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Shifting perspective to make positive contributions

March 10, 2016
Megan Catalano
Alumnus Sam Jaroudi provides information about life in Canada to Syrian refugees.

A shift in perspective can change everything.

This is especially true for Master of Arts in Conflict Analysis and Management (2014) alumnus Sam Jaroudi who recently returned from Amman, Jordan where he spent 10 days meeting with Syrian refugees through his role with the RCMP. Each day Jaroudi, and three other RCMP members, met with 20 to 30 Syrian families who were in the final stages of the screening process before being able to call Canada their new home.

Jaroudi, who is fluent in Arabic, answered their questions and provided information about living here. He says the ability to create a successful life and a better future for their children were the two most common concerns refugees shared with him.

“It helped that our team was all smiles and optimistic. That was a welcomed positive interaction that maybe the families haven’t had in a while,” says Jaroudi. “Parents were genuine in their concern for their family—they want to come to Canada, feel they have a safe place for their children and not be discriminated against.”

The outreach mission was organized by the RCMP to help successfully integrate refugees into Canadian communities. In addition, they hoped to positively represent Canadian police to refugees who may not have experienced positivity and trust when dealing with police in Syria. During the trip, Jaroudi and the team also gathered information to determine potential services refugees may need upon arrival.

Through his interactions with the refugees, Jaroudi experienced a shift in how he perceived the objective of the mission.

“When you start talking to people who have gone through traumatic events, and they’re living with much uncertainty and anxiety, your objective now becomes to make them feel better,” says Jaroudi. “Your objective becomes taking away their worries and helping them feel hope and optimism.”

When asked if his studies at Royal Roads relate in any way to his experience in Jordan, Jaroudi stated that shifting perspective was something he had first experienced through intense self-reflection during the Conflict Analysis and Management program. He says the shift provided him with a greater sense of responsibility and purpose. He explains he’s not a different person in the way he works, but he’s a different person in the way he views the world around him and the way he views himself.

“Before the program, I didn’t intentionally pursue opportunities to contribute and go beyond what I was doing on a daily basis in terms of my job,” says Jaroudi, who is a senior project manager with the RCMP in Ottawa. “When I left the program with all that energy and new skill set, it shifted the way I looked at things and I thought, ‘You know what? I can actually do more in life to make a difference in the world’.”

In addition to his full-time job and his consulting work as a certified life coach, Jaroudi also provides pro bono coaching for low income families in Ottawa and volunteers with two groups that have sponsored Syrian newcomers to Canada. He is also active with the Royal Roads Ottawa Alumni Branch as a co-founder and an executive committee member, and a proud mentor to prospective and new Royal Roads students.

“I left the program with a huge sense of purpose and clarity of perspective,” says Jaroudi. “I know I can’t change the whole world, but I can make a contribution.”

Find out more about the Master of Arts in Conflict Analysis and Management program on the School of Humanitarian Studies website. Find out more about Royal Roads alumni activities in Ottawa by visiting the Ottawa Alumni Branch Facebook group.

lumnus Sam Jaroudi distributes colouring books with Canadian safety information translated to Arabic to Syrian children during his recent outreach trip to Jordan.

Photo: Alumnus Sam Jaroudi distributes colouring books with Canadian safety information translated to Arabic to Syrian children during his recent outreach trip to Jordan.