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BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Idrisa Pandit
Founder, Director, Advisor

Idrisa is an academic and a passionate social justice worker. She has been recognized for her volunteerism and community contributions. Among her numerous awards are the University of Waterloo President’s community award 2017, Ontario’s Leading women leading girls award 2016, Oktober fest Woman of the year award, 2016, and the 2007 Top twenty Canadian Muslim women who inspire award. Idrisa’s research and writings focus on interfaith relations, anti oppression, anti racism, gender and Islam, and the Kashmir conflict.

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Khalid Khokar
Board Director- President

Mr. Khalid Khokhar is the Executive Director of the Islamic Centre of Cambridge and a life long educator and school administrator. Mr. Khokhar has been associated with MSS in a variety of roles, as a Board member, as well as a mentor and advisor. Mr. Khokar has served on Boards of many different not for profit organizations and brings a wealth of expertise to Muslim Social Services.

Brice Balmer
Board Director, Co-Chair

Brice is a Professor Emeritus of Luther University College, Wilfrid Laurier University. He taught courses in the Master of Arts in Theology program, in the field of Spiritual Care and Psychotherapy. Brice is a co-founder of Interfaith Grand River and is an well recognized community leader and author. As an ordained Mennonite minister he has worked in chaplaincy for many years, especially with people who are marginalized, in Denver, Colorado, and in Kitchener, Ontario. He was also a co-pastor at First Mennonite Church, in Kitchener, for 17 years.

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Anwar S. Arkani
Board Director

Anwar Shah Arkani is a Burmese Rohingya who came to Canada and is a prominent speaker who works as a linguistic specialist, offering dedicated assistance to clients in addressing their concerns. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Indiana University. In 2006-2007 Anwar helped rescue stranded Rohingya boatpeople in Thailand, leading to an invitation to the United Nations. Founder and director of the Rohingya Association of Canada [RAC], Anwar spearheaded advocacy campaigns to declare Rohingya’s plights as "GENOCIDE" and contributed significantly toward the production of "Time To Act: Rohingya Voices". Anwar was also a cofounder of the Rohingya Language School in Kitchener, to teach Rohingya writing systems and cultural norms. He received the International Refugee Day Distinction Award in 2014. 

Kaleem Rehman
Board Director

Kaleem Rehman having graduated from the University of Guelph, made the selfless decision to serve the most vulnerable populations with diversified backgrounds as a caseworker with the Region of Waterloo for 29 years simultaneously becoming a Real Estate Agent and Sophisticated Investor.  His passion and purpose are to create generational financial security through real estate and education to shift family paradigms. He believes this is possible through collaborating with people of different backgrounds, ideals and experiences to uncover untapped opportunities.

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Rihanat El-Alawa
Board Director

Rihanat migrated to Canada from Nigeria and is very passionate about building relationships and helping people who are vulnerable. Rihanat is an active member of the Muslim community in Cambridge Ontario. Rihanat holds a Bachelor’s degree, and is currently pursuing an Associate degree in Islamic Education at the International Open University. Rihanat is a member of the Langs Board and is part of the Community Services Committee. She is also a Peer Champion with the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI). Rihanat was a Peer Leader at the Healthy Eating, Healthy Living in Canada program at the Kitchener Downtown Community Health Center (KDCHC). She enjoys spending time with her family and reaching out to her friends.

Aurra Startup
Board Director

Aurra Startup (she/her) is a treaty person situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land promised to and cared for by the Haudenosaunee people of Six Nations. She is completing her graduate studies with a focus on restorative justice education to promote equity and inclusivity within schools. Beyond academia, Aurra loves being rooted within the community and spends much of her time volunteering with local organizations doing critical social justice work.

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Ashoo Anand
Board Director

Ashoo has led Credit Valley Conservation’s multicultural outreach program since its humble beginnings in 2009. In this role, she has been collaborating and building strategic alliances with other public sector agencies and community organizations for developing and delivering culturally sensitive programming for immigrants for their physical and psychological wellbeing.

Ashoo has spearheaded initiatives within Credit Valley Conservation to foster inter-cultural discussions. Being an immigrant herself, Ashoo understands the challenges and barriers newcomers face in accessing nature and building a strong and meaningful connections. Her education and work experience have been pivotal in developing a robust environmental outreach program for culturally diverse immigrants in the region.

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