Virtual Recognition Awards Ceremony 2020

On June 19th, 2020, the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month hosted our very first Virtual Recognition Awards Ceremony. We were joined by our President, Leticia Sanchez, Minister of Citizens’ Services Hon. Anne Kang, VAHMS directors Jing Palad, Shahid Abrar-ul-Hassan and Patricia Woroch, and musical guest VI AN.

You can stream the entire ceremony here, and learn about our three Honourees below.

The Honourees:

Sima Ghaffarzadeh is the Co-founder, Director, and Editor-in-Chief of Hamyaari Media, a bi-weekly magazine, which serves BC’s Farsi speaking community by providing original contents through a trusted source of news, arts, and culture. Hamyaari Media was established in 2016.

In 2010, Sima also founded the popular Facebook group named “Hamyaari Iranian Vancouver” which means Iranians Outreach in Vancouver. This virtual community currently has over 30,000 members and provides newcomers with information and resources to help them settle into their new communities. Through her personal involvement in these projects, Sima Ghaffarzadeh has improved the quality of life for thousands of newcomers coming from Farsi speaking regions in Asia. 

She is also an active member of the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada, and her leadership was recognized with prestigious awards in 2018 and 2019 for her public-spirited support for equality, human rights, cooperation, and understanding among the members of various cultural groups in Canadian society.

Yayoi Theatre Movement Society is a dance company founded by Yayoi Hirano in 1990. Born and raised in Japan, Yayoi has lived in Vancouver since 2002 and is a graduate of Toho Gakuen College of drama. Over the past 30 years, she has continued her study of Japanese dance and movement such as Kagura, Noh, Kyogen, Kabuki-dance as well as western dance forms such as classic ballet and modern dance. 

The Yayoi Theatre Movement Society has taken a leadership role in promoting cross-cultural exchange between many Asian arts societies and Canadian audiences who are not familiar with Japanese traditional dance and movements. Over the decades, Yayoi Theatre Movement Society has collaborated with many Canadian dance companies and artists that exist outside of the traditional Japanese community, with the goal of creating meaningful cultural exchange through the theatre experience. 

Margaret Gallagher has been a regular voice on CBC Radio since 2001 on programs such as Hot AirThe Early Edition, and Canada Live. Prior to joining the CBC, Margaret was active in the Vancouver arts scene, working with the Western Front, the Video In, and the Independent Film and Video Alliance.

Actively involved in community outreach, Margaret has tirelessly donated her time and efforts to many Vancouver events. She has hosted dozens of events for a variety of arts and community groups and even won a “Community Builder” award from the Hapa-palooza Festival of Mixed Roots in recognition of her work to connect communities.

For many years, Margaret has collaborated with Pan-Asian communities, individuals, institutions, and not-for-profit organizations, including VAHMS, to promote the inclusion and representation of Asian traditions and cultures in Canadian society. Her strong leadership and kind approach have allowed her to reach many audiences and promote a more equitable and accepting society. 



VI AN is a world music recording artist and composer specializing in spontaneous, intuitive compositions on various Asian long-plucked zithers, including Japanese koto, Vietnamese đan tranh and Chinese zheng instruments. A completely self taught musician, VI AN has released 25 independent solo albums to date and collaborated with thousands of other artists, musicians and theatre groups from around the world.

VI AN performed a delightful original piece titled “Mama’s Lullaby of Eternity” for the 30 stringed zheng instrument. This piece celebrates the life and legacy of her late Mama, whom for VI AN, represents intercultural and Asian heritage, a great and enduring legacy in her life!