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Board of DIRECTORS
Meet the 2018-2020 Board of Directors
ARAISA counts on a committed Board of Directors. Elected every two years by ARAISA members, our Board is composed of full member agency representatives who are experts in settlement and integration in the Atlantic region.
Craig Mackie is the Executive Director of the PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada. He has been in that role since 2010. Prior to that, Craig spent more than 35 years in media including over 25 years with the CBC. Craig is currently Co-President of ARAISA. He has also been Co-Chair of the Immigration and Settlement Working Group at the Canadian Council for Refugees. When Craig is not at work, he is a competitive curler and plays tai chi. Craig is currently serving as the VP of Curl PEI and is on the board of the Community Sector Network.
Megan Morris has worked in the immigrant settlement sector for over fifteen years and is currently the Executive Director of the Association for New Canadians (ANC), a community-based, non-profit settlement agency in Newfoundland and Labrador. Megan worked with various federal government departments, and served as a political aide to a former Cabinet Minister. With a long interest in immigrant and refugee issues, she has served on various Boards, Committees and Working Groups including, for example, the Coordinating Committee on Newcomer Integration, ARAISA, the Atlantic Metropolis, the Performance Measurement Advisory Group and the Professional Development & Sector Coordination Working Group.
Jennifer Watts is CEO of Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS), the largest immigrant serving agency in Atlantic Canada. ISANS provides a wide range of programs and services including resettlement, language, employment, business development, employer engagement, community integration and online programs both pre and post arrival. Trained as an Urban and Rural Planner, Jennifer has a background in community development, urban and rural planning and municipal issues having served as a Municipal Councillor on Halifax Regional Council from 2008-2016. Jennifer has lived overseas in Central America and the Middle East and her family has been involved in supporting refugees through private sponsorships and university refugee programs.
Lisa Bamford De Gante
Lisa Bamford De Gante is the Executive Director of the Multicultural Association of Fredericton Inc. (MCAF), in New Brunswick.
Myriam Mekni is the Interim Executive Director of the not for profit Multicultural Association of the Greater Moncton Area (MAGMA). She is leading the organization as they welcome newcomers, helping them to successfully integrate into our community. Originally from Tunisia, Ms. Mekni has degrees in MPCI (Mathematics–Physics–Chemistry–Information Technology) from the University of Science and in British Literature from Université des Lettres in Tunis. Fluent in English, French, and Arabic, she has held many key roles with high-profile organizations. These experiences, combined with her personal one, have given her the drive and insight necessary to guide MAGMA towards fulfilling its mission.
Angie Cormier is a long-time immigrant to PEI from the U.S. She arrived in 1984, and in 1999, she was appointed to the first Population Development Committee in the province sponsored by UPEI Institute of Island Studies. She has always been active in local economic development, women’s groups and began “officially” working in immigration in 2011 as Coordinator of LIENS, a francophone project designed to promote immigration within the Francophone community. In 2013, she became a community outreach officer for Francophone Immigration for the PEI Office of Immigration. In 2018, Angie became the Director of the CIF, a Francophone Immigration services agency responsible for recruitment, settlement and employment services on PEI.
Frank Gough has worked as both an instructor and school administrator in the ESL (LINC) program at the Association for New Canadians in St. John’s for some 25 years. He has been on the ARAISA board for a number of years and currently serves on the membership committee.
Mohamed Bagha is the Managing Director of the Saint John Centre (SJNC). He has been involved in the Newcomer Settlement Sector for over 10 years. Mohamed is very passionate in carrying out the mission of the SJNC – to improve the socio-economic well-being of Greater Saint John by supporting newcomer settlement and promoting multiculturalism. He wants to see communities across Atlantic Canada, like Saint John, thrive through diversity, where newcomers actively participate in society by fully contributing their talent, skills and culture. Mohamed has a Master of Interdisciplinary Degree focusing on Community Economic Development from the University of New Brunswick.
Jennifer works with a diverse group of passionate and professional staff and volunteers in the Immigrant Services department of the YMCA of Greater Halifax/Dartmouth which has been providing settlement programs for over 25 years in locations all across Nova Scotia. As part of a multi-service, multi-sectoral organization that has a mission of ‘building healthy communities through the power of belonging’, this team provides client and community responsive programming that focuses on families, creates connections, is place based and that incorporates the holistic YMCA focus on spirit, mind and body in all aspects of service delivery.