The Canadian Bureau for International Education consists of three appointed board officers and twelve elected board members from across Canada and the education sector.
Chair of the Board of Directors
President and CEO
Vancouver Community College
Ajay Patel was appointed President, Vancouver Community College effective May 26, 2020, however, he has been leading the College in the interim position since September 2019. Previously, Mr. Patel held the position of VP, Enterprise and International Development. He came to VCC with 15 years’ of non-profit experience in amateur sport and recreation sector. Additionally, he has 17 years of post-secondary experience, where he rose through the ranks in several positions, from an instructor to the VP, External Development. In the VP role, Mr. Patel provided strategic leadership, and contributed to the development of community relations and partnerships that supported the college’s vision and priorities. As a provincial leader in the international education sector, Mr. Patel was honoured with the CBIE Distinguished Leadership Award in 2019, and now serves as chair of the board of directors for the CBIE. Raised in Vancouver, he is a long-time eastside resident, and the product of the college system. Mr. Patel holds a Master of Human Kinetics, Coaching Sciences, from the University of British Columbia.
President and Vice-Chancellor
Vancouver Island University
Dr. Deborah (Deb) Saucier became President and Vice-Chancellor of Vancouver Island University in July 2019. An experienced administrator, accomplished neuroscientist and devoted educator, Deb is deeply committed to access and learner success, Indigenous education, and community engagement.
Originally from Saskatoon, Deb is a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta. Deb started her journey in academia on Vancouver Island, completing an International Baccalaureate diploma at the Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific in Metchosin, and then bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology at the University of Victoria, receiving her PhD in psychology from the University of Western Ontario in 1995.
Deb worked as a neuroscience/psychology professor for many years, and in recognition of her research she was awarded a Canada Research Chair in Behavioural Neuroscience. She has garnered a number grants to support her research, including awards from Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation. She has also held a number of administrative roles, most recently President of MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta, and Provost and Vice President (Academic) at Ontario Tech University in Oshawa.
Aside from continuing VIU’s innovative work in Indigenous education, access and community engagement, Deb is a major proponent of a well-rounded university experience that includes training in both the sciences and the humanities.
Deb is married to curator and contemporary artist Chai Duncan, and they have a daughter whose passion is horses, to which Deb is conveniently allergic. Her dream is to help make VIU’s high-quality education even more accessible to all who wish to attend university. Her favourite sports team is the Toronto Raptors – #WeTheNorth – and if she could have a superpower, she would like to be able to teleport so she can attend meetings and still get home to be with her family.
Chief Financial Officer and Vice President Corporate Services
With more than 30 professional years in the education system, Roy Daykin brings a wealth of knowledge and post-secondary experience to the role of Chief Financial Officer and Vice President, Corporate Services.
As a key member of SAIT’s leadership team, Daykin oversees SAIT’s financial, technology and capital planning to ensure efficient and effective operations continue to be in alignment with SAIT’s students-first mandate.
Prior to joining SAIT, Daykin most recently spent the last three years as Vice President, Employee and Corporate Services at Okanagan College in British Columbia. He has extensive institutional leadership experience in finance, human resources, facilities, technology, risk management and business services.
Daykin is a Certified Professional Accountant (CPA). He also holds a Master of Arts in Leadership and Training from Royal Roads University.
Daykin is committed to lifelong learning. His scholarly activity includes teaching experience in accounting and numerous works on topics such as improving processes and understanding cost drivers in the post-secondary sector.
Vice-rectrice aux partenariats communautaires et internationaux
Université de Montréal
Valérie Amiraux (PhD, 1997) is Vice-Rector of International Affairs and Community Partnerships at Université de Montréal.
