International Affairs Specialist by day, Blogger Enthusiast by night. This is a sneak peek into my world that should be enjoyed with ample time and a good and very strong cup of java.
For many a New World-er, questions about heritage, history and origin are enormously important, perhaps more so in any other part of the world, because in a sea of multi-cultural and multi-nationals, knowing who you are and where you came from keeps you grounded. Some may even say that old-world mentalities and traditions hold true more strongly in North America than in the home country because it’s so easy to forget. In Canada, the melting pot is truly unique and one of the only places in the world where being an outsider is normal. True that communities with common heritage and backgrounds form, after all we all gravitate to what is familiar and comfortable, but in Canada such communities are never exclusive and learning from each other is part of the fun.
Being a history guru, I’m always fascinated about how people come together, govern together and form communities and nations of people that have shaped our world today. Globalization truly began when explorers began discovering each other and what each other had to offer – find a new trading route, find a new land, find a new culture and voila! we are no longer isolated!
We’ve been experiencing globalization for so long, so why should only a handful of nations boast about their mulit-national/cultural character? Why are small migrant communities still out of the ordinary? Today, I surprisingly read about Irish descendants in Jamaica, Jewish migrants in Haiti, and Lebanese migrants in West Africa – who knew? It shouldn’t be surprising, but it is. Economic prospects, family ties and historical circumstances are all push factors, but for some reason it was stronger for some than others. If that’s so, I’m curious how much of an impact the migrant communities made on their new societies, did they integrate well? Did they contribute to growth or stagnation? How did they contribute to their national makeup today? If migration trends had continued, could they have experienced the same sort of melting pot that is so characteristic of Canada today?
Looking to the past doesn’t hold all the answers. Much like our heritage, it can provide understanding and build tolerance which influences the way our future will unfold. Melting pots are tough to achieve, but with an open mind, it’s possible.