Every year, VAHMS honours three individuals, community organizations, or educational institutions representing Pan-Asian communities that have made significant contributions to VAHMS’ vision of fostering, promoting and celebrating the arts and cultural diversity that Asian-Canadian communities bring to Canadian society. This year, in honour of our 25th Anniversary, we are pleased to present a special evening of programming with extra award presentations and entertainment.
Please join us as we honour these community-builders and reflect upon 25 years of VAHMS and enjoy video performances from Kardias Quing, Bero, and the Academy of Middle Eastern Dance.
Browse our Silent Auction!
Born and raised in Vancouver, Allan Cho is a second generation Canadian Canadian, whose research and literary interests are in Asian Canadian arts, history and culture. Allan has been involved in several community organizations including the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society, Vancouver Asian Film Festival, Chinese Canadian Historical Society of British Columbia, the Roedde House Museum, and the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. He is the Executive Director of the Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop, Festival Director of LiterASIAN Writers Festival, and Editor-in-Chief of Ricepaper Magazine.
Allan has published his work in the Georgia Straight, Ricepaper Magazine, Diverse Magazine, and short stories in the anthologies The Strangers and Eating Stories’, A Chinese Canadian & Aboriginal Potluck, and has edited a number of anthologies, including AlliterAsian: Twenty Years of Ricepaper Magazine (2016), Immersion: An Asian Anthology of Love, Fantasy, and Speculative Fiction (2019), and Belief (2021). Having discovered in his research that his great-great-grandfather had arrived in Vancouver on March 11, 1899 at age 30 and great-grandfather in Vancouver on April 12, 1912 at age 24, Allan is currently working on a family genealogy project on the transnational journey of his family within the context of global migration in the 19th and 20th centuries. He is an academic librarian at the University of British Columbia Library.
Allan has served on the Board of the Chinese Canadian Historical Society and the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society. In addition to being the Executive Director of the Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop, he is a published writer and nurtures youth writers through the national Ricepaper Magazine which recently has morphed into a more dynamic digital publication. Allan spearheads the annual LiterASIAN festival, which is the only Asian Canadian Writers’ Festival in North America. He consults on a variety of projects, and one called the Early Hong Kong-Canada Connections: An Exhibition-Oriented research Project to Uncover Historical Facts and Artefacts on Chinese Migration to the “New Gold Mountain” of Canada. He volunteers in the museum sector, serving as a tour docent at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden and at the Roedde House Museum.
The Pacific Canada Heritage Centre – Museum of Migration
The Pacific Canada Heritage Centre – Museum of Migration Society (PCHC) is a non-profit society established in 2011 to build a wider and improved understanding of Canada’s history and growth through intercultural explorations of historic and current trans-Pacific immigration.
Its mission is to establish a Museum of Migration at a site of historical significance for Canadians whose families first arrived in Canada through its western portals, and create a supporting national research network for an interdisciplinary and more inclusive interpretation of Canada’s history.
Before a physical Museum can be constructed in Metro Vancouver, we have been functioning as a “museum without walls”. By building meaningful relationships with diverse cultural and ethnic groups, we engage participants in our programs to understand past and current relationships between immigrants and host communities, including their interaction with Indigenous peoples. We endeavour to nurture the general public’s interest and ability to research and share their own family/migration stories.
Huma Shoaib is an educator and a Behavioral Specialist. She has worked in the field of education for fifteen years as a behavioral therapist. She works with children with special needs, specifically those with autism spectrum disorder, dealing with behavioral challenges, social-emotional difficulties, mental health concerns and safety issues that these children face. Working with children who do not normally respond to general classroom or school environments has been a rewarding and fulfilling role for Huma. Her passion and dedication have driven her to work beyond the school system as a behavioral therapist consultant. She is also founder of a startup that works with families and children to empower them with coping mechanisms and skills to deal with autism and other disabilities.
