November 2015
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Welcome to the Unisphere newsletter for November 2015.
The Unisphere newsletter, OUR BACKYARD is prepared approximately every two months to let our members know what is going on and to share any important news and events with them.

Hello Members and Friends. For those of you who have been members of Unisphere for some time you will know that in recent years Unisphere was going through something of a transition and more recently, renewal. New members have joined Unisphere's board to carry on the good work and service started many years ago. This new board began the process of working out how to continue the Unisphere mission and make the organization vital and relevant in the Medicine Hat we live in today; read more about these people in the Executive Committe section below.

As part of this renewal process, the Unisphere offices have been cleared out. We now have a great open space to grow into, hold events and share with others as needed. This cleaning out was done to give Unisphere a new canvas to work with as it grows. While doing the clean up we found the many 'treasures' collected by previous members over the years; books, posters, magazines, photographs and news clippings and the proof of commitment and good, hard work done by past members. Going through this material was a fantastic opportunity for all involved to really appreciate what Unisphere's mission and vision have been in the past and see the proof of members living up to it. This knowledge is a great foundation on which to start renewal and is a compas to help us stay true to the spirit of the organization going forward.

As with any other organization, "Money Matters". We participated in the annual Westminster Church garage sale. Many of the items we found as we cleared out the offices were full of character, some quite beautiful and others require open minded tastes and cultural appreciatiation. We kept a handful of choice items to decorate for the offices but made all others available at the garage sale. We raised a modest sum ~$100 which we put into the treasury but as importantly we met many people who we told and reminded about the Unisphere.

So how exactly will we move forward? The short answer is 'Community Partnership'. We noted that Medicine Hat now has a few organizations which are focused on some aspect of cultural awareness or the integration of people from different cultures. We've made the choice to partner with them as much as possible wherever we can make mutual benefit from working together. This strategy should help us increase our membership, raise awareness about Unisphere and help us conserve money as we share costs on big initiatives with other like minded organizations. Look forward to hearing more about these community partnerships and read our new mission and vision statements below. Your comments are welcome.


2015_agm Mission Future

2015 Annual General Meeting.

This year's annual general meeting will be held on September 21, 2015

New Mission and Vision Statements

The board of directors met on Aug 16 to decide the new mission and vision for the organization. The board decided on mission and visio,

The Future

Unisphere is changing and here is what we plan to do. We would like to include you in that and future and here's how you can participate.

Annual General Meeting:

All members please be informed that this year's annual general meeting will be on September 21 at 7pm.
This annual general meeting is an important one. Many details important for the running of the organization will be discussed. A new board of directors was recently formed, with a mission to revive the organization and make Unisphere a relevant organization to the people of Medicine Hat today.The annual general meeting give members an opportunity to participate in the decison making process aand it is your opportunity to participate.
The agenda will include:

More specific details will be provided closer to the event. Please feel free to contact us with any questions and suggestions you may have.
For all members this meeting is an opportunity to reconnect with the organization, meet with others who beleive in the importance of global awareness and want to help Unisphere grow.

Mission and Vision:
Foster a vibrant community
through promoting
global awareness and understanding.

A mission statement talks about HOW we will get where we want to be. It defines the purpose and primary objectives. The Unisphere board of directors held a meeting on August 16, 2015 to discus the future of the Unisphere organization and define this mission statement. During this meeting the board discussed how the organization can revive and carry on the original mission for which it was made. The lively discussion yeilded the mission statement above.

In choosing the mission statement, we made sure to honour the spirit of the original organization. Before this meeting many of the board members had the opportunity to go through the wealth of records, posters, slides, magazines, news articles, books, art and other things which had been collected by the organization over the years. All the items collected showed the rich history of the organization; this collection documented how Unisphere acheived its mission to raise Medicine Hat's awraeness of many important global and local issues and events.

The board also considered how Medicine Hat itself has changed; the city is now more diverse than in the past. This presents new opportunity and challenges us to update our messaging and approach to engage with our changed community and a new generation of young people. We believe the mission statement is realistic and ambitious.

Unisphere will collaborate with organizations
that support
inclusiveness, social justice and environmental wellness.
in the Medicine Hat community

A vision statement outlines where we want to be. It communicates both the purpose and the values of our organization. The board of directors has selected the above vision statement. During the same meeting in which the mission statement was deteremined, the board of directors considered Unisphere's long history together with a new vision to determine the core values of the organization. We determined that the core values of the organization have long been:

The chosen vision statement aims to preserve these values which remain appropriate even today.

