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, September and November 2023. In 2024, a meeting was held in February, with others scheduled for May, September and November.

2024 council membership updates

  • Council members Mike Shaikh and Yusuf Mohammed were appointed to 3 year terms (January 28, 2024 to January 27, 2027).
  • Mike Shaikh appointed as council co-chair for a 3 year term (January 28, 2024 to January 27, 2027).
  • Council members Ayodele (Stephen) Akindipe, Abraham (Abe) Silverman, Adil Zaki Hasan, Charles Odame-Ankrah and Fariborz Birjandian were re-appointed for a 1 year term (January 28, 2024 to January 27, 2025).

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

Recommendations report

The Alberta Anti-Racism Advisory Council submitted their recommendations on addressing racism to the Government of Alberta in 2021.

Read the recommendations:

Council members

  • Sania Chaudhry, Co-Chair

    Sania is an employment, labour and human rights lawyer practicing in Alberta and BC. She is also a sessional instructor at the University of Calgary Faculty of Law teaching Critical Race Theory and Law and is currently working on her Masters of Law part-time there as well.

    Sania is active on many Boards and Committees for multiple lawyer and community organizations. She was recognized in 2022 as a Top 30 Under 30 by the Alberta Council of Global Cooperation. Also in 2022, she was the recipient of the Women Who Inspire Award by the Canadian Council of Muslim Women and the Community Crusader Award by the South Asian Inspiration Awards. In 2023, she was awarded the Rising Star Award by the South Asian Bar Association of Calgary and was shortlisted as an Excellence Awardee in the Female Trailblazer (Private Practice) category for the Canadian Law Awards. She was recently named one of 2023's Top 25 Influential Lawyers by Canadian Lawyer Magazine.

  • Mike Shaikh, Co-chair

    Mike Shaikh is a businessman, philanthropist and Order of Canada recipient.

    He currently serves as Director of the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary, as well as the University of Calgary Board of Governors and is Treasurer of the Canadian Paralympic Committee. Additionally, Mike has more than 20 years of experience on numerous boards and committees.

    Appointed to the Order of Canada in 2023 for his committed volunteerism and philanthropy across numerous sectors in Calgary and Alberta, Mike holds a Chartered Accountant designation from the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants and is a graduate of the University of Calgary’s BComm Accounting program. 

  • Helen Agbonison

    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. Ayodele (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.

  • 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

    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

    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

    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

    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.

  • Fariborz Birjandian

    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

    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.

  • 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.

  • Hyder Hassan

    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.

  • Yusuf Mohammed

    Yusuf Mohammed, a graduate of Royal Roads University with a Master of Global Management in 2022, holds a Graduate Certificate in Intercultural Communication and Leadership (2015) and a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Communication (2012). Residing in rural Alberta for over 18 years, specifically Medicine Hat, he is attuned to the challenges faced by Black Albertans, particularly in Southern Alberta. In 2006, he founded The Connection, addressing systemic issues visible minorities encounter.

    In 2018, Yusuf established Lantern Glocal Co., offering management consulting services with a focus on intercultural management and human resources. With extensive experience in management and HR, he supports Black entrepreneurs and advocates for diversity, equity, and inclusion in Alberta. Yusuf's volunteer work includes immigrant settlement programs and serving on boards like Medicine Hat College's Board of Governors.

  • Norman Poon

    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

    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

    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

    With ‘seva’ (service) being one of the main pillars of Sikhism, Gurpreet Singh, currently the president of the Sikh Society of Lethbridge Alberta, has been passionate about serving the community. He has been involved in organizations promoting EDI, anti-racism and intercultural harmony in Lethbridge.

    In his professional work, along with teaching at various post-secondary institutes in Alberta and India, he has continuously tried to work in the areas at the intersection of Ethics, Bias, EDI and AI. He has served on the Diversity, Equity, Accessibility Advisory Board for Museum Computer Network, Global Outlook: Digital Humanities.

    He holds B. Tech in IT (Punjab Technical University, Punjab, India), MS in Artificial Intelligence (University of Hertfordshire, UK), PG (Research) diploma in Computing (Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland). Currently he is running Oxford Learning Centre in Lethbridge along with his consultancy firm in the areas of Machine Learning, Data Management and NLP.

  • Sheetal Walsh

    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.

Compensation disclosure

Public sector bodies are required to post online the names and compensation paid to:

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



Connect with council members, ask questions or provide comments:
Email: [email protected]