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Hedvig Christine Alexander:

Prior to establishing Far & Wide Collective (previously named Jali Designs) Hedvig Christine Alexander was the Managing Director for Turquoise Mountain – a not-for-profit development organization with four hundred staff operating in Afghanistan under the Prince of Wales’ Charities – from August 2008 to March 2009. In this position she managed a major regeneration project in the old city of Kabul and four new schools training young Afghans in traditional arts and crafts. Prior to this Hedvig was the Business Development Director for Turquoise Mountain from April 2007 to July 2008. She also established and ran Building markets (formerly named Peace Dividend Trust - a Canadian NGO) in Afghanistan from December 2005 to February 2007– promoting local procurement of goods and services in Afghanistan to boost local business. She worked with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Kabul from November 2002 to November 2005 – including on the last National Assembly elections – and served with ISAF (also in Afghanistan) as an army captain from July to October 2002. Hedvig has served as a United Nations Military Observer in Abkhazia, Georgia and worked for the Danish Embassy in Moscow. She received her B.A. from Copenhagen Business School in philosophy and economy and her M.A. from Yale University in the United States in international relations. Hedvig lives in Ajax Ontario with her husband and two daughters.

Jo-Ann Savoie:

Jo-Ann is a Police Sergeant for the Hamilton Police Service, a retired Major in the Canadian Armed Forces, and the 4th President of the Ontario Women In Law Enforcement.

Before policing, Jo-Ann was a Canadian Armed Forces Logistics Officer. She retired in 2006 with just under 20 years of combined full time and part time service at the rank of Major. Jo-Ann is married to Paul who is a tactical officer with Peel Regional Police. Jo-Ann and Paul been together for eighteen years and have an English Bulldog named Archie. 


Jo-Ann is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Business Administration with a concentration in Leadership at the University of Walden University. She completed her Master of Arts in Leadership from Royal Roads University in the summer of 2009. Jo-Ann’s thesis examined if leadership competencies should be developed in recruits, at the first available opportunity, while studying at the Ontario Police College. Jo-Ann’s thesis was considered for thesis of the year.

Jo-Ann has an undergraduate degree from Western University in Social Sciences (geography) and a Political Science Diploma from Dawson College in Montreal. She also hold a Police Studies Diploma and a Canadian Risk Management Certification from McMaster University. Jo-Ann holds a commercial and residential Design Diploma from Westland College in California. She has also taken several classes towards a certificate in Criminal Psychology from Niagara College.

Jo-Ann is committed to life long learning and have taken over 100 courses, workshops and seminars towards self -development since joining the HPS.

Commitment to Community

Community involvement is extremely important to Jo-Ann. She has been the Chair for the City of Hamilton Committee Against Discrimination, a Board member for the City of Hamilton Mayor’s Committee on Anti Racism and Discrimination. Jo-Ann has held the position of Chair and co- chair for the City of Hamilton Status of Women Committee (SWC is the oldest women’s group in all of Canada). She served 6 years as the Promotion and Marketing Officer for the Ontario Women in Law Enforcement (OWLE) from 2001-to March 2007. Jo-Ann stepping down from the Board to join the Board of Trustees for OWLE from 2007-2010. In March 2010 Jo-Ann took over as the 4th President of OWLE and is in her second term as president.

Jo-Ann is currently on the City of Hamilton Trillium Awards beatification Program and has been for the past 16 years. Jo-Ann is also the Fund Raising Chair for the Women In Law Build. WIL Build is a group of women and men in the law enforcement industry who partnered with Habitat Hamilton to build a home for a deserving family of 8! To date $100,000 has been raised towards the project.

In 2002 Jo-Ann was awarded the Queens Golden Jubilee medal by the Heritage Minister. The medal was awarded to Canadians who made a significant contribution to their fellow citizens, their community or to Canada. In 1999 Jo-Ann was awarded the Canadian Armed Forces Service Medal for her years of service.


Jo-Ann’s passion in life is to make a difference and share with others what she has learnt. She sees herself as a change agent who wants to make an impact on everyone she meets. Jo-Ann’s interests outside of policing are women’s issues, reading about leadership trends, and interior design.

Dr.Asha Seth:

In 2012, Dr. Asha Seth was honoured to be named Canada’s first Indo-Canadian female Senator. Ever since, Senator Asha Seth has worked tirelessly to bring awareness to the issues affecting the multicultural communities of Canada. Senator Seth has also been a key member of the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, where her many years of experience as a physician add a unique and important perspective.

Senator Seth is also a member of multiple inter-parliamentary associations and friendship groups, which aim at bridging different cultures in an effort to strengthen Canada’s relation with the world.

Dr. Asha Seth is an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist in Family Practice, Toronto, Ontario.

Recognized as a pioneer and patient advocate in the medical field, Dr. Seth received the prestigious Council Award from the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons in 2010.

