York honours Toronto councillors for work welcoming international students

headshot by M. Thompson

Two City of Toronto councillors are recipients of the 2012 York International Award from York University.

Councillors Michael Thompson and Josh Colle are the winners of York International’s Internationalization Award for an External Community Member or Group. The award was to be presented Friday night, March 23, at a gala hosted by York International.

“We are very pleased to present this award to these two outstanding members of Toronto City Council,” said Lorna Wright, York University’s associate vice-president international.

Michael ThompsonMichael Thompson

“These awards recognize the councillors for their exemplary efforts to create new initiatives that enrich the experience of young people who leave their families and countries to travel to Ontario and in particular, to York University, to study,” said Wright.

Thompson and Colle were nominated for the award by York Vice-President Academic & Provost Patrick Monahan. Monahan nominated the councillors “for their work to establish valuable new programs that welcome and support not just York University’s international students but all international students who call Toronto home.”

“As one of the world’s most diverse cities, Toronto understands the daunting challenges facing newcomers when they first arrive in our city,” Thompson said. “A warm welcome is a simple way we can help international students to begin their life in Toronto knowing that we care about them and want their experience here to be memorable for all of the right reasons.”

Josh ColleJosh Colle

“The City of Toronto is grateful for this recognition and looks forward to working with York University and our other partners to make Toronto the premier choice for international students,” said Colle.

In 2010, the City of Toronto initiated a program where city councillors attend and welcome new international students at international student orientations across the Greater Toronto Area. The councillors also worked to establish a reception program at Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson International Airport, which provides a warm welcome, a package of materials introducing the students’ new city, a free telephone call home to their loved ones, and transportation.

The councillors also established an International Student Reception at Toronto City Hall where recognition and financial awards for international students who have contributed to the City of Toronto are distributed.

Thompson has represented Scarborough Centre since 2003. Colle was elected in October 2010 to represent the area of Ward 15 Eglinton-Lawrence.