Ratna Omidvar is an internationally recognized expert on migration, diversity and inclusion. She came to Canada from Iran in 1981 and her own experiences of displacement, integration and citizen engagement have been the foundation of her work. In April 2016, Prime Minister Trudeau appointed Ratna...
Ratna Omidvar is an internationally recognized expert on migration, diversity and inclusion. She came to Canada from Iran in 1981 and her own experiences of displacement, integration and citizen engagement have been the foundation of her work. In April 2016, Prime Minister Trudeau appointed Ratna to the Senate of Canada as an independent Senator representing Ontario.
Ratna is the founding Executive Director and currently a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Global Diversity Exchange (GDX), Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University. GDX is a think-and-do tank on diversity, migration and inclusion that connects local experience and ideas with global networks. It is dedicated to building a community of international leaders who see prosperity in migration. Previously, Ratna was the President of Maytree, where she played a lead role in local, national and international efforts to promote the integration of immigrants.
Ratna is a director at the Environics Institute, and Samara Canada. She is the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council’s Chair Emerita as past the Chair of Lifeline Syria.
Ratna is co-author of Flight and Freedom: Stories of Escape to Canada (2015), an Open Book Toronto best book of 2015 and one of the Toronto Star’s top five good reads from Word on the Street. She is also co-editor of Five Good Ideas: Practical Strategies for Non-Profit Success (2011). Ratna received an Honorary Degree, Doctor of Laws, York University in 2012.
Ratna was appointed to the Order of Ontario in 2005 and became a Member of the Order of Canada in 2011, with both honours recognizing her advocacy work on behalf of immigrants and devotion to reducing inequality in Canada. In 2014, Ratna received the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in recognition of her contribution to the advancement of German-Canadian relations.
Ratna has also been recognized by Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, by being named as its Nation Builder of the Decade for Citizenship in 2010. Ratna was named to the inaugural Global Diversity List sponsored by The Economist magazine in 2015, as one of the Top 10 Diversity Champions worldwide. In 2016, CivicAction awarded Ratna with their Lifetime Achievement Award for Civic Leadership in the Greater Toronto Area.