Overview

The council consists of up to 24 people who represent Alberta’s diverse communities. Two of the members serve as co-chairs.

The council advises the minister on how to implement and evaluate action items to combat racism.

The council will meet 4 times in 2021. The proposed meeting dates are:

  • Friday, February 19, 2021
  • Friday, May 21, 2021
  • Friday, August 20, 2021
  • Friday, November 19, 2021

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

Council members

Mohamad Awada, Co-chair

Mohamad Awada works in Ward 10 for the City of Calgary. He’s 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 since then has been an active volunteer and advocate in the community. He 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. Mohamad has 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 community.

Mohamad holds a bachelor’s degree in visual communication in graphic design and a bachelor’s degree in general business from the Lebanese International University. Mohamad also received an immigration practitioner diploma from Bow Valley College.

China Ogbonna, Co-chair

China Ogbonna is a Registered Social Worker (RSW) currently working with Edmonton Catholic School District. She works with children, young adults and families using an eclectic approach tailored to meet the unique needs of each new client. She obtained her bachelor of arts (honours) degree from Kingston University, England, and has over 20 years of experience in a variety of settings that encompass health, education, new immigrant services and the employment sector. China currently sits on the board of Black Canadian Women in Action.

Dr. Stephen Akindipe

Dr. Stephen Akindipe is a family physician who works with Alberta Health Services in the delivery of quality health care to 2 designated 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. 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

Celso Andrade is currently the president and general manager of Sunfreight Cargo International Edmonton Ltd. head office in the City of Edmonton. Celso is the past president of the Philippine Business Society of Alberta and is currently an adviser. Celso is also a member of the Edmonton Philippine International Center, and a Committee member of Beulah Alliance Church Intercultural MSC.

Celso holds a degree in bachelor science in customs administration (BSCA) and associate degree in marine engineering at PMI Philippine Maritime Institute.

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.

Melodie Bastien

Melodie Bastien is the North Star parent connector at Opokaasin Early Intervention Society in Lethbridge, where she provides one-on-one support, wrap-around resources and cultural programming for families. Melodie participates in the Blackfoot Traditional way of life within the Blackfoot Confederacy.

Melodie holds a bachelor of arts from the University of Lethbridge and is currently working on her Indigenous bachelor of social work at Red Crow College.

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.

Iman Bukhari

Iman Bukhari is a multimedia professional working as a planner of Channel Management for the City of Calgary. Iman is also an adjunct professor at Columbia College, teaching human rights and diversity courses. Iman is the founder and CEO of the Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation. In this role, Iman led the organization to win 2 separate community advocacy awards. Iman is the recipient of the Community Leadership award from the Sarb Akal Music Society of Calgary and the Top 30 Under 30 award from the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation.

Iman holds a master of arts in multimedia communications from the Academy of Art University.

Yic Camara

Yic Camara is an integration and community liaison agent with Centre d’accueil et d’établissement of Northern Alberta. Yic establishes and maintains contact with French multicultural communities in Edmonton, providing support for integration efforts and building networks between individuals and the community. Yic has been involved in the Guinean community as a student in Bordeaux, France, and in Edmonton. Yic currently sits on the Board of Directors Institut Guy-Lacombe de la Famille (Parent Link Centre) in Edmonton.

Yic holds master degrees in international law and in public and health law from the University of Bordeaux IV, France.

Michael Embaie

Michael Embaie is a practicing licensed immigration consultant in Canada. He has volunteered with not-for-profit local, provincial, national and international organizations for over 25 years, including as president and board member for the Southern Alberta Heritage Language Association and as founding member and president of the African Community Association of Calgary. Michael is the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Immigrant of Distinction Award, the Black Achievement Award and the 125th Anniversary of Confederation of Canada Medal.

Michael holds bachelor and master degree in social work, with a specialization in policy and international social work from the University of Calgary.

