Cross-cultural marketing expert and founder of Orchimedia, Chia-Yi Tung will share how to understand Asian cultural and media preferences and to interact with Asian consumer in Quebec during 2012 Multicultural Marketing Conference, hosted byMarketing Magazine. Stay tuned!
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The majority of Canadians of Arab origin are Lebanese (41%), 12% are Egyptian whilst the proportions of Syrians, Moroccans, Iraqis, Algerians and Palestinians range from 4% to 6%. The largest Arab community in Canada lives in Montreal. Only 18% of Canadians are foreign-born, but this percentage climbs to 58% (2001 statistics) for Canadians who reported an Arab origin. In Canada, almost half of Arabs live in either Montreal or Toronto, but it is in Quebec that they make up the largest percentage of the provincial population.
When we talk about Arabs, it is similar to talking about Asians, we tend to put them all in the “same basket”, ignoring the multiple and real historical, cultural, religious and other differences. Their reality is diverse, Arabic cultures are a “mosaic” like Canada is. The Arabic language unites them, like Spanish unites Hispanics, but the cultural differences between a Lebanese and an Iraqi for instance, can be as noticeable as those between a Spaniard and a Salvadorian. Many Canadians of Arab origin are also francophone, in particular the Lebanese, Egyptians (although not all) and Maghrebi (North Africans) for historical reasons.
These Arabic communities are culturally vibrant, very far from any obscure fanaticism. To be convinced, one need only to listen to Radio Middle-East, broadcast 24/7 on 1450AM in Arabic (with intermittent words in French and English), that addresses the Arab community (Middle-East and Maghrebi), or go to the Arab World Festival of Montreal, that has been around for 10 years and enjoys the support of numerous private sector backers as well as various governmental support. On the web, Montreal Arabic (French website) also reflects the community’s diversity presenting a wide variety of subjects from advice for new immigrants, to the price of petrol and recipes; furthermore, it offers a selection of videos, articles, topics and debates that concern the host country, but also the Arab world and international scene. Arab restaurants are everywhere and are frequented by many Quebecois, Arab students form associations, entrepreneurs publish company newsletters for which they offer trilingual services in Arabic, French and English and there are exuberant Oriental evenings held in Laval’s flashy restaurants. Canadians of Arab origin are also very present in cultural domains, among others the political scientist Sami Aoun, the intellectual Rachad Antonius, Wajdi Mouawad (theatre), Rawi Haje (literature) and Rachid Badouri (comedy), or the winners of the “Arab Women of Quebec” trophy. To connect with Arabs, there are also numerous “ethnic” newspapers such as Al-Akhbar, El-Ressala, Al Magrheb-Al Machreq, Al-Mustakbal, Atlas, El-Masri, to name only those that have over 10,000 readers. In brief, the Arabs are among us!
This clearly doesn’t happen without paradoxes and incidentally an inquiry by Leger Marketing underlined this in 2007: in spite of popular opinion, the Arab community is one of the most integrated in Quebec society!Read More
If you live in Vancouver or Toronto chances are you’re familiar with Chinese or Hindi accents and Asian cultures and food. If you live in Montreal you are likely to recognize Arab accents and you may even be a huge fan of couscous… If the trend continues, in 20 years three out of ten people will belong to a visible minority group and 96% of new immigrants will live in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. Thus, a safe assumption is that multiculturalism will only increase in our society. Multiculturalism refers to the “presence and persistence of diverse racial and ethnic minorities who define themselves as different and who wish to remain so”.
These differences can enrich our lives or puzzle us and even make us feel uneasy. But in everyday life, whether in Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal, our future looks younger as immigrants are lowering the average age of Canada’s population, and most certainly colourful, vibrant, rich in ideas and activities, new writers and artists, entrepreneurs and debates. So, as the writer Khalil Gibran stated, why “dread thirst when your well is full”?Read More