Advisory Committee – Social History

Lead: Dr. Satwinder Kaur Bains

Dr. Satwinder Kaur Bains is the Director of the South Asian Studies Institute at the University of the Fraser Valley and is an Associate Professor in Social Cultural Media Studies. Her current research interests include migration, settlement, and integration; cross-cultural education and curriculum implementation; race, racism, and ethnicity; identity politics; South Asian Canadian Diaspora studies and Punjabi Canadian cultural historiographies. Satwinder has extensive years of professional experience in community development and has worked extensively with organizations in the area of cross-cultural mental health, immigrant women, youth and families and on diversity, equity, inclusion, cross cultural development, women’s rights and socio-religious interfaith dialogue. She serves the community as a diversity educator, community developer and community activist in the field of anti-racism and immigrant settlement integration.

Amarjit Sahota

Born in India and raised in England from an early age, Amarjit has a Bachelors Degree in Social Work.
He emigrated to Canada in 1991 and worked for the Government of British Columbia in various positions from front line to senior leadership. In his most recent role, he was the Director of Practice for the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) until January of this year when he was appointed as the Vice President of Sophie’s Place Child and Youth Advocacy Centre.
Throughout his career with the Provincial Government, he has played a key role in service transformation initiatives; the development and delivery of related training and leading a team of Consultants to support Ministry staff in responding to the most complex child protection cases. In recent years, he was instrumental in shaping the Ministry’s approach to intimate partner violence (IPV) both at a local and provincial level. This included the establishment of the Surrey Domestic Violence Unit and the creation of the only child protection program in BC focused on engaging male perpetrators of IPV. He was also the Ministry lead in the creation of Sophie’s Place which was one of the first Child and Youth Advocacy Centres established in BC and was short listed as a finalist for the Premier’s Award in 2017.
Amarjit is a strong proponent of culturally responsive services and collaborative practice across sectors.

Ranbir Johal
Ranbir Johal received her PhD from UBC’s Asian Studies Department in April 2020. Ranbir’s research focusses on the intersectionality of caste and gender in South Asian performance traditions. Her doctoral research sought to understand how shame and stigma shaped women’s participation in Punjabi theatre. Ranbir teaches Punjabi language and literature, as well as South Asian courses at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. In addition, she is a Board Member of the Punjabi Language Education Association and has created an open educational resource for the teaching of the Punjabi language. She is also a creative writer and co-director of Rangmanch Punjabi Theatre.

Molly Ungar

Molly Ungar received her B.A. and M.A. from McMaster University in Hamilton and her Doctorate from York University in Toronto. Her field of study is Canadian History, with a specialization in cultural history. Until her retirement in 2017 she held the position of Associate Professor in the Department of History at University of the Fraser Valley.
Her publications include a number of biographies in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, and chapters in books ranging from the October Crisis in Quebec to the significance of food on the Royal Tour of 1939. Her most recent publication is The Last Ulysseans: Culture and Modernism in Montreal (2020).
She has presented a wide range of conference papers and community talks. Drawing on her extensive experience in the field of publishing, graphic arts and oral history, she has contributed to academic and community initiatives, such as the publication of Alphabetically Abbotsford, and the establishment of an Oral History Centre at Lifetime Learning in Mission.

Mani Fallon

Mani Deol-Fallon was born in Duncan, B.C. Her grandfather immigrated to Canada from India in 1906 and brought with him a strong work ethic and a desire to build a life in a country that would give his future family an opportunity to thrive. A small town upbringing, along with the example set by her parents, instilled the importance of family and the value of hard work in Mani at a young age.

Mani has lived in Surrey Centre since 1981, when the family moved to Surrey, B.C. seeking greater economic opportunities. Watching her father work double shifts to put food on the table, Mani became all too familiar with the challenges faced by families across the riding as many struggled to not only provide the basics for their families but to ensure the safety of their children and elders. As a result, Mani developed a lifelong commitment to volunteer in her community to improve the lives of her neighbours, a commitment that can be seen in her passion for politics and her desire to increase the opportunities in Surrey Centre.

Mani has a degree in International Relations from U.B.C. and has continued with part-time studies at BCIT in an ongoing effort to continue to broaden and improve her skillset. With an extensive background in business administration, franchise operations, sales and marketing, Mani has experience dealing with multi-million dollar budgets as well as human resource challenges.

Mani also believes in the importance of giving back to her community, demonstrated in her volunteer efforts. Mani has sat on numerous boards including the South Asian Family Association and the Motion Picture Theatre Association of B.C. Newly appointed to the Diversity Advisory Committee to the City of Surrey, Mani continues to not only contribute to her community but stay engaged in the issues of the day. Mani’s belief in a small government, low taxes, a strong national defence and tough criminal justice laws that put families first, are all driving forces to be actively engaged in the political process.

Mani has been married for over 20 years to her husband Matthew and is raising 2 young daughters, Jaymie and Ruby in the same neighbourhood she grew up in.

Sharnjit Sandhra

Sharanjit Kaur Sandhra is the Coordinator at the South Asian Studies Institute at the University of the Fraser Valley, co-curator of exhibits at the Sikh Heritage Museum, located in the National Historic Site Gur Sikh Temple in Abbotsford, BC and a sessional faculty in the Department of History at UFV. She is currently a PhD Candidate in the Department of History at UBC and is interested in looking at the affective experiences of museum visitors through a critical race theory lens. Sharn is passionate about activist work and engagement in the community through academia and museum exhibits.

Dr. Tzu-I Chung

Dr. Tzu-I Chung is a cultural and social historian, broadly interested in transnational migration within the context of historical, cultural and economic interactions between North America and Asia-Pacific and of cultural and economic globalization. She received her PhD from the University of Arizona, studying political economy, representation in popular culture and comparative cultural and social history.  Since becoming the Curator of History at the Royal BC Museum in 2011, Tzu-I’s research has focused on BC’s diverse cultures and communities and their transnational connections. Her work is enriched by her experience in community outreach and her own cross-cultural and multi-lingual background.

Dr. Balbir Gurm

Dr. Balbir Gurm is a member of the Faculty of Health at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She is the founding editor-in-chief of Transformative Dialogues: Teaching and Learning Journal. Balbir has been honoured with the Teaching Excellence Award from the College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia and the University of Texas. She has also been the recipient of Academic Excellence Awards from the Times of Canada and from Shakti (non-profit society dedicated to empowering individuals, families and communities). Balbir founded NEVR (the Network to Eliminate Violence in Relationships). She has raised issues of equity in many spheres including in definitions, in policies, practices and in relationships. Balbir has brought together community partners from policing, volunteer and government services to work on eliminating violence in relationships.