A Community Champion is an exemplary Canadian who has made an outstanding contribution to their community, and in so doing, to the benefit of all Canadians.
The Canadian Race Relations Foundation is proud to celebrate the achievements of these remarkable Canadians with a Community Champion Special Award, and to share their inspirational stories.
The Canadian Race Relations Foundation celebrated the accomplishments of Rabbi Dr. Reuven P. Bulka, by presenting him with the Community Champion Special Award at the 2014 Awards of Excellence, held November 18, 2014 in Ottawa, Ontario.
Rabbi Dr. Reuven P. Bulka received Rabbinic ordination from the Rabbi Jacob Joseph Rabbinical Seminary in New York in 1965, and his Ph.D.degree from the University of Ottawa in 1971, concentrating on the Logotherapy of Viktor Frankl.
He has been a Rabbi at the Congregation Machzikei Hadas, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada since 1967, the Host on the weekly Radio call-in program Sunday Night with Rabbi Bulka (CFRA), since 1994, and a regular columnist on the Ottawa Citizen – Ask the Religion Experts feature, from 1995 to 2014.
Rabbi Bulka is an author and/or editor of more than 35 books. He has contributed over 100 scholarly and popular articles to various journals, including AMHC Forum, Analecta Frankliana, Chronicle Review, Hadarom, Humanitas, International Forum for Logotherapy, Journal of Ecumenical Studies, Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society, Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Journal of Religion and Health, Judaism, L'Eylah, Midstream, Pastoral Psychology, Tradition, and Voices, among others.
He is the Founder and Editor, Journal of Psychology and Judaism (1976 - 2003) and a Member of the Editorial Boards of Tradition, Journal of Religion and Health, International Forum for Logotherapy, & Pastoral Psychology.
The Canadian Race Relations Foundation celebrated the accomplishments of June Girvan, by presenting her with the Community Champion Special Award at the 2014 Awards of Excellence, held November 18, 2014 in Ottawa, Ontario.
June Girvan has devoted her life to nurturing, protecting, affirming, and giving voice to children and young people.
Since moving to Canada from Jamaica in the 1950s, Ms. Girvan has invested her talents and resources in bettering the lives of newly arrived Canadians, vulnerable children in the school system and at-risk youth. Her career included positions in teaching and curriculum development, and she also served as an Education Officer with the Ontario Ministry of Education.
After her retirement, Ms. Girvan founded the J'Nikira Dinqinesh Education Centre* (JDEC) in Ottawa, where she is the Volunteer-in-Chief. The JDEC's community work is based on honouring and celebrating the moral compass of fellow Canadians, both historic and contemporary, for their efforts in fighting against slavery and championing human rights and social justice in Canada.
The JDEC's main initiatives, held annually in Ottawa, include: Every Child is Sacred and Every Child is Sacred Day; The Era 21 Networking Breakfasts for Young Canadians; History-in-the-Street, and Reconciliation Day.
Ms. Girvan also started a program at Carleton University to expand students' experience and understanding of inclusive citizenship in multicultural societies. The June Girvan Bursary is awarded annually to a graduate student at Carleton who is researching a topic related to reconciliation.
*J'nikira Dinqinesh Education Centre, 333 Besserer St, Ottawa, ON K1N 6B4, 613-241-0743
The Canadian Race Relations Foundation presented the Inter-faith for World Peace Society with the Community Champion Special Award at Building Bridges for Canada, held March 2, 2014 in Richmond, B.C.
Formally, established in 2009, the objective of the Inter-faith for World Peace Society (IWPS) is to embrace multiculturalism and promote racial harmony in the community. While recognizing and respecting the differences of individual faith groups, IWPS puts its emphasis on the passion for love and world peace that runs across all faiths. The approach of IWPS is to work from the grassroots level and focus on youth.
