Thakore Visiting Scholar Award

The Thakore Visiting Scholar Award has been awarded annually since 1991 at Simon Fraser University. It honours individuals who have devoted their lives to “creativity, commitment and a deep concern for truth in public life, which includes but is not limited to, showing the connection between academic values and critical public spirit.” 

Each year, a remarkable individual, whose life and work embodies Mahatma Gandhi’s principles of social justice, non-violence, environmental conservation, conflict resolution and world peace, is honoured at SFU with this award. The recipient also gives the Gandhi Commemorative Lecture at the Institute for the Humanities.

Please click below to further explore past recipients of the Thakore Visiting Scholar Award.

Distinguished International Personalities

Recipients of the Thakore Visiting Scholar Award

2021 - David Suzuki

For his work as a world leader in sustainable ecology

Award-winning geneticist and broadcaster David Suzuki co-founded the David Suzuki Foundation in 1990. In 1975, he helped launch and host the long-running CBC Radio’s, Quirks and Quarks. In 1979, he became familiar to audiences around the world as host of CBC TV’s The Nature of Things, which still airs new episodes.

From 1969 to 2001, he was a faculty member at the University of British Columbia, and is currently professor emeritus. He is widely recognized as a world leader in sustainable ecology and has received numerous awards for his work, including a UNESCO prize for science and a United Nations Environment Program medal. He is also a Companion of the Order of Canada.

He has 29 honorary degrees from universities in Canada, the US and Australia. For his support of Canada’s Indigenous peoples, Suzuki has been honoured with eight names and formal adoption by two First Nations.

In 2010, the National Film Board of Canada and Legacy Lecture Productions produced Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie, which won a People’s Choice documentary award at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. The film weaves together scenes from the places and events that shaped Suzuki’s life and career with a filming of his “Last Lecture”, which he describes as “a distillation of my life and thoughts, my legacy, what I want to say before I die.”

More information on Dr. David Suzuki and his foundation can be found at: https://davidsuzuki.org/

2019 - Raffi Cavoukian

For his for his lifelong focus on “honouring children,” education, and the promotion of an overall “culture of peace.”

A renowned singer known by his first name alone, Raffi was a pioneer in quality recordings for children on his independent label, Troubadour. For millions of fans, Raffi’s music was the soundtrack of their childhoods, and they took his signature song “Baby Beluga” to heart. These “beluga grads” now share his music with their own children. Raffi has been described by the Washington Postand the Toronto Staras “the most popular children’s entertainer in the English-speaking world” and “Canada’s all-time children’s champion.”

Raffi is a music producer, author, entrepreneur and ecology advocate. In 2010, he founded the Raffi Foundation for Child Honouring—a global movement that views honouring children as the best way to create sustainable, peacemaking cultures. Raffi has received the Order of Canada, the Order of BC, the U.N. Earth Achievement Award, and four honorary degrees.

In a career spanning four decades, Raffi has refused all commercial endorsement offers and has never taken part in advertising to children. He is a passionate supporter of a commercial-free childhood, and in 2006 was awarded the Fred Rogers Integrity Award for this work.

His recent work includes the CD, Motivational Songs, a collection of diverse songs for educators, parents and policy makers and companion album to the new Child Honouring online course– an interdisciplinary course in conscious living based on the Child Honouring Covenant and 9 principles.

2018 - Jean Augustine

For her work in advancing the rights of women

Biography

Jean Augustine is Grenadian/Canadian educational administrator, advocate for social justice, and politician. She was the first African-Canadian woman elected to the Canadian House of Commons, and first to serve in the federal Cabinet (2002-2004). She initially came to Canada as a nanny. After a year of work as a nanny, she was granted landed immigrant status and studied to become a teacher. She eventually became a school principal. She served as Parliamentary secretary to Jean Chrétien (1994-1996), and was Minister of State for multiculturalism (and the status of women) (2002-2004). She served in numerous organizations for education and social justice, such as the National Black Coalition of Canada, Board of Governors of York U, Board of Trustees for The Hospital for Sick Children, the Board of Directors of the Donwood Institute, Chair of the Metro Toronto Housing Authority, National President of the Congress of Black Women of Canada. She championed the law that established February as Black History Month in Canada. Augustine is a member of the Order of Canada, Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and has received several other awards and honorary degrees. She has a school and a scholarship named after her.

Thakore Visiting Scholar Award

Jean was selected as the Thakore Visiting Scholar for her commitment to non-violent efforts for social change and her many similar achievements.  She spent time studying the theories of non-violence actions at the Dr. Martin Luther King Center and chaired the largest conference in Canada on social change and non-violence.  A key event at the conference was Gandhi and King: Dialogue on Non-Violence that brought members of both Black and East Indian communities together.

Amongst her notable achievements was legislation to protect low-income individuals including single mothers. Jean used skillful negotiation to garner unanimous support to pass a historic motion designating February as Black History Month in Canada.

In 2007, the Government of Ontario asked Jean to lead the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the British slave trade. Later that year, she was appointed the first Fairness Commissioner for the Province of Ontario. Jean set new regulatory standards for clarity, openness and streamlined access to employment conditions for foreign trained professionals.

In 2009, Jean was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada for her extensive contribution to Canadian society as a politician, educator and advocate for social justice. She received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012, and in 2014 was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her services to education and politics.

Today, Jean remains involved with community activities including the Jean Augustine Centre for Young Women’s Empowerment. She also supports several scholarships at various post-secondary institutions to help provide a better future for young women.

2017 - John Volken

For his work in helping those with addiction

John Volken immigrated to Canada from Germany at the age of 18.  According to him, he had less than $100 in his pocket. He started out working on farms and construction sites and as a dishwasher. Eventually, he opened a secondhand furniture store, which grew quickly and called it The United Furniture Warehouse, making him very wealthy.

Most wealthy people choose to donate money to sporting activities, hospitals, or arts and culture.  John decided to help drug and alcohol addicts. After selling his company in 2004, he sank approximately $100 million into the John Volken Foundation, which funds an addiction-treatment centre in Surrey called Welcome Home.

He visited recovery centres in Europe and the United States to learn more about this area. A large factor for success was the time involved to treat addiction, which is measured in years not months.  While people can overcome the physical addiction of drugs or alcohol in three or four weeks, up to five years is required to turn their life around.

