The Alberta Anti-Racism Advisory Council advises the minister on ways to implement and evaluate initiatives to combat racism.
The council consists of up to 25 people who represent Alberta’s diverse communities. Two of these members serve as co-chairs.
The council typically meets 4 times a year. In 2023, meetings were held in February, June and September, with a final meeting scheduled for November 2023.
2023 council membership updates
- Council members Sonia Sains and Gurpreet Singh were appointed to 2 year terms (April 6, 2023 to April 5, 2025).
- Council members Helen Agbonison and Shreekanta Aryal were appointed to 3 year terms (April 6, 2023 to April 5, 2025).
- Council member Sania Chaudhry was appointed as council co-chair (appointed to a term ending on June 7, 2025).
Role and responsibilities
The council provides advice on ways to:
- remove systemic barriers to accessing government programs and services
- remove language barriers in accessing information
- educate and inform Albertans to encourage acceptance and prevent future racism
- connect with law enforcement agencies and communities to raise awareness and assist local collaboration across Alberta
- identify strategies and actions to combat racism
The Alberta Anti-Racism Advisory Council submitted their recommendations on addressing racism to the Government of Alberta in 2021.
Read the recommendations:
- Alberta Anti-Racism Advisory Council Recommendations (PDF, 634 KB)
Mohamad Awada, Co-Chair
Mohamad Awada is the West and North advisor for the office of the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. He formerly held several positions at the Centre for Newcomers in Calgary, an organization that helps newcomers integrate into life in Alberta and fosters a welcoming environment in Calgary. Over the past several years, his responsibilities at the organization included working as the cultural community associate, the volunteer lead refugee innovation project coordinator and the digital messaging manager for refugees and newcomers.
Mohamad moved to Calgary in 2013 and has been an active volunteer and advocate in the community for areas like children’s services, women in need, vulnerable refugees, newcomer populations, mental health, trauma and various crises.
Mohamad is a board member with the mid-Eastern-European diversity council with the Calgary police and is the current vice president of the Alberta Muslim Social Association and sits on the board of the Calgary Lebanese Association.
Mohamad has completed training with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as well as with the Rainbow Railway Foundation to strengthen his ability to support Calgary’s diverse community. He has a bachelor’s degree in visual communication in graphic design, a bachelor’s degree in general business from the Lebanese International University and has an immigration practitioner diploma from Bow Valley College.
Mohamad is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Award for his volunteer and contributions to the Newcomers community in Alberta, been recognized for his work in Lebanon’s refugee camps by the Amel Association, and has received an honorary certificate from the Calgary Cultural Arab Festival acknowledging his contributions to the Muslim and Lebanese communities.
Sania Chaudhry, Co-Chair
Sania Chaudhry is a lawyer at the Real Estate Council of Alberta, where she practices in administrative and regulatory law. She advances anti-racism and equity, diversity and inclusion as part of her work on a number of boards, committees and organizations serving the legal profession and has also published many articles on these topics.
She received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and sociology in 2014 and a law degree with a social justice specialization in 2017 at the University of BC.
Helen Agbonison is the founder and president of Africans and African Descendants Friendship Club of St Albert. She helps the community preserve and promote African cultures and history through events. She seeks ways to support community members settle and integrate into St Albert. She has over five years of board and committee experience.
Helen holds an MBA in Management from the Rivers State University of Science & Technology, as well as an Applied Land Use Planning Certificate from University of Alberta. She is a recent recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee award.
Dr. Stephen Akindipe
Dr. Stephen Akindipe is a family physician who works with Alberta Health Services in the delivery of quality health care to two designated rural communities of Coronation and Consort. Stephen currently serves as a member of the board of directors of the Big Country Primary Care Network located in central Alberta. He also has Clinical faculty appointments at the departments of Family Medicine of the Universities of Alberta and Calgary.
Stephen is a Specialist Family Physician certified by the Royal College of General Practitioners of United Kingdom and the College of Family Physicians of Canada.
