Ven Virah

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Asian Heritage, Racism/Discrimination, Francophonie, Human Rights & Social Justice, Identity & Heritage, Multiculturalism & Diversity, Adjusting to Life in Canada, Refugee Experiences


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The Canadian National Anthem (this is my audio story at the moment).

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Ven Virah is a strategy consultant, an award winning motivational speaker and a certified World Class speaking coach. Following his business degree and post-graduate studies, Ven seized the opportunity to give back to his university by serving on the Board of Directors of the Concordia University Alumni Association. 6 years later, Ven transitioned to a new opportunity where he now serves as the National Young Adults Coordinator for his spiritual organization, SSIO Canada.

Ven loves to speak and light the room with infectious energy, contagious humor and attractive optimism! He leads keynotes, workshops, and advises clients from around the world on how to speak to influence, so they can influence to change lives. His proudest achievement was creating a Youth Leadership Program where 25 teenagers in his community joined and became confident speakers in 8 weeks. Their personal transformation was incredible!

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I was once asked, where are you from? Where am I from? That’s a good question! Am I Quebecois? Am I African? Am I Indian? I often found myself questioning and trying to label my identity while living in Canada. I was born and raised as a Quebecois, of African descent, with Indian origins. While I was fortunate to share, and belong to various cultures and ethnicities, I was at times confused. In the summer of 2010, I set sail on an adventure of a lifetime and drove across Canada from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. I made friends of all walks of life from my adventures in Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, and Halifax. I witnessed some of Canada’s most beautiful natural landmarks in Banff, Niagara Falls, and Peggy’s Cove. I also attended many Canadian festivals such as Canada Day at Canada Place in Vancouver and the Calgary Stampede in Calgary. That summer, I discovered our Canadian nation in the richness of its beautiful sceneries and in the richness of its diverse population. This experience helped me engage collaboratively with people from different ethnic backgrounds as my inquisitive nature made me further understand their values, respect their beliefs, and celebrate their cultural traditions. That summer will be forever engraved as one of the greatest moments of my youthful years. I now look around me and I am proud to belong to a country that is vast with 10 provinces and 3 territories. That held special events such as Terry Fox’s cross-Canadian run for cancer research, the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, and annual Canadian festivals such as the Calgary Stampede. I enjoy poutine and maple syrup treats, and being in the company of friends from around the world who now all call Canada their home away from home. And when they ask me, where are you from? My mind no longer races for an answer. I no longer yearn for a connection between my past and my present, for I have found a connection between my mind and my heart. The answer is clear. I am Quebecois, of African descent, with Indian origins. And all of that, makes me Canadian.