An active philanthropist, Dr. Seth is involved in a number of charities serving local and international communities. She founded the NIMDAC Foundation, which raised funds for organizations such as the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Canadian Foundation for the Physically Disabled Persons, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. She is also National Board Director of CNIB. Dr. Seth was also actively involved with St. Joseph's Health Centre Foundation, assisting with initiatives to help raise funds for the Health Centre's new patient care wing.

Dr. Seth completed her Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) at The King Georges Medical College in India and completed her resident training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in the U.K. Upon moving to Canada, she continued her training at St. Joseph’s Health Centre and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Dr. Asha Seth resides in Toronto, Ontario with her husband Dr. Arun Seth. She has two loving daughters, Dr. Anila Seth Sharma, an Endocrinologist and Angie Seth, an award winning Journalist and News Anchor, OMNI Television, and four loving grandchildren

Priscila Uppal:

Priscila Uppal is a Toronto poet, fiction writer and York University professor. Among her publications are nine collections of poetry, most recently, Ontological Necessities (2006; shortlisted for the $50,000 Griffin Poetry Prize), Successful Tragedies: Poems 1998-2010 (Bloodaxe Books, U.K.) and Summer Sport: Poems; and the novels The Divine Economy of Salvation and To Whom It May Concern. Her work has been published internationally and translated into several languages. She was first-ever poet-in-residence for Canadian Athletes Now during the 2010 Vancouver and 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games. Her recent memoir, Projection: Encounters with My Runaway Mother, was a finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers Trust Prize and the Governor General’s awards for Non-Fiction. Six Essential Questions, her play based on the memoir, will have its World Premiere at the Factory Theatre in March 2014. Time Out London dubbed her “Canada’s coolest poet.” For more information visit:

Ananya Mukherjee Reed:

Professor, Political Science, International Development Studies, Social and Political Thought

Director, International Secretariat for Human Development

Director, South Asian Studies

My teaching and research focus primarily on the theme of human development, broadly defined. While the focus of much of my empirical work has been on South Asia, my current teaching and research focus on the broader theoretical issues related to development - and in particular the epistemology of development. Another area of my research examines the relationship between the corporate economy, globalization and human development. My most recent book Human Development and Social Power: Perspectives from South Asia, (part of a series on Human Development being produced by OXCIS, Oxford University, UK) (Routledge, London and New York 2008). The book attempts to develop a critical conceptualization of human development by focusing on the three dimensions of political-economy, difference and agency.

Drawing upon the conceptualizations I developed in this book, I have now begun work on a project entitled The Business of "Development": Problematizing the questions of justice and agency. In this project I hope to bring together the two major themes I have examined in my work so far: corporate capital and 'development'. I am very grateful to the Faculty of Arts at York for supporting this research with a fellowship for 2006-7.

For the last three years I have also been serving as director of the International Secretariat for Human Development (ISHD), an organization that I helped to create along with some other colleagues in Canada and Italy. ISHD's main objective is to stimulate the production of new forms of knowledge for human development where disciplinary barriers are dissolved, the divide between scholar and practitioner is overcome, and academic benefits of research are accompanied by concrete social benefits. All of ISHD's work stems from a vision of the university as an engaged social actor, whose task is not only to produce and disseminate knowledge but to foster non-exclusionary methods of knowledge production, to acknowledge the multiple sites of knowledge production and to open up potential alternative practices.

I obtained my Ph.d (Economics and Public Policy) from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles USA and my MA in Economics from Calcutta, India. I have studied and taught in India, Germany, Hungary and the U.S. My recent publications include Corporate Capitalism in Contemporary South Asia: Conventional Wisdoms and South Asian Realities (Palgrave-Macmillan, UK 2003); Perspectives on India �s Corporate Economy: Exploring The Paradox of Profits, (Macmillan, UK 2001); and a number of articles in international journals. In 2001, I co-authored a study for the Canadian International Development Agency which examined the interconnections between human security and human development. A more detailed description of my work is available here.

I have been actively involved in establishing the International Development Studies program at York and is a member of its executive. I am also a core faculty member in the MA in Development Studies at York

Raymond Cho:

Raymond Cho is a City Councillor in Toronto, Canada representing Ward 42 Scarborough-Rouge River. Before being elected, he worked as a social worker for the Catholic Children's Aid Society, the Toronto Board of Education, and the Scarborough Board of Education.

Cho holds a Masters' degree in Social Work and Doctorate in Education from the University of Toronto. He is married to Soon-Ok Cho, and has three adult sons.

Before being elected, Dr. Raymond Cho worked as a Social Worker for the Catholic Children's Aid Society, the Toronto Board of Education, and the Scarborough Board of Education.

Raymond was first elected to Metropolitan Toronto Council for Scarborough-Malvern in 1991, and was re-elected to Metro in 1994. In 1997, Raymond was elected Toronto City Councillor for the new City of Toronto representing Scarborough-Malvern. In 2000, he was again re-elected and represents the new ward of Scarborough Rouge-River.

