The Multicultural Association of Northwestern Ontario (MANWO) is a regional umbrella organization for multicultural groups and ethnocultural communities in Northwestern Ontario. The association serves to link small isolated communities across the region and promote the concept of multiculturalism. The idea of forming MANWO came from recommendations by delegates at the first Northwestern Ontario Regional Multicultural Conference held in Thunder Bay in February, 1979. A Steering Committee set up the blue-print for a regional multicultural network, and drafted the constitution. The first Board Members were elected in April 1980, and MANWO was formally registered as a corporate organization in November, 1981.
MANWO's mission is to achieve a fair and just society with equal opportunity, equal access, and equal participation by all citizens in every aspect of Canadian life by removing artificial barriers, and promoting acceptance of all people.
The association's objectives can be summarized as follows:
a) To promote the concept of multiculturalism throughout Northwestern Ontario, and develop appropriate resource materials to complement the same.
b) To provide settlement services that facilitate the cultural integration of new immigrants and refugees into the Canadian mainstream.
c) To sensitize communities on the benefits of cultural diversity, enhance awareness of the contributions that foster appreciation of our rich heritage.
d) To act as the chief advocate on behalf of multicultural and ethno-cultural groups in the region, and work for positive changes to improve our well-being.
e) To preserve cultural freedom and promote a national identity for all Canadians.
f) To reach out to the youth, empower them to deal with the challenges of living in a multicultural society and encourage them to get along.
g) To work with communities, institutions and ethno-cultural groups to promote harmonious relations, equality, fairness and justice for all Canadians.
h) To support and strengthen ethno-cultural groups for self-reliance and encourage them to participate fully in all aspects of Canadian society.
MANWO serves as the region's resource centre for information on citizenship and multiculturalism. The Association is involved in the delivery of settlement services to newcomers and refugees throughout the region, and offers assistance for main-stream institutions to be inclusive and sensitive to our diversity.