His idea was to improve people’s lives and set them up for success in life as a whole person, rather than fix a small part of them.   It’s his dedication to this idea that follows in Gandhi’s footsteps to help those marginalized and care for them.

There are currently 3 John Volken Academies, in Vancouver, Phoenix, and Seattle. These facilities not only offer one of the most effective treatment programs, but also one of the most affordable. Other than a relatively small one-time admittance fee, the entire costs of the program, as well as all members’ basic living costs while in the program, are paid for by John’s Foundation.
 
John also continued to look for other ways to help those in need. In particular he traveled to Africa to determine how he could help that continent’s destitute children. After seeing firsthand the terrible plight of so many orphans, John returned home and formed Lift the Children, a registered charitable organization funded extensively by his Foundation. Lift the Children helps the poorest of the poor in Africa in their struggle not only to survive, but also to become self-sufficient.

To those who know John, it is no surprise that he continues to work 60-hour plus weeks, maintaining the same hands-on management style that drove his business success. He is joined and very much supported in these efforts by his wife, Chawna, who is a constant source of strength in his efforts to serve the disadvantaged, often traveling with him on grueling missions to Africa.

 

More information on John and his foundation is available here:

http://www.johnvolkenfoundation.org/our-founder/

2016 - Judy Graves

For her work on helping the homeless
An extraordinary force for positive change, a pioneer and leader working to end homelessness

Throughout her 33-year career with the City of Vancouver, Judy Graves cultivated caring connections with people living on the streets and in shelters, and served as a tireless advocate on behalf of those marginalized by homelessness.

Graves approached her work in a deeply personal way, walking the streets of Vancouver in all kinds of weather and at all hours of the night, reaching out to people living on the streets and listening to their stories, while helping them navigate the delicate process of rebuilding their lives.

Tenacious, compassionate, and deeply faithful in humanity––a true inspiration

At City Hall, her passion for helping people affected by homelessness brought together diverse communities and organizations with a shared vision to create long-term solutions. When Graves retired in the spring of 2013, Vancouver’s streets had fewer people sleeping outside because of her unwavering belief that the number of homeless in our city could––and should––be zero.

Her work is respected by citizens across Canada. She has received numerous awards and accolades including an Honorary Doctorate in Law from the University of British Columbia in 2009 and an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity from the Vancouver School of Theology in 2013. Graves continues to have a direct and lasting impact on the lives of homeless people in Vancouver, helping to restore hope to those without safe and secure housing.

2015 - Jennifer Simons

For her work on nuclear disarmament

This year the Thakore Family Foundation, The India Club of Vancouver and the J.S. Woodsworth Chair in the Humanities at Simon Fraser University celebrates the 24th annual Gandhi Jayanti Celebration with an Award to Jennifer Simons for her work on nuclear disarmament, peace and human rights.

Jennifer is an award-winning educator, thought leader and nuclear disarmament specialist. As Founder and President of The Simons Foundation, an innovative private foundation based in Vancouver, Canada, Dr. Simons has pioneered research, advocacy and action in advancing nuclear disarmament, peace, human rights and global co-operation, and regularly speaks on nuclear disarmament issues at international conferences and other events. Dr. Simons is also personally committed to supporting the arts and cultural community in Vancouver.

On October 3rd, Jennifer will talk about her work on nuclear disarmament, peace and human rights.

Gandhi was able to both motivate and empower people – the common people – to stand against terrible injustice and take actions toward achieving a society based on principles of human community.  Jennifer Simons and Mahatma Gandhi both devoted their lives to creativity, commitment, and a deep concern for human rights. And both had a passion for peace and non-violence.

She was appointed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs to the Canadian Government Delegation to the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference at the United Nations in 2000, and again to the Non-Proliferation Treaty PrepCom at the United Nations in 2002 and was a member of the Steering Committee of the Foreign Affairs Canada Consultations on Nuclear Issues, as well as a member of the Executive Group of the Canadian Committee for the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations.

Dr. Simons is a Founding Partner of Global Zero, an international initiative of 300 world leaders dedicated to achieving the phased, verified elimination of nuclear weapons by 2030.

Dr. Simons was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2010 for her contributions to the promotion of peace and disarmament and received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.  She was also awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 for her service to the global effort to eradicate landmines. Dr. Simons received the 2006 Vancouver Citizens’ Peace Award in recognition of her leadership, energy and effort to the promotion of peace and disarmament, and was honoured by Simon Fraser University and the Alumni Association with a 2009 Outstanding Alumni Award for her Service to the Community.  In 1998, she received the Anniversary Jubilee Medal Award of Highest Merit for Contribution to Development of Civil Society by Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic and Simon Fraser University honoured Dr. Simons with the Jennifer Allen Simons Chair in Liberal Studies and presented her with the Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award in 1996. In 1999, she was honoured with an Award for Contribution to Education by Wilp Wilxo’oskwhl Nisga’a House of Wisdom, Nass Valley, Canada, received the First Annual Canadian Peace Award for Peace Philanthropy in 2000, and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Northern British Columbia in 2001.

2013 - Lee Lakeman

For her work on violence against women

This year 2013 the Thakore Family Foundation, The India Club of Vancouver and the J.S. Woodsworth Chair in the Humanities at Simon Fraser University celebrates the 23rd annual Gandhi Jayanti Celebration with an Award to Lee Lakeman for her nearly forty years of working to end violence against all women.

On October 3rd, Lee will talk about her work with ending violence against women, women`s equality and strengthing the women`s movement.

Gandhi was able to both motivate and empower people – the common people – to stand against terrible injustice and take actions toward achieving a society based on principles of human community.  Lee Lakeman and Mahatma Gandhi bothdevoted their lives to creativity, commitment, and a deep concern for truth in public life. And both had a passion for helping those who were the most marginalized.

Vancouver Rape Relief is the first rape crisis centre in Canada. Since 1973, VRRWS has operated as a Collective to run a 24-hour rape crisis line, and since 1981 a transition house for women escaping violent men. Having started one of the first transition houses in Canada and secured its initial funding, Lee Lakeman moved to Vancouver to join the Collective at VRRWS in 1978. She has remained highly active and become an internationally recognized feminist leader.

Ms. Lakeman’s expertise is strongly grounded in frontline work with women resisting men’s violence. In her first ten years alone at the VRRWS, Ms Lakeman answered at least one thousand crisis calls and assisted those women resisting male violence.

