Western French Studies professor Henri Boyi and alumnus Navjeet ‘Bob’ Dhillon have been named recipients of the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award for 2015. Canadian Immigrant Magazine announced the awards this morning.
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.
Seventy-five 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.
Boyi arrived in Canada in 1994, after the genocide catastrophe that struck his home country of Burundi in October 1993. Today, he is passionate about teaching the French language and understanding the process of learning in multicultural and multilingual environments. His signature course, Rwanda: Culture, Society and Reconstruction, involves a five-week international service-learning experience in Rwanda. Started five years ago, the course extends Western’s ongoing partnership with the Kigali Health Institute and provides students with a unique opportunity to learn about Rwandan society and about themselves.
Japanese-born of Indian heritage, Dhillon completed his MBA at the Ivey Business School in 1998. While his mother worked night shifts for Canada Post, Dhillon paid his way through university buying, renovating and selling undervalued and foreclosed homes. Today, he is the president and CEO of Mainstreet Equity Corp., as well as the founder and largest shareholder. Mainstreet has achieved a 1,270 per cent total return on investment over the last 10 years, making it Canada’s highest performance real estate company.
Last year, Western President Amit Chakma, along with alumni Farah Mohamed, MA’96 (Toronto/Uganda), Alan Diner, BA ’90 (Toronto/South Africa) and Dr. Surinder Singh Khurana, DDS’06 (Missisauga/India), were recipients of the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award for 2014.
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.