Unisphere's programming for 2015/2016 includes the following goals

Executive Committe


Connie Grove

Originally from El Salvador, Connie has called Medicine Hat home for the past 29 years. She works at Medicine Hat College as an Academic Advisor.

Among Connie's greatest accomplishments is being a mother to two wonderful children. Connie also sits on the board of a non-profit organization from Calgary which promotes peace. In the past, Connie has also volunteered with Saamis Immigration Services Association as an interpreter/translator. Connie welcomes the opportunity to promote diversity and multiculturalism.


Deanna Arelis

As a lifelong learner and educator, Deanna Arelis is certainly in the right job as the Executive Director of LEARN Community Adult Learning Council. Through her work, Deanna participates in a number of organizations and initiatives, including Community Food Connections, Medicine Hat Poverty Reduction Roundtable, Community Educators Group, Redcliff Improvement Partnership, and Health Connections Executive.

Deanna loves going for long walks, playing with her grandbaby, reading anything and everything, and enjoying good food and drinks with family and friends.


Edna Labrosse

Edna has lived in Medicine Hat since 1972. She spent 23 years teaching all over western Canada and enjoyed every moment of it. Although she is retired, she has not slowed down one bit! She participates in aquasize every day, Thai Chi three times per week and music lessons once per week.

She loves being physically active and likes to participate in community events whenever she gets the chance. It was following her retirement from teaching that she began volunteering with Unisphere in 2003. She has served on the Unisphere board since 2005


Glenda Staples

Glenda Staples is the Manager of Student Residence with Medicine Hat College, has served as the Human Rights Advisor at the college and has been involved with social justice issues in some form most of her career.

Prior to working at the college Glenda was employed part time at the Unisphere Learner Centre, when it still received funding from CIDA. It was through her initial employment with Unisphere that Glenda first met Martha Gue and through the years has crossed paths with her in many places at many events. It was Martha’s encouragement that has led Glenda back to Unisphere and she is proud to be once more involved, this time as the Chairperson of the Unisphere board.

She is looking forward to taking an active role in the community in regards to social justice issues and reconnecting with like-minded individuals.


Keith Walker

Keith is the recently retied Director of Library Services at Medicine Hat College and has been involved in a number of community associations, including serving as the President of the Sunrise Rotary Club.

He served as the Chair of the Medicine Hat College Human Rights Advisory Committee and as a member of the Human Rights Public Awareness subcommittee, which organized events and educational programs dealing with human rights issues for the college community.


Tafadzwa Bamhare

Tafadzwa is currently Interim Manager of International Education at Medicine Hat College (MHC) and also works in Student Housing at MHC. She moved to Medicine Hat six years ago from Zimbabwe and has grown to love the city and its people. One of her first Canadian memories is of doing a presentation about Zimbabwe and preparing a traditional meal for an audience of truly welcoming Unisphere members. She has come full circle and is excited to serve as a Unisphere board member. Tafadzwa's passion is for community building and bringing diverse people together. She believes the best way to support people is through empowering them to improve themselves and their circumstances in a sustainable way.


Shalla Shaharyar

Shalla Shaharyar oversees the ESL program at the Medicine Hat College. Originally from Pakistan, she has been residing in Medicine Hat for the last ten years. She feels passionate about promoting diversity and fostering equality and has been involved with associations such as Worlds of Women, Alberta Network of Immigrant Women and Multicultural Council. She is now excited to create awareness about Multiculturalism through Unisphere.


Shingayi Bamhare

Shingayi moved to Ottawa, Canada from Zimbabwe in 1999. He graduated with distinction from Carleton University with a Computer Engineering degree and worked as an IT auditor for accounting firm Ernst&Young (EY) in Toronto. He currently serves as the Director of Communications for Unisphere (to be confirmed at the 2015 AGM) where he is responsible for the website, newsletter and other communications inside and outside the organization.

Shingayi joined Unisphere because he believes organizations like Unisphere are important for helping to build strong communities where people understand one another, are informed about the world they live in and share values which help the community to be welcoming, vibrant, healthy and enriched by the the variety of people in it. He's contributing his talents to help Medicine Hat be and stay such a place.


Upcoming Events in Medicine Hat

Unisphere intends to stay up to date with cultuarl evenet which are happening in Medicine Hat. We keep a list of these events on the website and we will update the list as we become aware of new events that our memebers may find interesting and good to go to. The home page of the new website offers a link to the list of events and we also highlight the events we consider to be particularly interesting or important directly on the homepage.

Get involved

Please contact us at Unisphere if you want to have more information about any of the following opportunities.

Take a look at the list below to see if there is something you might be interested in helping out with.
People of ALL ages are encouraged to take part. Looking forward to hearing from you!