Immigrants of Distinction Awards

Join prominent business and non-profit leaders, government dignitaries, and community ambassadors for an evening dedicated to recognizing the remarkable resilience and outstanding achievements of inspiring individuals in Calgary and the surrounding area.

About the Awards

The Immigrants of Distinction Awards (IDA) are dedicated to the remarkable contributions immigrants and refugees have made to create a strong and prosperous Canada. The annual awards ceremony uses the power of storytelling to recognize how Calgary’s mosaic of ethnicities, languages, cultures, and talents enriches and positively shapes our communities.

To learn more about IDA, please visit Homepage - Immigrants of Distinction Awards

2022 Immigrants of Distinction Awards Recipients

Achievement Under 35 - Eno Eka

Arts & Culture - Zahra Entezarmahdi

Community Service - Aneela Azeem

Entrepreneurship & Innovation - Dr. Abbas Sarraf

Leadership Award - Kene Ilochonwu, K.C.

Lifetime Achievement - Dr. Evelyn Jain, Madeleine King

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM) - Dr. Abhay Lodha

Youth Achievement - Bhanvi Sachdeva, Elena Mitevska, Haaziq Altaf, Ishnoor Dhillon, Winjoy Tiop

Community Development Through Sport - Jean Claude Munyezamu

Organizational Diversity - Action Dignity Society

2023 Event Sponsors

Maple Leaf Sponsors


Gold Leaf Sponsors

Cenovus Energy

Silver Leaf Sponsors

Bow Valley College

TELUS and the TELUS Friendly Future Foundation

Bronze Leaf Sponsors


Pomeroy Lodging

For sponsorship opportunities, learn more here or contact Kayla Mackenzie.

Achievement Under 35
is presented to an immigrant or refugee under 35 years of age who has had remarkable success and made significant achievements in their chosen career path in a relatively short period of time.

Visual and Performing Arts
is presented to an immigrant or refugee who has achieved success in an artistic endeavour within visual, media, or performing arts.

Community Service
is presented to an immigrant or refugee who has provided outstanding community service to the city of Calgary and immigrant communities in a volunteer capacity.

Entrepreneurship & Innovation
is presented to an immigrant or refugee who has achieved success in the creation or operation of a business or entrepreneurial endeavor, or has applied innovation resulting in business success in Calgary or surrounding areas.

Leadership Award (in partnership with the Calgary Black Chambers)
is presented to an immigrant or refugee who has demonstrated remarkable leadership in the community.

Lifetime Achievement
is presented to an immigrant or refugee who has achieved outstanding success in their chosen career path, professional field, or in the area of immigrant services. This individual will have made significant contributions to our city in their professional achievement, community building, and philanthropic endeavours.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math
is presented to an immigrant or refugee who has achieved success in or made outstanding contributions to promote science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) in Calgary.

Youth Achievement
is awarded to an immigrant or refugee youth between the ages of 14 and 24 who has made an outstanding contribution in one or more of the following areas: arts and culture, sports, community and volunteer activities, academics, and leadership.

Organizational Diversity
is presented to an organization* (business, government body, non-profit organization, or media outlet) that is a leader in embracing and promoting an inclusive, welcoming, and diverse workplace. The winner will be a shining example of how a company champions workplace diversity initiatives and has made significant contributions to supporting and integrating an ethnically diverse workforce. *Please note that immigrant and refugee serving organizations will not be considered for this award category.

Community Development Through Sport
is presented to an immigrant or refugee who has made significant impact on the lives of newcomers through sport.

