Western President and three alumni among winners of 2014 RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards

Western University President Amit Chakma, along with three Western alumni, are recipients of the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award for 2014.

Given out annually since 2009 by Canadian Immigrant Magazine in partnership with RBC Royal Bank, the awards recognize people who have come to Canada and have made a positive difference living here. It is the first Canadian national award program that recognizes immigrants’ achievements from all walks of life.

“Every year, we have yet another amazing group of 25 winners. This year’s 25 are as diverse as they are interesting,” says Margaret Jetelina, editor of Canadian Immigrant Magazine. “Thanks to the people who nominated and voted for them, we have uncovered the inspiring stories of artists, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, volunteers and activists from across the country who are truly making Canada a better place.”

“The inspired stories of my fellow finalists are what make up the fabric of this great country and I am truly humbled to be honoured alongside them,” says Chakma. “We are all proud Canadians who are grateful for the opportunities we’ve had to make our lives in a society that celebrates diversity.”

More than 630 nominations were received in just two months, from which 75 finalists were shortlisted by a diverse judging panel, consisting of Canadian Immigrant Magazine editorial staff, several past winners, and immigrant and ethnic community leaders. More than 40,000 votes were cast online, making it the most popular year in the award’s history. The final 25 were chosen based on a combination of votes and a second round of judging.

The following are the winners with connections to Western:

Amit Chakma (London, ON /Bangladesh) is Western University’s 10th President and Vice-Chancellor, and a passionate advocate of post-secondary education, especially for the important role international students play in Canada.

Farah Mohamed, MA’96 (Toronto/Uganda) is president and CEO of the G(irls)20 Summit, an annual international event that brings together young women ahead of the G20 Summit to find ways to bring economic empowerment to women around the world.

Alan Diner, BA ’90 (Toronto/South Africa) is a lawyer who dedicates much of his time to mentoring immigrants, young lawyers and doing pro-bono work for refugees. He was recently appointed a federal court judge.

Dr. Surinder Singh Khurana, DDS’06 (Missisauga/India) is a successful, internationally trained dentist who today helps others through their licensing process as the director of the Ontario Simulation Training Centre (OSTC) for Foreign-Trained Dentists.

Past RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant award winners include former Governor Generals Adrienne Clarkson and Michaelle Jean; filmmaker Deepa Mehta; CBC’s Ian Hanomansing; and NBA All-Star and philanthropist Steve Nash.

Media Contact: Marcia Steyaert, 519-661-2111 ext. 85467, steyaert@uwo.ca

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