Her clear objective has been to strengthen the women’s movement. She can be credited with mentoring and developing several hundred women activists as members of the VRRWS collective and providing resources and support to the growth of other activist groups. Expecting that men of conscience would live up to their best, Ms. Lakeman initiated and chaired a committee of male allies who have, for over thirty-five years, raised funds and promoted the important work of VRRWS in the community.

Always rooted firmly in the base of front line work with raped and battered women, Ms. Lakeman has written and spoken widely on violence against women and women’s equality. She has authored many articles and book chapters; most recently “Ending Rape: The Canadian State Responsibility” was published in International Approaches to Rape. (Bristol, England: University of Bristol Press. 2011). Several years ago, she coordinated a five-year research and development project funded by Justice Canada at ten sites to examine the inadequacies of the criminal justice system on violence against women. She authored the final report, which was published more widely as a book entitled “Obsession with Intent: Violence Against Women (published by Black Rose Books).

Ms. Lakeman, working both as VRRWS and as an elected representative of the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centers (CASAC), has been recognized internationally by feminists in India, Russia, Spain, Africa, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States as a leader in anti-violence work. She has represented VRRWS and CASAC internationally in coalitions of non-governmental agencies and in consultation on violence against women issues, including the preparation of two recent NGO reports to the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Most recently, Ms. Lakeman convened the Women’s Equality Coalition, comprised of seven groups from across Canada including the Native Women Association of Canada (NWAC) and the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAFES) to bring the women’s equality perspective to the Supreme Court challenge to the Canadian prostitution laws. Canadian governments have sought Ms. Lakeman’s expertise as a representative of VRRWS and CASAC, resulting in the representation of the Canadian women’s movement in federal consultations on women’s issues and presentations to federal committees on violence, prostitution, and trafficking.

 

Lee Lakeman has devoted her adult life to interfering directly with violence against women, analyzing male violence against women as “a force which interferes with and prevent women living as men’s equals, and a consequence of the inequality between women and men” (from 99 Federal Steps: Toward and end to violence against women, by Lee Lakeman, 1993). She has imagined the possibilities of equality and freedom for all, and struggled creatively with other like-minded allies for changes that could end all male violence against women. She has chosen to do so from the Vancouver Rape Relief Collective, and ensured the democratic and egalitarian process of movement building. She chooses the path that benefits women, though it requires many personal sacrifices and difficulties. Many women’s lives have literally been saved through her work.

2012 - Jim Green

For his commitment to social activism, social housing in Vancouver

This year 2012 the Thakore Family Foundation, The India Club of Vancouver and the J.S. Woodsworth Chair in the Humanities at Simon Fraser University celebrates the 22nd annual Gandhi Jayanti Celebration with an Award to the late Jim Green for a lifetime of service to society by helping residents of the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.

On October 3rd, Vancouver city councillor Geoff Meggs, Writer and Activist Am Johal and MLA Jenny Kwan will talk about Jim’s life, his contribution to society and the parallels with Gandhi’s commitment to help those who have the greatest needs.

Gandhi was able to both motivate and empower people – the common people – to stand against terrible injustice and take actions toward achieving a society based on principles of human community.  Jim Green and Mahatma Gandhi were teachers, political activists and agents for social change.  And both had a passion for helping those who were the most marginalized.

Born in Alabama, Jim moved to Canada in the late 1960’s in opposition of the Vietnam war and the draft.  Starting out as longshoreman, Jim close ties with the unions and in the 1980’s became one of the founders of the Downtown Eastside Residents Association.  Jim worked hard to be the voice for many Downtown Eastside (DTES) residents.  His efforts resulted in more social housing, a DTES banking institution, job training programs and free tuition program for entry level university courses for DTES residents.

Jim also had a passion for the arts.  He brought Opera to the DTES and helped restore the historic York Theatre.  One of his proudest achievements was the Woodward’s block, containing social housing, market housing, university facilities and cultural spaces.

He was gruff, hard-nosed and did not shy away from sugar-coating his statements.  Combined with his tenacity, Jim was always controversial.

His actions did earn him an honorary member of the BC Architectural Institute and Planning Institute of BC, an adopted member of the Haida nation and he was a Vancouver city councillor.  Just days before his death, Jim was awarded the freedom of the city, Vancouver’s highest honour.

We invite you to attend the lecture, followed by a question period, on October 3rd, 2012, at 7:30pm in SFU’s downtown Harbour Centre campus (515 West Hastings).  The lecture is free and open to all.  Honouring Jim’s passion for the arts, the Woodward’s Community Choir under the direction of Vanessa Richards will be opening the lecture.

2011 - John O’Brian

For his recent work on how the history of the imagery related to the Atomic Bomb has acclimated us to the bomb

This year 2011 the Thakore Family Foundation, The India Club of Vancouver, Institute for the Humanities and the J.S. Woodsworth Chair in the Humanities at Simon Fraser University celebrates the 21st annual Gandhi Jayanti Celebration with an Award to John O’Brian, for his recent work on how the history of the imagery related to the Atomic Bomb has acclimated us to the bomb.

He will speak on the subject of:

 Through a Radioactive Lens: The Nuclear Era, Photography, and Canada.

Professor O’Brian’s academic work has a deep relationship to Canadian culture’s history, in particular how art and images relate to thinking how the engagement of photography with the atomic era in Canada has influenced our ambivalence toward the presence of the atomic bomb worldwide. His research forms part of a larger project on nuclear photography in North America and Japan, called “Camera Atomica.” “Camera Atomica” is also the name of an exhibition he is preparing for the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Professor O’Brian’s illustrated talk will show the flash points and intersections between nuclear events and Canada’s ambivalence about its role in those events, the existence of non-violent protest, and the uses of photography as a cultural image bank for our nuclear times.  He will trace Canada’s changing opinions of the health hazards of atomic testing and the arms race and how anti-nuclear peace movements, the uses of atomic research and atomic energy then and now, have shaped Canada’s self-image. In histories of nuclear protest, it is sometimes forgotten that the first Aldermaston anti-atomic March in England occurred in 1952 and was called Operation Gandhi, and involved 35 people.

