Two Extraordinary Students Graduate

Photos:  Muuxi Adam, Somalian refugee and Vanessa Laurent, Haiti earthquake survivor earn BA degrees at UWinnipeg

MuuxiWEBWINNIPEG, MB – Two extraordinary young people were among the 1,200 students who graduated today from The University of Winnipeg: Muuxi Adam arrived in Winnipeg as a teenage refugee from Somalia, struggling to overcome the effects of working 16-hour days without pay in a garage fixing cars. Muuxi received UWinnipeg’s very first fast-track bursary through the Opportunity Fund, created in 2008.The innovative fund is aimed at closing the “graduation gap” for hundreds of students traditionally under-represented at university, with generous support from the federal and provincial governments and the private sector, Muuxi’s main interests are economics and international development. He is employed at the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba, and in December received the 2012 Annual Sybil Shack Human Rights Youth Award. Muxxi is married and has two young sons.

HÃÂélÃÂéna Vickaina Lafleur and Vanessa LaurentVanessa Laurent is one of five students who arrived at The University of Winnipeg in September 2010 following the devastating earthquake in Haiti which killed tens of thousands of people. The Haitian Students Task Force was formed by Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice-chancellor, UWinnipeg shortly after the earthquake, with UWinnipeg resolving to cover significant costs to allow the five students, all in their twenties, to continue their studies including airfare, tuition, residence fees, meal plans and counselling. Vanessa today received her Bachelor of Arts (Politics). Her four compatriots graduated from UWinnipeg in February 2013.

“The courage and resilience of these two students is inspirational,” said Axworthy. “Our goal at UWinnipeg is to remove whatever barriers we can to ensure that all young people, and especially those who have faced adversity, may follow their dreams and receive a post-secondary education. Today we honour Muuxi and Vanessa.”

Find out more about UWinnipeg’s Opportunity Fund and Community Learning initiatives.

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Diane Poulin, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg

P: 204.988.7135, E:


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