Members of the Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security
- Mr. Leo Adler
- Dr. Amarnath Amarasingam
- Dr. Maurice Chalom
- Mr. Ali Nestor Charles
- Ms. Rita Giang
- Mr. Hussein Hamdani
- Ms. Ayan Hersi
- Mr. Soon Kim
- Mr. Vahan Kololian
- Dr. Myrna Lashley
- Ms. Gbonga Loro
- Ms. Bronwyn Shoush
- Ms. Yusra Siddiquee
- Mr. Sukhvinder Singh Badh
- Ms. Anju Virmani
Mr. Leo Adler graduated from McGill University and then attended Osgoode Hall Law School, graduating in 1973. While in law school Mr. Adler co-authored a report entitled "The Police Function in Our Changing Society" for the Solicitor-General of Canada. In 1972-1973, Mr. Adler was named Special Project Director for the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario and worked with the Chief Judge of the (then) Provincial Court (Family Division) in the complete re-organization and overhaul of that court.
Mr. Adler was called to the Ontario Bar in 1975, and eventually opened his own law firm, now known as Adler Bytensky Prutschi.
While Mr. Adler's practice is almost exclusively criminal, he has also appeared before various boards and tribunals and at inquests. He has acted as counsel in extradition matters, trials and administrative and quasi-criminal hearings throughout Ontario, as well as in other provinces. Mr. Adler's experience in DNA cases and other forensic issues has caused him to be consulted by other counsel for these and other legal issues.
Mr. Adler has authored numerous articles that have been published in a variety of journals. He has appeared frequently as a commentator with regards to the criminal justice system. As well, he has either spoken to or chaired a number of committees, groups and seminars dealing with different aspects of criminal law.
Mr. Adler is an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School where he now teaches International Criminal Law. He has also lectured or spoken at various other law schools.
From 1999 to 2009, Mr. Adler was the Director of National Affairs for Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies. In that capacity, Mr. Adler was responsible for the NGO's social action programs and national public relations campaigns and regularly met with Government Ministers, diplomats, politicians and other officials.
Dr. Amarnath Amarasingam, PhD, is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University and also lectures at the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University. He is the author of Pain, Pride, and Politics: Sri Lankan Tamil Activism in Canada (under contract with The University of Georgia Press). His research interests are in diaspora politics, social movements, radicalization and terrorism, media studies, and the sociology of religion. He is the editor of The Stewart/Colbert Effect: Essays on the Real Impacts of Fake News (2011) and Religion and the New Atheism: A Critical Appraisal (2010). He has also published articles in Studies in Religion, the Journal of Contemporary Religion, Canadian Ethnic Studies, Muslim Minority Affairs, the Journal of Religion and Film, and Mental Health, Religion, and Culture. He has presented papers at numerous national and international conferences, and has contributed to The Daily Beast, The Toronto Star, Groundviews, The Province (Vancouver), The Huffington Post and The Washington Post's On Faith blog.
Dr. Maurice Chalom began his career in the municipal sector in 1989 as a Senior Strategic Planning Advisor to senior management for the Montreal Urban Community Police Centre (now the SPVM), after having worked for 10 years in the community. In 2003, he was appointed Director of Intercultural Affairs, a position he held until 2006. He is now Head of Strategic Planning and Community Development and conducts various studies on managing urban diversity. He holds a Ph.D. in education from the Université de Montréal (1988) and received a postdoctoral fellowship (1989) from that same university. He is also an Associate Researcher at the Université de Montréal's International Centre for Comparative Criminology. From 1985 to 2000, he was a lecturer at the Université de Montréal and the Université du Québec à Montréal.
