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Meet the 2021 Fellows
Hussein Elhagehassan is a second generation immigrant of both Filipino and Lebanese ancestry and a settler on the unceded and occupied lands of the Coast Salish peoples. He is completing his degree in Health Sciences from Simon Fraser University and is passionate about health equity, culturally-competent health services and urban planning for marginalized communities. Hussein is also a research assistant with the COVID-19 Health Literacy Study, researching the psychological impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on post-secondary students, as well as a Special Projects Assistant with SFU’s Health Promotion team. Witnessing a gap in support for BIPOC youth, Hussein co-founded GenAi Vancouver, a space for dialogue and collective healing for BIPOC youth in Greater Vancouver. Hussein is also an avid gardener with a love for the outdoors.
Suzanne Merchant is an immigrant settler who has lived in the Unceded Territories of Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples for almost two decades. She attended the University of Waterloo (located on the traditional territories of the Anishnabeg, Attawandaron (Neutral), Chippewa, Haudenosaunee and Wendat peoples), where she studied architecture. After her return from her studies at Waterloo, Suzanne is currently developing her own design practice that she hopes will be able to marry her two main interests: building low-cost, off-grid/net-zero, salvage architecture, and building/exploring alternative economic models and practices. Suzanne is also a registered volunteer caseworker with the Muslim Food Bank and Community Services. When not working or volunteering, she can be found trying to scramble over large rocks... or face down, looking for the interesting fungi of the world.
Maliha Siddiqi is a communications practitioner who completed her second masters from Simon Fraser University studying conflict representation in Bollywood films. She belongs to Kashmir and understands that she is an uninvited guest on the indigenous territories of Canada. Maliha is intrigued by meeting new people from different nationalities and their sense of belonging in a new space. Her interests lie in social media research, films and documentaries along with travelling to the Pacific coasts and trying out new cuisines.
Alea Mohamed is a third year International Studies major, minoring in Development and Sustainability at Simon Fraser University. Her passions include sustainable development and climate justice. Outside of academics, Alea is BC-born and raised, and is taking time to learn about what that means for her as the child of immigrants in a settler colonial state. Her passion for sustainable development led her to policy analysis, where she studies climate change-induced displacement and climate migration with BCCIC Climate Change. She is also involved with the International Studies Student Association, serving as their representative on the SFSS Council, and is the Internal Relations Officer for the Somali Students Association. Her desire to build a more inclusive Muslim community on campus and in academia led her to this fellowship.
Saiyora Imamkulova is a student at Simon Fraser University majoring in International Studies. She is half Tajik and half Uzbek, and grew up in Russia. She studied for two years at UWC-Atlantic College in the UK and then came to Canada to continue pursuing education. Being exposed to different cultures, beliefs, mentalities, and languages, Saiyora became aware of and appreciates the diversity around her. She enjoys spending time with her friends over a cup of tea discussing various issues. She also likes hiking, reading books, and hopes to start travelling more around the beautiful world!
Manal Masud منال مسعود (Pronouns: she/her/hers) is a Pakistan-Canadian Muslim of Kashmiri and Punjabi ancestry living on unceded Coast Salish Territories. She has a Master of Public Health from Simon Fraser University and currently manages road safety and injury prevention research projects at University of British Columbia. She is passionate about meaningful engagement of underserved communities to promote integrated and people-centered healthcare. Manal is a co-founder of Public Health Café, a podcast about various public health topics from the Canadian perspective and Wellness Beyond the Binary, a centralized digital hub that provides healthcare resources for people of marginalized genders. Her days are usually filled with advocating for healthy equity, hiking and trying other outdoor activities, cooking/baking, taking care of her indoor plants, spending time with loved ones, seeking Allah and the path of Divine love. She has an adventurous spirit and is keen to listen, learn and try new experiences!
Nada Nosseir is an Egyptian settler on Coast Salish Lands. She is a community builder passionate about creating space for marginalized groups to connect, share their lived-experience and communicate their unique needs to the broader community. She is the co-founder of ArtLink (@vanartlink)- a women-led community-based organization with the goal to build a stronger arts + culture community in the city of Vancouver. By day, Nada is a seasoned Business Intelligence Consultant that enjoys helping industry leaders understand their employee data, make data-driven decisions and foster a diverse and inclusive work culture. Prior to having a professional focus on employee data, she had the opportunity to work on the eCommunityNEXT project for Vancouver Coastal Health. Nada gave public health, community care, mental health, and primary care leaders unprecedented access to real-time data pertaining to their programs usage and effectiveness. She holds an undergraduate degree in Business Administration and a certificate in Business Analytics and Decision Making from Simon Fraser University.
Kabir Qurban often catches himself asking, “Who am I? What am I doing? What is it that I want to accomplish?” The simple answer is that he is just like anyone else but with different circumstances. He has received a degree in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, but his university career was not defining for him. He has a passion for doing, and enjoys keeping himself busy to the max, be it working in a lab, supporting a campaign, volunteering at the local soup kitchen, or even heading into the woods to connect with himself and this world. He loves speaking to people and creating connections. If you took the time to read this bio, he prays to meet you one day. As he likes to say, “Life is full of opportunity, and luckily I am an opportunist.”
Zahraa Hawili lives, studies and works on the unceded Traditional Coast Salish Lands of the Squamish, Tsleil-Wauthuth and Musqueam Nations. She graduated from Simon Fraser University (SFU) in 2019 with a Bachelor’s in Health Sciences and English. She has two years of work experience in the corporate sector and is working on beginning her graduate studies in the near future. She also believes in equipping herself with knowledge in different areas and has completed certificates in Leadership and Intercultural Communication. Outside of that, Zahraa thoroughly enjoys giving back to her community and does so whenever possible. She has been volunteering for over ten years in various positions in the community, and in the last couple years she has been volunteering in different roles with the Muslim community directly. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and going on hikes in nature.
Salwa Abdirahman is of Somali origin. She was born and raised in Kenya then moved to Vancouver in 2016 to study international studies. She is very passionate about politics and gender issues, and is an intersectional feminist who is particularly passionate about issues pertaining to black women in society. She was a part of the African Student Association, a club that engages the interests, voices and issues of African students at SFU, where she served as the events coordinator. In her free time, she enjoys a self-care day which usually entails reading a good book, getting some fresh air and pampering herself.