Valérie Amiraux has a background in history, classical Arabic and political science and is currently a full professor of sociology at Université de Montréal (on secondment from her position as a researcher at the CNRS), where she headed the Canada Research Chair for the study of religious pluralism for 10 years (2007-2017). Her main research interests are religious pluralism, discrimination, issues of race and ethnicity, Islamophobia and radicalization, focusing on several member states of the European Union and more recently on the situation in the province of Quebec (Canada). Her recent publications analyze the relationship between pluralism and radicalization, with a particular emphasis on the interaction between majority societies and Muslim minorities as examined through the lens of ethnography. She is also conducting a field survey on a number of Muslim women who were prohibited from wearing the veil.
- Mercier C., Koussens D., AMIRAUX V. (dir.) (2020), Nouveaux vocabulaires de la laïcité, Paris, Garnier.
- AMIRAUX, V., BEAUCHESNE, P-L. (2020), “Racialization and the construction of the problem of the Muslim presence in Western societies”, Shahram Akbarzadeh (ed.), Handbook of Political Islam, Routledge, 2020, p. 363- 382.
- AMIRAUX, V., GARCIA, P.(*) (2020), « Approches de l’islam et des musulmans au Québec », dans KOUSSENS, D., LANIEL J.-F., PERREAULT J.-P. (dir.), Étudier le religieux au Québec, Québec : PUL.
- AMIRAUX, V., KOUSSENS, D. (2020), « Laïcité vs accommodements raisonnables ? La comparaison franco-québécoise dans les discours publics sur la définition des rapports au religieux », dans Mercier C., Koussens D., AMIRAUX V. (dir.), Nouveaux vocabulaires de la laïcité, Paris, Garnier, p. 77-104.
- AMIRAUX, V. (2018) « Citoyens, piété et démocratie. Réflexions sur l’occultation des corps croyants, l’intimité et le droit au secret », Social Compass, Vol. 65(2), pp. 168-186.
- GERMAIN, A., AMIRAUX, V., BOUDREAU, J-A. (dir.) (2017), Vivre ensemble à Montréal, Montréal, Atelier 10.
- AMIRAUX, V. (2016) Visibility, transparency and gossip: how did the religion of some (Muslims) become the public concern of others? Critical Religious Studies, vol 4(1): 37-56.
- AMIRAUX, V. et F. DESHARNAIS (2015) Salomé et les hommes en noir. Bayard Canada. AMIRAUX, V. et D. KOUSSENS (dir.) (2014), Trajectoires de la neutralité, Presses de l’université de Montréal.
Vice President, International Education
St. Lawrence College
Shelley Aylesworth-Spink began her role as Vice President, International Education at St. Lawrence College after serving as Associate Dean in the School of Business at SLC. Shelley is passionate about intercultural communications, internationalization and student success. Her academic and research background involves the study of global disease outbreaks through the interdisciplinary lens of communications, cultural studies and science and technology studies. She taught and provided academic leadership at the University of Westminster and University of West London, both located in the UK. Her professional background has involved leading public relations in the private sector and broad public sector. Shelley holds a PhD in Cultural Studies and Master of Public Administration, both from Queen’s University, Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education from the University of West London (UK), BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Waterloo, Diploma in Print Journalism from Loyalist College and a Higher Education Academy Fellowship from the Higher Education Academy (UK).
Executive Director, International Student Enrolment, Education and Inclusion
Toronto Metropolitan University
A seasoned MBA with over 18 years of experience in international relations and business development, Isaac Garcia-Sitton joined Toronto Metropolitan University in fall 2020 as the inaugural Executive Director, International Student Enrolment, Education & Inclusion. In this role, Isaac leads the policy, planning, infrastructure, and operations that drive increased international enrolment and retention of students and help position Toronto Metropolitan University as a premier urban international university.
Raised in Panama, and trained and educated in the United States, Isaac served as a diplomat for Panama, working at the Consulates in New Orleans in 2005 and in Montreal in 2007. At the end of his diplomatic post, he applied as an immigrant to Canada through the skilled worker program in Quebec. From 2015-2020, Isaac served as the Director of International Education & English Language Institute at York University’s School of Continuing Studies. Under his leadership, the Institute became the largest university provider of Academic English programming in Canada, rising in reputation globally and securing 100+ partnerships internationally. These efforts further positioned Toronto and Canada as one of the best study-abroad destinations in the world.