Maurice Chalom is the author of a number of works on immigrant integration strategies, urban violence, police reform, insecurity and municipal governance, as well as some 60 scientific articles published in various international journals. Starting in 2004, he branched out into another type of writing, editing several collections of essays published with Éditions les 400 coups, and the Centre International de Documentation et d'Information Haïtienne, Caribéenne et Afro-Canadienne (CIDIHCA) on intolerance, exclusion, discrimination, racism and child rights. These collections contain texts written by students at Jewish, Muslim, multi-ethnic and Quebec French schools in the Montreal area. In 2012, with the participation of two secondary schools in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and a Jewish secondary school in Montreal, he coordinated a new collection entitled L'un pour l'autre, based on the central themes of cooperation, solidarity and peace. Interested in fiction, in 2009 Maurice Chalom published his first novel with Éditions Leméac entitled Va, Moshone. He now spends his time writing.
Active in the community, Maurice Chalom is the co-founder of Action Week Against Racism and sits on the board of directors of the Congrès Juif Québécois.
Mr. Ali Nestor Charles, born in Haiti, Ali joined his parents, who had immigrated to Montreal, when he was six. His parents came from respected families; however, they quickly had to face the harsh realities of immigration and start over at the bottom. His father became a dishwasher at the Hilton Hotel, and his mother worked in a factory. Both earned minimum wage. His parents separated when he was 11, and his relationships with them became very tense. He no longer felt he had a place at home and became a victim of the vicious circle that is life on the streets. He spent five years going back and forth between youth centres and the streets. At 17, after witnessing a number of fatal incidents involving his street brothers, Ali did some soul searching. He realized that his future would be short if he continued on the path he was on, and he blamed himself for causing his mother’s ailing health by creating stress and making her worry so much.
In 1997, desiring to share his passion for martial arts with others, Ali created the Académie Ness Martial, which specializes in teaching combat sports. In 2001, always looking for a new challenge, Ali started his own promotions company for combat sports.
In 2004, he founded the not-for-profit organization Ali et les Princes de la Rue as an escape for troubled youth. Ali continued his boxing career and won successive championship titles in Quebec, Canada and WBC Latino before finally becoming UBO World Champion. He created the École de la relève Ali Nestor in 2010, a sport-study program for troubled youth and the first program of its kind in North America.
In 2001, he started speaking at schools, correctional institutions and youth centres in Montreal. In 2002, he was the main character in the film Le ring intérieur, directed by Dan Bigras.
Honours and awards: La Presse Person of the Week and finalist for La Presse Person of the Year, Young leaders award for social responsibility from the Haitian Junior Chamber of Commerce in Montreal, Tribute award at Quand la jeunesse s investit
Ali et les Princes de la Rue has come a long way since its creation in 2004. Today it is a resource recognized by both professionals and the public for its work with at-risk youth and young people from disadvantaged communities. His approach of intervention through martial arts and boxing has drawn the attention of research teams, and institutional stakeholders have been inspired by his innovation and the observed progress made by the young people involved.
Ms. Rita Giang came to Canada in October, 1970 from Taiwan. She has been working in Canada as a professional journalist for 40 years. She is now the news director at the Fairchild TV which is the only national Chinese TV network in Canada which runs both Cantonese and Mandarin channels.
Rita received two Bachelor Degrees from the University of Toronto in 1984 (majored in Political Science), and Cheng-Chi University of Taipei in 1968 (Majored in Journalism). Rita has also been a prolific writer. For decades she wrote political columns for many Canadian Chinese newspapers, as well several newspapers and news magazines in Hong Kong and Taiwan. She started writing books since the 90’ and seven of them been published which also received excellent reviews. Most of her books are great reference books for new Chinese immigrants. Her latest book is also the first comprehensive Canadian history book in Chinese: Canadian History 1492-1892. It covers the early 400 years history of our great country.
Her other books are all good reference books. One book on English Names was the first comprehensive book in Chinese on the English names, which after 4th printing is still in great demand in the Chinese market covering Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Her other popular book: Hollywood Legends focused on the history of the Hollywood movie industry. She also wrote columns on gardening for Chinese newspapers for more than 15 years and having three gardening books published. Those are all pioneering gardening books in Chinese for North American readers. Many new immigrants use her book as the only reference book since there was none before. She has recently finished a book on the life and death of John F. Kennedy which covers almost half a century political history of the United States.
