On May 29, Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) will present social activist Charan Gill with an honorary doctor of laws at its spring convocation ceremony.
For more than 40 years, Gill, an author, entrepreneur, and founding president of Progressive Intercultural Community Services (PICS), has initiated, operated and successfully run a variety of programs for immigrant youth, women, seniors and farm workers.
Gill has been an advocate for the rights of farm workers, youth, women and the homeless.
“I am delighted to know that KPU is bestowing upon me the honorary doctor of laws degree in recognition of my community development work. It gives me great pleasure to accept this honour,” said Gill. “This encourages me to continue our work for the community to ensure intercultural understanding and acceptance so we can all live with peace and harmony.”
In 1978, Gill helped co-found the Canadian Farmworkers Union that exists to improve the human rights, health and safety and employment standards of farm workers.
In 1981 he co-founded the British Columbia Organization to Fight Racism, which later grew into the Canadian Anti-Racism Education and Research Society.
PICS was established in 1987 and continues to provide programs and services that directly assist youth, seniors and new immigrants with the goal of promoting harmony and intercultural understanding.
“It’s services like the ones Mr. Gill has initiated over the years that help sustain our communities and its members,” said Dr. Alan Davis, president and vice-chancellor, KPU. “We are extremely pleased to present this award to such an active advocate and voice for those who truly need it.”
Currently, Gill is focused on expanding PICS Society programs to ensure their services cover the various needs of the community. Gill has won countless awards for his work, including the Order of B.C. and Golden Jubilee Medal.
Honorary degrees are awarded to those honoris causa (for the sake of honour) in recognition of dignified achievements or outstanding service to the public. Nominees are exceptionally distinguished: scholars, creative artists, public servants, persons prominent in the community and the professions, and others who have made significant contributions locally, nationally, or globally. Members of the community-at-large are invited to nominate honorary degree candidates.