Isaac continuously strives to improve the environment around him through his involvement in national and international professional associations, international boards, and community initiatives; including as 2021-22 Chair of the International Network Leadership Team at the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA). He was recognized by RBC’s Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards of 2020. Organized by Canadian Immigrant Magazine, these awards acknowledge inspirational immigrants who have made a positive impact on their communities since arriving in Canada. He was named as one of the ten Most Influential Hispanic Canadians of 2018, a recognition presented by TD Bank and organized by the Hispanic Business Alliance.
He is currently pursuing a PhD in Education: Language, Culture & Teaching at York University. His research interest is immigration policymaking as it relates to the recruitment and retention of international students in Canada, specifically the policy changes that took place during Covid-19 pandemic.
Executive Director, York International
Vinitha Gengatharan is a senior leader with over 20 years of experience in the higher education sector. She currently serves as the Executive Director, Global Engagement & Partnership at York University where she is responsible for advancing the University’s global engagement goals, global learning and the experience of international students. Previously, Vinitha was at the University of Toronto for 17 years where she held several progressively senior roles and led the university’s international strategy and partnerships. She has extensive experience in engaging in the Asia-Pacific region including building institutional collaborations with institutions, industry and government. At the University of Toronto, she established the University’s in-country presence in China. She has served in a leadership capacity on numerous not-for-profit boards including Agincourt Community Services Association, Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce and the Hart House Board of Stewards. She is the co-founder of Tamil Women Rising, a non-profit organization that empowers Tamil women and their allies in advancing their professional success.
Kanonhsyonne Janice C. Hill
Associate Vice-Principal (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation)
Kanonhsyonne Janice Hill is the Associate Vice-Principal (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation) in the Office of Indigenous Initiatives at Queen’s University, she is Turtle clan of the Mohawk Nation from Kenhtè:ke where she currently resides, and a Clan Mother in her community. Kanonhsyonne is deeply committed to preserving and promoting Indigenous knowledges, histories, cultures, languages and traditions. In her role, she works to drive progress on Indigenous initiatives across the university, promote an understanding of Indigenous histories and perspectives within the Queen’s community, and provides guidance and support in Indigenous education and initiatives.
Kanonhsyonne has dedicated her career to furthering Indigenous education and creating positive learning experiences for Indigenous students. Serving as the Director of Queen’s Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre from 2010 to 2017, she has been actively involved in advancing Indigenization and enhancing the visibility of Indigenous communities at Queen’s.
Kanonhsyonne completed her BA in Native Studies and Anthropology at Trent University, her B.Ed. at Queen’s, and is in the process of completed her MA in Gender Studies at Queen’s. She began her academic career as an adjunct faculty member in Queen’s Faculty of Education and assisted in the establishment of the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (ATEP). She also served as Academic Dean of First Nations Technical Institute (FNTI) prior to her return to Queen’s.
Jan is deeply engaged in Indigenous education at the provincial and national level and has held executive positions with the Ontario Native Education Counselling Association (ONECA), the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) Reference Group on Aboriginal Education (RGAE), and the OCAV/RGAE Joint Working Group on Indigenization. She is the recipient several national grants and institutional awards and served as co-investigator for the Kahswentha Indigenous Knowledge Initiative funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
Avocate et Professeure titulaire, Faculté des sciences de l’administration
Prof. Nicole Lacasse holds a LLD in International Law (Université Panthéon-Sorbonne) and is a full professor in the Faculty of Administrative Sciences at Laval University. Ms. Lacasse founded the Stephen-Jarislowsky Chair in International Business Management. She has held various management positions at Laval University, including Associate Vice-President for Studies and International Activities, Director of International Affairs and Francophonie, and Executive Director of Continuing Education. Professor Lacasse has led cooperation projects for international organizations in Latin America and North Africa, such as CIDA and the World Bank. For over ten years, she coordinated governance training at the College of Corporate Directors. Recognized for her expertise in university governance, Ms. Lacasse chairs the Réseau international des dirigeantes et dirigeants universitaires en gouvernance et gestion (Dg2) and the Virtual Mobility Consortium eMobi@Dg2. She has served on audit committees of different renowned European institutions and has served on several boards of directors, in particular CFQCU’s board (co-chair) and that of Cégep de Lévis-Lauzon (president). She is member of the board of the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) and of the World University Service of Canada (WUSC).