Mr. Hussein Hamdani of Ontario holds a Bachelor of Law from the University of Western Ontario and a Master of Arts in International Relations from the University of Toronto. Mr. Hamdani is currently a Barrister and Solicitor with Simpson Wiggle LLP and a law instructor at Niagara College. He also serves as a Public Relations Officer with the Halton Islamic Association and a Senior Advisor to the Muslim Youth of North America Organization. Mr. Hamdani is a Director on the Board of the Hamdani Foundation of St. Catharines and the Settlement and Integration Services Organization of Hamilton. He co-coordinated the Toronto Muslim Summit in 2003 and is a founding member of the Ihya Foundation.
Ms. Ayan Hersi of Ontario, holds a Juris Doctor and Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto. She has served as a leadership consultant on projects both locally and internationally, primarily in the areas of business development, educational training and youth empowerment. Most notably she designed an educational production in Southern Africa, helping to initiate new dialogue with regional policy makers. In recognition of these contributions, Ms. Hersi has been the recipient of several awards including the Canadian Urban Institute Leadership Award, the YWCA Young Women of Distinction, and Flare Magazine Volunteer Award. She was also featured in Flare Magazine’s “30 of Canada’s Most Influential Young Women.”
Mr. Soon Kim, a Chartered Accountant, is founder and president of Newgen Group of Companies, a leading real estate development and financial management company based in Burnaby, BC. In this role, Soon provides the overall vision and leadership for Newgen’s various business lines. He has an exemplary track record of success in both entrepreneurial ventures and real estate investments. His passion and dedication to building stronger communities has led to over $200 million in real estate development projects including various residential, commercial and mixed used properties across Canada since 1997.
Since he immigrated to Canada in 1979, Soon has been a staunch believer in philanthropy and community involvement. He supports various charitable and non-profit organizations – most recently donating a condo unit at the Ridge Resort development to BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. A graduate of UBC Commerce, he is also a past nominee for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year. He currently lives in Coquitlam with his wife and two children.
Mr. Vahan Kololian is the Founder and Managing Partner of the Toronto based investment group, TerraNova Partners. Vahan is also the co-founder and Chair of the Mosaic Institute (www.mosaicinstitute.ca).
Vahan lives in Toronto with his wife Susie. They have two children, Christopher (25) and Tanya (23). Both he and Susie are active in community affairs.
Vahan has been a member of Young Presidents' Organization (YPO) and now its alumni group, The World Presidents' Organization. He holds a B.A. from the University of Western Ontario (1975); French Language Diploma from the University of Grenoble, France (1976); and an LL.B. from the University of Ottawa (1979). He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada. Vahan has also served on the Advisory Board of The Friends of Peter F. Drucker Canada.
Dr. Myrna Lashley of Quebec, Chair of the Roundtable, holds a PhD in Counselling Psychology from McGill University. She has been a Professor of Psychology at John Abbott College in Montreal since 2003 and was recently appointed Vice-President of the Governing Board of the École nationale de Police du Québec. Dr. Lashley has served as a consultant to the Jewish Family Services Centre, as well as the Ville Marie Social Services, both of Montreal. She was a member of the Centre for Research Action on Race Relations from 1999-2002 and is the Recipient of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Award from the City of Montreal in 2004, an award presented to an individual whose contributions to the community exemplify the work of Dr. King.
Ms. Gbonga Loro received a B.Sc in Biology and Psychology from the University of Zambia in 1981, becoming a research officer in Juba, Sudan and training in diagnosis and vaccine production at Kabete Veterinary Research Laboratories in Kenya. Gbonga then continued on to an M.Sc in Virology from the University of Reading, UK, in 1985. Prior to entering university, Gbonga helped to advocate the Addis Ababa Accord through the Anya Nya Movement and continued to work as an Administrative Secretary to the late Peter Gatkuoth and late Clement Mboro, Commissioner for Repatriation and Rehabilitation. Gbonga formed various women’s organizations in Nairobi, toured the liberated areas to identify pilot projects for women sponsored by LWF and UNICEF, and organized a historic rally in Nairobi’s Uhuru Park televised by KTN and CNN. She helped form the Sudanese Canadian Community Association of Edmonton and was elected its President and CEO from 2007 to 2010. Since 2010 she has been the Co-Founder and President of “The Foundation for Strategic Development of African Refugees and Immigrants”.
