Wissam Annous: Green Architecture graduate who moved across the world to ignite his ‘green’ passion at Algonquin College

Wissam Annous: Green Architecture graduate who moved across the world to ignite his ‘green’ passion at Algonquin College

Posted on Tuesday, June 14th, 2011 at 12:12 pm in Announcements Feed for all posts filed under Announcements  Feature Articles Feed for all posts filed under Feature Articles  and tagged , , , , , , , , ,

One of Algonquin College’s Green Architecture program students, Wissam Annous, isn’t the average college graduate. Unlike many others, Wissam had spent over 6 years in post-secondary institutions. He even earned his Master’s degree in Architecture in his home country, Lebanon.

While in Lebanon, Wissam struggled to find a steady job with good pay.  He ended up finding a job in the Arabian Gulf temporarily, and then moving around until he ended up in Dubai until 2009. A major crisis broke out in Arabian Gulf and Lebanon and left Wissam with two choices: be laid off and try and search for jobs that didn’t exist anymore or immigrate to another country and start all over.

“The choice was simple; I had to leave my home and everything I knew because my family always comes first. I have spent almost my whole life in Lebanon and it was scary to think that in order for my family to survive, we would have to give up everything in our home country and move across the world in hopes of a better future since ours was looking grim.”

In December 2009, Wissam and his family moved to Canada with the remaining of his life savings. They were ready for a fresh start. Unfortunately, Wissam couldn’t find a job. Like many new immigrants who come to Canada, his credentials did not meet the standards of many organizations because they were not from a Canada institution.

“It’s very frightening coming to a new country and discovering your many years of hard work, experience, and success mean nothing,” said Wissam. “It was difficult to obtain a minimum-wage job even with 6 years of post-secondary education.”

As his savings were quickly depleting, Wissam finally got a job as a roof inspector and obtained permanent residency here in Canada. Even after getting his residency, he still couldn’t get the jobs he wanted and realized he needed to go back to school and start his career over.

“I had many choices when it came to sustainable programs here in Ottawa,” said Wissam. “But Algonquin College’s Green Architecture program was the exact course I was looking for and they were the most accommodating program out there. I had to keep my full-time job during the day, so I needed a program that could accommodate my hours. Algonquin supported me throughout my stay.”

Wissam worked long hours during the day and went to school at night. He didn’t see his family much and strongly believed his two young children, Ahmad and Mariam, pushed him through his 12 hour days.  He had always believed that doing something you love will always make you succeed and he knew this program was perfect for him.

“The professors were amazing,” said Wissam. “They were so supportive to me and did anything and everything they could to help me out. But working full-time, going to school full-time, being a loving father and husband, and trying to get my credentials assessed all the same time was truly exhausting. I look back on it now and I am amazed at myself. It really shows if you put your mind to something, anything can be possible, especially with great help of my loving wife, Ghina, friends and professors at Algonquin College.”

Wissam successfully received his foreign architecture education approved by the Canadian Certification Board during his first semester at Algonquin College with the help of his professors

“The professors took teaching to a whole new level,” said Wissam. “Instead of just reading out of a textbook or reading off a slideshow, they brought in new products to share with us, gave anecdotal stories that they have encountered in this field, and always took the time to get to know each student on a personal level.”

On Tuesday, June 21 at 2:00 p.m, Wissam will have officially graduated from Algonquin College’s Green Architecture program. He will be  one of the first 2011 graduates to ever receive their diploma at the brand new ‘green’ Ottawa Convention Centre. He is very excited to graduate in front of his family in a building that represents his future career.

“It will be the best feeling to walk across that stage, knowing my wife and two children will be  there watching me,” said Wissam. “For me, it will be an excellent lesson for my children to see that when you study and work hard, you can achieve anything, even when you have to start from scratch. I am hoping it will be a good incentive for them to love school and be more proud of their dad.”

Wissam will be heading back to Lebanon this summer to visit his family, who he hasn’t seen since he left for Canada, and will be returning back to Ottawa in September with the hope of landing a job/internship working as a Solar Specialist or an architect. He aspires one day to become a Full Canadian Citizen and to become a Registered Architect here in Canada.

“I never thought my passion would become my reality,” said Wissam. “I owe my fresh start and new life all to Algonquin College. This diploma means a second chance for my family and I and I couldn’t have done anything I have accomplished without my friends and professors at Algonquin College.”