2010 - Heribert and Kogila Adam

Distinguished authors and teachers whose books on peacemaking and non-violent change in South Africa and in divided societies have brought them many honors

This year 2010 the Thakore Family Foundation, The India Club of Vancouver, Institute for the Humanities and the J.S. Woodsworth Chair in the Humanities at Simon Fraser University celebrates the 20th annual Gandhi Jayanti Celebration with an Award to Heribert Adam and Kogila Moodley Adam, distinguished authors and teachers whose books on peacemaking and non-violent change in South Africa and in divided societies have brought them many honors.

They will speak on October 3 at 7:30 p.m. on the subject of

Gandhi and Mandela: Reconciliation in Deeply Divided Societies

The talk will compare Gandhi and Mandela who have been elevated to global icons of non-violent change. They stand for a secular, universalist and cosmopolitan vision. Linked by their struggles to dislodge exploitative external colonialism in the case of India, and internal colonialism in South Africa, they soared above the extremists of their times to seek out alternatives to restore dignity to the human condition regardless of caste, class, color or creed. Yet these noble ideals often founder on a contrary reality. The ‘burden of history’ shapes collective memory.

By comparing Gandhi’s and Mandela’s successes and failures we can draw lessons for post-conflict reconstruction. How do societies deal with the crimes of their past? How can perpetrators and victims of gross human rights violations be reconciled and justice as well as peaceful co-existence secured?

The two-part lecture demystifies Gandhi and Mandela by referring to India, ‘rainbow’ South Africa and the elusive peace in Israel/Palestine. By asking, How can Gandhi and Mandela’s visions of reconciliation be revived in a violence-prone world, the talk will add to our understanding of the cultural and political roots of violence and peacemaking.

Kogila Moodley is Professor Emerita in the Faculty of Education at UBC and was the first holder of the David Lam Chair. Raised in the Indian community of apartheid South Africa, her research is focused on critical multiculturalism and anti-racism education. She has served as President of the International Sociological Association’s Research Committee on Ethnic, Minority and Race Relations (1998-2002).

Heribert Adam, FRSC, is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at SFU and also holds an annual appointment at the University of Cape Town.  Educated at the Frankfurt School of critical theory with Adorno and Habermas as mentors, his most recent books, co-authored with Kogila Moodley, are: Seeking Mandela: Peacemaking between Israelis and Palestinians (Temple University Press, 2006) and, as editor, Hushed Voices: Unacknowledged Atrocities of the 20th Century (Berkshire Academic Press, 2010).

2009 - Ela Bhatt

For her longstanding efforts on behalf of poor women in India and for her work in forming the trade union of the Self Employed Women’s Association in India

Bhatt_Gandhi_peace_acceptance_speech[1]Ela Bhatt spent her life improving working conditions and compensation for self employed women in India.  In 1972 she started a trade union – the ‘Self Employed Women’s Association’ (SEWA) – to fight for their rights.  Now there are more than 1.1 million members and it is the single largest trade union in India.  Under her leadership and guidance SEWA started a bank to give members micro-credit loans to pay off debt and buy the necessary tools of their trade.  Their loan repayment rate is 94% and the bank has a working capital of $1.5 million.  Her efforts have improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of poor people.

Her book, We are poor but so many, published by Oxford University Press (2006) makes for a compelling read.  She was given the award ‘Padmashri’ by the government of India in 1985 and an honorary Doctorate by Harvard University in June 2001. The legacy of Gandhi and the Independence Struggle lives actively and vividly in this alternative cultural-political orientation to the women’s movement, democratic alternatives to large bureaucracies, civil disobedience and working for the welfare and autonomy of the self-employed women of India who work in all walks of life.

Ela Bhatt Accceptance Speech

2008 - Free the Children- Marc Kielburger

For its unique work in creating the largest network of children helping children through education, with more than one million young people involved in various programs in 45 countries

Free The Children was co founded by internationally renowned child activists Craig and Marc Kielburger. The inspiration for this noble cause came in 1955 when 12 year-old Craig Kielburger gathered 11 school friends to begin fighting child labour. Today, Free The Children is the world’s largest network of children helping children through education, with more than one million young people involved in our programs in 45 countries.

In April 1995, looking for the comics section of his local newspaper, 12-year-old Craig Kielburger came across an article which forever changed his life. The piece featured the photo of a boy in a bright red vest, his fist clenched defiantly in the air. Intrigued, Craig read the story of Iqbal Masih, a young boy from Pakistan, who was sold into slavery to work in a carpet factory.

Iqbal worked 12 hours a day, six days a week, tying tiny knots to make hand-made carpets for export. Through luck and bravery, he managed to escape from his life of captivity and began speaking out about children’s rights; educating eager listeners about child labour. Tragically, after reuniting with his family, Iqbal was shot and killed by those who wished to silence him. Iqbal lost his life for defending the rights of children.

Before he read Iqbal’s story, Craig had never heard of child labour. He wasn’t even certain where Pakistan was, but the differences between his life and that of Iqbal shocked him. Craig knew that he had to help. He gathered together a small group of his Grade 7 classmates and Free The Children was born.

The following year, in an attempt to focus the world’s attention on the epidemic of global child rights abuses, Craig embarked on an ambitious fact-finding mission to South Asia. In a press conference held in Delhi, India, Craig challenged the world to take notice of the stories and voices of child labourers everywhere. The media buzz that ensued brought the issue of child labour to the forefront of global debate. Craig’s journey, sparked by Iqbal’s heroic tale, proved that young people have the power to make a difference in the world.

Today, Free The Children is a children’s charity unlike any other in the world. It is an organization funded and driven by the energy of young leaders and adult supporters. In a cooperative effort, they are changing the world.

Program Successes:

Free The Children has a remarkable record of achievement, initiating community-based development projects around the world and inspiring young people to develop as socially conscious global citizens. Since 1995, they have:

  • Built more than 500 schools-providing education to more than 50,000 children every day
  • Established Youth in Action groups in more than 1,000 schools across the United States and Canada, engaging more than 20,000 young people in total
  • Distributed more then 207,500 school and health kits sent to children in need
  • Reached more than 350,000 across North America through our motivational speaking tours
  • Shipped more than $15 million US worth of medical supplies and built health care centers, impacting the lives of more than 512,500 people around the world
  • Developed an efficient administrative model that allows 91 cents of every donated dollar to go to programs that directly benefit children
  • Equipped 23,500 women to be economically self-sufficient
  • Improved access to clean water and sanitation for 138,500 people

Awards and Recognition:

Free The Children has been recognized with the following awards:

  • 2006 World Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child, also know as the Children’s Nobel Prize
  • 2006 Human Rights Award from the United Nations/World Association of Non-Government Organizations (WANGO)
  • 2007 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship
  • World Economic Forum Medal
  • State of the World Forum Award
  • Roosevelt Freedom Medal
  • Staff members have been honoured with Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100, Canada’s Top 40 under 40, Canada’s Top 20 under 20, as well as the Order of Canada.