For individual awards:
  • Individuals must have been born outside of Canada
  • Individuals must be a permanent resident or Canadian citizen
  • Individuals must be permanent residents of Calgary and/or surrounding areas
  • The Awards are not open to individuals who currently hold an elected political office
  • One individual can be nominated in a maximum of two award categories
For organizational awards:
  • Nominated organizations must have an office in Calgary and/or surrounding area, either locally owned or a local branch of a national or multi-national organization
  • Organization can be nominated by an internal employee or external stakeholder
Arts and Culture Award
Year Recipient
2022Zahra Entezarmahdi
2020Olawunmi Idowu
2019Wilmer Aburto
2018Marjan Eggermont
2017Elena Bushan
2016Jose Gregorio Duque
2015Vania Dimitrova
2014Yogeshwar Navagrah
2012Jacek Malec
2011Shenaaz Nanji
2010Karin Richter
2009Lyn Pflueger
2008Cecilia Gossen
2007Vahe Tokmajyan
2006Alexandra Haeseker
2005Alina Dabrowska
2004Umran Sumen
2003Elizabeth Allen
2002Siegfried Wieser & Mrs. Joan Xauen Wieser
2001Angelique Gillespie
2000Neel de Wit-Wibaut
1999Helen Seka Owen
1998Antonia C. Wicherts & Mr. David M. Spriggs
1997Mark Skalinski, PhD
Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Year Recipient
2022Dr. Abbas Sarraf
2020Jose M. Azares
2019Amy Giang
2018Dr. Rupinder Toor
2017Dr. Anmol Kapoor
2016Bob Dhillon
Business Award (offered until 2015)
Year Recipient
2015Girish Agrawal
2014Margaret Adu
2013Mike Shaikh
2012Baldev Shergill
2011Fatima Dhanani
2010Bea Twumasi
2009Raymond T. Chan
2008Saad Ibrahim
2007Lina Castle
2006Nashir Samanani
2005Abed Itani
2004Wayne Chiu
2003Gerald Wood
2002Chan Yang Kim
2001Mike Ciccaglione
2000Said Arrata
1999John Dasilva
1998Hatim Zaghloul, PhD
1997Dan Capitanescu
Community Service Award
Year Recipient
2022Aneela Azeem
2020Saima Jamal
2019Victorino Lantion
2018Miroslav Reljic
2017Dahlia ElShafie-Mostafa
2016Bojan Tosic
2015Gurmit Kaur Sarpal
2014Dolores Dill
2013Amal Mohamed
2012Dr. Geetha Ramesh
2011Dr. Brijendra K. Sood
2010Idrees A. Khan
2009Cesar P. Cala
2008Dr. Kabir Jivraj
2007Dr. John Wu
2006Tseden Dhogonpa
2005Dinesh Dattani
2004Ashid Bahl
2003Vinay Dey
2002Baljinder Mann & Michael Embaie
2001Vettivelu Nallainayagam, PhD
2000Chamnan Chap, PhD
1999Vilma Dawson
1998Teresa Woo-Paw
1997Nirmal Dey (Volunteer Service Award)
Achievement Under 35 Award
Year Recipient
2022Eno Eka
2020Charles Osuji
2019Oluseyi Smith
2018Hyder Hassan
2017Dr. Anupam Das
2016Dr. Irehobhude O. Iyioha
Achievement Under 40 Award (offered until 2015)
Year Recipient
2015Ariam Wolde-Giorgis
2014Turin Tanvir Chowdhury
2013Hayato Okamitsu
Lifetime Achievement Award
Year Recipient
2022Dr. Evelyn Jain & Madeleine King
2020Prof. Kàroly Bezdek
2019Adriana Bejko
2018Dr. Kamal Botros & Dr. Thomas Brown
2017Richard Guy
2016Dr. Hude Quan & Dr. Serdar Yilmaz
2015Dr. Chan Wirasinghe
2014Om Malik
2013Sid and Bronia Cyngiser
Hadassah Ksienski Distinguished Service Award (offered until 2015)
Year Recipient
2015Carolina Dalgleish
2013Umashanie Reddy
2012Bob Khan
2011Tina Merali
2010Genevieve Balogun
2009Peter Wong, Q.C.
Distinguished Professional Award (offered until 2012)
Year Recipient
2012Dr. Bejoy Thomas
2011Dr. Chirag Shah
2010Dr. Wael Badowy
2009Dr.Tadeusz Dabrowski
