Country of Origin:
Citizenship, Immigration, Identity & Heritage, Multiculturalism & Diversity, Adjusting to Life in Canada
Born and raised in Ankara, capital city of Turkey, Fatih holds BSc and MSc degrees in Industrial Engineering from Gazi University (one of the top universities in Turkey). He received his PhD in Engineering at the University of Waterloo in 2014. After working as a Turkish to English translator in media sector, he served as production planning engineer and project manager in private companies. Before immigrating to Canada in January 2007, he taught engineering classes at Qafqaz University (one of the top in Azerbaijan) for four years. He also worked for Magna International as a simulation engineer in Aurora ON. He is currently the Executive Vice President of the GTA chapter of Intercultural Dialogue Institute (IDI), whose mission is to promote cross-cultural awareness, in order to attain peace and diversity with our neighbors, help establish a better society where individuals love, respect and accept each other as they are. He is a board member of SAYGI Academics Association and Anatolian Heritage Federation. Fatih has been given Queen’s Jubilee Medal recognizing his community service through his involvement in IDI GTA. He is a member of RCMP Council for Partnership in Diversity, also a National Influencer with Canadian Forces. After his arrival in Canada, he first settled in Mississauga ON. He now lives in Toronto with his wife and three sons.
It was 1997 when the Turkish military once again intervened overthrowing the democratically elected government turning the political scene in to a mess, which is now called the post-modern military coup. As a second year engineering student, at that time I made a promise to myself that I’d move to a country where universal human values prevailed, democratic processes worked just fine and its people experienced the most basic liberties such as freedom of speech, religion and so on. I looked at many alternative countries that I would be admitted as an immigrant from Scandinavian countries to EU countries, from New Zealand to Canada. And of course I chose Canada among all those countries offering the skilled workers a pathway to a better way of living with its beautiful cities that always topped the most livable places of the planet. Now I had a plan, but lack the qualifications necessary for skilled worker immigrant category. So I worked hard until 2001, when I was totally qualified to apply. It took more than I really expected, but it was worth it. Immigration officers at the Embassy in Ankara called and let me now that my file was processed and I could immigrate to Canada with my wife. Because I and my wife had some previously arranged commitments, we had to wait until January 2007, when a dream came true and we landed in Toronto Pearson International Airport.
There is this expression I often use when I am asked about how my life in Canada is like: “I’ve never felt like a stranger in Canada from the moment I stepped foot at the Pearson Airport. Canada and its people welcome and embrace you so that you feel like you’ve never really left your home country.” Of course there were challenges as well. Both I and my wife are not coming from wealthy families and we had limited resources to settle down. After being hosted by a volunteer family for 10 days, we rented a small apartment in Mississauga. It took us a while to be accepted by the job market, just as almost any other immigrant would have told you. After less than a year, I was accepted as a part-time PhD Student (engineering) at University of Waterloo, started a simple office job and continued to volunteer for Intercultural Dialogue Institute, my wife was taking LINC classes while my son attended the free daycare provided by the government. After two years, my wife was able to speak good enough English and she was offered a teaching job at a private high school in Scarborough. I was done with my coursework, so we decided to move to Toronto.
In 2011 we became proud citizens of our lovely country and took the pride of voting in the elections. We also had a chance to travel parts of the World with our new passport. Right from the beginning I’ve been enthusiastically involved in the activities of Intercultural Dialogue Institute (IDI), where I was given a position about two years ago. In less than six years of my arrival in Canada, now I will be awarded Queen’s Jubilee Medal for my community service through my involvement in IDI, which is a great honour for me, my family and IDI.
Best decision I've ever made in my life has so far been choosing Canada as home. I love the country who gave me a and my family a new life and an opportunity to give back to the society, which goes perfectly in parallel with my belief that “Serving Humanity is Serving God…”.