  1. O. D. K.
    Posted June 15, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Dear Wissam,

    I read your story and would like to tell you that we are so proud of you not only as a Canadian Resident but as a Lebanese hard worker who worked hard to prove himself to ensure his family future in a beautiful country like Canada but unfortunately can’t move on or be recocnized as much in his own home country.

    Congratulations and Good luck in your future endeavour.

    O. D. K.

    • Wissam Annous
      Posted October 18, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

      Thank you a lot for your lovely encouraging words.

  2. H K Thakor
    Posted June 16, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Hey Wissam, it is obvious that you are going to reach the success and achievements as you have the abilities, passion and curiousity to learn new things. Congratulations for what you have achieved so far. I wish you and your family all the best for the future !!!!

  3. nadine saliba
    Posted June 27, 2011 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Hey Wissam,
    your story is very inspiring and you must be very proud to be such a good example for your kids.
    Congrats & Good luck.

  4. Kristina
    Posted June 27, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    You are an inspiration to many Wissam. You will continue to inspire, not only your family, but anyone who hears your story. What you’ve managed to accomplish within such a short time frame is incredible!! There is no doubt that a successful career lies ahead of you. Good luck with your search, I’m rooting for you!!! JM

  5. michel leblanc
    Posted June 28, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    félicitation tu as travaillé tres fort profite en bien avec ta famille bonne chance

  6. Samah Saleh
    Posted July 3, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Hey Buddy…Congratulations, as immigrants we always find it a struggle to come to Canada, and start from scratch, but ambition and persistence are so important that you can achieve anything if you aim for it , and I’m sure you had that …
    Congrats again and good luck

  7. Ahmad T. Annous
    Posted July 3, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Dear Wissam, Congratulations, am very proud of you cousin, your story will inspire our young family student to follow your way, thanks and be there all the time making the story of the new generation of our big family..

    your cousin

    Engr. Ahmed T. Annous

    ShaaL Group Co.

  8. majed
    Posted July 3, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    good work cousin u made us proud of u ;) !

  9. Amy Anous
    Posted July 3, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Permalink


    I am very happy for you and the success you achieved in such a short time. Great job! We are proud of you. People like you should be an example for new immigrants who wish to pursue their dreams in the land of opportunities. When there is a will, there is a way. Keep up the good work. I wish you the best on your new job and future endeavors.

  10. G.baroudi
    Posted July 3, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    good job,
    wishin you all the best..

  11. Samer Al Hmdan
    Posted July 4, 2011 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    Congrats Wissam ,

    we are proud of you , you deserve it .
    Good luck to find a suitable job inshalla .

  12. samam said
    Posted July 4, 2011 at 2:07 am | Permalink

    it is very interesting story , really your achievement came though ceaseless struggle.

  13. Diala
    Posted July 4, 2011 at 3:52 am | Permalink

    So proud of you Wissam. Who could imagine that after those looong, exhausting years at the Lebanese Uni one would need to start from scratch!? I salute your perseverence, and most importantly, your positive attitude and hard work.


  14. hossein assar pour
    Posted July 4, 2011 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    Dearest Wissam,

    With a very special salaam,

    Glad you made it and you were always an insperation, even when we were doing the sport city tower in doha, i am sure your new adventure would be a wonderful journy for you and your lovely family.

    I salute you.

    love you


  15. Atfat El-Bouz
    Posted July 4, 2011 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Congratulations my friend Wissam,
    You had worked so hard to accomplish this degree, you deserve it…
    Good luck & all the best.

  16. Mazen Makkouk
    Posted July 4, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations, Wissam!

  17. george bechaalany
    Posted July 21, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    hey bro
    you made it, I was not surprised since i know you well,go on and may the lord be with you
    you deserve all the best
    it’s great to do good, god will bless….your testimony is a lecon to all of us

  18. Ramy Kheir
    Posted August 8, 2011 at 3:43 am | Permalink

    Heyy Wissam,

    Congratulations for achieving your new degree within this short period of time
    May God bless you and welcome to Lebanon

  19. abir
    Posted December 22, 2011 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Waw Wissam, je viens de lire ton histoire, et je suis vraiment fier de toi et de ta famille, you deserve the best we inchallah tu auras un travail qui répond à tes attentes et tes qualifications…..et un jour badi eghelbak be el vollyyy….

    Bravo et bonne continuation…

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