2007 - James Pau

For his dedication to helping people by alternative medicine

Dr. James Chi Ming Pau immigrated to Canada in 1975. He was one of the first to have Traditional Chinese Medicine Regulated under the Health Profession Act of B.C. He began the free treatment program for patients seeking alternative therapy in the 1980’s. He sits on the advisory committee of the Seniors’ Population Health Advisory Committee, the Special Senior’s Health Advisory Committee to the Mayor of Vancouver, the Neighbourhood Advisory Committee of St. Paul’s Hospital, The Vancouver Elder Abuse Network, Carnegie Executive Board, and Carnegie Seniors’ support Group. He is also the Social/Spiritual Chair of the Downtown East Side HIV/AIDS IDU Consumers’ Board.

Dr. Pau uses Traditional Chinese Medicine in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, substance abuse and related problems, which he provides without cost or by donation.

2006 - Roy Miki

For his long and outstanding work and achievements in the Japanese Canadian redress movement

Roy Miki was born in Manitoba in 1942 on a sugar beet farm that his parents had been forcibly sent to six months earlier. A third-generation Japanese-Canadian, Miki has long been active in the successful Redress Movement. As well as a recognized poet, Miki teaches at Simon Fraser University, and is a well-known editor and biographer.

With a BA from Manitoba, an MA from Simon Fraser and a PhD from British Columbia, Roy Miki is Professor in the English department at Simon Fraser University who specializes in Canadian and American poetry and poetics, Canadian cultural studies, and Asian Canadian literature.

He has published widely on Canadian writers such as bpNichol, George Bowering, and Roy Kiyooka, and has been the editor of two influential journals, Line and West Coast Line.   He is also the author of Broken Entries: Race, Subjectivity, Writing and three books of poems, one of which, Surrender, received the 2002 Governor General’s Award.

Recent critical articles appear in Changing Japanese Identities in Multicultural Canada and Home-Work: Postcolonialism, Pedagogy and Canadian Literature. His latest book is Redress: Inside the Japanese Canadian Call for Justice.

2005 - Michael Clague

For his work in the fields of adult education, social policy and planning, and community development

Michael Clague works in the fields of adult education, social policy and planning, and community development. He has done so for the three levels of government, for the voluntary sector, and as an independent consultant. He also has written and taught in these fields at Langara College, Simon Fraser University, and the University of British Columbia. He is a past-president of the Canadian Council on Social Development. Currently he is a director of the Carold Institute for the Advancement of Citizenship for Social Change, and is an Associate of the Institute for Humanities at Simon Fraser University.

Michael was the first Executive Director of the Britannia Community Services Centre (Vancouver) and subsequently served as Executive Director of the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria, and of the Social Planning and Research Council of British Columbia. He recently retired as the Director of the Carnegie Community Centre in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Throughout his career Michael has tried to express his work through praxis, the balancing of reflection and engagement. The excitement of being “hands on” is twinned with the need to step back for intellectual and emotional replenishment, integrating the learning and knowledge from doing with the learning and knowledge that can come from reading, enquiry, and good conversations with other people.

Social justice and the challenges and possibilities for social progress are two life-long concerns. He has an avid interest in the arts in the quest for understanding meaning and purpose in the human journey, to celebrate life, and to cope with the terrible things we can do to one another. In the final years of the twentieth century he founded, with the support, among others, of Jerry Zaslove and the Institute for the Humanities The Legacies Project – A Retrospective Journey into Twentieth Century Politics as Portrayed Through the Arts.

Michael’s engagement in social change began as a university student. With a fellow UBC student he gained the support of then President Norman MacKenzie to set up the President’s Committee on Student Overseas Service, placing students in Africa at the beginning of the ’60s. This initiative would eventually contribute to the founding of CUSO (then known as “Canadian University Service Overseas”). At the same time, as a student staff member of the Alma Branch YMCA Michael founded a community work project between the Chief and Council of the Musqueam Reserve and the YMCA. This involved leadership training with Musqueam youth and a tutorial program with UBC student volunteers.

This pattern of local and global activist interests has continued through much of his career. Following graduation Michael moved to Toronto as the first national Youth and Education Secretary for the United Nations Association in Canada. In this role he worked with educators in the production of world affairs education materials and with high school and university students in public affairs programs and model United Nations Assemblies. He established the first week long United Nations World Affairs program for students from across Canada at the United Nations in New York. During this same period there was an outburst of anti-Semitic hate literature in Toronto, and with others, he established “Toronto Youth for Human Rights” which brought youth and young adults from the full range of ’60s activist persuasions to challenge what was taking place and argue for education and public policy measures that made it clear that there was no place for racism of any kind in Canadian society.

From Toronto Michael did a stint of “national service” with the federal government, a highlight of which was to serve as a staff member of Senator David Croll’s Special Senate Committee on Poverty (1968-1970). This work took him across the country, helping to organize the public hearings of the committee and contributing to the committee’s report. In this era, the challenge was to complete the building blocks of the Canadian welfare state which had been progressively evolving since the end of the War. The focus was on ensuring a decent core standard of living for all, and equally important, to ensure that people had choices in how they lived their lives and contributed to society. The policy recommendation was for a guaranteed annual income, about which there was much debate among all political outlooks. As the ’70s moved on it became a largely academic discussion however as – with the exception of a measure like the child tax credit – the social safety net was drastically weakened and unhappily we have been fighting rear-guard actions ever since.

 

The remainder of Michael’s career has been spent here on the West Coast, where he was born. With the exception of several years of involvement in an exchange program for community workers between Indonesia and Canada (the Indonesia-Canada Forum) most of his work has been in spent social justice and community development activities within British Columbia. Indeed his appointment as Director of the Carnegie Centre was a fitting “book-end” to work that began 30 years ago at Britannia Centre in Grandview-Woodland.

