#diversity #multicultural #ethnic #canada – A major city in Canada, Calgary, in the western province of Alberta, is known as a conservative, cowboy town. Calgary is the site of the annual Calgary Stampede and a previous Winter Olympics. The city’s airport even has greeters dressed up as cowboys welcoming travellers to Alberta. Even its major arena, the Saddledome, is in the shape of a horse saddle. The city is also home of the oil industry in western Canada. It doesn’t get anymore conservative non-ethnic than this. But interestingly enough, the city’s citizens also just voted in a Muslim as their new mayor elect.
Naheed Nehshi, an energetic, 38 year old university professor in non-profit public policy, won 40% of the city’s vote this week. He is the son of immigrants from Tanzania and became Calgary’s first visible minority mayor as well as the first Muslim to enter mayoral office in any major Canadian city.
Nehshi says, “I am thrilled that now the national and international media are turning their sights to this city and seeing it for what it really is: a wonderfully diverse place where there’s boundless opportunity, where nobody cares what your last name is, nobody cares who your daddy was. They only care about your merit and I think that says something great about this city.”
My own thoughts are that finally, there is a city in North America that has voted for the best person for the job of mayor without caring about what colour, race, sexual orientation or religion the individual is. The people in Calgary simply voted for the person with the best qualifications and who had the most relevant messages for the city.
This is a true victory for diversity and it inspires everyone no matter what racial, cultural or religious background they come from. It proves that at least in some parts of North America, you can become whoever you want to become even if you don’t fit into the traditional ‘Ken’ and ‘Barbie’ model.
This inspires me too as I’m not a traditional motivational speaker and personal development author either. But I’m now even more inspired to be a kick-ass karate martial arts, scuba diving with stingrays, diversity and motivational speaker than ever, even if I don’t look like Tony Robbins!