Partnering with a number of community and faith organizations, activities organized by IWPS have included community peace forums and dialogues, seminars, weekly radio programs, youth writing contests, Youth Symposium and Recitation, and World Peace Prayer and Dinner. Some themes of IWPS' activities revolve around The Harmony of Cultures, Religious Coexistence and Cooperation in a Secular Society, Media's Role in Fostering Inter-Faith Harmony, Compassion and Interfaith for World Peace.
Dr. Aziz Khaki – May 31, 1929 to May 22, 2012 – Awarded posthumusly.
The Canadian Race Relations Foundation celebrated the accomplishments of Dr. Aziz Khaki with the Community Champion Special Award at Building Bridges for Canada, held March 2, 2014 in Richmond, B.C.
Dr. Khaki was born in Zanzibar in 1929 and raised in Dar-es-Salaam on the mainland. He was a proud Zanzibari whose heart blazed with love for Africa. His activism started in his early years, entrenched in his passion for justice and human dignity: two concepts that shaped his personality, activism and vision.
Always an outspoken individual, he joined and became active in the independence movement. In August 1962, he married Gulbanu Haji. After Independence, Dr. Khaki immersed himself in working for the betterment of the Muslim and general populations of the country. As the Secretary General of the Tanzania Welfare Society, he was instrumental in creating a Muslim secondary school system that made education possible for thousands of Africans regardless of skin colour, religion or gender.
In 1970, Dr. Khaki, Gul and their son, El-Farouk, fled political repression in Tanzania. And after 3 years in England, found themselves in Canada, drawn to it by its official policies of multiculturalism and bilingualism.
In no time, Dr. Khaki was immersed in community work, first with the Pacific Interfaith Citizenship Association of BC, transforming it from a tea social to a genuine engagement of the diverse faith communities of BC. In 1982 he was asked to head up the Committee for Racial Justice, an organization that was on the forefront of human rights and race relations in BC for many years.
Dr. Khaki was, for many, one of the first public faces of Islam in Vancouver and Canada. Respected by all the diverse Muslim communities in BC, his vision of Islam was broad and inclusive. His many roles include adviser to the British Columbia Medical Association, Vice President of the Council of Muslim Communities of Canada, and Vice President of the Canadian Muslim Federation. He was also one of the founders of the International Development and Relief Foundation.
Dr. Khaki was also Co-chair of the Provincial Committee on Diversity and Policing, a member of the Commanding Officer's Advisory Committee on Cultural Diversity – RCMP 'E' Division; the Advisory Committee to the Federal President of the Treasury Board on Employment of Visible Minorities in the Public Service and Crown Corporations, and member of the National Defence Consultative Committee on Social Change.
In addition, Dr. Khaki was a recipient of the Federal Minister of Multiculturalism Award on Excellence in Race Relations, and a recipient of the Governor General's Award on the 125th Anniversary of Canada. In 2000 he was declared as one of the 25 influential spiritual leaders of the past 100 years in British Columbia. In 2009, he received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from St. Mark's College, University of British Columbia.
He has to his credit a number of publications including Acceptance of Religious Diversity in Canadian Society; Rights of the Child; and Progress toward Equality: Proceedings of the National Symposium.
The Canadian Race Relations Foundation celebrated the accomplishments of Dr. Alan Lau with the Community Champion Special Award at Building Bridges for Canada, held March 2, 2014 in Richmond, B.C.
A successful entrepreneur-turned-community-developer, Dr. Alan Lau has been a stalwart of community service and champion of racial equality ever since he emigrated from Hong Kong to Canada – a country whose freedom and opportunity he greatly appreciates. Born in Macau China, Dr. Lau was educated at St. John University in Shanghai, where he studied business administration.
Throughout his long and illustrious career, he has at any given time, been a newspaper publisher, a hotelier, politician, an innovative marketer, and manufacturer. In his words: "I like to do what other people think is impossible." In addition to serving on the executive of many organizations and clubs, Dr. Lau is a past member of the Vancouver Board of Trade and of Rotary International, and has given generously of his time and resources to the realm of public service.
