2022 SU General Election Full Supplement

Graphic by Megan Koch

Ghada Sfeir is the first senior advisor for anti-racism and racial equity

By Nazeefa Ahmed, March 29 2023

The Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (OEDI) at the University of Calgary opened a new senior advisor position for anti-racism and racial equity.  Expansion of the OEDI is a part of the university leadership’s commitment made after the death of George Floyd in 2020. 

The position will be filled by Dr. Ghada Sfeir, a researcher and academic in the field of anti-racism, EDI and cosmopolitanism. She holds a PhD in interdisciplinary graduate studies from the University of Saskatchewan and has worked to advance understanding of EDI among the public. 

In an interview with the Gauntlet, Dr. Ghada Sfeir spoke about her goals as the first senior adviser, mentioning the two overarching objectives.  

“I am committed to be a catalyst for transformation by fostering a collective understanding of what systemic racism is, how it operates, and how we can combat it successfully by taking concrete and intentional actions to deliberation,” said Sfeir. “Another objective is to ensure every student’s right for safe, respectful, and inclusive learning experiences that paves the way for excellence in following their preferred educational pathways, while simultaneously enjoying a height and sense of belonging to the campus community at large.”

Sfeir emphasized that progress toward inclusion requires listening and being aware of past efforts, and conducting a needs assessment with racialized communities to determine how to support them best. 

“I will see what has been said and done previously to then build up, extend and deliver on the institutional commitment,” said Sfeir. “Therefore, I would like to stress that I am listening and learning and meeting with the campus community. I am reaching out to the faculty and staff to work with them collaboratively through the EDI committees by joining collective efforts and building relationships to enhance students’ experiences and academic achievement.

“It is crucial that I do any assessment through consultations and discussions with racialized and underrepresented students across campus to identify the challenges impacting student experience,” she continued. “Then, we monitor our progress towards our commitment to EDI and racial equity.”

Sfeir’s role includes furthering the university’s commitment as part of the Scarborough Charter signed in 2021. She will work with the academic director on EDI and Black Futures to combat anti-black racism. 

“My job is definitely a commitment to further this commitment and implement all four of the principles of the Scarborough Charter in order for the black communities to be able to flourish on campus and beyond.”

In her concluding remarks, she encouraged the campus community to reach out to her and engage in furthering the university’s commitment. 

“It’s very important also that we all have this collective understanding that any work on anti-racism is a shared responsibility,” said Sfeir. “It is our responsibility and the responsibility of the students as well to keep our environment safe, respectful and inclusive. And so I’m hoping that we’ll have most of them, if not all of them on board.”

Hiring | Staff | Advertising | Contact | PDF version | Archive | Volunteer | SU

The Gauntlet