Am Johal


Am Johal has been the Director of SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement since December 2010. He is an associate with SFU's Centre for Dialogue, SFU's Institute for the Humanities and he is Co-Director of SFU’s Community Engaged Research Initiative. He serves on the Advisory Committee of SFU Labour Studies and the Steering Committee of Graduate Liberal Studies. A community convenor, a social connector, a critically-engaged scholar and teacher, and a fiercely supportive and respectful collaborator — Am has been instrumental in articulating and demonstrating what authentic community engagement looks like at SFU. He is the host of SFU's Below the Radar podcast that features interviews with community collaborators, academics and other policymakers. He has served on the boards of the Indian Summer Arts Society, 221A, Vancity Community Foundation and the Bloom Group.

Am has quietly, consistently — with great openness and kindness — built deep and reciprocal relationships between SFU and the community in Vancouver’s urban core. A community organizer with deep roots in Vancouver’s artistic, political, and activist spheres, Am has brought a nuanced understanding of the systemic and intersecting issues that push people to the margins of the city.

He has partnered with community to engage the wider public in vital and accessible conversations about progressive housing policies, harm reduction solutions, poverty and income inequality, systemic racism and Indigenous movements, and environmental justice — as well as expansive dialogues about community-engaged research ethics, critical theory, literature, film, and other artistic disciplines. Through his steadfast involvement and commitment to community work, arts, urbanism and social and environmental justice movements, Am has been a driving force for inclusion and social change, and a bridge between SFU and the community.

Award announcement: 
Am Johal receives the 2020 Warren Gill Award for Community Impact

Partnership highlights


An ongoing project, Community Journalism 101 is a series of free, low-barrier journalism workshops, open to community members of the Downtown Eastside organized in partnership with Megaphone.


SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement supports Research 101, a series of conversations around community-based research ethics, in partnership with Hives for Humanity. Research 101 was one of several components of this wider work to gather local knowledge and expertise on community ethics in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) into materials that could help empower the community.

Watch video below featuring some of the community partnerships and projects developed through SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement. Don't forget to click the button to check out the full list of partnerships.

Below the Radar is a weekly podcast hosted by Am Johal on the territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. This podcast is produced by SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement as a part of our Knowledge Democracy Project @ 312 Main — encouraging the meaningful exchange of ideas and information across communities.