Kulshan Gill

Kulshan Gill is a holistic health practitioner in the area of mind-body wellness, stress management and mindfulness-based relaxation therapy. Kulshan holds a bachelor of naturopathy degree from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. In addition, she has training on mind-body medicine from Harvard Medical School and also is an International Medical Graduate from India.

Kulshan is a health educator, community advocate and an avid volunteer who strives to educate and empower people towards leading a holistic and healthier lifestyle.

Nahla Gomaa

Nahla Gomaa is an associate clinical professor, researcher and educator at the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta. She has been serving as the interfaith portfolio chair in the Edmonton Council of Muslim Communities for 4 years, and has built bridges with a number of interfaith organizations in Alberta. She has been contributing yearly in the city commemoration of Remembrance Day, and has organized the Islamic history month at city hall each year.

Nahla is a graduate of the “Gold College of Leadership” at the University of Alberta. She has obtained her fellowship in the U.S. and has been teaching as a visiting faculty member at a number of international universities.

Pauline Greenidge

Pauline Greenidge is a senior human resources professional and business owner who works with organizations as a workplace consultant. 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, Senior Certified Professional of the Society of Human Resource Management.

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 masters in engineering management and is working towards a masters in business management.

Zahro Hassan

Zahro Hassan is a doctoral student at the University of Alberta. Her research focuses on young adult refugees and access to postsecondary education. She has extensive community and youth development experience within several multiracial/multicultural immigrant communities in Toronto, Ottawa and Edmonton.

Zahro is currently board director at the Edmonton Social Planning Council and former support staff for the Toronto District School Board Task Force on the Success of Students of Somali Descent. Zahro is multilingual in English, Somali and conversational Arabic.

Bernadette Iahtail

Bernadette Iahtail is co-founder and executive director of Creating Hope Society, a society founded for the survivors of the “The Sixties and Seventies Scoop of Aboriginal Children in Care”. Bernadette is an active member of Edmonton Coalition for Human Rights, Aboriginal coalitions, the Edmonton Aboriginal Leadership Team and Stony Plain Wapekin Leadership Team. Bernadette is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2015 John Humphrey Centre Gerald L. Gall Award for Peace and Human Rights, the 2018 Diversity Award “Friends of Diversity” and the 2018 Star Blanket Award from Stony Plain Child and Family Services. Bernadette’s 60’s child welfare scoop life documentary is in the Canadian Human Rights Museum in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Bernadette holds a social work diploma from UNBC as well as many certificates including Indigenous Leadership certificates from the Banff Centre.

Adebayo Katiiti

Adebayo Katiiti is the founder and president of RARICAnow, an organization for all LGBTQ refugees in Canada. Adebayo advocates for the rights of refugees by creating awareness of their existence in Canada. He works to ensure that newcomers and refugees learn Canadian culture and get support in navigating the refugee and settlement process. Adebayo is passionate about addressing the challenges around refugees and newcomers in the LGBTQ community that are left untouched and ignored. He hopes that one day all will be well, preaching to the world that every single life matters regardless of the differences.

Tasneem Rahim

Tasneem Rahim is the director of Fund Development and Alumni Engagement at Bow Valley College, responsible for developing and implementing fundraising priorities and strategies for Bow Valley College’s institutional fundraising program. Rahim serves as member, community relations on the Aga Khan Council for the prairies and is the communications member of the Management Committee for Generations: Multi-Generational Housing and Community Centre Campus Calgary.

Tasneem was a member of the Leadership Calgary program and a member of the 2007 Class of Calgary’s Top 40 Under 40. Tasneem holds a bachelor of arts in communications and culture from the University of Calgary.

Judy Shapiro

Judy Shapiro is a member of the Calgary Interfaith Council and a regular volunteer at the Calgary Interfaith Food Bank. She has also served as a board member for the Calgary Council of Christians and Jews and the Committee on Race Relations and Cross-Cultural Understanding.

She recently retired from her position as the associate executive director of the Calgary Jewish Federation where she oversaw all of its programming areas.

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.

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

News

Contact

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

Related

Serving on a board of a public agency

Alberta boards