Between November 2010- 16 January, 2011 Gbonga was employed by (IOM) International Organization for Migration as the Chairperson for Consideration Committee representing Western Canada in the South Sudan Referendum; this is the final decision maker in cases of false voter identification and voting fraud committed by voters. This Referendum culminated in full Independence for South Sudan on 9thJuly, 2011.
Ms. Bronwyn Shoush of Alberta is an Aboriginal lawyer, member of the Law Society of Alberta, and since 1999 a member of the executive committees of Alberta Justice and Attorney General, Alberta Solicitor General and Public Security, and most recently Alberta Aboriginal Relations. As the Director of Aboriginal Justice Initiatives, she works with Aboriginal communities and others to promote safe communities and confidence in the justice system. She has served on a number of Taskforces and Boards including the Canada Employment and Immigration Advisory Council, the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Initiative (CBCRI), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Aboriginal Peoples' Health (IAPH), the Premier's Taskforce on Crystal Methamphetamine, the Alberta Cancer Board; and is a Board member of the University of Alberta Centre for Constitutional Studies. Bronwyn has spoken at provincial, national and international conferences on justice, health, and security themes. In 1992, she received the Canada 125 medal for outstanding service to community.
Ms. Yusra Siddiquee of Ontario was called to the Bar in 1996. She graduated from the University of British Columbia law school and holds a bachelors degree from McGill University. Ms. Siddiquee is a partner at the law firm of Ogilvy Renault and leads the Business Immigration and International Mobility practice group in Toronto. She has been selected as a leading specialist in her field by international publications. Ms. Siddiquee is a founding member and Chair of the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association. She has been actively involved in human rights, refugee protection and immigration awareness issues for over 20 years. Ms. Siddiquee has made representations on civil liberties issues to the Senate sub-committee, and has spoken and written on immigration and human rights issues domestically and internationally.
Mr. Sukhvinder Singh Badh of British Columbia holds a Masters in Economics from Simon Fraser University. He is currently an instructor at the Simon Fraser University (SFU) Department of Economics and the Douglas College Department of Economics. Mr. Badh's qualifications to serve the ethnic community are enhanced by his work in International Business Studies at the University College of the Cariboo, along with a number of active roles in student and curriculum/program development. His many service roles include his participation on the Advisory Committee on the Environment to City Council for the City of Richmond, his role as Trustee for the CKNW Radio Orphans' Fund, Chair of the Richmond Hospital Foundation, and as a Richmond Youth Soccer coach.
Ms. Anju Virmani of Ontario holds a B.Sc. and B.Ed. from the University of Delhi, India, and an MBA from Baruch College, City University of New York. She has a keen interest in corporate governance and holds the designation of Charter Director of McMaster University. Since 2001, she has been the Chief Information Officer of Cargojet Canada, the country's cargo airline. Ms. Virmani has been an adviser and consultant in the field of information technology for more than 20 years in both Canada and the U.S. She currently serves on the Advisory Council for National Security, a body that advises the Prime Minister on all issues related to national security. Ms. Virmani also serves on the board of TiE, The Indus Entrepreneurs, a global, non-profit organization of entrepreneurs and professionals that nurture entrepreneurship through networking, mentoring and knowledge sharing. She has served on the Trade Committee of the Indo Canada Chamber of Commerce, the Advisory Board of Spatialview, Inc., and has served as a member of the Panorama India Board. Ms. Virmani is involved in activities and leadership conferences that bridge the gaps between India and Canada and bring both countries together.
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