Our team and our work is structured based on our regional, topical, and industry knowledge. Together, we work to include these three types of support in every program we offer based on our mission and vision.
W. Y. Alice Chan, Ph.D., Executive Director, Co-Founder
Alice worked in private and public international corporations, and international religious and non-religious NGOs. These experiences inform her work at CCRL and raise her desire to foster religious literacy among industry professionals, an understanding that was lacking in her corporate environments. Her work at the Centre is also inspired by her teaching experience as a Toronto-area middle school teacher, McGill University lecturer, and her research on the intersections of religious bullying, religious literacy, and religious discrimination, such as violent extremism. In recent years, she has worked with the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP), the Interfaith Youth core in the US, the Tony Blair Institute for Change, the Hindu American Foundation, the Islamic Council of North America, and the Religious Freedom Center in the US. More information about Alice is available at: www.alicechan.org.
Sabrina Jafralie, Ph. D., Co-Founder
Sabrina is a recognized specialist on the Quebec Ethics and Religious Culture course and has over 16 years of teaching experience at the secondary and university levels with experience in the Canadian and British educational systems. This teaching experience and her research on teachers’ challenges in teaching religious literacy bring a wealth of knowledge into her roles at the Centre. In 2018, she was awarded the Prime Minister’s Teaching Award of Excellence.
Erin Reid, Director of Learning (for higher education and adult education), Regional Director (Alberta), Co-Founder
Erin is an educator and researcher who thinks a great deal about religious diversity, equity, and education. In particular, she is deeply curious about how religion intersects with other facets of identity, including language and LGBTQ2S+ identities. Her doctoral research at McGill University investigates the role of religious literacy as an educational aim in teacher education programs in Canada. This academic work is deeply informed by her 15+ years of experience as an educator, curriculum developer, and teacher educator in adult education and higher education contexts. In 2015, she received the Award for Distinguished Teaching in McGill University’s School of Continuing Studies.
Hiren Mistry, Regional Director (Ontario), Subject Matter Expert (Relationships with ministries and school administrators)
Hiren is an educator and researcher whose work synthesizes commitments to equity, cultural & religious/creed diversity, policy and pedagogy. Hiren has over 15 years of experience connecting human rights theory to practice in public & higher education, with community groups and non-profit organizations. He is a former seconded lecturer at York University (Faculty of Education), and is currently completing his doctorate in Higher Education and Leadership at the University of Toronto (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education) focusing on the intersection of policy, religious diversity and leadership.
Arzina Zaver, Ph.D., Regional Director (British Columbia), Subject Matter Expert (Professional Neutrality)
Arzina is a progressive and devoted educator with a Doctorate in Education from McGill University and 10 years’ experience in the primary, secondary and post-secondary levels. She has extensive national and international experience working with educational organizations to develop curricula, facilitate workshops, design and evaluate learning experiences, and oversee the training and development of staff. Currently she works as the Training and Development Regional Academic Lead for ITREB Canada, a not-for profit education institution established under His Highness the Aga Khan. Within this role, she oversees the professional development and mentorship of volunteer teachers across Western Canada.
Alim Fakirani, Subject Matter Expert (English speaking Muslim identities and communities )
Alim is a graduate of McGill University (BA, World Religions) and the Institute of Education (MA, Education – Muslim Societies and Civilizations; M.Teach). He has worked in a variety of settings, both in Canada and internationally. Alim’s work and research has focused on the promotion of religious literacy and the advancement of pluralism in Canada. He strongly feels that meaningful engagement with the religious diversity found in our communities can lead to tremendous benefit for all those involved. Alim has subject expertise in Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism and has undertaken professional development at UBC and Harvard in the areas of historical thinking and religious literacy. More information about Alim is available at: www.alimfakirani.com
Hicham Tiflati, Ph.D., Subject Matter Expert (French speaking Muslim communities and identities, and research on violent extremism)
Hicham is a researcher and a practitioner who has been active with the Muslim community for over a decade. He has taught Arabic and Islamic studies for many years, and has been working closely with families and close friends of Canadians who joined ISIS. His work focuses on radicalization, disengagement from violent extremism, Muslim identity construction, and Islamic schooling. He piloted two interreligious dialogue initiatives – as cofounder of Dialogue Islamo-Chrétien, an Islamic- Christian dialogue group, and as coordinator of Islamic-Jewish dialogue (2015) between the Islamic school, École le savoir and the Jewish Bialic high school. He has also helped in developing a community based radicalization-prevention program for parents and youth in two Montreal area Islamic centers.
Christina Parker, Ph.D., Subject Matter Expert (Peace education)
Christina is an Assistant Professor in Social Development Studies at Renison University College at the University of Waterloo. She holds Ph.D. and a Masters in Teaching from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto, and is an Ontario Certified Teacher, with a specialization in teaching history. Christina’s research on peacebuilding education in diverse multicultural classrooms with marginalized children shows how dialogic pedagogies facilitate inclusive spaces where all students have the opportunity to participate and have their voices heard. She has published several academic articles on peacebuilding education, restorative justice, multiculturalism, and diverse students in Canada. She is the author of Peacebuilding, Citizenship, and Identity: Empowering Conflict and Dialogue in Multicultural Classrooms. More information about Christina is available at: www.drchristinaparker.com
Margie Patrick, Ph.D., Subject Matter Expert (Inclusion of religion and worldview in school curriculum)
After teaching in a high school for 12 years, Margie left the K-12 education system to pursue a PhD in Religious Studies. Now in a teacher preparation program at The King’s University, she has the pleasure of mentoring new teachers as an Associate Professor in Education, learning from the new teachers, and sharing in their growth as teachers. Her current research brings together her passions of teaching social studies and thinking about the impacts of religious pluralism on classrooms and teacher practices. She and her research colleagues have interviewed social teachers about their practices regarding the teaching about religion and observed in several classrooms, and are now in the process of writing up the results. In 2014, Margie received an Award for Early Achievement in Teaching Excellence at The King’s University.
Joseph Ching, IT Guy
Joseph is a Project Manager at an international media company, and has a background in Information Systems Security. He has traveled for work across rural and urban centres in Western Canada, the Prairies, Ontario, Quebec, and the Atlantic provinces. You may catch him turning potatoes into watts on a bike or a run, or petting random cats near you.