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Meet all the 2021 Darpan Award winners

Darpan News Desk Darpan, 26 Oct, 2021
  • Meet all the 2021 Darpan Award winners

NAV BHATIA – INTERNATIONAL SENSATION AWARD

Nav Bhatia is best known as the Official Toronto Raptor`s Superfan. Arriving in Canada in 1984 with very little to his name Bhatia worked his way to becoming the number one car salesman at Hyundai and eventually found himself the opportunity to own both the Mississauga and Rexdale Hyundai dealerships.

Through his love of basketball Bhatia looks to change the perception of Sikhs and South Asians to the mainstream audience hoping for a more united community where people won’t have to face the discrimination Nav dealt with over the years.

Bhatia believes integrating our youth at a young age is truly the path to help change this perception and build a more tolerant society. Each year he purchases tickets and brings thousands of kids of all backgrounds together to watch the NBA’s Toronto Raptors play at home.

With the start of the Superfan Nav Bhatia Foundation, he recently has accepted ambassadorship roles with World Vision and Canada Basketball; helping Bhatia and his Foundation bring kids together through the game of basketball by building basketball courts across the world.

In 2019, he made history by receiving the NBA championship ring. 

In May of 2021 Nav Bhatia became the first fan to be honored inside the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

ARJAN BHULLAR – BREAKING BARRIERS 

Arjan Bhullar is an MMA fighter and a heavyweight champion. He is Commonwealth Gamed Gold medalist (Wrestling) and Olympian (Wrestling), and the first Punjabi and Indian in the UFC. He is the first ever Punjabi and Indian MMA World Champion. As a student, he wrestled for Simon Fraser University on a scholarship, while pursuing a degree in Political Science.

Bhullar was able to win multiple national titles for Simon Fraser, as well as a Bronze medal at the University World Championships. While representing Simon Fraser University, he was also able to make the National Team and represent Canada in over 30 countries around the world.

His international success was highlighted by a Gold at the Commonwealth Games and a 12th place finish at the Olympic Games, where he became the first South Asian to represent Canada in the Olympics in Freestyle Wrestling.

Soon thereafter Arjan pursued his new dream of becoming a world champion in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. He was signed by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), becoming the first fighter of South Asian descent in the company.

AGAM DARSHI–ARTISTIC VISIONARY

Agam Darshi is an international award-winning actress and filmmaker. Prior to wrapping her role as Mia Franklin on Emmy-winner Ava Duvernay’s HBO Max pilot DMZ this year, Darshi worked on Oscar-nominated director Deepa Mehta’s film FUNNY BOY, for which she was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award, and recently won a Leo Award for her role.

Over the past two decades, Darshi has worked alongside actors such as Carrie Ann Moss from the Matrix, Jessica Alba and Micheal B. Jordan from Creed. Darshi recently wrapped her directorial debut of her feature film, DONKEYHEAD.

The film, also written by Agam, was Executive Produced by Deepa Mehta. Darshi co-founded the Vancouver International South Asian Film Festival.

The festival focuses on ‘bridging the gap’ between South Asian talent and mainstream audiences, by breaking stereotypes and expanding North American views on South Asian culture.

PETER RAJU–ADVANCING PHILANTHROPY

Peter Raju is the owner of Peace Arch Duty Free. Apart from his business activities, Raju is very involved with the local community. He has been responsible for organizing a number of fundraising activities to benefit the Richmond Hospital.

As President of the Richmond Rotary Club, he chaired a Senior’s Gala recognizing the efforts and sacrifices made by the seniors. He was recognized on four separate occasions by the Rotary Club of Richmond with Rotary International’s highest honour, The Paul Harris Fellowship Award.

In 2018, he was made an Honorary member of the Rotary Club of Richmond. He is also a recipient of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal. This medal was presented to him in recognition of his community involvement.

Most recently, he gathered a small group of business leaders to raise funds for the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. The event raised in excess of $540,000 towards Diabetes Care for Children across the province.

JASMINE MANDER-SPIRIT OF SPORT 

Jasmine Mander is the current U-15 National Team Head Coach and Women’s U-17 National Team Assistant Coach. Mander, a former Youth National Teams player is currently finishing the Canada Soccer A Licence program.

