Middle East Expert Speaking in Calgary • Building Bridges: Responding to the Refugee Crisis Workshops • Want to Start an ESL Program? • A Bread and Butter Lesson 
• This 'n' That: Community Listings
Cooperative ESL Ministries • March 2016 •

Middle East Expert Speaking in Calgary

Dear <<First Name>>

peter tweleOn April 9, 2016, Middle East expert Peter Twele (MA in Linguistics) will speak at our full-day spring training event Building Bridges: Responding to the Refugee Crisis.

Peter carried out research through a number of institutions while residing in the Middle East for 11 years, and for the past 20 years has consulted for various Middle East translation and media projects.

When Peter first moved to the Middle East back in 1984, he found that wherever his travels took him (Jordan, Yemen, Syria, Oman, Egypt, etc.) the majority of people he met were friendly and hospitable. Unfortunately, the current sad state of affairs in that region has caused unimaginable suffering for millions of innocent people who have lost everything—often this includes family members. 

Peter has always tried to build bridges of understanding between the West and the Middle East, and that desire to do so grew even stronger as Canada prepared for the arrival of Syrian refugees. Peter enjoys sharing based on his 30 years of experience working side-by-side with Middle Easterners.

Join us for a revealing look at why we have a refugee crisis and what our response should be. Peter will present on recent historical and political factors that have led to the current refugee crisis. He will also include aspects of the West’s involvement along with what contributes to both negative and positive attitudes when it comes to helping those in need.

Peter will also present a workshop on Challenges Arabic Speakers Encounter Learning English. Peter has learned Arabic as a second language and has spent many years interacting with Arabic speakers, both in Arabic and in English. He has learned firsthand about some of the difficulties Arabic speakers have when learning English. He will give a brief overview of the Arabic language, and then will deal with a few specific differences between English & Arabic, focusing on the sound systems, grammatical issues, and language use.

Peter works as a Translation Consultant for SIL International and a Field Representative for Sabeel Media. He has taught in the Linguistics programs at Trinity Western University and the University of Texas in Arlington. Peter has published two books: Rubbing Shoulders in Yemen (2012) and Iraq on Their Doorstep (2014). He also has experience helping Iraqi refugees settle in the Vancouver area and is actively preparing Canadians for the arrival of Syrian refugees by speaking to various agencies and organizations.

We are blessed to have Peter speak at our event. Don't miss this great opportunity to learn about Syrian/Middle Eastern culture.

Registration Fee: $65 per person. $50 early bird until April 5, 2016. Register Now!
You can find Peter on Facebook:
And Twitter: @petertwele
Register Now
Help promoting this event is greatly appreciated. If you'd like to promote it in your church or community, you can download the poster below. Thank you for your support!
Download poster

Building Bridges: Responding to the Refugee Crisis—Breakout Sessions

Join us on Saturday, April 9, 2016 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Encompass Partnerships 3851 – 54 Ave NE, Calgary, AB  for our full day spring training event.
Registration Fee: $65 per person. $50 early bird until April 5, 2016.

Keynote and breakout sessions are all geared toward responding to the refugee crisis.

Keynote Speaker: Peter Twele  
Other speakers include: Dale Fisher, Rick and Patricia Love, and Rev. Mouner AlAjii.


Challenges Arabic Speakers Encounter While Learning English

Speaker: Peter Twele
Peter has learned Arabic as a second language and has spent many years interacting with Arabic speakers, both in Arabic and in English.  He has learned firsthand about some of the difficulties Arabic speakers have when learning English.  He will give a brief overview of the Arabic language, and then will deal with a few specific differences between English & Arabic, focusing on the sound systems, grammatical issues, and language use.

Getting Started– Strategies and Resources for Beginners
Speaker:  Dale Fisher
Newly arriving refugees will need immediate help with English as they settle into their new lives here.  This workshop will have strategies and resources for both basic survival English, and more advanced English. Your toolbox will be filled with a few ideas and resources to help you get started.

How to Start an Intercultural Ministry Program
Speakers:  Rick and Patti Love
This seminar will focus on how to develop a church based pathway to Jesus for the immigrants in your neighbourhood.  We will discuss the role of settlement programming (like ESL classes or an employment class) in preparing the way for spiritual programming (such as ESL bible studies).  Challenges in building and advancing this pathway will be explored.

Know Syrians Better: Through the Experience of a Syrian Newcomer
Speaker: Rev. Mouner AlAjji
Pastor AlAjji presents an overview of the religious and ethnic diversity of Syria with explanations about the lifestyle and some traditions and festivals. He will also speak about the challenges and difficulties that Syrians face in adjusting to life in Canada. He will tell how we can walk alongside them – to help them in their adjustment and to share the Christian message so that they can see what they really need is salvation.

Want to Start an ESL Program in Your Church?

Recently we were blessed to be mentioned in a Calgary Herald article outlining the challenges facing newcomers/refugees who are looking for ESL classes. The LINC wait list is long and newcomers need our help.