It was truly a privilege for Michael to have served the Carnegie Centre and the residents of the Downtown Eastside. We know the high-profile, negative image of this community which is so materially poor, and so saddled with health, social and employment issues. His first discovery was that in this environment Carnegie is a place of refuge and renewal. It is one of the few agencies in the Downtown Eastside where residents are not in a dependent relationship with systems of survival and control. People come into Carnegie who they are, as they are and because they want to. And through Carnegie they can choose to pursue who they wish to become. The Centre models respect and acceptance for everyone, and enables people to apply these qualities to themselves. The Centre is also the community’s “town hall,” where people come together to learn, to debate and discuss, and plan actions on issues affecting the community.

About his Carnegie years Michael says:

Carnegie “Challenged every facet of my being, my personal and professional self. It brooks no facades in the director, but fortunately it was generous in my weaknesses. It came at the right time in my career. Here in one place were manifest the cultures of the globe and the consequences of our domestic public policies that contribute to dependency and marginalization. My instinctive response in my first months was simply to listen, to build trust and relationships, and then to move along those avenues where we could do some things together.

This enabled me to appreciate Carnegie as the community’s “own” where people were free of dependent relationships. It meant we could start on the positive side to enable people to express their strengths. This led to my second discovery; that the community arts are a powerful means for personal and community development – enabling people to give voice to the world as they experience it, and to the world as they would like it to be. Through Carnegie I learned about the natural artistic talents in the community and the rich store of experience and expression that people articulate. Carnegie itself had long been a centre for community arts activity, and for partnerships between the community arts, and the professional arts. It was evident that through the community arts we could contribute to community renewal.

Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside is a remarkable place. It is one of the country’s poorest postal codes. But all is not what you see. It has demonstrated conviction and courage against daunting odds that would cow many other neighbourhoods. With little initial outside interest or support residents successfully got building codes enforced in seedy hotels and rooming houses; they closed a local liquor store; they prevented the bifurcation of the community for a freeway; they saved the Carnegie library – threatened with sale by the City – and had it turned into a community centre, they obtained badly needed social housing, they “took over” wasteland owned by the City and turned it into the remarkable Strathcona Community Gardens; they campaigned – after much internal debate – for a harm reduction approach to addictions, and now host a number of unique services for drug users that are the subject of international interest. Most significantly, this campaign was led by drug users, the Vancouver and Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU). And currently, locally led efforts like United We Can, the binners’ organization demonstrate what self-help is all about.

The struggles are far from over. The Downtown Eastside has and continues to be exploited by the illegal drug market and by governments. The former takes advantage of people’s vulnerabilities. Too often the latter – primarily the senior governments – in recent years have abdicated their responsibilities to the poor, to people with mental illness, to those in conflict with the law, and to those with addictions. The D.E. has been a convenient place to forget about people.

 

Now the community faces gentrification as the last undeveloped real estate market in the city. Ironically, if the harm reduction strategies reduce the street drug scene, they also will increase the pressures for gentrification, with the consequent disbursement of low income people. For Vancouver this is also an opportunity. The city has gained a justly deserved international reputation for its success in bringing residential life back to its downtown (as it was at the beginning of the twentieth century). Now, can we also find a way to renew the Downtown Eastside as a healthy low income neighbourhood? This would indeed be a remarkable accomplishment in the history of North American inner cities. It would be to the benefit and credit of Vancouver as a whole.

The time is propitious. The leadership for renewal must come from the Downtown Eastside. The will is there. But there is also at present a City government and a City administration that is actively seeking solutions for community regeneration and not displacement. In this all residents of Vancouver can play a part by becoming informed about the Downtown Eastside and realizing that issues of addictions, homelessness, mental health and poverty cannot be relegated to this community; they are increasingly everywhere. And the answers are to be found in working respectfully and in coalition with those who are poor to change the public policies that create dependency. We all will be the beneficiaries.

Were Mahatma Gandhi to visit the Downtown Eastside one suspects he would find much with which he could identify; a community that has been badly abused; a community where some people do – in their own marginalization – blame themselves – or where some themselves become petty oppressors, and of course where some are the authors of their own difficulties. He would find within this turmoil also resilience – people without much means but whose lives are healthy and “together;” other people who can briefly surface from their struggles to make their own valued contributions to qualities of caring and compassion, qualities that are present every day in this community. And Gandhi would, surely, admire the skills the community has demonstrated and the successes it has achieved through civic activism, and on occasion, civil disobedience.

For Michael, receiving the Thakore Visiting Scholar Award for 2005 is a great personal honor. It is also in so many ways a much deserved recognition of the Downtown Eastside and of the accomplishments of its residents, and of the work of the Carnegie Community Centre.

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Michael obtained a Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia in 1963 (Political Science and International Studies) and a Masters of Education at the University of Toronto in 1968 (Adult Education – Ontario Institute for Studies in Education). His publications include Citizen Participation in the Legislative Process, Citizen Participation: Canada, J. Draper, ed. Toronto: New Press, 1972; Adult Basic Education in Canada: Are the Poor Included? Adult Basic Education, W. Michael Brooke, ed. Toronto: New Press, 1972; Reforming Human Services: The Experience of the Community Resources Boards in British Columbia (with Robert Dill, Roopchand Seebaran, and Brian Wharf). Vancouver: UBC Press, 1984; Community Organizing: Canadian Experiences (with Brian Wharf). Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1977.

Michael retired from the Carnegie Centre and the City of Vancouver in April 2005. He continues as a volunteer and as a consultant in community development.

2004 - Marilyn Gullison

For her dedication to Operation Eyesight and HUGGS Canada

Marilyn remembers well Gandhi’s dedication to the ordinary people of India and his message of peace and non-violence.  It made a deep impression on the 10 year old girl. After schooling in the hill station in Ootacamund, Marilyn completed degree in Nursing at Acadia University.  She realized how much she wanted to return to her home in India.  The opportunity came to teach school in Darjeeling – on the foothills of the great Himalayan mountains.  During the long holidays, she always returned to Sompeta – her parents, her friends and the Arogyavaram Hospital.

