Vanh Kalong is helping Mohawk welcome the world to our college and community.
Vanh received a Mohawk Alumni of Distinction Award in 2015. Vanh survived five years in a refugee camp before her family made their way to Hamilton. She was 17 years old when she started high school and became the first in her family to earn a post-secondary education when she graduated from Mohawk in 1991. Today, Vanh owns restaurants in Hamilton, Burlington, Ancaster, Brantford and Waterloo.
Vanh also served on our Welcoming Communities Task Force. We brought college partners together last year to help us identify ways of welcoming newcomers to Hamilton and international students to Mohawk. We currently educate and serve 2,000 international students from more than 70 countries.
We turned the task force recommendations into an action plan, outlining a number of initiatives Mohawk will carry out to become an even more welcoming college.
Helping international students make a successful transition to Mohawk and Hamilton is one of the initiatives we’ll be working on.
During the grand opening of her PinToh Cuisine restaurant in downtown Burlington, Vanh announced she’s leading a fundraising campaign to support that work.
Thank you Vanh for helping your alma mater welcome the world to Mohawk and Hamilton.
So what role can Mohawk and our college partners play in making Hamilton an even more welcoming community for newcomers?
That’s the question we’ve begun answering on our new Welcoming Communities Task Force.
I convened and chaired the task force’s first meeting last week at our college. Our task force got an overview of international education at Mohawk, a presentation by Global Hamilton and then had a roundtable discussion. I was also proud to announce a $5,000 sponsorship for Global Hamilton Connect, a member group of Hamilton HIVE with a vision to “enable international students and young newcomers to be fully aware of, and have access to, opportunities in order to live, work and play in Hamilton.”
Our task force has three more meetings planned to share best practices, pitch new ideas and look for more ways to work together. The task force will also host a conference this Fall at Mohawk and release an action plan in early 2016.
Hamilton is a city built by immigrants and newcomers will remain the lifeblood of our community. At Mohawk, we’re looking to double enrollment of international students and persuade more of our graduates to live and work in Hamilton once they graduate.
Thanks to following college partners who are serving on the task force:
- ArcelorMittal Dofasco
- Columbia International College
- FELLFAB Limited
- Global Hamilton / Hamilton Economic Development Office
- Hamilton Community Foundation
- Hamilton Police Service
- Hamilton Spectator
- McMaster University
- Mohawk Students’ Association
- My Thai Restaurants
- Workforce Planning Hamilton
- YMCA of Hamilton Burlington Brantford