2008Dr. Alykhan M. Nanji
2007Dr. Thaddeus Demong
2006Margaret Styczynska & Sinisa Sonny Tomic
2005Daniel Lai, PhD
2004Hetty Roessingh, PhD
2003Hans Vogel, PhD & Gamil Tadros,PhD
2002Wilhelmus (Duffie) VanBalkom, PhD
2001Taj Jadavji, PhD & Max Coppes, PhD
2000Elaine Chan
1999Hans van der Sande, PhD
1998Henk E.D.J. ter Keurs, PhD
1997Magdalena Amnestica
Organizational Diversity Award
Year Recipient
2022Action Dignity Society
2020Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST)
2019Tower Cleaners
2018Trico Homes
2017Genesis Centre
2016Calgary United Soccer Association
2014Cargill Meat Solutions High River
2011OMNI Television (Alberta)
2009Bow Valley College
2008GlobalFest (Government or Non-Profit Category)
2008Haworth Ltd. (Business Category)
2007Calgary Public Library
2006Boys & Girls Club of Calgary
2005Calgary Health Region
2004Village Square Leisure Centre
2003Calgary Public Library
2002Calgary Police Service
2001The Westin Calgary
2000Cyberwave Technologies Inc.
1999Shell Canada Limited
1998Standen’s Limited
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math
Year Recipient
2022 Dr. Abhay Lodha
2020 Dr. Belinda Heyne
2018 Dr. Gopal Achari
2017 Dr. Wael Badawy
2016 Dr. Janaka Ruwanpura
Youth Scholarships
Year Recipient
2022Bhanvi Sachdeva, Elena Mitevska, Haaziq Altaf, Ishnoor Dhillon, Winjoy Tiop
2020Arshiya Shareef, Yuvraj Singh, Qiu Hao (Dundee) Wang, Sunand Kannappan, Aaranyo Ghosh
2019Arijit Lodha, Claire Du, Nihal Potdar, Riri (Youhan) Jiang, Temitope Olayinka
2018Jenny Liao, Kevin Lin, Kirsty McGowan, Mehul Gupta, Ruth Legese
2017Ayush Ghosh, Janica Altea L. Echavez, Jeremy Fan, Nicole Mfoafo-M’Carthy, Zeel Patel
2016Andrew Min, Dan Yang (Lucy) Ni, Moiz Hafeez, Sophie Zhao, Varun Kundra
2015Mahtab Dhaliwal, Nilufer Hasanova, Syeda Kinza Rizvi, Vidhya Bavalana, Ziad Paracha
2014Sarthak Sinha, Sujay Nagaraj, Simei (Amy) Li, Chuyang (Aaron) Lin, Jiani Deng
2013Amrita Bhattacharje, Angelica Lai, Hassan Riaz, Henry Siu, Mariam Amwara
2012Janriu (Peter) Liu, Silvana Echeverri, Michael Deng, Julia Qin, Vasanth Ranganathan
2011Koray Demirbag, Meng Zhao, Naanak Sodhi, Patti Wang, Sergiu Lucut
2010Annie Zheng, Shayna Ding, Malithi Fernando, Daria Tilimpea, Jethro Cheung
2009Ana Angela Lopez Quiroz, Bani Turkmani, Di Mo, Fariha Ahmed, Valez Lumi
2008Simon Atem, Hin Man (Ivy) Cheung, Zoe Beatrice Cheung, Sana Tariq, Jane Wu
2007Alice Chen, Nyail Majock, Eva Ouyang, Joseph Lagasca, Carrol Zhou
2006Alexsander Dshurkov, Elva Fan, Mahesh Hariharan, John Reuben Lagasca, Lina Roa
2005Karen Hyo Min Kang, Shuyang Li, Hong Lu, Sherry Qin, Xiao Wang
2004Abednego Deng, Yao Li, Vinh Luu, Salil Pradham, Celine Zeng
2003Natalia Beloukhina, Olga Konwisorz, Jan Owoc, Crystal Rego, Jeremy Torio
2002Genesis Juat, Eisha Alemao, David Lee, Steven Cheng, Pascal Yu
2001Dominika Boczula, Shirley Ngo Suet Ho, Jung-Mee Hwang, Danijel Margetic, Sheila Muy Lee Ung
2000Susan Doan, Nilou Davoudi, Samir Pradhan, Stephen Kung, Casy Wang
1999Newman Yu Ting Lin, Aly Kassam-Remtulla, Alisa Palic, Wei-ting Chen, Omar Tahmisicic
1998Anthony Xung Chim, Huong Ly, Luke Glovacki
Leadership Award
Year Recipient
2022Kene Ilochonwu, K.C.
Community Development Through Sport
Year Recipient
2022Jean Claude Munyezamu

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