September 13, 2017

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Join us on Wednesday, September 13 in Vancouver to hear inspirational stories from our 2017 Outstanding Alumni Award recipients who have made exceptional contributions to their local and global communities:

  • Gary Cristall – co-founder of the Vancouver Folk Music Festival and longstanding arts advocate and cultural programmer
  • Dr. Nathan Nunn – Harvard University professor and one of the International Monetary Fund’s “25 economists under 45” shaping how we think about the global economy
  • Frode Strand-Nielsen – leader in responsible and ethical investments; founder of one of the fastest growing private equity firms in Europe, FSN Capital
  • Dr. Yohana Yembise – highly-regarded professor and first Papuan female to obtain a prestigious seat in the Indonesian government as Minister for Women Empowerment and Child Protection

Hosted by emcee Dr. Jennifer Gardy – Senior Scientist, B.C. Centre for Disease Control; Host, CBC’s The Nature of Things; and past recipient of an SFU Outstanding Alumni Award.

5:30 - 6:30 PM  Reception
6:30 - 7:45 PM  Presentations
7:45 - 9:00 PM  Dessert reception

Four Seasons Hotel
791 West Georgia Street

PARKING: Valet parking is available in front of the hotel lobby and self-parking is available underground at Pacific Centre Mall.

Business attire

INFORMATION: or 778-782-5313

The 2017 Outstanding Alumni Award Recipients

Mr. Gary Cristall

Dr. Nathan Nunn

Mr. Frode Strand-Nielsen

Dr. Yohana Yembise

Gary Cristall

Gary Cristall, BA ’78
Founder, Vancouver Folk Music Festival & Advocate for Arts & Culture
Outstanding Alumni Award for Arts and Culture

An advocate for the arts and human rights, Gary Cristall has been a cultural groundbreaker, having co-founded the Vancouver Folk Music Festival in 1978; one of Vancouver’s leading celebrations of cultural expression. In an industry plagued with an unscrupulous reputation, Cristall has been instrumental in fighting for the rights of artists to be treated professionally and with respect while also defending their rights to fair performance fees and copyright ownership.

An exceptional curator and programmer, Cristall served as Acting Head of the Music Section of the Canada Council for the Arts and was the founding President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada — the first union at the Canada Council. Today, Cristall continues to serve as a prominent mentor and educator, assisting artists in building their careers, and guiding communities in enhancing dynamic cultural interactions that enrich and benefit a healthy, democratic society.

Dr. Nathan Nunn

Dr. Nathan Nunn, BA ’98
Frederic E. Abbe Professor of Economics, Harvard University
Outstanding Alumni Award for Academic Achievement - Rising Star

Recognized worldwide as a researcher to watch, the International Monetary Fund named Dr. Nathan Nunn one of the “25 economists under 45 who are shaping the way we think about the global economy.” Receiving tenure at Harvard University, Nunn’s influence in the field of economics has been extraordinary.

Nunn’s work has shaped academic and policy debates related to the long-term impact of events such as the African slave trade and European colonization, as well as the role of institutions in international trade. Notably, he has published research examining the historical foundations of current outcomes such as gender norms, religion and support for democracy. He has also published articles investigating topics such as the effects of Fair Trade Certification, CIA interventions during the Cold War, industrial policy and foreign aid. With an incredible number of accomplishments achieved in a short amount of time, Nunn’s reputation as one of the top economists in the world is likely only to increase.

Frode Strand-Nielsen

Frode Strand-Nielsen, BA ’80
Managing Partner, FSN Capital Partners
Outstanding Alumni Award for Professional Achievement

Responsible and ethical investments are the cornerstone of one of the fastest growing private equity firms in Europe that was founded and is still led by Frode Strand-Nielsen. With a corporate culture that radiates integrity, transparency and trust, FSN Capital currently manages approximately two billion USD for a global client base.  Last April, FSN Capital was awarded The Corporate Citizenship Award at the 2017 Private Equity Awards in London, which recognizes a firm’s commitment to best practice in environmental, social and corporate governance.

Embedded as a focus within the firm’s requirements of its portfolio companies is to create energy efficiencies, ensure every link in the supply chain adheres to a code of conduct on labour and human rights and put policies in place to negate corruption. In his homeland of Norway, Strand-Nielsen established a foundation in honour of his late brother that provides yearly contributions to projects aimed at improving the conditions for children in developing countries. On an annual basis, he also continues to play an active role with SFU where he financially supports and mentors SFU Clan athletes and business students.

Dr. Yohana Yembise

Dr. Yohana Yembise, MA ’94
Minister of Women Empowerment and Child Protection, Indonesia
Outstanding Alumni Award for Public Service

As a woman growing up in a male-dominated culture, Dr. Yohana Yembise courageously broke down barriers and gender-based myths to be the first Papuan female to obtain one of the most prestigious seats in the Indonesian government, Minister of Women Empowerment and Child Protection. She is also the first Papuan woman to achieve the highest academic rank as a Distinguished Professor by the Minister of Education and Culture. Yembise has devoted her life to improving the quality of life for women and children by advocating for increased access to education, health care and social services.

Recently, Yembise announced the creation of a data centre to map issues facing women and children across Indonesia. This ground-breaking initiative has led to the development of the 3Ends program that aims to end violence against women, human trafficking and economic barriers for women. She has also spearheaded the establishment of several ‘child friendly villages’ that are committed to protecting children’s rights.

Dr. Jennifer Gardy


Dr. Jennifer Gardy, PhD '06
Senior Scientist, B.C. Centre for Disease Control
Host, CBC’s The Nature of Things
Previous Outstanding Alumni Award Recipient - Rising Star

Dr. Jennifer Gardy is a dynamo dubbed by The Globe and Mail as “the new Suzuki.” Since 2009, Gardy has pioneered a way of tracking how organisms such as tuberculosis and influenza spread from person to person and eventually lead to outbreaks, creating the new scientific field known as genomic epidemiology. Her entrepreneurial spirit and devotion to science education have catapulted her as a strong female representative within science communication and media, frequently guest-hosting CBC’s The Nature of Things and Discovery Channel Canada’s Daily Planet. Her contributions were recognized in 2014 through the YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Science, Technology and Research.

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