Webinar: Count Us In: Building Citizenship through Participation

April 25, 2012

Learn about successful programs in Dublin and Toronto that engage newcomer communities around the rights, responsibilities and rites of urban citizenship. Find out how smart cities are shifting the conversation from voting rights and citizenship status to political participation and a sense of belonging.

Watch the Webinar Video


  • Download the Webinar Powerpoint slides (PDF)
  • Watch and listen to the Question and Answer (Q&A) with speakers, Claire Reid, National Program Manager, Building Citizenship, Institute for Canadian Citizenship and Fidèle Mutwarasibo, Integration Manager, Immigrant Council of Ireland

Featured Good Ideas:

  • In Toronto, the Building Citizenship Program connects new  Canadians to welcoming communities through community celebrations and the rites of citizenship. Canada’s well-established citizenship ceremonies travels to the heart of newcomer communities. Watch the webinar presentation
  • In Dublin, the Count Us In campaign promotes the right to vote to the city’s newest citizens, while educating political parties and candidates about the diverse electorate in Ireland and the need to engage citizens on immigration and integration issues. Watch the webinar presentation.

Tips from the Presenters

Engage the host community in concrete ways to make new citizens feel welcome
The Building Citizenship program engages a network of volunteers from established communities to host community-based citizenship ceremonies in partnership with the government. New and old citizens come together, celebrate, and have roundtable discussions about what it means to be Canadian. Community ceremonies are help in public spaces to make all new citizens know they are welcomed.

A strong media campaign needs to be supported by facts and involve different actors
The Count Us In Campaign developed a strong communication strategy to include the support and the voices of Dublin City Council, political candidates, naturalized citizens, second-generation migrants, professional PR firms, and used naturalization statistics/research to show the experiences and need for stronger migrant political participation

Offer support mechanisms for your volunteers and for people who will be affected by your program/ campaign
Both programs rely heavily on volunteers to deliver the impact it has achieved. It is important to provide them with resources, a point-person to follow-up with / ask questions, and keep communications line open and healthy, allowing them to see that they are appreciated and valued stakeholders in the process.


Claire Reid
National Program Manager, Building Citizenship
Institute for Canadian Citizenship

Claire Reid is the National Program Manager of the Building Citizenship program at the Institute for Canadian Citizenship. The program aims to involve the community in the welcoming of new citizens and encourage collective reflection on the importance of open citizenship. Claire is responsible for developing and fostering a national network of over 500 volunteers who organize roundtable discussions on questions of belonging and engagement as part of community citizenship ceremonies. In her work, she liaises frequently with Citizenship and Immigration Canada and is responsible for developing new creative projects that further the mission of the program. Claire has a Masters of Arts in International Human Rights Law and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Politics and International Development.

Fidèle Mutwarasibo
Integration Manager
Immigrant Council of Ireland

Originally from Rwanda and he has been living in Ireland for 16 years. He is currently working as Integration Manager at the Immigrant Council of Ireland (the ICI). He has been managing a number of integration projects and campaigns. In 2011 he ran the Count Us In campaign during the Irish general elections campaign. Before joining the ICI in 2002, he worked with Canal Communities Partnership and the African Cultural Project. He is a regular public speaker on issues pertaining to immigration and integration in Ireland, Europe and further afield. Fidèle is a fellow with the Transatlantic Forum on Migration and Integration (TFMI) established by the German Marshall Fund of the United States and Robert Bosch Stiftung in 2008. He was conferred a PhD in Sociology in December 2010 at University College Dublin. His doctoral thesis is titled: (New) Migrant Political Entrepreneurs: Overcoming Isolation and Exclusion through Creative Resistance in Ireland. He is a founding member of the Africa Centre. In October 2011, he won a special judges’ Metro Eireann’s media and multicultural award.

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