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Alberta Online Encyclopedia

Ismaili Immigration to Alberta

Zaheer M. Lakhani

Zaheer M. Lakhani was born in Uganda. He was forced to leave the country in 1972 and went to Leeds, England, where he pursued medical studies. He came to Canada in 1977 and settled in Edmonton to study cardiology. He became a consultant cardiologist at the Royal Alexandra Hospital and a clinical professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Alberta. Lakhani is also an active volunteer, having served as president of the Edmonton Multicultural Society, Chairman of the Edmonton Ismaili Muslim Council, and Chairman of the Edmonton Police Commission. Lakhani has also helped to establish a program to send pediatricians to Uganda. Among Lakhani’s numerous awards are the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal and being named one of the One Hundred Albertan Physicians of the Century. In 2006, Lakhani was named a Member of the Order of Canada.

Yasmin Jivraj

Yasmin Jivraj studied Computer Science at the University of Alberta before founding an information technology company in 1988. In 2000, her company underwent a merger and became Acrodex, of which she is President and co-owner. She is also involved with other business, including the Khazana Restaurant in Edmonton. Jivraj is an active volunteer, sitting on the Edmonton Whitemud Constituency Board and the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Science Visiting Committee. She has also co-founded the Women in Technology Leap Toward the Future Program. In 1999, she was featured in Chatelaine magazine as one of Canada’s one hundred women entrepreneurs. Jivraj is currently on the Board of Directors of CBC/Radio-Canada.

Shenaaz Nanji

Shenaaz Nanji was born in Mombasa, Kenya. She came to Canada in 1981 and began writing. She later completed her Masters of Fine Arts in Writing for Young Adults and Children from Vermont College. Nanji noticed that there was very little multicultural literature for children and began writing stories about children who were not ethnically the same as the majority of the people around them. One of her books, Treasure for Lunch, is about a girl who is ashamed of the Indian food she brings for lunch. Nanji was a Brendon Donelly Children’s Literature Finalist and one of her books was on the Canadian Children’s Book Centre Our Choice List.

Nizar J. Somji

Nizar J. Somji was born in Tanzania where he also attended high school. Before coming to Canada in 1980, he studied chemical engineering in England. Somji received his Masters in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Alberta in 1985 and three years later founded the information technology company Matrikon. The company has grown from having two to five hundred employees. Matrikon has been chosen as one of Canada’s top one hundred employers numerous times and was given the Alberta Premier’s Award in 2003. Somji received the University of Alberta’s Alumni Honour Award in 2001. In 2005, Somji relinquished his presidency of Matrikon but remains CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors. He is also involved in charitable organizations such as the humanitarian group CARE.

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