It was at this time in 1961 that Marilyn witnessed the opening of a new program for the Arogyavaram Hospital  –  Nethra Dan  – the Gift of Sight.  Over the next two years hundreds of destitute blind would receive sight through cataract surgery. This was the forerunner of Operation Eyesight Universal, the Canadian organization inspired by her father Dr. Ben Gullison.

Just a few months after her father’s death in 1987, Marilyn joined her mother in the annual Walkathon held by the India Club of Vancouver. This Walk for Sight has continued uninterrupted for over 25 years, supporting the work of Operation Eyesight.

Operation eyesight Universal is the original Canadian response to global blindness. Now in its 41st year, Operation Eyesight celebrates a history of innovative response and increasing impact. Through the generosity of donors around the world and in Canada sight has been restored to more than two million people. Nearly 33 million have received treatment for a variety of potentially blinding conditions.

With eye care programs in South Asia, Africa and Latin America, Operation eyesight has captured the imagination of thousands of Canadian supported endeavors with its practical, cost-effective and sustainable solutions.

2003 - Dr. Samantha Nutt and Dr. Eric Hoskins

From War Child Canada for their dedication in providing humanitarian assistance to the war affected children in Iraq

Founded in 1999, War Child Canada is an independent charitable organisation working across North America and around the world to assist children affected by war and to raise awareness for children’s rights everywhere. We are working to help thousands whose lives have been torn apart by war, and to engage North American youth to take an active role in creating a more just future.

Samantha Nutt is a medical doctor with nearly 10 years experience working in war zones. She has helped children in some of the world’s most violent flashpoints working with the United Nations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Iraq, Burundi and the Thai-Burmese border.

A specialist in Maternal and Child Health in zones of armed conflict, Family Medicine, Public Health, Refugee Health and Women’s Health, Sam is also on staff at Sunnybrook and Women’s Health Science Centre at the University of Toronto.

One of 12 Canadians chosen by Maclean’s Magazine for the 2000 Honour Roll as one of “12 Canadians making a difference”, she is a role model to young Canadians and has received numerous humanitarian awards for her work in support of war-affected children. Sam was among 12 Canadian women honoured for leadership by Global Television and the National Post on International Women’s Day 2002. Sam also won the Top 40 Under 40 award in 2003.

As the Co-founder and Executive Director of War Child Canada, Sam works on the overall direction, management and creative vision of War Child Canada’s projects and programs.

Eric Hoskins is a medical doctor with 15 years experience working as a physician in war zones. He has worked extensively with the United Nations and non-governmental organizations in some of the world’s most heavily affected war zones including Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Iraq, Burundi and Pakistan.

Eric is a specialist in the Health of Children in War Zones, Public Health, Humanitarian Relief, Humanitarian Affairs, Human Rights, Refugee Health and the Civilian Impact of War. From 1998-2000, Eric was the Senior Policy Advisor to former Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy.

A Rhodes Scholar, Eric was the youngest recipient of the United Nations Lester B. Pearson Peace Medal (Canada’s highest humanitarian award) in 1993, and was awarded the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Cross in 1999 for his humanitarian work with war-affected children. He also co-founded the International Study Team, and led a group of over 80 experts who, in 1991, produced the most comprehensive assessment of post-war Iraq to date. He led the recent IST mission to Iraq in January 2003, assessing the impact of war on children and the preparedness of the humanitarian response.

Dr. Hoskins is the President and General Manager of War Child Canada, contributing to the conceptualization, development and growth of War Child Canada’s international and domestic programs.

As President, Eric oversees all financial aspects of the organization, including all fundraising and special initiatives.

For more information please visit: www.warchild.ca

2002 - James Lawson

One of the few peace activists who has scientifically studied Mahatma Gandhi’s technique of Non violence and has successfully applied it in the United States

His accomplishments include working for the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference under Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr., and with peace and social action groups such as the NAACP, Urban League, and others.

James Lawson was paid tribute by U.S. Congressman from Georgia, John Lewis, in his autobiography, Walking With the Wind, forbeing the architect of the nonviolent direct action strategy of the evolving civil rights movement in the 1960s and for training the first leadership. John Lewis said, “Jim Lawson knew, though we had no idea when we began, that we were being trained for a war, unlike any this nation had seen up to that time. A nonviolent struggle that would force this country to face its conscience. Lawson was arming us, preparing us, and planting in us a sense of both rightness and righteousness. A soul force that would see us through the ugliness and pain that lay ahead, all in pursuit of what he and Dr. King called, ‘The Beloved Community.’ ”

Author David Halberstam inscribed a copy of his book, The 50’s, which he sent to Lawson with these words, “For Jim Lawson, who began as much as anyone else the revolution into the next decade.”

Jim Lawson is and has been a working minister in the United Methodist Church for more than forty years. He is third generation clergy, helping to organize Black Methodists for Church Renewal in the late 1960s, and serving as its first president working in an official capacity in five general conferences of the United Methodist Church, on a host of special commissions, and the World Council of Churches.

In 1982, Jim Lawson chaired Peace Sunday in Los Angeles and brought together 100,000 people in the Rose Bowl. A week later he addressed 125,000 marchers in the streets of West Berlin. In 1989-90, he was a key figure in the Wednesday Morning Coalition for Peace and Justice in San Salvador and Los Angeles. He still teaches nonviolence and works with the Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolence in Los Angeles, in addition to his pastorate of the United Methodist Church in LA, and national chair for the Fellowship of Reconciliation.

In the academic world, Jim Lawson has served as Regent Lecturer at the University of California at Riverside, Brooks Professor in Religion at the University of Southern California, and Adjunct Professor at the School of Theology at Claremont. He hosts a weekly national cable network television program, in his words, “examining current affairs through the lens of compassion and justice.” And he continues to work with the working poor, including union organizing of the poor.

He is, indeed, a man who in no small way helped to lead the contemporary civil rights movement that brought historic social change to the United States of America.

2001 - Lloyd Axworthy

A long time member of parliament well known for his significant contribution to work on the issues of arms control, land mines eradication and human security

Longtime Liberal Member of Parliament Lloyd Axworthy is the recipient of this year’s Thakore Visiting Scholar award. Axworthy, who is now director and chief executive officer of the Liu centre for the study of global issues at UBC, will be honored at a ceremony at SFU on Oct. 2.

