musicians, artists and community leaders among the winners
of the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards
Basketball star Steve Nash, dancer Wen Wi Wang
and community activist Izeldin Abuelaish among the 2013 recipients
TORONTO, June 20, 2013 - NBA All-Star and philanthropist
Steve Nash, dancer and choreographer Wen Wei Wang, physician
and activist Izzeldin Abuelaish and other community leaders
from across Canada are among the winners of the fifth annual
2013 RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant awards, presented by Canadian
Immigrant Magazine. The awards celebrate the inspiring
stories and achievements of immigrants to Canada.
"These 25 award winners are a diverse group, ranging
from artists to philanthropists to entrepreneurs from a variety
of ethnicities across the country," says Margaret Jetelina,
editor of Canadian Immigrant Magazine. "Each of
these winners has an inspiring story about overcoming challenges
and making their country a better place to live. We are proud
to present our top 25 award to these very deserving recipients."
Over 600 nominations were received in just two months, from
which 75 finalists were shortlisted by a panel of judges comprised
of past winners and dignitaries. More than 30,000 votes were
cast online, the highest number received in the award's history.
The Top 25 winners will be honoured at awards ceremonies
on June 20 in Toronto and on June 26 in Vancouver. The program
is proudly supported by title sponsor RBC Royal Bank and associate
sponsor Chevrolet. The awards program is also supported by
the Toronto Star, Metro, Sing Tao, CBC Toronto and South Asian
"These winners are role models, not just for new Canadians,
but for all Canadians who will be inspired by the valuable
contribution these individuals have made to their communities,"
said Paul Sy, director, Multicultural Markets, RBC. "These
extraordinary individuals are living proof that anyone can
make a difference and contribute to the rich fabric of Canadian
The RBC Top 25 award winners will receive a commemorative
plaque and a $500 donation towards a registered Canadian charity
of their choice. Winners will be featured on canadianimmigrant.ca/rbctop25
and in the July print edition of Canadian Immigrant Magazine.
This year, Associate sponsor Chevrolet will recognize one
of the 25 winners with the Chevrolet Ingenuity Award for showing
exceptional creativity and skill on his or her road to success.
The winner will be announced at the Toronto ceremony on June
"The Canadians recognized by the RBC Top 25 Immigrant
Awards are passionate, innovative and resourceful," said
Marc Comeau, vice president, sales, service and marketing
for General Motors of Canada. "At Chevrolet, we are proud
to celebrate these remarkable individuals and their ability
to inspire others to reach for their dreams."
The RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award winners of 2013
are (in alphabetical order):
Izzeldin Abuelaish (Toronto / Palestine) is a physician,
professor and author of the book I Shall Not Hate. He established
the Daughters for Life Foundation, in memory of his daughters
killed in war. He has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Zahra Al-Harazi (Calgary / Yemen) is CEO and creative
director of Foundry Communications. She has been recognized
with many awards including being named one of the most powerful
women in Canada. Al-Harazi gives back through pro-bono work
and charitable events, and is a sought-after speaker.
Sara Eftekhar (Vancouver / Iran) is the B.C Youth
Ambassador for the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR), and
is an avid activist and volunteer. She is also the president
and co-founder of the Civic Association of Iranian Canadian
Youth Group, all while being a nursing student at UBC.
Luis Guillermo Guerra (Vancouver / Mexico) has helped
more than 10,000 newcomers in the last five years transition
into careers in Canada through his work with the Skills Connect
Program for Immigrants.
Steve Gupta (Toronto / India) is president and CEO
of Easton's Group of Companies, which has a hotel portfolio
that spans across Ontario and Quebec. He has also been recognized
for his humanitarian work.
Rany Ibrahim (Halifax, Nova Scotia / Egypt) is the
marketing manager with the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration,
promoting immigration to the Atlantic province. He volunteers
to further help immigrants to Canada, and is a freelance writer,
teacher and speaker.
Jawahar (Jay) Kalra (Saskatoon / India) is a clinical
researcher, educator, health care provider, and active leader
and community builder. He is involved in organizations such
as Saskatoon Folkfest and the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan,
Sharifa Khan (Toronto / Hong Kong) is a pioneer in
the field of multicultural marketing. She established and
is currently president and CEO of Balmoral Marketing. She
also volunteers on a variety of boards and with community
Leticia La Rosa (Charlottetown / Philippines) is an
avid volunteer who is also one of the founding members of
the National Organization of Immigrants and Visible Minority
Women's Organization of Canada. She also initiated the founding
of the Filipino-Canadian Association of Prince Edward Island.
Sing Lim Yeo (Vancouver / Malaysia) is a developer
and real estate broker, whose company is the largest independent
real estate brokerage in Western Canada. He is a passionate
fundraiser who has raised funds for many charities and established
the B.C. Children's Hospital Realtors Care Endowment Fund.
Luisa Marshall (Vancouver / Philippines) is as an
internationally acclaimed Tina Turner tribute artist and TV
show host of Simply the Best, a local independent production
on the Shaw Multicultural Channel 116. She often uses her
talents to various charitable causes all over the world.