According to the article, 'The recent deluge of newcomers has only increased demand for language instruction, especially at beginner levels, and it means many immigrants, not just Syrian refugees, are waiting months to learn English.
...Potential students wait between two and 10 months to attend classes, depending on the level, and the waits are longer if they require access to child-care services.

...Churches across the city have long offered conversation clubs for newcomers to practice English, and Roxy Meyers, a community liaison co-ordinator with Co-operative ESL Ministries, has noticed a heightened interest from Calgary church groups wanting training in intercultural communications as they think about offering English conversation classes to newcomers.  “We’re very aware of the wait lists for the LINC program and we try to encourage churches to come alongside and offer (opportunities) for English and friendship,” said Meyers.'  Read the full article

Let's reach out together to help the refugees and newcomers in our midst. If you are interested in starting an ESL Program in your church, please contact Roxy Meyers at for information on how to get started.

In the fall, we offer a 30-hour training program, Reaching Out with English. This program offers practical instruction for teaching conversational English to adults in your church or community.

We also offer Intercultural Communication workshops which will help you to understand and appreciate people from different cultures and develop more effective ways of communicating with them. Our workshops are also helpful for newcomers to Canada who want to learn more about Canadian culture.
We can design sessions that fit your organization, church or school (Calgary and surrounding area). For more information email Bev at or call us at 403-999-3641

My Bread and Butter Lesson

by James Edel

My ESL class has been studying the Canadian Food Guide lately.  So, we’ve been learning that there are four food groups: Vegetables and Fruit, Grain Products, Milk & Alternatives, and Meat & Alternatives. Tricky situations do emerge.  Why are nuts meat? Why are eggs meat?  Why are lentils meat? Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable? Aren’t potatoes a grain?  What are chickpeas? What’s a date? Would you like to go on a date? Fortunately, we were able to wade through these questions.

Bread and grains became our focus (yes I am student centred, but, I am also me-centred - and I grew up on a farm).  I brought small baggies of a bunch of grains from bulk barn and we assigned one to each student.

This 'n' That

These listings are provided as a courtesy. Cooperative ESL Ministries does not run these programs.

Plan to Protect® Orientation: Refugee and New Immigrant Protection Training

Plan to Protect® Refugee and New Immigrant Orientation Training is designed for those who work or volunteer with Refugees and for those involved in Refugee Sponsorship Programs. This training meets insurance requirements and is part of striving for the HIGHEST STANDARD of protection.
This is a module-based training.

Introductory Sale: $15+tax/person during the month of March
$30+tax/person afterward  Bundle of 10: $200+tax*
*Bundles do not expire until all registrations have been used

If you would like to request a complimentary registration, please contact

Community Interpreting Workshop for
English<>Arabic/Kurdish Speakers

The Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta (ATIA) and the Language Bank of Immigrant Services Calgary (ISC) are offering a free community interpreting workshop to provide basic interpreting skills and orientation for volunteers working with Syrian families arriving in Calgary and its surroundings. No interpreting experience is required.
Saturday, April 23, 2016
10:00 am - 1:00 pm
ISC Offices, Room 540, 910 - 7 Ave. SW, Calgary

Limited seating. Please reserve your seat by April 18 at

Report to Calgarians: Syrian Refugee Resettlement Project

Update on the city-wide Syrian Refugee Resettlement Project.

Wednesday March 30, 2016 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
John Dutton Theatre - 161 Macleod Tr. SE

Each committee will provide an update on their achievements to date, including:
  • the mobilization of community services
  • partnerships with public and private sectors
  • community engagement initiatives
The numbers of arrivals, developing best practices and future needs will also be shared. For more information, email:

ECCC Annual Celebration

Deep Diversity: Overcoming Us vs. Them 
Meet diversity and inclusion facilitator, Shakil Choudhury, and hear excerpts from his new book, Deep Diversity: Overcoming Us vs. Them. The author will be available for book-signing on March 17, 2016 and books will be available at a discounted price. 
Enjoy multi-ethnic food and music.
There are two events:

Shakil Choudhury: Understanding Us vs. Them 
(Free Event, Light Dinner provided, Please RSVP) 
March 17, 2016, Thursday 
5:30 – 8:00 PM 
Ethno-Cultural Council of Calgary 
Community Hall, Prospect Building 
915-33 Street NE Calgary T2A 6T2

Deep Diversity Workshop ($110 fee w/ Book) Registration and pre-payment required 
March 18, 2016, Friday 
9:00 AM-12:30 PM 
Ethno-Cultural Council of Calgary 
Multi-Purpose Room, Prospect Building 
915-33 Street NE Calgary T2A 6T2

Copyright © 2016 Cooperative ESL Ministries, All rights reserved.

Cooperative ESL Ministries is blessed to receive support
from the Community Initiatives Program of Alberta Culture

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp