Past Recipients


Zafar Adeel

Director pro tem, School of Sustainable Energy Engineering
Professor of Professional Practice, School of Sustainable Energy Engineering
Executive Director of the Pacific Water Research Centre

Dr. Zafar Adeel serves as the Executive Director of the Pacific Water Research Centre (PWRC), and as Professor of Professional Practice at the School of Resources and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University. He has over 25 years of experience in a broad range of environmental science and policy issues. This includes 18 years of work as a United Nations official, with progressively increasing responsibilities in the field of international development and research. He served as the Director, United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH) from 2006 to 2016. He also served in a number of international leadership roles: These include chairing a group of over 65 organizations called UN-Water during 2010-2012, and co-chairing the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment team that produced the global desertification synthesis in 2005. Dr. Adeel led the development of a south-south network of scientists working in water-scarce countries, particularly focused on Africa, Middle East and Asia. Through his editorial lead, this network has published eight books in the UNU Desertification Series. Presently, he is the Series Editor for a book series by Springer: “Water Security in a New World.”

A member of SFU’s Living Lab advisory committee he helped develop its concept by advising and guiding the research development process. With his expertise, the program has established a solid foundation to explore international collaboration opportunities.  He has also led the Nutrition through Engagement and Agricultural Technologies (N-EAT) project to bring solutions to the remote Indigenous communities in British Columbia, including Klemtu and Old Massett village in Haida Gwaii, to help them address food and energy security issues.

Adeel, who is often sought as an expert and media commentator on water and sustainability issues, continues to work on water, food, and energy security for Indigenous communities in B.C., building on relationships initiated over the past five years and sharing his passion for making an impact.

Shaheen Nanji
Executive Director, SFU International

As a convener and facilitator of partnerships, engagement and dialogue on global issues, she is committed to collaboration between diverse disciplines, sectors, cultures, perspectives and interests for deeper impact. Her areas of work have included international development; the Sustainable Development Goals; refugees and migration; equity, diversity and inclusion; education; and diaspora. She serves on the Boards of Academics Without Borders and the Proteknon Foundation for Innovation and Learning. She is also an Associate of the SFU Centre for Dialogue.

In her role, Nanji coordinates international internships and over the years has championed various projects including collaborations with Global Affairs Canada and Scholars at Risk. She has nurtured key relationships globally, including one with Aga Khan University (AKU). The trust and reciprocity she cultivated resulted in the signing of an MOU with AKU in 2022.

SFU recently partnered with AKU on the Arusha Climate and Environmental Research Centre (ACER) in Tanzania. Nanji was part of an SFU delegation that visited the Arusha project near Mount Kilimanjaro. The site is designed to be a living laboratory for studies related to climate change, environmental stewardship, biodiversity, agriculture, community engagement and other fields.

Having led the development of SFU’s new Sustainable Development Goals Framework for Global Engagement, she is “excited about having the opportunity to apply it in ways that bring SFU into more equitable collaborations that result in greater learning and greater impact.”

Her advice to others looking to get involved and make an impact in regards to sustainable development is to “be open and conscientious, work transparently, and take time to build and nurture real relationships.”


As a result of the global pandemic, the 2021 Chris Dagg Award and Ceremony was delayed due to inability to continue critical international research.  The 2022 Chris Dagg Award was cancelled in favor of bringing the annual award cycle on schedule for 2023.


John Richards
Professor, School of Public Policy

Professor John Richards joined the School of Public Policy in 2003. Throughout his time at SFU, he has connected faculty and students to international community development activities based in South Asia, primarily Bangladesh, and has supervised numerous Masters of Public Policy student capstone projects focused on health and education policies in the region. Whether working on his own research or supporting the work of graduate students, Richard’s interest goes beyond the theoretical and academic, with the goal of positive, meaningful impact on people’s lives.

For more than 20 years, Richards has volunteered as a visiting faculty member at the International University of Business Agriculture and Technology (IUBAT) in Dhaka. His efforts include negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) encouraging SFU faculty and students to undertake research projects in Bangladesh, and setting up a modest policy institute linked to IUBAT. From 2001 to 2015, the institute published a dozen monographs on various aspects of domestic policy, from enhancing rural electrification to improving nutrition in slums. Many of the monographs are co-authored by a Bangladeshi scholar and a member of the SFU community, either a graduate student or faculty member.

In another collaborative initiative, Richards, alongside colleagues from the Mid-Main Community Health Centre in Vancouver founded a College of Nursing at IUBAT. At the onset, a group of Canadian nurse instructors and other health professionals volunteered their time to teach courses in their respective disciplines. Today, the college consists primarily of Bangladeshi faculty. The latest joint project involves curriculum development for a new Master's of Public Health program based at IUBAT. 

Richards regularly travels to South Asia and has built strong partnerships and friendships. His long-standing interest and commitment to education and learning outcomes led to an ongoing collaboration with Bangladeshi and Canadian academics and community leaders who wanted to explore and address the issues of persistent low quality of school education in Bangladesh and other South Asian countries. The result is a book titled “Political Economy of Education in South Asia: Fighting Poverty, Inequality and Exclusion,” published in January 2022 by University of Toronto Press.


Biruté Mary Galdikas
Professor, Department of Archaeology

Dr. Galdikas earned a PhD from the University of California and in 1989 joined SFU as a full professor in the Department of Archaeology, and for many years, an adjunct professor in the Department of Indigenous Studies. She has taught and lectured extensively on orangutans, their tropical rainforest habitat and conservation issues and has supervised numerous students in the wild. The famed anthropologist is marking 50 years in the field—a life’s work of documenting orangutan behaviour, mobilizing rehabilitation efforts, and advocating for their ancient rainforest habitat in collaboration with the area’s Indigenous communities. Galdikas’ research is one of the world’s longest field studies ever to be carried out by one principal investigator. Her research has led to new sustainable practices to help secure orangutan habitat, organizations to support their environment, and knowledge to inform global sustainability needs. Galdikas, who graced the cover of National Geographic in 1975, began her Indonesian field research based at Camp Leakey in Tanjung Putting National Park in Central Indonesian Borneo.

Galdikas is one of three leading women primate researchers, called the “Trimates,” whom famed anthropologist Louis Leakey mentored, alongside Dian Fossey (gorillas) and Jane Goodall (chimpanzees). The trio was featured last year in a CBC’s “Nature of Things” documentary, “She Walks with Apes.” A documentary film on her work, “Born to be Wild”, was released in 2011.

In 1986, Galdikas and her colleagues established the Orangutan Foundation International (OFI), based in Los Angeles, to support the conservation of wild orangutans and their rainforest habitats around the world. Galdikas and colleagues later established OFICanada, based in Vancouver, as well as encouraged Australians to establish OFIAustralia.

Dr. Galdikas created the first orangutan rehabilitation and release program in Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo), which is still active today. She built the locally-run program from a desire to bring together science, conservation and sustainable community development.


Carl Lowenberger 
Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Entomology & Parasitology

Dr. Lowenberger has worked on the international scene since the mid 1980s. After his undergraduate degree he worked for a Colombian non-governmental organization working on agricultural and primary health care programs. Subsequently he has worked on development and research problems in Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Brazil and Egypt. His current research looks at the epidemiological and molecular factors that determine how and why some insects transmit pathogens to humans while others do not: essentially he studies the innate immune system of insects and how they recognize the pathogens and pathways they use to eliminate these pathogens. If we could persuade all insects to kill these pathogens we could eliminate some of these diseases.  Dr. Lowenberger’s research lab includes—or has included—many students, visiting scientists or professors from countries where these diseases and insect vectors are found. They return to their home institutions with the molecular tools to explore or validate in the field what we hypothesize should be happening based on the laboratory studies. They also bring a real world contribution to Canadian students on the realities of working under difficult conditions. Dr. Lowenberger and students also have spent significant time working in these institutions in Latin America, which has resulted in more formal associations with Simon Fraser University through memorandums of understanding. Dr. Lowenberger has a passion for research in Latin America and spent significant time discussing ideas with Chris Dagg, which helped develop his approach to development projects and research initiatives. In terms of International development, early work established long-term agricultural development projects that increased crop and honey production, implemented different farming techniques to increase productivity, and therefore household income. Later projects have identified mechanisms we can manipulate in insects to reduce the transmission of viruses—such as Dengue and Zika—by mosquitoes to humans.