Along with her professional roles, Huma is an active participant in her local community, involved with organizations that work in being a positive and constructive force in society. She is president of The Canada Urdu Association, a BC registered society that brings together a wide swath of the Indian and Pakistani community in the lower mainland and beyond, who share a love for the Urdu language. She also serves on the organizing committee for the Vancouver chapter of The Citizen Foundation Canada, a registered charity that works to raise funds for educational opportunities for underprivileged children in Pakistan. Huma is also an active member of the Pakistani Canadian Women’s Society and The Global Peace Alliance, both BC based societies.
The Canada Urdu Association: Honourable Mention Award
The Canada Urdu Association (CUA) is a registered society based in Surrey, British Columbia. Founded in 1997 the organization has worked towards learning, education, promotion, and celebration of the Urdu language in the local region and beyond.
The association works with literary, cultural, and social organizations across Canada and internationally to support and facilitate education and learning in general, and especially in support and promotion of the Urdu language. A fundamental goal of the organization is to cultivate harmony, peace, tolerance and understanding in local, national, and international communities by promoting the value of oral and written communication with special importance to native languages. This is pursued through curated content, dialogue through events and programs; exploring and sharing the beauty and creativity found in Urdu poetry and prose. Equally important for the association is involvement of youth. Youngsters speaking Urdu, writing Urdu poetry and prose, exploring and expressing Urdu through song and art, are all integral to CUA’s objectives and purpose. In pursuit of these aims the society has for years held bimonthly poetry programs, annual poetry events, literary programs, conferences, outdoor family events, youth plays, and live music concerts. The Canada Urdu Association has further been involved in printing and publishing Urdu magazines and Urdu books, to encourage local Urdu writers and poets whose writings deserve the spotlight and attention of a wider audience.
The Canada Urdu Association focuses on promoting the Urdu language and preserving its cultural and literary heritage, especially amongst immigrant Urdu speaking communities. CUA has been working with teachers and educators to get Urdu as a secondary language to learn on the syllabus in the local district. The association consistently looks to provide a platform for local writers and poets to help facilitate their literary efforts. This support is open to writers and poets across Canada and North America in particular, but also to writers and poets internationally seeking to have their work recognized and acknowledged.
The Canada Urdu Association celebrates its 25th Anniversary on Sept 17, 2022.
Hayne Wai: : Honourable Mention Award
Hayne has been a long-time advocate for multiculturalism, human rights and anti-racism through his work and community involvement. He has served on civic, provincial and national committees on these issues. Hayne has been an Advisor to VAHMS for the last several years and has appreciated the sharing of cultural heritage amongst members.
Born in Hong Kong, Hayne arrived in Canada at a young age and grew up in Vancouver. He is a graduate of UBC, Queen’s University and Simon Fraser University. A researcher and advocate for Chinatown for over 50 years, Hayne is a founding member and past president of the Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC. He has worked with community organizations, the Provincial Ministry of Multiculturalism, the Canadian Human rights Commission, and more recently was a sessional instructor in the Faculty of Education at UBC. Hayne is a past board member of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden and continues as a docent.
Hayne is a recipient of the Government of Canada, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal 2012 and the Government of Canada, Commemorative Medal, 125th Anniversary of Canada, 1994.
Kelly Ip: 25th Anniversary Award
Kelly Ip was born and raised in Hong Kong and came to Canada in 1961. Following his graduation from the University of Ottawa in 1965 with a B.A. degree he joined the Ottawa YM-YWCA first as the Assistant Youth Program Director and then the Associate Adult Education Director.
In 1969 he was recruited by the Public Service of Canada in Ottawa as a Social Development Officer for the Department of Secretary of State and subsequently he was transferred to Vancouver in 1970 to assume the post of Regional Liaison Officer. He worked for a number of Departments such as Secretary of State, Multiculturalism and Citizenship, Canadian Heritage and Citizenship and Immigration until he took early retirement from the Public Service in 1997.