Celso Andrade is currently the president and general manager of Sunfreight Cargo International Edmonton Ltd., headquartered in Edmonton. Celso is also the Vice President and one of the founding partners of the Philippine Business Society of Alberta (PBSA). Celso is an awardee for GEM awards for business member of Beulah Alliance Church Intercultural MSC group and is also an awardee of Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Award for community service. Celso is an active initiator for the Filipino Community Center in Edmonton.
Celso holds a degree in bachelor science in customs administration (BSCA) and associate degree in marine engineering from Philippine Maritime Institute (PMI).
Charles Anim Odame-Ankrah
Charles Anim Odame-Ankrah is a scientist who works with Global Analyzer Systems Ltd. to help oil and gas companies with their emissions reporting and auditing. Charles has board roles with minority communities with advocacy for diversity and inclusion. Charles is a public service volunteer with numerous workshops for at-risk youth in the community. He advocates against racial discrimination in African communities in Calgary. He is a founding member of the African Coalition in Calgary. Charles holds a PhD in chemistry from University of Calgary.
Shreekanta Aryal is a social activist and community volunteer. He has been volunteering and contributing hundreds of hours to the community and different organizations for the past several years in various roles. His most recent positions have been as a board member of Nepali Pathshala (language and culture school), event coordinator, secretary, vice president and he is currently serving as the president of the Nepalese Community Society of Calgary (NCSC).
Shreekanta holds a Master of Economics from Tribhuvan University Kathmandu Nepal.
Ambreen Azim is a lawyer practising in Calgary who works with KH Dunkley Law Group as their family law and child welfare lawyer. She has more than 13 years of litigation experience, including family law, child welfare, personal injury, criminal, appeal litigation and immigration law. She is actively involved in several community service organizations and has a wealth of understanding, experience and knowledge working with diverse cultures and communities. She holds an L.L.B honours degree from the University of Southampton School of Law.
Pamela Beebe works for Calgary’s not-for-profit sector, where she has several years of experience. She is a member of the Kainai First Nation and is committed to the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In 2020, she was awarded the diversity and inclusion award from the University of Calgary in the staff category.
Pamela has a Doctor of Chiropractic from Life West Chiropractic College and a bachelor of science degree from McGill University.
Khaleel Bhatti has volunteered for and chaired various committees and boards in the community services sector. This includes the South Asian community services society, the International Human Rights Commission, and the Pakistan-Canada Association in Calgary, where he prepared and distributed food hampers to families.
Khaleel works as a real estate specialist with Premier Realty Direct in Calgary. His education includes a business management diploma from Columbia College in Calgary, and a Master of Arts with a major in economics from the University of Punjab.
For the past 26 years, Fariborz Birjandian has been the CEO of Calgary Catholic Immigration Society, the third largest immigrant serving agency in Canada. From the local level to international, Fariborz has served on many committees, boards and task forces related to immigration, refugees, diversity, equal rights and the cultural arts.
Bassam Fares has 21 years of experience working with the Muslim community in Edmonton in various roles with a number of organizations. His experience includes youth director with Alrashid Mosque, community centre manager with Mac Islamic Centre, vice-president with the Islamic family and social services association, board member with the Edmonton Council of Muslim communities, and board chair and police chief advisory committee member with Mac Islamic school. He has also taught at the Edmonton Islamic Academy.
Pauline Greenidge is a senior human resources professional and business owner who works with organizations and professionals as a workplace consultant, coach, speaker and facilitator. Pauline is a committee member of Higher Landing’s Grizzly Council of Alberta. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Lethbridge and is a published author and instructor in Continuing Education at the University of Calgary. She is a Chartered Professional in Human Resources and has been awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal.
Adil Zaki Hasan
Adil Zaki Hasan is the vice-president and chief operations officer at Hasco Development Corporation, leading multi-million-dollar project development and delivery. Adil is active in the community, including in roles as vice-president, Civic Engagement for the Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council and board member for Al Mustafa Academy and Humanitarian Society.
