The launch of this year’s award ceremonies for the Ten Most Influential Hispanic Canadians kicked off last week at the Toronto Stock Exchange. The awards are the brainchild of Mauricio Ospina, champion of our Latino businesses and entrepreneurs, creator of the online magazine Hispanic Business
With Ospina: champion of Latino accomplishment in Canada
It’s time to identify and properly recognize our role models, Ospina says. The fact is that there are more than 900,000 Hispanics in Canada. We are five years younger than other immigrant groups, and we are more likely to be university educated than other Canadians. Most of us live in the GTA, and more than 70 per cent landed here in the last two decades.
The November 18th awards dinner is like a dream come true for me. Seeing all these accomplished Latinos, celebrating the contributions they made in our adopted country.
This year, 600 attendees will vote for their choice of the top 10 from a shortlist of 20, which were selected by a distinguished panel of journalists and executives from the CBC, the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, Canadian Business Magazine, the Hispanic Press Association of Canada, the Canadian Council of the Americas.
With Dr Zuniga-Pflucker and his wife
These are last year’s winners:
ELVIRA SANCHEZ DE MALICKI is founder of the Canadian Hispanic Congress, which has united Hispanics from 22 different countries, with over 250 member organizations to lobby government on such issues as persuading Statistics Canada to amend census gathering data to better reflect the true Hispanic profile. Ms Sanchez de Malicki has been a nightly news anchor for CFMT-TV and an independent producer of the national TV program Hispanos en Canada.
LUZ BASCUAN has a teaching degree from the University of Chile and an MA from University of Toronto. As a public school trustee for the Toronto Board of Education for three consecutive periods, Ms. Bascuan became the first Latin American elected to public office in Canada. Since 1998, she has been the Education Advocate of the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto and created Escuela Pioneros de la Paz for teaching conflict resolution and social skills to children and youth within the context of the Latin American culture.
LITA GONZALEZ-DICKEY has been the Spanish Community Relations Officer of the Toronto Catholic District School Board for nearly 30 years. She has been instrumental in placing thousands of Hispanic children into schools, including those from many undocumented and refugee families. Ms Gonzalez-Dickey created Centro Bienvenidos, the board Spanish Resource Centre from where she helps children with their homework and provides opportunities for foreign trained teachers to get familiarized with the school system and obtain Canadian experience.
MARIA CARMEN ROMERO was granted a fellowship by the Canada Council for Arts and Humanities to pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Toronto. Her postdoctoral research at York University analyzed the positive effects of bilingualism in the early development of literacy. A teacher and principal for 28 years, Dr. Romero worked in the Canadian Centre for the Prevention and Treatment of Torture with refugees from all over the world. She has done similar work in Guatemala with the Canadian Central American Relief Effort. She initiated the opening of 17 educational programs in both the Toronto District and Catholic District School Boards.
JUAN CARLOS ZUNIGA-PFLUCKER is a professor of immunology at the University of Toronto. He recently discovered how to grow T cells in a laboratory using embryonic stem cells. T cells are the foundation of the immune system, which HIV, chemotherapy and radiation destroy. Dr. Zuniiga-Pflucker work attempts to answer one of the fundamental questions in the field: How certain cells respond to key molecular signals, making them develop into disease-fighting T cells.
JUAN CARRANZA, LLB, is the first Central American called to the Law Society of Upper Canada, with a law degree from Osgoode Hall and an MBA from Queen’s University. He is founder Carranza Barristers & Solicitors, Toronto’s largest ethnic law firm, serving clients in over ten languages, including extensive probono work by he and his firm. In 2000, Juan received the prestigious Community Service award from the Law Society of Upper Canada and was instrumental in obtaining from the CRTC Canada’s first Spanish-language radio station in 2003.
MARCO A. GUZMAN before attending St Francis Xavier University, where he was later awarded an LL.D., Mr Guzman he created Voluntarios en Accion in his native Bolivia, an organization with a 36-year record of such humanitarian work as providing thousands of school desks for children. For the last 10 years, he as been Executive Director of Frontiers Foundation Inc. He has placed thousands of national and international volunteers into partnership with aboriginal Canadian hosts and co-workers in hands-on affordable housing and education projects, such as Project Amik is a 75 -unit facility in east Toronto, with half the suites designated for aboriginal residence and 14 of the total space reserved for handicapped tenants.
ALEX JADAD. MD is one of the few doctors in the world with a doctorate in knowledge synthesis, which he received from Oxford University. In 2000 he joined the University of Toronto and founded the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation. In 2001 and 2002, he was featured by Time Magazine as one of the new Canadians who will shape Canada in the 21st century.
ESTEBAN LASSO is an international development professional with 14 years experience in social development projects, working extensively in the rural and child development sector with organizations such as Christian Children’s Fund, Catholic Relief Services and UNICEF. Since 2001, Mr Lasso has been dedicated to improving the availability of quality medical treatment and care for children and adults with left clip and palate, and related cranion-facial disorders through the nonprofit organization Transforming Faces Worldwide.
FEDERICO ALLODI, MD is recognized internationally as a pioneer, expert and activist in the field of mental health for immigrants, refugees, and torture victims. He founded the first specialized centre for the treatment of torture survivors and has participated in numerous international campaigns (many in Latin America) to advocate for health coverage for the poor.
Yours in proudly celebrating the accomplishments of Hispanics in Canada,
Happy Hispanic Heritage month…