A speaker of six languages, Dr. Lau is Executive Director of Richmond Community Benefit Centre (RCBC), which he founded in 2003 as the Canadian Low-Income Seniors Affordable Housing Society. With the motto "Seniors Helping Seniors," the aim of RCBC has always been to enrich the local atmosphere, and help those members of the community most in need. RCBC represents a membership of over 8,000 people from diverse cultural backgrounds, and has extended its focus from the elderly to families, now offering programs for people from 16 to 100+ years. RCBC's goal is to enrich the community, with a focus on social activities and learning opportunities.
Dr. Lau holds an Honorary Doctor of Law Degree from Golden West University School of Law in Los Angeles. Now in his eighties, he is still as active, enthusiastic, and as committed as he has always been.
The Canadian Race Relations Foundation celebrated the accomplishments of Nitya Varma, by presenting him with the Community Champion Special Award at the 2014 Awards of Excellence, held November 18, 2014 in Ottawa, Ontario.
Nitya has over 45 years of Canadian professional work experience covering consulting, university teaching, research, manufacturing, design, construction projects, management and international telecom assignments. He retired from Bell Canada in 1996 as Director, Corporate Planning and Analysis.
Currently, he is President and CEO of ANASA Group Inc., a management consulting and real estate development company.
He was Senior Advisor at Saudi Telecom Company (1999–2000)to help prepare them for privatization. He served on the Board of Directors of Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) for two consecutive terms (1998–2004).
Despite the fact that Nitya has had a very demanding professional career, he always found time to help others and at the same time has been able to successfully raise three children. Nitya made enormous contributions to the community at large, over the past 45 years. Throughout his life he has served on the Board of Directors of numerous professional, social, cultural, religious and charitable organizations. He has received many volunteer awards for his dedication, commitment and hard work.
The Canadian Race Relations Foundation celebrated the accomplishments of Rabbi Dr. Yosef Wosk, by presenting him with the Community Champion Special Award at Building Bridges for Canada, held March 2, 2014 in Richmond, B.C.
Rabbi Dr. Yosef Wosk was the Director of Interdisciplinary Programs in Continuing Studies and still serves as Adjunct Professor in the Department of Humanities at Simon Fraser University, where he developed seminal programs such as The Philosophers' Café and The Canadian Academy of Independent Scholars.
In addition to being an ordained Rabbi and receiving two honorary doctorates, he holds Ph.D.s in Religion & Literature as well as in Psychology, and Master's degrees in Education and in Theology.
Rabbi Wosk has founded and supported hundreds of libraries worldwide, endowed Vancouver's Poet Laureate, and has lectured at a number of universities and institutes of higher learning throughout the world. Identified as one of the top ten thinkers and most thoughtful citizens in the province, he is an appointed Member of The Order of British Columbia, a recipient of both The Queen's Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals and is included in the Canadian Who's Who. Active in communal affairs—especially in the areas of education, libraries, museums, the arts, social services, heritage conservation, gardens, philanthropy and religion – Rabbi Wosk is a media commentator, public speaker and published author.
Having travelled widely, Rabbi Wosk had the privilege of joining in worship with devotees of many world religions. He has sat on councils with ministers of diverse Christian denominations as well as with Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, atheists, humanists, Wiccans, Masons and representatives of First Nations.
He has been a member of a number of religion-themed organizations including the American Academy of Religion, Society of Biblical Literature, advisory committee for The Westminster Foundation and its Biblical Museum of Canada; Board of the Community Relations Committee and Co-Chair, Interfaith Relations for the Canadian Jewish Congress, a delegate to the Medford (Massachusetts) Clergy Association, and delegate to the Pacific Interfaith Citizenship Association of British Columbia, an organization that defends religious tolerance, cultural and human rights.
Besides serving as clergy and teacher, Rabbi Wosk has also been a generous donor to a plethora of causes in the religious community including schools, synagogues and churches, adult education programs, purchase of sacred scrolls, the establishment of libraries and the donation of art.
Rabbi Wosk is a recipient of numerous awards and accolades, and was recognized as one of British Columbia's top thinkers by the Vancouver Sun and the B.C. Business Magazine.