Gezahgn (Geza) Wordofa was born in Ethiopia and traveled to Russia with a scholarship to pursue post-secondary studies. Educated in law, world history, human rights, international relations, and diplomacy, Geza promptly put his knowledge into practice by securing employment with a charitable organization partnered with The United Nations (UN) Refugee Agency, which managed the care and support of asylum seekers in Russia.
Geza relocated to Canada in 2011 with his wife and Stratford native, Nicole. Since relocating and settling in Stratford, Geza has volunteered devotedly at churches and local non-profit agencies, becoming a valued member of his community. Geza founded the Multicultural Association of Perth Huron, where he aids newcomers, refugees, and asylum seekers arriving in our region.
His unflustered and enthusiastic performance, deeply rooted in his humanitarian work abroad, has earned him the Newcomer Champion Award and the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award. He is one of RBC’s 2015 Top 25 Canadian Immigrants, and in one publication he is described as being a “community trailblazer,” for his conscientious active citizenship and engagement.
Awards and Honours received:
2012 – Newcomer Champion Award: Community Leader (Province of Ontario)
2014 – Caring Canadian Award (Governor General of Canada)
2015 – RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant (Canadian Immigrant Magazine)
2015 – International Peace Ambassador (World Diplomatic Association)
2015 – Volunteer Award – 5 year service (Province of Ontario)
2016 – Bikila Award – Community Service Excellence (Ethiopian Expat Community in Canada)
2017 – Sovereign Medal for Volunteers (Governor General of Canada)
Each Candidate was asked to send a bio, photo and to respond to the ten questions below with a limit of 75 words per answer. We have identified any truncated content with “...” Please feel free to reach out to each candidate for more information.
1. Over the last five years, how have you contributed to the City of Stratford (volunteering, boards, etc.)?
Multicultural Association of Perth-Huron: Support migrants and refugees helping them integrate into the community.
Red Cross: Youth engagement and unifying families.
Local Community Food: Introducing new comers to the programs of nutrition and well-being.
Salvation Army: Food sharing program.
House of Blessing: Door to door food baskets
2. What do you believe your unique contribution will be to council (strengths)?
I am very good at networking, bringing a new perspective to help immigrants integrate in our community.My international experience and background working for the united nations.
3. What would you like to see achieved over the next four years (be specific)?
Dealing with homelessness in Stratford especially male homelessness.
Improve access to healthcare for newcomers.
A year round recreation centre.
4. What committees do you see yourself sitting on and what experience qualifies you for that committee?
Diversity and Inclusion is a sub-Committee: My experience with the United Nations and the Multicultural Association Perth-Huron. Participated with Federal and Provincial immigration challenges.
Arts and Culture Sub-committee: My experience for seven year on the Multicultural Association Perth-Huron
5. What means of transportation are you using in the city, and/or in and out of town and what improvements do you recommend?
I have used public transport in the city, ride sharing through Facebook, taxi and the train. I see a great improvement by bring the extension of the Go Train to Stratford.
6. Describe what you believe the Cooper Site should look like in 10 years?
A residential and commercial complex. It is still central to the city. A central outdoor recreation complex ie. lawn bowling and tennis (lost facilities because of new Tom Patterson Theatre)
7. What are your objectives with respect to housing and how do you expect to accomplish them?
I would like to see more rental properties for lower income families and individuals. We should use old buildings or unoccupied upper floors of older commercial buildings in the downtown area.
8. If elected, what three steps would you take to put our city on a firmer financial footing?
- Increase tourism
- Integrate newcomers
- Expand Post Secondary programs ie. U of W campus
9. How will the new provincial legislation with respect to conflict of interest on municipal councils, coming into effect January 2019, hinder your effectiveness on council?
I will not have any conflict.
10. How will you encourage youth engagement, retention, re-attraction and skills development?
By use of social media and technology, encouraging and supporting the creation of life skills programs, partner with existing government programs our youth may not be aware of.