The award is co-sponsored by SFU’s institute for the humanities, in cooperation with the Thakore Foundation and the India Club of Vancouver. Axworthy will receive the award at a ceremony in the SFU Images Theatre at 7:30 p.m. The former politician will also participate in a workshop.

Created by the late Natverlal Thakore, a former member of SFU’s education faculty, the award honors individuals who show creativity, commitment and a concern for truth, justice and non-violence in public life, qualities that Gandhi valued. The events are held in conjunction with the celebration of Gandhi’s birthday on Oct. 2.

Axworthy will receive the prize for his work as Minister of Foreign Affairs. While in that ministry he created the Canadian Centre for Foreign Policy Development, bringing citizen participation into the political process through a variety of consultations focusing on peace-related issues and involving citizens and organizations across the country.

Axworthy’s initiative for a land mines treaty has also grown with nearly 140 countries signed on and $500 million donated for land mine removal. He frequently speaks out on the effects of war on women and children and against the possible use of nuclear weapons in NATO activity, urging the elimination of such weapons on both moral and legal grounds. Axworthy, a former political science professor at the University of Winnipeg, was elected to the Manitoba legislative assembly in 1973 and successfully ran for the federal Liberals in 1979. Except for a sabbatical in the late 1980s to venture to war-torn Nicaragua, for a first-hand look at the war’s impact, he remained in office until 2000. Axworthy held several portfolios, including employment and immigration, transport, human resources development and western economic diversification. While serving in his last post, foreign affairs, he found that traditional interests in national security and diplomatic relations are changing, noting that, “now, foreign ministers deal with issues of human security, terrorism, drug trafficking and public health, among others.” Axworthy grew increasingly interested in disarmament, threats of violence to societies, humanitarian intervention in conflict situations and protection of children. Through his new role at UBC, Axworthy is also examining issues related to nuclear security.

While the prize is being awarded for Axworthy’s activities in government, SFU institute for the humanities instructor Don Grayston says his future commitment to issues concerning peace and human security through the UBC centre make him a worthy award recipient.

2000 - Medha Patkar

Noted satyagrahi who has in the spirit of Gandhi led a successful campiagn against the Sardar Sarovar project

1999 - Thomas Berger

Noted Lawyer, Former Chief Justice and human rights advocate

1998 - Marta Gloria Torres

Central American Peace activist for human rights

1997 - Dr. Mary Wynne Ashworth

An educator in Peace and non- violence

1996 - George McRobie

Small Scale Technologies Expert

1995 - Ang San Suu Kyi

Burmese Opposition leader and Nobel Laureate

1994 - Dr. Ursula Franklin

A noted Canadian scientist with life long work on the Principles of Mahatma Gandhi

1993 - Ovide Mercredi

Former first Nations grand Chief and avowed follower of non-violent principles

1992 - Douglas Roche

Canadian UN ambassador for Disarmament Member and human rights expert

1991 - J.S. Broadbent

Former Leader of the Federal NDP
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The Thakore Visiting Scholar Award has been awarded annually since 1991.

2019 - Raffi Cavoukian

A renowned singer known by his first name alone, Raffi was a pioneer in quality recordings for children on his independent label, Troubadour. For millions of fans, Raffi’s music was the soundtrack of their childhoods, and they took his signature song “Baby Beluga” to heart. These “beluga grads” now share his music with their own children. Raffi has been described by the Washington Postand the Toronto Staras “the most popular children’s entertainer in the English-speaking world” and “Canada’s all-time children’s champion.”

Raffi is a music producer, author, entrepreneur and ecology advocate. In 2010, he founded the Raffi Foundation for Child Honouring—a global movement that views honouring children as the best way to create sustainable, peacemaking cultures. Raffi has received the Order of Canada, the Order of BC, the U.N. Earth Achievement Award, and four honorary degrees.

In a career spanning four decades, Raffi has refused all commercial endorsement offers and has never taken part in advertising to children. He is a passionate supporter of a commercial-free childhood, and in 2006 was awarded the Fred Rogers Integrity Award for this work.

His recent work includes the CD, Motivational Songs, a collection of diverse songs for educators, parents and policy makers and companion album to the new Child Honouring online course– an interdisciplinary course in conscious living based on the Child Honouring Covenant and 9 principles.

2018 - Jean Augustine

Biography

Jean Augustine is Grenadian/Canadian educational administrator, advocate for social justice, and politician. She was the first African-Canadian woman elected to the Canadian House of Commons, and first to serve in the federal Cabinet (2002-2004). She initially came to Canada as a nanny. After a year of work as a nanny, she was granted landed immigrant status and studied to become a teacher. She eventually became a school principal. She served as Parliamentary secretary to Jean Chrétien (1994-1996), and was Minister of State for multiculturalism (and the status of women) (2002-2004). She served in numerous organizations for education and social justice, such as the National Black Coalition of Canada, Board of Governors of York U, Board of Trustees for The Hospital for Sick Children, the Board of Directors of the Donwood Institute, Chair of the Metro Toronto Housing Authority, National President of the Congress of Black Women of Canada. She championed the law that established February as Black History Month in Canada. Augustine is a member of the Order of Canada, Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and has received several other awards and honorary degrees. She has a school and a scholarship named after her.

Thakore Visiting Scholar Award

Jean was selected as the Thakore Visiting Scholar for her commitment to non-violent efforts for social change and her many similar achievements.  She spent time studying the theories of non-violence actions at the Dr. Martin Luther King Center and chaired the largest conference in Canada on social change and non-violence.  A key event at the conference was Gandhi and King: Dialogue on Non-Violence that brought members of both Black and East Indian communities together.

Amongst her notable achievements was legislation to protect low-income individuals including single mothers. Jean used skillful negotiation to garner unanimous support to pass a historic motion designating February as Black History Month in Canada.

In 2007, the Government of Ontario asked Jean to lead the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the British slave trade. Later that year, she was appointed the first Fairness Commissioner for the Province of Ontario. Jean set new regulatory standards for clarity, openness and streamlined access to employment conditions for foreign trained professionals.

In 2009, Jean was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada for her extensive contribution to Canadian society as a politician, educator and advocate for social justice. She received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012, and in 2014 was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her services to education and politics.

Today, Jean remains involved with community activities including the Jean Augustine Centre for Young Women’s Empowerment. She also supports several scholarships at various post-secondary institutions to help provide a better future for young women.

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