A former coach with BC Soccer’s High-Performance Program since 2011 and the Vancouver Whitecaps REX Super Centre, she was part of Canada Soccer’s Olympic Gold Medal Technical staff at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Jasmine obtained her Bachelors Degree in Kinesiology and Masters Degree in Physical Therapy at the University of British Columbia where she was also a scholar athlete.

YOUNG WONDER-KUSHALDEEP MUJRAL 

Kushaldeep Mujral is one of 100 high school graduates out of 350,000 across Canada been selected to receive the Schulich Leader’s Scholarship. He is pursuing a bachelor’s in Software Engineering at the Waterloo University. He was an essential member of Burnsview Secondary’s VEX robotics club.

He has also created an online coding tutorial series, called Kushal’s Coding Tutorials, that can be found on YouTube, to help people learn programming in Scratch, a user-friendly online game development software.

Finally, as a part of One Blood for Life, he helps conduct blood drives and stem cell events. He has giving his time to the Museum of Surrey and Youth Rising Foundation.

SHACHI KURL-INDUSTRY MARVEL 

Shachi Kurl is President of the Angus Reid Institute, Canada’s non-profit foundation committed to independent research. She works with public opinion data to further public knowledge and enhance the national understanding of issues that matter to Canada and the world.

Kurl is often found offering analysis on CBC’s “Power and Politics”, in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Globe and Mail, and on the editorial pages of the Ottawa Citizen, among other places.

In October 2020, she moderated BC’s only televised provincial election debate, presented by the British Columbia Broadcast Consortium.

Kurl is a recipient of the prestigious Jack Webster Award for Best TV Reporting. She is a national Vice Chair of the Canadian Cancer Society.

SATBIR CHEEMA-COMMUNITY CRUSADER AWARD

Satbir Singh Cheema is the President and CEO of Progressive Intercultural Community Services (PICS) Society, a registered non-profit community organization that has been serving the local community since 1987, providing a broad spectrum of programs and services that assist new immigrants, seniors, farm workers, women and youth.

Cheema has served as a member of BC RCMP CO's Cultural Diversity Advisory Committee and the City of Surrey’s Task Force on Gang Violence Prevention set up by the Mayor of Surrey that led to the development of the Surrey Anti-Gang Family Empowerment (SAFE) Program.

In 2012, Cheema was awarded with the Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition for his significant contributions to community service.

Cheema reinforces PICS Society’s commitment to build a healthy and just society which values and respects all cultures and he is strongly motivated to make our communities better, safer and inclusive.

SOUTH ASIAN STUDIES INSTITUTE-HERITAGE DEFENDER

The South Asian Studies Institute (the Institute) at the University of the Fraser Valley brings together South Asian Studies research scholars and students from diverse backgrounds and disciplines to create a nexus point for programs and activities that support our vision.

The Institute fosters inter-disciplinary scholarly research and community and public engagement on issues related to South Asia and the South Asian Canadian Diaspora. The Institute initiates, directs and implements the development, maintenance and enhancement of scholarship, research and engagement in collaboration with faculty, students and community.

The Institute takes direction from UFV’s strategic goals to be a leader of social, cultural, economic and environmentally responsible development in the Fraser Valley. The Institute is an important repository of the settler history of the South Asian Canadian Diaspora. It also undertakes much needed and urgent contemporary research that benefits members of the community, government, organizations and agencies as well as the many facets of academia.

The Institute undertakes to provide research and curatorial support to the National Historic Site Gur Sikh Temple's Sikh Heritage Museum, Abbotsford BC which is managed by the Khalsa Diwan Society, Abbotsford BC.

AMAR DOMAN-CORPORATE ENGAGEMENT 

Amar Doman is the founder and sole shareholder of The Futura Corporation. As Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of CanWel Building Materials Group Ltd. (CWX), as well as Chairman of the Board of Tree Island Steel and CEO of The Futura Corporation.

Doman brings over 25 years of experience in building materials, specialty lumber and re-manufacturing industries, and in public and private investments.

In 2005, Ernst & Young nominated Doman for the Entrepreneur of the Year where he won in the Business to Business category (West).

Doman is also a Director on the National Board of the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada. Doman purchased the BC Lions in August of 2021.

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