Adil holds a BSc in electrical engineering (biomedical), a Master of Engineering Management and is working towards a Master of Business Management.
Mr. Hassan is the Executive Director Pro Bono Law Alberta, Founder and Board Chair for Soul Strategic Ventures (UPcomer Capital Ventures, SEi Consulting, Fire-X3), Founder of Gateway Connects for newcomers, and a Co-founder of FullSoul and a fibre optics startup. He holds an MSc. Innovation & Entrepreneurship from HEC Paris and a Public Leadership Credential from Harvard.
Mr. Hassan sits on the AMA Regional board and investment committee, is District Chair of Community Assessments & Partnerships, and is a Rotary Club of Calgary Fish Creek Member. He was honored to be recognized by the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal and Top 40 under 40.
Norman Poon is currently the co-chair of Diversecities, an organization with more than 40 years of success in helping newcomers, vulnerable and visible minority Calgarians. He is the chief customer officer with BitWide, a Calgary-based fractional sales process company helping startups and SME companies to scale, with a special focus on assisting technology companies.
Norman is a chartered professional in human resources and holds a Bachelor of Commerce with distinction in human resources from the University of Alberta.
Sonia Sains is a financial advisor with more than seven years of professional experience in the financial services sector. She is highly skilled in strategy and client engagement.
Sonia has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Delhi and is a Chartered Accountant with the institute of Cost Accountants of India.
Abraham Silverman has 50 years of experience in business, restaurants, automobiles and aviation. Abraham is currently the manager of public affairs with the non-profit of B’nai Birth Canada Alberta Region. Abraham has served as president or board member of 25 different non-profits and business associations over a period of about 50 years.
Gurpreet Singh is currently serving as the president of the Sikh Society of Lethbridge Alberta. With ‘seva’ (service) being one of the central themes of Sikhism, he has long been passionate about serving the Lethbridge community, being involved in various organizations promoting EDI, anti-racism and intercultural harmony in Lethbridge.
Gurpreet has also worked with various organizations at the forefront of EDI and anti-racism. In his professional work he was awarded a SoTL-STAR grant to study collaborative learning in multi-cultural classrooms at Lethbridge College, where he is currently working as an Adjunct Research Scientist. He has served on the Diversity, Equity, Accessibility Advisory Board for Museum Computer Network from 2019 till 2021. Since 2012, he has been an active member with Global Outlook::Digital Humanities, an initiative around the inclusion of the global south into the digital humanities community.
Gurpreet has completed a Bachelor of Technology in IT from Punjab Technical University, Punjab, India, a Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Hertfordshire, UK, as well as post-Graduate (Research) diploma in Computing from Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland. He has keen research interest in the area at the intersection of Ethics, Bias, EDI and AI.
Sheetal Walsh is an executive with 25 years of innovation experience globally. She serves on several boards covering various stakeholders, including startups, agencies, universities and not for profits.
Sheetal has a Master of Science in economics from the London School of Economics and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Alberta. She has received several awards, including the alumni award of excellence from the University of Alberta and the women in business award from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
Public sector bodies are required to post online the names and compensation paid to:
- all Council members
- employees who earn over a threshold amount (see Public sector body compensation disclosure)
This is a requirement under the Public Sector Compensation Transparency Act. The postings are required by June 30 each year and will be maintained for 5 years.
Compensation disclosure and nil report
- Compensation disclosure for the Anti-Racism Advisory Council (2019 to 2022) (CSV, 9 KB)
- Nil Report for 2018 (PDF, 52 KB)
- New members appointed to anti-racism council (June 8, 2022)
- Alberta Anti-Racism Advisory Council Recommendations (June 11, 2021)
- New members appointed to anti-racism council (January 28, 2021)
- Meet Alberta’s first Anti-Racism Advisory Council (February 25, 2019)
Connect with council members, ask questions or provide comments:
Email: [email protected]