Supporting Armenian Syrian refugees: Unique needs and challenges

Presenters: Jeanette Gevikoglu, BA, LLM, board member, and Maida Icliates, BSc, founder, Armenian Family Support Services
Date: Wed., Nov. 15th, 2017, 12-1pm EST


Topic summary:

Since October 2015, over 40,000 Syrian refugees have resettled across Canada. As with other refugee populations, Syrian refugees are diverse and heterogeneous in terms of culture, language and religious background, for example.

In this webinar, Jeanette Gevikoglu and Maida Icliates of Armenian Family Support Services discuss the mental health support services they provide to Syrian refugees in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and how they meet the unique needs and challenges of this refugee population, such as challenges in integration and adapting to life in Canada.

Presenter biographies

Jeanette Gevikoglu

Jeanette Gevikoglu, BA, LLM, is a board member at the Armenian Family Support Services. She has volunteered with them since 2015. She coordinates information and support sessions for Armenian-Syrian newcomers to Canada.

Jeanette received her BA (Honours) from Queen's University in 1998, her LLB from McGill University in 2001, and her LLM from the University of Victoria in 2012. She currently works as a lawyer at the Public Prosecution Service of Canada’s (PPSC) Ontario Regional Office. She has worked in the public service for both the provincial and federal governments since 2004. Prior to that, she was an associate at a private law firm in New York. She is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Advocates’ Society and the New York State Bar. She is a past member of the Law Society of Nunavut and the American Bar Association.

Jeanette has acted as a member of the executive of the Law Society of Nunavut and a board member of the Akitsiraq Law School Society. She has participated in public and professional legal education initiatives with the Ontario Justice Education Network, the police, and the PPSC.  During her LLM she was the recipient of a Law Foundation of B.C. scholarship, a Lucien Ukaliannuk Award for Studies in Law from the Law Foundation of Nunavut, and the Edra Sanders Ferguson Graduate Scholarship.  She is the author of “Ipeelee/Ladue and the Conundrum of Indigenous Identity in Sentencing” published in the Supreme Court Law Review in 2013.

Maida Icliates

Maida Icliates is the founder of the Armenian Family Support Services (AFSS) and was the chair of the board of directors for 11 years. Through Maida’s leadership, the AFSS grew from a grassroots organization, having developed a board of directors, strategy plan, and becoming a registered non-profit and was designated the status of Sponsorship Agreement Holder to sponsor Iraqi and Syrian Armenian refugees. Maida ensured that barrier-breaking subjects such as mental health and domestic violence were brought to the forefront in the Armenian community. In 2009, on the fifth-year anniversary of the AFSS’s founding, Maida was awarded the Holy Cross Medal by Rev. Archpriest Fr. Zareh Zargarian, Pastor of the Holy Trinity Armenian Church and Bishop Bagrat Galstanian, then Primate of the Armenian Church Diocese of Canada. In September 2016, Maida retired from the Board however continues to provide support in a volunteer capacity.

Maida received her BSc in psychology from the University of Toronto. Her career spans over 25 years working within the Ontario Public Service. Maida currently works as an executive assistant and special projects to the Director of Programs and Operation Policy Branch, for the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. She has held various roles including as a probation and parole officer and deputy superintendent of programs at the now-closed Don Jail. Her passion is facilitating group programs such as anger management, life skills and substance use for offenders, incorporating cognitive-behaviour therapy as well as mindfulness and meditation.

In 2004, Maida received the Ministry of Community Safety Bravery Medal for having saved the life of the Toronto Jail Salvation Army chaplain. In 2013, she received the Corrections Exemplary Service Medal for exceptional service as an Ontario public servant.   

Jeannette Gevikoglu

Maida Icliates