Written by Olivia DesRoches

As a newcomer and entrepreneur, Anas Nannis is an example of the many ways in which international talent is taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the province of New Brunswick.

Originally from Zuwara in Libya, Nannis has always been a part of the media scene, calling attention to important issues around him. He first started filming in Libya during the uprising and revolution, covering current events and sending photos to media outlets.

After 2012, he became more involved in human rights activism and support for Indigenous and language rights, leading to the creation of the first Libyan TV channel published in Tamazight, Nannis’ first language.

Making the Move to New Brunswick

In 2014, looking for a change, Nannis decided to bring his talents to Canada. He first arrived in Ottawa where he stayed for eight months to attend Algonquin College and learn English. While there, he applied to multiple universities to pursue further studies. Mount Allison University was the first to offer him full acceptance. Nannis accepted and moved to Sackville, New Brunswick to pursue aviation studies.

Once in New Brunswick, he became involved on the Mount Allison campus and in the Sackville community. He created video content for the university, the Town of Sackville, as well as various wedding ceremonies. In his second year, he launched his own videography business, AN Media, and began building out his client base throughout his third and fourth years.

In his final year of undergraduate studies, Nannis participated in the first cohort of a student program. He knew he wanted to stay in New Brunswick and expand AN Media but wasn’t sure what to do next. The program helped with his application and answered all his questions.

Nannis chose to remain in New Brunswick because of the kind people he had met, and the work-life balance the province allows. Not only had he built relationships with his community, but he knew he could continue to build a strong client base for his business.

A storyteller finds new opportunity

New Brunswick Exiled documentary Anas NannisIn 2019, Nannis started looking for new project ideas. He proposed “Exile”, a six-part miniseries about the Elhasan family’s journey to Moncton to Bell TV.  Bell approved the pitch, and production started soon after. In the creation of this documentary, Nannis was intentional about the story being told in the Elhasan’s first language and having the content feel like a naturalistic look into the family’s life.

Through Nannis’ own experience coming to Canada as a newcomer, as well as amplifying the stories of other newcomers coming to New Brunswick, Nannis feels confident in his choice to stay.

“Newcomers instill in their communities the existing beliefs of Canada and New Brunswick,” he says. “That’s what Canada is made of – different beliefs, different cultures, different religions. Newcomers confirm our values of equality and inclusion. Obviously, they create business opportunities and diversify communities, too, but that’s already the definition of Canada – diversity. It just falls into place.”

For New Brunswickers looking to welcome newcomers to the community, Nannis suggests being open to diverse cultures and making them feel invited to Canada. “Invite newcomers to your community events, festivals, and unique opportunities to help bridge the cultural gap. Add newcomers into your spaces to allow for a true and authentic celebration of culture, which is what Canadian multiculturalism is all about.”

Organizations looking to hire international students in New Brunswick should visit welcomenb.ca.

Be sure to check out our other interviews with Barburrito’s Waleed Khokhar and ONB’s own Serge Zably for their perspectives on international talent in New Brunswick.