On September 8, 2012, the Honourable Mobina S.B. Jaffer, Q.C. and the Honourable Yonah Martin, both senators representing British Columbia in Canada’s senate, presented a unique award to 39 individuals. They were honoured with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal as a tangible way for Canada to honour the significant contributions and achievements made by citizens for the good of their immediate communities.
The presentation ceremony and the reception afterwards were hosted by the Aga Khan Council for British Columbia. It took place at the Burnaby Ismaili Centre located at 4010 Canada Way in Burnaby BC.
This commemorative medal was created to mark the 2012 celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada.
O Canada was sung and greetings presented in both English and French to those present, including members of parliament from both sides of the house, dignitaries from the community and the multi cultural audience of almost 200 guests.
Community and the spirit of volunteerism were emphasized in the official welcome by Dr. Moez Rajwani, V.P. Aga Khan Council for Canada who flew in from Toronto.
Family support and its significance in community as well as individual development were noted in the opening address given by Senator Yonah Martin. Family and cooperation with others in our community, including members of other political parties, for the greater good was a theme continued in the closing address by Senator Mobina S.B. Jaffer.
Canada’s pluralist society was evident in the honourees as they were called up one by one to the stage, and a brief biography and note of their contribution to the community was read out by Azool Jaffer-Jeraj. The distinctive medallion bordered by blue, white and red ribbons as well as a diamond shaped pin was presented to members of numerous ethnic and religious communities.
The Afro News’s publisher, Honore Gbedze, humbly accepted the award for which he was nominated based on his efforts in the community through the paper and the Sage Foundation.