Friday, March 23rd, 2018 Leadership and Empowerment: Asian Women in the 21st Century

Friday, March 23, 201812:00PM - 2:00PM108N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place


The Contemporary Asian Studies Student Union (CASSU) Presents: “Leadership and Empowerment: Asian Women in the 21st Century”

In a time when dominant racial and gender-specific narratives are being challenged, the “Leadership and Empowerment: Asian Women in the 21st Century” panel event provides a unique forum for female leaders to discuss their experiences working within the intersectionality of femininity and Asian identities. The purpose of this panel is to highlight the voices of Asian female leaders, and to acknowledge the unique challenges and opportunities Asian women face in the professional workplace, in the public sphere, and in positions of leadership. This panel will feature a range of speakers from a variety of disciplines.

Opening Remarks:
Prof. Rachel Silvey, Richard Charles Lee Director, Asian Institute

Aparna Sundar, Instructor, Asian Institute

City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, City of Toronto
Dr. Julie Nguyen, Director, Canada-Vietnam Trade Council
Justine Abigail Yu, Founder and Editor, Living Hyphen
Dani Magsumbol, Capacity Builder, Kapisanan Philippine Centre of Arts and Culture

Paneliest Bios:

Kristyn Wong-Tam is a second-term Toronto City Councillor and Chair of the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee. She has an extensive career investing in the City of Toronto through both the public and private sectors. Her contributions have led to the development and support of improved homelessness policies, new affordable housing, innovative economic development programs, community art projects, and investments in diverse, family-friendly neighbourhood planning. She is a long-time advocate for gender equity at the municipal level and has successfully moved motions to incorporate a gender equity lens in the City’s Budget. Councillor Wong-Tam’s activism is reflected through her continued work of advocating for human rights and championing for sustainable living and environmental health. She was the Past Vice President of The 519 Community Centre, founder of Asian Canadians For Equal Marriage and has been a long-time supporter of numerous Toronto-based HIV/AIDS organizations. She plays a vital role in ensuring the vibrancy of our city and its economic and social development. Currently, Councillor Wong-Tam is in partnership with the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation to create Toronto’s first urban Indigenous District.

Dr. Julie Nguyen is currently a professor and program coordinator in international business at Centennial College, and a co-founder / director of the Canada Vietnam Trade Council ( She has a Bachelor of Commerce, Honours Economics (1995) from Concordia University, a M.A. in Economics (1996) and a Ph.D. (2004) in Interdisciplinary Studies and Asian Research both from the University of British Columbia (UBC). She was a consultant for the United Nations in Hanoi in 1997 to co-write Vietnam’s first Human Development Report, and a research associate at the Centre for Southeast Asia Research at UBC (1996-1999). Dr. Nguyen conducted her post-doctoral research funded by SSHRC at the Munk School of Global Affairs (2004-2006), and taught courses in Political Science, Asia-Pacific Studies and Gender Studies at the University of Toronto (2005-2010). She is a board member of the Organization of Women in International Trade – Toronto Chapter, the Canada Vietnam Society and the McCormick Arena, City of Toronto.

Dr. Aparna Sundar teaches in the Contemporary Asian Studies program at the Asian Institute. She is a political scientist by training, and works in the broad areas of political economy, comparative politics, and the politics of development, with a focus on South Asia and the South Asian diaspora in Canada. She has been active in South Asian community organizations in Toronto, and has carried out collaborative community-based research that looks at the challenges of political organizing by immigrant and racialized communities, in particular around issues of work and labour.

Justine Abigail Yu is a communications and marketing strategist for the social impact space and has worked with organizations operating in North America, Central America, East Africa, and Southeast Asia. She is currently the Communications and Marketing Director for Operation Groundswell, a non-profit organization that facilitates international service learning programs for youth. She is also the Founder and Editor of Living Hyphen, an intimate journal that explores the experiences of hyphenated Canadians and examines what it means to be part of a diaspora. Her mission is to stir the conscience and spur social change.
Social Links: /
IG+TW: @justineabigail / @livinghyphen

Dani Magsumbol is currently in the second year of the MSc in Planning Program at the University of Toronto’s Department of Planning and Geography. Her work is guided by her mission to work with and give back to the Filipino community. Her research is centred on the ways in which female temporary foreign workers, specifically Filipino live-in caregivers, define and experience safety within urban settings. Dani is currently a Capacity Builder at Kapisanan Philippine Centre for Arts and Culture, a Filipino charity and non-profit that employs a led-by-youth-for-the-youth framework in their leadership and programming, an organisation with whom she has been involved in various capacities since 2014.


Prof. Rachel Silvey
Opening Remarks
Richard Charles Lee Director, Asian Institute, Munk School of Global Affairs

Aparna Sundar
Instructor, Asian Institute, Munk School of Global Affairs

Dani Magsumbol
Department of Geography & Planning, University of Toronto

Dr. Julie Nguyen
Director, Canada-Vietnam Trade Council Board Member, Organization of Women in International Trade, Toronto Chapter Board Member, The Canada Vietnam Society Board Member, The McCormick Arena, City of Toronto

Kristyn Wong-Tam
City Councillor, City of Toronto

Justine Abigail Yu
Founder and Editor, Living Hyphen

Main Sponsor

Asian Institute


CASSU - Contemporary Asian Studies Student Union

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