Steve Nash (Vancouver / South Africa) is well-known
as a NBA basketball star, entrepreneur of fitness clubs and
philanthropist behind the Steve Nash Foundation, which aims
to promote health in kids.
Aleksandra Nasteska (Montreal / Macedonia) co-founded
the We Canada campaign for Canadian leadership at the United
Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). The
highlight of the campaign was a cross-Canada tour, known as
Dialogues and Action for Earth Summit 2012, which she led
Anar Popatia (Coquitlam / Kenya) is a partner in a
family wealth management practice under Assante Wealth Management
and believes in volunteering her time where possible, such
as for the Aga Khan Foundation.
Indira Samarasekera (Edmonton / Sri Lanka) is the
12th president and vice-chancellor of the University of Alberta,
and is recognized as one of Canada's leading metallurgical
engineers for her groundbreaking work on process engineering
Ginni Sethi (Toronto / India) is president of the
Grand Victorian Convention Centre and Radisson Plaza Mississauga,
and chairperson of Black Diamond Entertainments. A strong
believer in philanthropy, she has generously supported numerous
charities through the Sethi Foundation.
Mamdouh Shoukri (Toronto / Egypt) is president and
vice-chancellor of York University. In addition, he is a member
of the board of directors of the Ontario Centres of Excellence,
Cancer Care Ontario and the Canadian Merit Scholarship Foundation.
Aminata Sillah (Winnipeg / Sierra Leone) ran a sewing
factory in Freetown, and after fleeing to Canada, she began
sewing clothes for other African Canadians and started volunteering
with inner-city women in downtown Winnipeg, teaching them
how to sew through the Multicultural Sewing Program.
Sukhjit Singh (Mississauga / India) arrived only three
years ago, but has achieved career success working in a constituency
office, and strives to help other newcomers through his own
website and volunteerism.
Narine Dat Sookram (Kitchener / Guyana) is the founder
and president of Active Vision Charity Association, which
provides books and school supplies to Guyanese youth, promotes
Guyana's rich culture in Canada and offers basic help to newcomers
choosing to settle in the Region of Waterloo.
Srinivasan Suppiramaniam (Markham / Sri Lanka) is
CEO of Ceylon Broadcasting Inc. and has guided programming
that helps newcomers and promotes Southeast Asian art and
Sukhdev Toor (Mississauga / India) is president and
CEO of Manga Hotels, and is constantly giving back to the
community, having supported many sports teams, donated to
many causes and contributed thousands to hospitals. He also
developed Toronto's first LEED Certified hotel.
Michael Tulloch (Richmond Hill / Jamaica) was the
first black judge appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal
in 2012, just 15 years after being called to the bar. He has
also mentored students across Ontario, including at underprivileged
schools in Toronto, and founded the Second Chance Scholarship
Foundation, a charity that helps at-risk youth.
Wen Wei Wang (Vancouver / China) is a dancer who has
emerged as an important Canadian choreographer through his
own company Wen Wei Dance. He is an active mentor and teacher,
nurturing the next generation of dance artists.
Winnie Wong (Toronto / Hong Kong) is a respected barrister
and small claims court deputy judge. She has also volunteered
in many charitable and non-profit organizations, and is a
speaker and writer on topics of law.
About Canadian Immigrant and canadianimmigrant.ca
Attracting more than 287,000 readers each month and over 60,000
unique visits a month online, Canadian Immigrant is distributed
in Toronto and Vancouver and helps new Canadians build a successful
life and home in Canada. Its mandate to inform, educate and
motivate provides easy-to-access content for newcomers looking
for information from careers, education and settling in to
culture and business. Our website, canadianimmigrant.ca, offers
daily editorial, forums, tools and resources to help newcomers
across Canada. Canadian Immigrant is a division of Metroland
Media Group, a dynamic media company with more than 100 community
and daily newspapers in print and online, as well as innovative
websites including wheels.ca, goldbook.ca, flyerland.ca and
Royal Bank of Canada (RY on TSX and NYSE) and its subsidiaries
operate under the master brand name RBC. We are Canada's largest
bank as measured by assets and market capitalization, and
are among the largest banks in the world, based on market
capitalization. We are one of North America's leading diversified
financial services companies, and provide personal and commercial
banking, wealth management services, insurance, and investor
services and wholesale banking on a global basis. We employ
approximately 80,000 full- and part-time employees who serve
more than 15 million personal, business, public sector and
institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S.
and 44 other countries. For more information, please visit
RBC supports a broad range of community initiatives through
donations, sponsorships and employee volunteer activities.
In 2012, we contributed more than $95 million to causes worldwide,
including donations and community investments of more than
$64 million and $31 million in sponsorships.
About Chevrolet in Canada
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's
largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries
and selling more than 4 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet
provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature
spirited performance, expressive design and high quality.
More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.ca,
on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/chevroletcanada or
by following @ChevroletCanada on Twitter.
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