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Jorge left the volcanoes of Mexico City in 2007 to pursue a Bachelor of International Relations and a Master of Political Science at the University of British Columbia. Since graduating, Jorge has held diverse roles in non-profits and Canadian startups. In 2012, he created a successful social initiative called #bemyamigo with the aim of facilitating human connections and battling social isolation in Vancouver.
His grey matter is usually occupied with thoughts on how to increase civic engagement, how to better promote the arts in Vancouver (apart from showing up at every event!), and how to talk to strangers. He speaks four languages and yes, he would probably enjoy chatting with you in at least one of them.
Meeru Dhalwala was born in India before moving as a young girl to Washington DC. Meeru has worked with international non-profit organizations on human rights and economic development projects. She received her Master’s of Science in Development Studies from Bath University before moving to Vancouver in 1995 to join Vikram Vij. Meeru has been cooking and running the kitchen at Vij’s, hailed by the New York Times as “easily among the finest Indian restaurants in the world.”
In 2002, Meeru and Vikram together opened Rangoli and in 2012 Meeru and Oguz Istif
opened Shanik in Seattle. Shanik has received much acclaim in the Seattle as well as from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Shanik was nominated by the James Beard Foundation as semifinalist for 2012 Best New Restaurant in the U.S.
Meeru has penned Vij’s cookbooks: Vij’s—Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine, which won Cuisine Canada’s 2007 Gold Award for Best Cookbook, and Vij’s at Home: Relax, Honey, which placed second in the Best Indian Cuisine Book in the World category at the 2010 Gourmand International World Cookbook Awards in Paris, France. Meeru is working on her third cookbook.
Meeru is on the board of directors for Vancouver Farmers Markets and is a member of the Advisory Council and key fundraiser for The Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC. Her special community project is an annual international food fair called “Joy of Feeding” which features 15 – 16 home cooks of various ethnic backgrounds showcasing their family’s favorite comfort foods. The vision of this event is to connect important aspects of food and cooking: all the various cultures in metropolitan Vancouver, our personal health and the environment. Meeru’s bigger vision is to have a worldwide Joy of Feeding day where various communities throughout the world gather together to share their personal stories through their home cooked meals.
Dr. Jennifer Gardy has the best jobs in the world. Most of the time she is a Senior Scientist in Molecular Epidemiology at the British Columbia centre for Disease Control, where her research uses of DNA sequencing to solve public health problems, like figuring our how outbreaks of infectious disease begin and spread. When not tracking disease, Jennifer works in science documentary television, subjecting herself to all sorts of indignities in the name of science communication. She’s floated in zero-gravity, been dunked in ice-cold water, and spun around in a human centrifuge as part of work for CBC Television’s long –running documentary series The Nature of Things, and appears regularly as a guest co-host of Discovery Channel Canada’s nightly science new magazine Daily Planet.
Cornelia Hahn Oberlander
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Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, a leader in the profession, has practiced in Vancouver, British Columbia, for six decades, collaborating with her late husband Peter Oberlander, and noted international architects such as Arthur Erickson, Moshe Safdie, and Renzo Piano throughout her career. Her many awards include the Order of Canada, nine honorary degrees, the 2011 Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Award from the International Federation of Landscape Architects, and the 2012 American Society of Landscape Architects Medal. With an emphasis on sustainability as well as artfulness, she continues to pursue the aesthetic, ecological and technical possibilities of landscape architecture, with the goal of achieving worldwide community well being
Trevor Boddy’s writing on buildings and cities has been awarded the Alberta Book of the Year and Jack Webster Journalism prizes, Western Magazine Award, the Architecture Canada/Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s2010 Advocacy Award, membership in Lambda Alpha International (the honorary organization for real estate professionals), and an Honorary Membership in the American Institute of Architects. His “HybridCity” was included in the Vancouver Art Gallery’s 2011 exhibition “WE Vancouver: 12 Manifestos for the City.” As architectural curator, Boddy produced the 2008 exhibition“Vancouverism: Architecture Builds the City” and related Trafalgar Square site-specific construction, which was named a marquee event for the 2008 London Festival of Architecture, then re-mounted it in Paris in 2009, then home to Vancouver to inaugurate Woodwards’ atrium during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. In 2014 he curated “Gesamtkunstwerk” for developer Westbank about a design proposal for downtown Vancouver by the Bjarke Ingels Group. Boddy was appointed Adjunct Professor in UBC’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture in 2012, previously holding professorial appointments at Manitoba, Oregon, Toronto and Carleton, and serving as a studio critic and lecturer world-wide.
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David Moscrop is a PhD candidate, Vanier Scholar, and Doctoral Fellow in the department of political science at the University of British Columbia. He studies the social and cognitive psychology of political judgment in democratic societies. His doctoral research asks and answers the question “Can ordinary citizens make good political decisions?
Born in Peterborough, Ontario, he is also a freelance writer and pundit whose work has appeared in the National Post, the Globe and Mail, the Ottawa Citizen, the Vancouver Sun, the Huffington Post, This Magazine, and several other media outlets and blogs across the country. In October 2014, his research was featured on the CBC Radio program Ideas in an episode entitled ‘Too Dumb for Democracy’.
He is currently working on a civic engagement and citizen capacity-building project set to launch in summer 2015.
Erin is the Founder of RAW Beauty Talks, an organization that strives to help women find confidence in their unique beauty by providing a platform for open, honest conversation and by advocating for transparency in media. Erin has interviewed over 200 women including Olympic gold-medalist, Jamie Anderson and Grammy award-winning artist, Colbie Caillat for a special series that explores the topics of beauty, confidence and self-love. Each interview includes pictures of the interviewees without make-up, editing or filters. RAW has been featured in The Huffington Post, The LA Times and Marie Claire among others.
Erin’s deep-rooted passion for the cause stems from an eating disorder she struggled with in high school. A perfectionist by nature, she was greatly influenced by the media’s limited portrayal of beauty and the value that it held. Throughout her recovery she was forced to dig deep, do “the work” and rebuild a positive relationship with herself so that she would be able to accomplish her biggest goals. Today she wants every woman to feel more accepting of themselves so that they can use their minds and their hearts for more important things than worrying about a number on the scale or the wrinkles on their face.
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