Recent statistics from the United Nations Refugee Agency tell us that close to 80 million people across the globe have been forced to flee their homes to escape conflict or persecution, and nearly half of these refugees are under the age of 18. There are also millions of stateless people living in precarious circumstances in countries around the world.

More than 40 years ago, my husband Zaheer and I were in that same frightening situation, along with all of our fellow Ugandans of South Asian descent who had been expelled from our homes by the totalitarian regime of Idi Amin. Like many refugees and stateless people through the years we were blessed to make a new home in Canada, a country that guarantees human rights, democratic freedom and the rule of law for every citizen.  We give our heartfelt thanks every day for the tremendous gifts of peace, freedom, opportunity and community that we have found here.

As Her Majesty the Queen’s representative in Alberta, I offer my deepest gratitude to everyone in our province who works to ensure that every refugee receives a warm welcome. Thank you for sharing your compassion and for helping the find these new members of our communities find the resources, support and understanding they need to rebuild their lives so that they can share the best of who they are with us all.

Her Honour, the Honourable Salma Lakhani AOE, B.Sc., LLD (hon), Lieutenant Governor of Alberta

June 20, 2021