Rasul named board chair

Nov 03, 2005, vol. 34, no. 6
By Diane Luckow

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For Saida Rasul, the newly appointed chair of the SFU board of governors, a life without volunteering would be incomplete. “Volunteering is one of my biggest passions,” she says.

A dentist for 28 years, Rasul gave up her beloved career four-and-a-half years ago to face down breast cancer and find more time to smell the roses.

That has translated into a full-time job as a volunteer for a number of worthy organizations. She recently completed a stint as the co-chair of the United Way of the Lower Mainland campaign and now sits on the national board of the United Way. She also chairs the advisory board of Vancouver's multicultural television channel, Channel M and chairs the development committee for the British Columbia Automobile Association's traffic safety foundation. She recently gave up her position on the advisory board of UBC's graduate studies program but continues her position as a clinical instructor in UBC's dental program, where she supervises third and fourth year students.

Twelve years ago she combined her profession, her love of travel and her interest in volunteering by initiating a preventative dental program in an impoverished area of northern Pakistan for the Aga Khan health board. There she taught people how to use the twigs of the local Neem tree as both toothbrush and gum stimudent and also how to use readily available silk thread as dental floss. She hopes to return soon to follow up on the program's progress.

As chair of SFU's board, Rasul spends 15-20 hours each month on SFU board activities and also attends many functions as a representative of SFU.

Her role, she says, “is to oversee the university's governance, to work with the president on the strategic five-year plan, to ensure that budgets remain intact and that the university is in good financial and academic health and to promote the university to various stakeholders.”

Rasul has also found time to support the vision for a new SFU centre for the comparative study of Muslim societies and cultures, which would be the first of its kind in Canada.
The centre, she says, would concentrate on understanding the pluralistic nature of the peoples of Islam and their many contributions to society.

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