The position he held the longest was the Regional Manager of Citizenship Court for the Pacific Region. During this period, Kelly was responsible for the implementation of the new Citizenship Act, which was proclaimed in 1977 and the expansion of citizenship services in British Columbia and the Yukon Territory. He was also instrumental in initiating citizenship outreach services in ethnic communities and neighborhood centres where citizenship application services and education programs were made readily available to those who needed them.
Since his retirement from the Public Service of Canada, Kelly has been actively involved in a number of voluntary and community organizations. He continues to work hard and diligently in promoting good citizenship in the community and raise the public’s awareness on the values of citizenship, multiculturalism and voluntarism. His knowledge and experience in these areas give him an opportunity to serve many organizations which seek his advice and expertise. (See attached)
One of the achievements he is most proud of was the completion of the Vancouver Chinatown Millennium Gate which was inaugurated on August 1, 2002 by the Prime Minister of Canada. He was instrumental in planning and fundraising and building this landmark which welcomes tourists and residents alike to Vancouver’s historic Chinatown.
Kelly was appointed by the Government of B.C. & Volunteer BC as an Ambassador for the International Year of Volunteers, 2001. In 2002, he was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal for his community service by the Government of Canada. In 2004, the Vancouver Multicultural Society awarded the Distinguished Public Service Award for his contributions to multiculturalism in the community.
Kelly was appointed a Provincial Marriage Commissioner in 1998.
Kelly is married to Maggie for 40 years and they have two children and three grandchildren who all reside in Vancouver.
Bev Nann: 25th Anniversary Legacy Award
Beverly Nann, MSW, is a recipient of the Order of BC in recognition of a commitment of over 30 years to providing leadership in pioneering the development of organisations, programs and services in the multicultural and immigrant service sector including the Laurier Institution and the Vancouver and Burnaby School District Multicultural Home-School Liaison Workers. She has served on many national, provincial and local multicultural advisory bodies including the Immigration and Refugee Advisory Panel, the Provincial Advisory Council for Multiculturalism for the Minister of Multiculturalism and Immigration and the United Way. She is the Past Executive Director of the Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies of BC and she served as the first president of Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society. She is currently a Senior Advisor of VAHMS.
Zainub Verjee: 25th Anniversary Recognition
Zainub Verjee, currently the Executive Director of Ontario Association of Art Galleries, Toronto, is an accomplished leader in the art and culture sector and over four decades has shaped culture policy at all levels of governments and contributed to building of cultural institutions and organizations in Canada and internationally.
A trailblazer, she was directly instrumental in the founding of these cultural institutions (In Visible Colours; B.C.Arts Council; Vancouver Asian Heritage Month; Racial Equity Office in Canada Council for the Arts) and developed policy initiatives, advanced vital interests of artists, and created spaces and access for artists across different disciplines in Canada.
As Senior Policy Advisor, Department of Canadian Heritage and Program Officer at the Canada Council for the Arts, she served on cross-sectoral portfolios. Almost for a decade, she was the Executive Director of Western Front. Prior to that she Co-Directed/Founded InVisible Colours, a widely and critically recognized and impactful International film and video festival of its kind in Vancouver and in Canada.
Zainub is an accomplished writer, critic, curator, contemporary artist and public intellectual. At the forefront of the two decades of cultural politics of the 1980s and 1990s in Canada, Zainub was the co-founder and Festival director of the critically acclaimed In Visible Colours: An International Film/Video Festival & Symposium for Third World Women and Women of Colour (1988-90). She was co-guest editor of The Capilano Review and has published in numerous academic, cultural and critical fora including, Leonardo Journal (MIT), Kinesis, Parallelogram, Fuse, Horizon, Canadian Art Magazine, Journal of Art and the Public Sphere etc. She is invited to speak nationally and internationally, on cultural policy, contemporary art and cultural diplomacy.