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2022 EDI awards ceremony held at the University of Calgary

By Luis Armando Sanchez Diaz, February 9 2022—

On Feb. 2, The University of Calgary held the 2022 EDI awards organized by the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. The ceremony was led by Dr. Malinda Smith, vice-provost Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the U of C.

“It is my distinct honour to welcome you to the 2022 Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion awards. The University of Calgary’s annual EDI awards recognize and celebrate inspiring students, faculty, and staff— working to design a similar, accessible, equitable, diverse, and inclusive university,” she said. 

Smith continued by stating the importance of the work of each of the recipients to expand EDI ideals and goals among society. 

“The EDI awards recognize colleagues who are everyday changemakers in practice, applied research, policy, programs and other activities that foster an equitable, sustainable and measurable change, including, but not limited to, those who traditionally have been unrepresented — Women, Racialized minorities, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Two-Spirited persons on campus,” she continued. 

Further, she introduced Elder Dr. Reg Crowshoe, who is a member of the University of Calgary’s Senate, and a highly recognized cultural and spiritual leader from the Piikani First Nation in Southern Alberta. 

“I just want to acknowledge that it is important that we look at equity, diversity and inclusion. As Indigenous People, we look at working with all people. We have a belief system as Indigenous people that we follow what we call natural laws,” said Crowshoe. “One of the laws talks about creation, and how creation happened. Everything was created by the Creator and part of the message goes that there was nothing stronger than anybody else — all humans, all animals, the whole environment we live in.” 

Dr. Crowshoe continued with a blessing in Blackfoot — his native language. 

“A lot of our beliefs and natural laws fit into the concept of equity, diversity and inclusion because our oral systems allow us,” he said. 

Moreover, Smith presented Dr. Ed McCauley, president and vice-chancellor at the U of C, who thanked Dr. Crowshoe for his blessing and Dr. Smith for all she has done for the university regarding EDI goals. 

“For four years now, [the EDI awards] have celebrated outstanding achievement. That brings about equitable, inclusive and measurable change on our campuses. And this year’s recipients have impressive achievements, indeed,” said McCauley. 

“They’re an important part of our diverse communities’ ongoing efforts to advance equity, diversity and inclusion. One that defines the university, students, faculty, and staff. One that reflects them as well. As a university, we are committed to learning from members of our community about how to become equitable and inclusive. We are committed to addressing the systemic racism that affects too many students’ experiences,” he added. 

He also stated that February is Black History Month, which is now officially recognized in Alberta, and highlighted the different actions that have the aim of implementing EDI goals at the U of C. 

With the signing of the Scarborough National Charter to fight anti-Black racism, the Indigenous strategy ii’ taa’poh’to’p to achieve a meaningful Reconciliation, as well as the Equity census that gathered data on employees and students which will serve and support “evidence-based decision making,” which “will help us identify barriers and inequities.”

Smith thanked McCauley for his leadership in promoting EDI goals on campus, and in the broader community. 

“Having a commitment from all of our leaders is a key step in making meaningful change. Today’s celebrations will unveil those who are making a significant impact when expanding accessibility equity, diversity, and inclusion on campus,” said Smith. 

The first recipient was Sarah Marie Redi, who was awarded the Student EDI Award for her work on EDI goals at the department of Geoscience such as the first-ever EDI survey on the department, as well as for promoting cultural change.

“I’m honoured to receive this award, and it encourages me to continue the important work of promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion, particularly in STEM fields. I am hopeful that the work I and my colleagues have done is contributing to a safe and inclusive environment for all department members,” said Reid.

The Faculty EDI Award was awarded to Dr. Gregor Wolbring from the Cumming School of Medicine who has conducted extensive research and advocated for persons with disabilities throughout his life.

“What an honour it is to receive this award, given how many people at the U of C work so hard to make EDI a reality. I want to thank the people who nominated me but also all the people who have supported, throughout my life, my EDI vision,” Wolbring expressed. 

Alison Barrett from the Schulich School of Engineering received the Staff EDI Award for her work developing and implementing the Schulich Change Leaders Network.

“I am so honoured to be a recipient of this award, I know how much amazing work is being done around the university campus in the space of Equity Diversity and inclusion, and I’m always so inspired to hear about the initiatives going on around campus. I’m also very grateful to the University of Calgary for recognizing this work through the EDI awards,” said Barret.

On the other hand, the 2022 Team EDI Award was awarded to Sheliza Ladhani, a Ph.D. candidate, Dr. Kathleen Sitter, associate professor at Faculty of Social Work, and Professor Emeritus at the Faculty of Social Work Dr. David Este. 

In addition, the award was given to Project Manager Kimberly Van Patten, as well as to Dr. Peter Gabor, professor at Faculty of Social Work and the late Dr. Darren Lund, who was a professor at the Werklund School of Education 

“We are recognizing posthumously for his remarkable and selfless contribution as a true champion for equity, for underrepresented and marginalized groups,” expressed McCauley.

Smith finalized by thanking people for participating in the event and expressed that she wished everyone a happy Year of the Tiger and Black History Month, as well. 

“The work we are doing collectively to expand equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility throughout all our campus community is making a difference,” she said.

Visit the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion webpage to know more about the various EDI initiatives on campus. To learn more about the 2020 EDI award recipient online.

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