The membership of SAEA represents ethnic societies from many diverse cultural and language groups from continents such as Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, North America and Oceania. New immigrant and refugee groups who have moved to Lethbridge from Afghanistan, Bhutan, the Philippines, the Caribbean and Pacific island groups, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Guyana, and Sudan are now well represented in the SAEA General Board.
SAEA: A beginning with no ends……..
Southern Alberta Ethnic Association (SAEA) represents a wide diversity of ethnic societies and clubs in southern Alberta. For approximately 40 years, SAEA has been showcasing ethnic diversity in southern Alberta highlighting different global cultures, languages, cuisines, cultural dancing and performances, ethnic music, thoughts and philosophies. It has been an iconic organization representing some of the most culturally and ethnically diverse groups in our multi-cultural nation.
The President of the organization, Dr. Surya Narayan Acharya has been instrumental in representing the organization at different levels of municipal, provincial and federal governments for the past 12 years. Under his active leadership and guidance, SAEA has developed and grown to encompass the whole of Southern Alberta.
The membership of the General Board not only represents different ethnic groups, clubs and societies but also members from ethnic business enterprises, farming communities, executives from business communities and difference social and voluntary organizations, regional and international immigrant service providers, student groups and cultural enthusiasts.
The organization is proud to have an active Executive Board comprising of the President, Vice Presidents, Secretary, Treasure and Board Directors. All members in both General and Executive boards are represented by volunteers representing different ethnic communities and individuals from different walks of life. The diversity behind both these boards are the strengths of SAEA in serving as a common platform for the widely diverse ethnic and cultural communities of Southern Alberta.
SAEA organizes and showcases a great multitude of cultural programs such as regular Cultural Nights, celebrations of Heritage Day, Festival Latino, Caribbean Carnival, Annual International Dinner and Dance, Charitable Christmas Dinner, and Christmas Around the World as thanks to all the members and volunteers supporting the organization all round the year. SAEA serves as a great cultural landform and bridging platform for different ethnic and cultural communities as well as members of different age groups. In brief, SAEA is an island of excellence, of cultural harmony, integrity, cross-cultural friendships, cultural benevolence and acceptance. This is a platform to bridge and unite our fragmented society as well as bringing proud socio-cultural practices, faiths, beliefs, languages and personalities representing different parts of the globe face to face at a common point to learn, share and appreciate from each other.
The organization successfully fills in the societal vacuum of misunderstanding and misinterpretation of different ethnic and cultural practices; a must for a multi-cultural, multilingual and multi-faith nation like Canada. SAEA represents a true taste of the diversity of Canada from every angle. It is a welcoming and colourful organization that caters to the needs of the diverse communities of southern Alberta. It acts as a platform for social integration and cultural harmony for all Canadians, immigrants and refugees moving to our country from different parts of the world.
Every new immigrant, refugee and new Canadian bring a new flavour, colour, image, faith, belief, language, socio-cultural identity to the diverse social matrix of this community. If looked upon positively and with appropriate intentions, these are great cultural icons of the nation that strengthens our nation coast to coast.
It is important that different communities have an appropriate common platform to understand, comprehend, appreciate and exchange cultural notes among themselves. At this crucial juncture, SAEA is the source where we can all work toward the elimination of ignorance and prejudices.
It is extremely challenging to build societal relationships and bridge the gap among different diverse communities from societal perspectives. It needs years of voluntary work in building relationships with community members, catering to their immediate socio-cultural needs, responding to queries about different threats, fears, challenges, societal prejudices, injustice and discrimination in the society with a positive attitude. It is one of the cornerstones for building a progressive, all-inclusive, racism and discrimination free, multi-cultural society. SAEA is workingg towards achieving that goal for Southern Alberta and to serve as an example for the rest of the country.