March 1, 2023
New senior adviser on anti-racism and racial equity joins UCalgary
Dr. Ghada Sfeir, PhD, has joined the University of Calgary’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (OEDI) as its first senior adviser on anti-racism and racial equity.
Sfeir holds a PhD in interdisciplinary graduate studies from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. Her research interests focus on anti-racism, EDI, decolonization, cosmopolitanism, multiculturalism and global citizenship education. Using a cosmopolitan lens, which entails the equal moral worth of every individual across all categories of differences, Sfeir advocates for the implementation of the fundamentals of anti-racism and EDI to identify and remove systemic barriers facing members of under-represented and racialized groups educationally, socially and politically.
“Dismantling racism and colonialization is a shared responsibility university-wide and intentional collective action is vital to the success of any anti-racist initiative,” says Sfeir. At Concordia University in Montreal, Sfeir taught graduate and undergraduate courses from a social justice perspective. She also recently co-edited a special issue of The International Journal of Talent Development and Creativity (2022) to promote cosmopolitan pathways for Canada’s growing diversity from coast to coast.
Her advocacy is not limited to publications and teaching from a social justice perspective. Sfeir’s body of work also includes various academic initiatives to advance collective public understanding of the principles of justice, diversity, equity, inclusion and decolonization.
“By reaffirming my deep commitment to embracing our racialized and under-represented students, faculty and staff, we, together will further pave the way for them to flourish and reach their full potential,” she says.
“The new position fulfils an important commitment made by UCalgary’s president and Executive Leadership Team following the death of George Floyd during an encounter with Minneapolis police in 2020,” says Dr. Malinda S. Smith, vice-provost and associate vice-president research (equity, diversity and inclusion).
“This was a moment of racial reckoning when many post-secondary institutions across the world issued anti-racism statements highlighting their commitment to combat racial discrimination and advance racial justice,” she says.
“At UCalgary, many faculty deans committed to combat racism, and some faculties such as the Faculty of Social Work created an Anti-Racism Task Force and action plan. Several EDI committees, such as in the Department of Psychology, have also been engaged in anti-racism education and advocacy,” Smith says.
Each year, the OEDI hosts events to mark Black History Month, Asian Heritage Month, and on anti-racism and pluralism education and awareness to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21.
The senior adviser on anti-racism and racial equity position will also work together with the academic director on EDI and Black Futures to further advance the university’s commitment through the Scarborough Charter; in 2021, UCalgary and more than 50 other post-secondary institutions across Canada took part in the signing of the Scarborough Charter on Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion, which emerged from the National Dialogue and Action for Inclusive Higher Education and Communities held in 2020.
The University of Calgary is committed to an equitable, diverse and inclusive university. It recognizes that diverse faculty, staff, students and alumni benefit and enrich the work, teaching, learning and research experiences of the entire campus and broader community. We are committed to removing barriers that have been, and continue to be, encountered by equity-deserving groups, particularly women, Indigenous Peoples, visible/racialized minorities, persons with disabilities and LGBTQ2S+.
Learn more about upcoming and past events from the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.