Throughout his political career, Councillor Cho has been a member of various boards and standing committees. He was Chairman of the Toronto Zoo for two successive terms, and is on the Board of Management for the Zoo. His interests lie in improving opportunities for the youth, safety in the community, a clean community, human rights, environmental concerns, and economic development for the city.

He was a strong promoter and advocate for saving the Glen Eagles site and worked closely with all three levels of government in saving this valuable 10-acres site at the entrance to the Rouge Park from future development. In addition, he worked with the Provincial Government and helped to save the Anndale Site of 10 acres from future residential development.

Since his first election, he has mobilized hundreds of volunteers on an annual basis, and together, they have planted over 30,000 trees in the Rouge Valley over the years. He has organized and delivered over 100,000 pounds of food for the Daily Bread Food Bank.

Councillor Cho lives in Scarborough with his wife, Sue, and they have three adult sons, two of whom are medical doctors, and the youngest son is a secondary school teacher. Councillor Cho holds both his Masters' Degree in Social Work and Doctorate Degree in Education from the University of Toronto.

Shashi Bhatia:

Mrs. Shashi Bhatia, is a leader and a community builder, who stands by her commitment in every effort to promote tolerance, understanding and inclusiveness for all.

Her involvement in the community is commendable. She is a founding member of the Indo-Canadian Cultural Association of Durham (ICCAD). She is a driving force behind the highly successful Roots and Drum concerts in support of the Durham West Arts Center and is a member of the Durham Regional Police and Community Advisory Committee, and a Durham Ambassador (Influencer) of Canadian Arm Forces. She is actively involve in Durham Region Multi-Faith Communities, raising funds against Aids in Africa, its community Thanksgiving dinner and annual celebration of World Religion Day.

She was a key instigator of the partnership formed with Durham College, bridge building with International Students to provide them with student mentorship and real-world opportunities while promoting a culture of belonging and understanding of the Canadian way of life. She is a Pickering Ambassador to India and was a member of the Durham delegation to Turkey and China to promote Durham Region. She is also an Ambassador of Pan-Am Games.

She helped co-founded the Canadian Afghan Council, the Canadian Pakistan Friendship Society, Caribbean Cultural Assoc. of Durham, the Asian community Centre of Toronto and the Philipine Sampaguita Cultural Heritage and Civic Organization.

She has served on many Quasi-Judicial Boards and Tribunals both at the Federal and Provincial levels most notably the Immigration and Refugee Board and the Social Benefits Tribunal.

She won many awards and received numerous recognitions for her service to the community including most recently the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal. 

Dr.Alakananda Nath:

Dr. Alakananda is an artist with a unique combination of expertise in Bharatanatyam, Carnatic vocal music and Sanskrit literature. With several academic distinctions in music and dance to her credit, Dr. Alakananda has been performing and imparting these ancient tradi-tional fine arts to tread the spiritual path by keeping Bhakti (devotion) as the primary and pivotal incentive. Her research work on "The Aesthetic Experience and the Performing artist" earned her a PhD from Bombay University.

Her impeccable dance training was received at the famed Kalak-shetra, Chennai, during the period of Padma Bhushan Mrs. Rukmini Devi Arundale. Her music training was under Guru Padma Shri M.D. Ramanathan and Guru Smt. Nagamani Srinath.

Added to her credits, Dr. Alakananda has composed philoso-phical and soul touching music with lyrics in Sanskrit and Kannada languages for dance dramas, Padavarnams, Keertanas, shlokas and Tillanas.

She currently heads the Sri Laasya Kalakendra, an institution that imparts Carnatic Vocal music and Bharatanatyam dance to numerous students in Toronto, Canada.

Esther Enyolus:

Esther Enyolu’s education is in Sociology/Anthropology and Women’s Studies from Carleton University. Esther's work is grounded in an integrated anti-racist/anti-oppression and feminist analysis, a holistic approach in which a person's experience and realities of life are not fragmented and divided. Esther has been working in the human service field for 30 years as affront line and management.

In her work as the Executive Director of Women's Multicultural Resource and Counselling Centre of Durham (WMRCC), she is highly committed to ensuring that women and children receive effective and efficient services. As well as maintaining a work environment that is free of any form of oppression.

Esther is a recipient of many professional and community services and achievement awards for her community services and her commitment in the area of eradicate of violence against women and children. Esther is very passionate when it comes to issues of violence against women and children. She is really a role model for women in our community. Esther has been on the Board of many organizations and community groups including Apple Project, YWCA Durham Housing Committee, Redwood Shelter, Learning Network, Family Violence Conference Committee, Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Housing (OAITH), Barbara Schlifer Commemorate Clinic Legal Advisory Committee, Multicultural Interpreting Services and many others.

Esther is married to Prof. Evans Enyolu and they have three adult children.

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