self-identity.
  • Refusal to grant recognition and autonomy: provoke more resentment and hostility, and further alienation. (Kymlicka, 1995, 1998)
purpose of the study
Purpose of the Study
  • To investigate the founding & historical development of three ethnic community organizations in Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary.
  • To examine their contributions in creating welcoming communities for immigrants.
research question
Research Question

How did community initiated voluntary organizations respond to changing needs of an ethnic community in a multicultural society?

case study approach
Case Study Approach
  • Case study enables a focus on the particularity and complexity of a single case to understand an activity and its significance (Stake, 1995).
  • Examining a particular case to cast light onto something other than the case.
three research partners
Three Research Partners
  • Vancouver: United Chinese Community Enrichment Services Society (SUCCESS)
  • Edmonton: ASSIST Community Services Centre (ASSIST)
  • Calgary: Calgary Chinese Community Service Associations (CCCSA)
data collection
Data Collection
  • Document analysis: annual reports, newsletters, AGM minutes, web, and program brochures
  • Interviews
    • founding chair and board members
    • former chairs, board members and executive directors
    • current chair, staff and administrators
    • clients
  • Site visits and volunteer activities
major findings
Major Findings
  • Profile of ethnic community organizations
  • From bonding to bridging: All three organizations were initially founded to bridge the gap in settlement services for immigrants and refugees in their respective cities.
  • Responding to changing community needs: Their development reflected the growth of local immigrant population and their responses to the changing needs of their communities.
  • Complexities and paradoxes of ethnic organizations: Ethnic community organizations as both resource and liability
from bonding to bridging
From Bonding to Bridging
  • We found the gap. There was no bridge. There were always these two isolated groups of people and the gap was in between. The gap was really the cultural and language barriers.

- SUCCESS Founding Chair

from bonding to bridging1
From Bonding to Bridging
  • I think primarily out of the need of first the recognition that there’s no service, no accessible service for people of Chinese descent and those who cannot speak English well.

-A founding member of CCCSA

  • So I remember during those years, it was a lot of building bridges to key funders like the Canadian Heritage, to the City of Edmonton. I really tried to build up a profile and tried to position us even though I don’t think we were formally recognized as a formal agency.”

-A former ED of ASSIST

from bonding to bridging2
From Bonding to Bridging

I also want to make sure that the final goal of every program that SUCCESS runs is eventual integration. We have a program, whether the program is welcome or not is secondary. We have to look at the program. OK, why are we offering this program, because this program will help immigrants eventually become a member of the society. This is a guiding principle. We develop the program as such that this is our eventual aim.

- SUCCESS Founding Chair

major changes in success
Major Changes in SUCCESS
  • Growth of the organization
    • size: 12 branch offices
    • membership: 16,000
    • staff: over 200
    • Volunteers: over 1,000
    • budget: over 30 million
  • Expansion of programs and services
    • basic settlement
    • a well-established multicultural and multi-level service agency
  • Clientele: Chinese and Non-Chinese
programs and services in success
Programs and Services in SUCCESS
  • Community airport newcomers network (CANN)
  • Settlement services
  • Language training
  • Small business development and training
  • Employment training
  • Health services and education
  • Family and youth counselling
  • Community education and development
forces behind the changes
Forces Behind the Changes
  • The profile of immigrants changed
  • Their needs differed from their early counterparts
  • Government funding policies encouraged such changes
  • A democratic system, professionalism, and timing within the organization
  • A dedicated team
  • Strong community base and support
challenges
Challenges
  • The organization growth of SUCCESS was exponential.
  • ASSIST and CCCSA only experienced modest growth.
    • The growth didn’t match the demographic changes of local Chinese population
    • Difficulties in securing funding
    • Name change
    • Ill-funded, understaffed, and inadequate premises
challenges1
Challenges
  • I was rejected by every level of government. I was rejected by every single funder in town, because we’re Chinese. So I came to realize at that time it’s going to be very, very difficult for us to get financial support to do our work.

- A founding member of CCCSA

  • In the 1980s and 1990s we had a very difficult time accessing funding, because funders do not fund single ethnic groups… I kept getting these doors slammed because we were a single ethnic group.

- A former ED of ASSIST

members and patrons
Members and Patrons
  • People from different ethnic and cultural background.
  • Among the Chinese: diverse in origin, social-economic status, educational background.
    • From different parts of the world
    • Representing different citizenship
    • Different world religions
    • Different social and political systems
  • They do not share the same language or culture, let alone notions of nationhood, motherhood, or hometown.
subgroup differences
Subgroup Differences

From the time perspectives, it seems the 70s and 80s were Vietnamese, and people from Hong Kong. But the shift in client origin is lately mainly from Mainland China. Their educational background is much higher. But of course if you look at the Hong Kong group, they have money. The early refugees really came with nothing, right? No kids. Not much education. So quite interesting. As time goes on, how things have changed!

-A former Chair of ASSIST

the complexities and paradoxes
The Complexities and Paradoxes
  • Ethnic community organizations are not always seen as benign or altruistic institutions.
  • Primordialist views of culture and ethno-specific organizations.
  • The Chinese is no longer a homogeneous group.
  • The diverse backgrounds and changing needs of Chinese immigrants and consequent shift of theses organizations illustrate the complexities and paradoxes of ethnicity and ethnic community organizations.
  • On the one hand, ethnicity was utilized as an important resource to mobilize ethnic political support to serve an ethnic-specific community.
  • On the other hand, the same ethnicity has become a liability and a device.
discussion and conclusion
Discussion and Conclusion
  • Ethno-cultural organizations can be an effective alternative model in providing responsive and equitable services to minority communities.
  • It provides an alternative model to interpret citizenship, the rights of minorities, and democracy.
  • Built a home and a welcoming community for immigrants
  • Sensitizes mainstream organizations, enhances mutual understanding , increases citizenship participation, promotes integration
  • A stepping stone to mainstream society
  • An entrance for government agencies and mainstream organizations
discussion and conclusion1
Discussion and Conclusion
  • What is ethnicity?
  • How do we assess ethnic affinity?
  • Is ethnicity ascribed or given at birth?
  • Do people of the same ethnicity necessarily share a common culture?
  • What constitutes ethno-specific organization?
  • Is the primordialist view of ethnicity and ethno-specific organizations dominating our thinking?
contact information
Contact Information

ShibaoGuo, PhDAssociate ProfessorFaculty of EducationUniversity of Calgaryguos@ucalgary.ca