Catherine D'Andrea
Professor, Department of Archaeology

Dr. Catherine D’Andrea has been a professor in the Department of Archaeology since 1992. Her research focuses on environmental archaeology, traditional agricultural knowledge, early agriculture and the rise of complex societies.  Over the years, Dr. D’Andrea has been involved with numerous international collaborations which involved fieldwork in Ethiopia, Ghana, Sudan, Egypt, Japan and Turkey. Dr. D’Andrea’s previous work in West and East Africa involved investigations of ancient domestication history and modern traditional knowledge of neglected cereal crops. She has advocated for their development because of drought-resistance and other properties that benefit rural farmers in Ghana and Ethiopia. Dr. D’Andrea currently leads an international team of investigators who blend scientific and traditional knowledge to understand past and present human-environmental interactions in the Horn of Africa. In addition to Canadian students, Dr. D’Andrea has supervised the dissertation research of international students from Tanzania, Ghana, Ethiopia, Egypt, USA and Turkey. Throughout her career, Dr. D’Andrea and her students have supported capacity building for African universities and cultural heritage institutions through book and equipment donations, participated in archaeological curriculum development and provided archaeological training for university staff and employment opportunities for rural communities. Through community consultations in Ethiopia, Dr. D’Andrea and her team have completed tourism initiatives to ensure that both urban and rural peoples benefit from cultural heritage resources. These have included the production of exhibits for a new museum in the town of Adigrat and the construction of a small interpretive centre at an archaeological site in a rural area.


Robert Anderson 
Professor of Communication 

Dr. Bob Anderson has been a professor at SFU's School of Communication since 1977. Trained as an anthropologist at the University of Chicago (1971), he has developed expertise in historical analysis. His teaching focusses on the areas of international negotiation and dialogue, and conflict analysis, and is proud of his long supervision of excellent graduate students. He grew up in Africa and British Columbia, and from his late teens he has been studying and researching in Asia. He was the first director of the Dialogue Institute in the Centre for Dialogue 2000-2004 and had the privilege of drawing together—with others—an international network called the Dialogue Associates. He was responsible (with others) for initiating the foreign policy dialogues and the Afghanistan dialogues during the 2000s. With others, he helped found the “Devs-Group” at SFU in 2001, a cross-campus network of people interested in development and sustainability. And since 1999 he has been building a network of young environmentalists in Myanmar and encouraging formation of a graduate environmental studies program at the University of Yangon. 


Peter Anderson
Associate Professor, School of Communications and Director, Telematics Research Laboratory

An SFU alumnus, Peter has dedicated much of his career to improving the world’s capacity to respond to emergencies, and his expertise is sought internationally. His work impacts populations and organizations across the world on a daily basis. Professor Anderson has worked at SFU for more than 40 years. He has pioneered new online systems for international and Canadian humanitarian and disaster-relief organizations, including the UN’s first Internet tool for humanitarian relief activities, and a tsunami early-warning toolkit now used in coastal communities worldwide. His research has also contributed to communication solutions and innovative technology for planetary and lunar explorations.


Yuezhi Zhao
Professor, School of Communication and Co-director, Global Communication M.A. Double Degree Program

Dr. Yuezhi Zhao, an SFU alumna, has worked for SFU for over 10 years engaging communities both in Canada and internationally. Her work on globalization has impacted the research and the delivery of education, including advancing opportunities for scholars and communities. She has published numerous international papers and led the development of a dual degree program for SFU and the Communication University of China.


Ian Andrews

Dr. Ian Andrews, an SFU alumnus, dedicated his career to education, and worked in international education for 32 years. He initiated and developed projects and programs around the world. He taught, mentored, supported, and supervised hundreds of international and domestic students in the Faculty of Education. His work had a profound impact on the internationalization of SFU, the Faculty, and on the many colleagues, students, and friends he touched along the way.