Director of Education
Waterloo Catholic District School Board
Loretta Notten is currently the Director of Education at Waterloo Catholic DSB, which represents 50 schools and 24,200 day students, as well as 13,000 Adult and Continuing Ed students attending schools in Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo, and the surrounding townships. Loretta began her career in York Catholic DSB as an English teacher and then spent 26 years in Toronto Catholic DSB as a department head, secondary vice-principal and principal, central Program Coordinator and then 9 years as a superintendent.
Loretta’s focus remains on transforming the educational landscape so as to prepare our students for the new global realities that await them upon graduation. Her passions are inclusive education that invites students to see themselves as agents of change, authentic real-world learning experiences and technology-enabled learning. International Education is well established in WCDSB and Loretta believes strongly in the reciprocal benefits of involving students in learning abroad.
Loretta holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts and a Bachelor of Education from York University, a Masters of Education from the University of Toronto (OISE), and has participated in both the Rotman Executive Leadership Program and the Ivey Directors’ Leadership program. She is proud to be serving Waterloo Region’s Catholic schools. She has also served as OCSOA President and is currently ECCODE Chair. Loretta took on the role of Chair of CODE for the 2020-2021 school year.
Loretta is married and has two daughters. In her personal time she enjoys travelling (when we are able!), skiing and getting back to nature.
President and CEO
As President and CEO of Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Dr. Larry Rosia leads the province’s primary provider of technical education and skills training.
Dr. Rosia’s career in education spans more than 35 years, as an Instructor, Program Chair, Revenue Generating Coordinator, Marketing Manager, and Dean. He has more than 25 years of leadership experience in educational administration and has served in advisory roles to community, provincial and municipal committees. He is currently serving as Chair, Director, or Board Member for many Regional, National and International organizations, including: the Business/Higher Education Roundtable (BHER), the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, CANARIE, the Community Colleges for International Development (CCID), the International Mineral Innovation Institute (IMII), Polytechnics Canada, Post-Secondary International Network (PIN), the Chair Academy, the Saskatchewan Labour Market Task Force (LMTF), the University of Regina Senate, and the World Federation of Colleges & Polytechnics (WFCP).
Dr. Rosia is a well-respected ambassador for the post-secondary community and has authored a book titled “The Successful College President.”
Associate Vice President International Education
Vancouver Island University
Carolyn Russell, Associate Vice-President, International Education at Vancouver Island University has a number of key responsibilities including recruitment and admissions of international students, the promotion of student success, the provision of relevant supports for international students and oversight of international partnerships, global engagement and internationalization activities, and international mobility.
Carolyn has two decades of experience as a senior university administrator and for the past 10 years, she was in a variety of positions at the University of Victoria (UVic), most recently as Executive Director Global Engagement. In this role, she worked with institutional colleagues and local, provincial, and national partners to advance Canada’s academic reputation and attract high-caliber partners to the region. She also led the development and implementation of an international plan to support the university’s strategic framework, led and oversaw the implementation of international agreements, led the development of new strategic global partnerships and developed an institutional global strategy. Prior to joining UVic, Carolyn spent a number of years at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) in a variety of roles related to international education and engagement.
Carolyn received the 2012 BC Council for International Education Award for Service Excellence in International Education. She holds a Bachelor’s in International Studies from UNBC, and a Master of Public Administration from UVic.
Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President Research (International)
University of Calgary
Janaka Ruwanpura is the Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President Research (International) at the University of Calgary, Canada. He is also the current elected Executive Chair of the Commission of International Initiatives of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) as the first Canadian and Non-American to chair any of the councils and commissions of APLU. He was a full professor, Canada Research Chair in Project Management Systems and a founding director of the Centre for Project Management in the Schulich School of Engineering.
Dr. Ruwanpura earned a BSc (honors) from the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, an MSc in construction management from Arizona State University, and a PhD in construction engineering and management from University of Alberta. He has been recognized with many national and international awards for teaching, research, innovation, leadership, service, distinguished alumni, graduate education and internationalization. He has brought new international initiatives to the University of Calgary including developing and implementing collaborative degree models, co-developing Global Research Initiatives and Sites and raising funding for research and infrastructure, establishing and promoting new research partnerships in number of countries and lobbying for international development grants. Because of these initiatives the University of Calgary won 6 competitive excellence and innovation awards from various organizations such as CBIE, APLU and the Association of International Educators and Administrators (AIEA). In 2020 he was recognized with the International Achievement Award from the City of Calgary.
Dr. Ruwanpura is a licensed professional engineer in Alberta, a professional quantity surveyor in Canada and a chartered member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
St. Francis Xavier University
Larissa Strong has worked in the International Education sector for the past 19 years in both colleges and universities. Starting as an International Student Advisor at Niagara College, then Project Manager of Strategic International Initiatives at York University, Manager of International Education at Durham College, and now Director of Internationalization at St. Francis Xavier University. She has experience with international student support, establishing international partnerships, managing education abroad programs, student programming and services, managing international projects, and international recruitment and admissions. Her work and passion focus on building and contributing to communities of knowledge that promote international education provincially, nationally, and internationally.
Director of Recruitment and International Student Office
University of Prince Edward Island
Dr. Jerry Wang holds the position of the Director of the Recruitment and International Student Offices at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) on the east coast of Canada. He has been working at UPEI since 2006. He is a member of various senior campus committees of UPEI. He is a strong advocate of international education and global citizenship and he has contributed to the internationalization of the UPEI campus in many ways. He earned his Master of Arts degree in English Linguistics from Tsinghua University in Beijing, and Ph.D. in Educational Organization and Leadership with a focus on international education and comparative educational studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in 2004.
He taught at Tsinghua University of Beijing from 1991 to 1997 and left for a visiting scholarship program sponsored by the US government. When he was working at Tsinghua University, he taught language courses and was in charge of exchange programs between Tsinghua, UC-Berkeley, and the University of Indiana at Bloomington. He translated several books from English to Chinese, including the Rogue Trader and English Reading for College Students. He pursued his doctoral studies at UIUC from 1999 to 2004. During his doctoral study at UIUC, Dr. Wang was awarded the William Bagley Scholarship for Academic Excellence and other scholarships by its College of Education. He attended numerous national and international conferences on higher education, such as AERA and ASHE, and he presented at the conferences on international education and learner adjustment. He also participated in several research projects for the State of Illinois for funding and education policy changes. After he accomplished his study at UIUC, he stayed on for one year to work in the Office of International Scholars and Students Affairs Office from 2004 to 2005. After that, he moved to Ottawa, Canada to work in an international publishing house for one year. During this period, he participated in the publication of a series of eight (8) books for teaching English.
From 2006 to now, Dr. Wang has been working in different offices at UPEI, and he has been instrumental in the internationalization of various aspects of UPEI, and he has been awarded the Presidential Award for Exemplary Services by UPEI in 2014. He established collaboration partnerships between UPEI and a large number of international universities in Korea, Japan, the UK, Scotland, Spain, India, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Nigeria, China, Malaysia, Brazil, Vietnam, Jamaica, UAE, Turkey, etc. He has extensive experience in working Canadian and foreign governments on international education initiatives. He is a member of several professional associations in North America.