Dr. Reza Nakhaie, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology at the University of Windsor and a partner with the WE Value project. He will contribute his services to the longitudinal research data collection and dissemination, community presentations/forums and overall consultation of the project relating to questions development and follow up. Dr. Nakhaie has been a long-time advocate for newcomers and has been a partner the YMCA for about three years on various projects refining the settlement services provided through Newcomer Services.

Dr. Nakhaie brings extensive research experience in the study of race, ethnic relations, integration, as well as social, human, and cultural capital. With his experience in managing and analyzing large data sets Dr. Nakhaie has facilitated a refined process for what the YMCA does. Through partnerships between YMCA and Dr. Nakhaie there have been two national and one internationally published papers. The YMCA is appreciative of the partnership and contribution of Dr. Nakhaie to the WE Value project as we all build towards better settlement, together.

I met Hugo Vega and Kamal Khaj for the first time over four years ago. I was immediately impressed with their depth of knowledge about and desire to help with the successful integration of newcomers in the Windsor–Essex area. Given  my own research focus on immigration and integration, I did not hesitate to become involved, and I continued meeting with members of the YMCA’s Newcomer Services to discuss themes related to the makeup of local newcomers, the effectiveness of settlement services, data collection, methodology and analysis, and gaps in research and literature with relation to newcomer integration. Our ongoing discussions have evolved into action through our development of formal partnerships and by way of the YMCA’s Newcomer Services choosing to adapt their service delivery and data collection methods significantly.  Utilizing their administrative data, I published several articles in national and international journals focused on the integration and service needs of newcomers, first in 2018, regarding a research project that led to two publications, and second at the time of this writing, on a research project currently under review to be published in 2019.

However, what really excites me is the WE Value project.  This is an innovative project that combines the community’s and newcomers’ assets and gets to the heart of integration as a two-way street.  Its focus on asset mapping and the development of capacity inventory tools are both excellent ways of conceptualizing integration, where the willingness and ability of newcomers, combined with a welcoming community, ensure both subjective and structural newcomer integration.  This project will bring about meaningful changes to the life of newcomers, Windsorites, and more, and the Windsor–Essex region will become a more welcoming and integrated community. I am proud to have contributed and to continue to contribute my research skills to We Value.

Dr. Reza Nakhaie

University of Windsor