THIS year’s Thakore Visiting Scholar Award, which is presented annually to outstanding persons who have made the welfare of society their lifetime work, goes to Jean Augustine for her work in advancing women’s rights and for being a strong advocate for the rights of black women.
Augustine was selected as the Thakore Visiting Scholar for her commitment to non-violent efforts for social change. She spent time studying the theories of non-violence actions at the Dr. Martin Luther King Center and in 1991 chaired the largest conference in Canada on social change and non-violence. A key event at the conference was Gandhi and King: Dialogue on Non-Violence that brought members of both Black and South Asian (Indian) communities together.
Amongst her notable achievements was legislation to protect low-income individuals including single mothers. She was appointed the First Fairness Commissioner for the province of Ontario. Augustine used skilful negotiation to garner unanimous support to pass a historic motion designating February as Black History Month in Canada. She was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada in 2009 and received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.
Today, Augustine remains involved with community activities including the Jean Augustine Centre for Young Women’s Empowerment. She also supports several scholarships at various post-secondary institutions to help provide a better future for young women.
The award event is jointly sponsored by The Thakore Charitable Foundation, The Institute for the Humanities and the J.S. Woodsworth Chair in the Humanities at Simon Fraser University.
Mahatma Gandhi and his legacy have been honoured at Simon Fraser University since the unveiling of his memorial bust in the Simon Fraser Peace Square in 1970. Each year the Gandhi Jayanti celebration brings members of the local Indo-Canadian community together with others who wish to salute his memory and honour his ideals. Along with its local focus, Gandhi Jayanti is celebrated nationally and internationally.
The celebration will be in the form of two separate events (both events are free and open to the public):
- The Garlanding Ceremony will be held on October 2 at the bust of Mahatma Gandhi located in the Peace Square on the SFU Burnaby campus (south side level 3 of the Academic Quadrangle) from 6:45-7:30 p.m. Parking at SFU Burnaby campus for the garlanding ceremony is free in the parkade under the convocation Mall. For directions, parking instructions and more information about these events, visit www.gandhijayanti.com.
- The Gandhi Commemorative Lecture and presentation of the 27th Thakore Visiting Scholar Award and the annual Gandhi Student Peace Award on October 3, from 6-8 p.m. at the SFU Harbour-side (downtown) campus (515 West Hastings).