Job title: CEO, Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation
Why she’s a 2022 Top 40 Under 40: Iman Bukhari’s non-profit organization is helping to address racism and promote a more inclusive society.
At age 19, Iman Bukhari founded the grassroots not-for-profit Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation (CCMF) because she was determined to create a more equitable, more understanding Calgary.
Originally from Pakistan, Bukhari and her family came to Calgary in 2000 when she was 11 years old. She recalls being the target of racism while growing up here, particularly in the wake of 9/11. “When I came to this city as an immigrant, I saw a lot of racism, and I see it’s gradually decreasing now,” Bukhari says. “That gives you hope that we as a society are evolving.”
The CCMF is doing its part to help that evolution. Since 2009, the Calgary-based, volunteer-run organization has been delivering education, technology, arts and policy initiatives and has won more than 12 community advocacy awards. It produced an award-winning documentary, YYC Colours; launched the inclusive language app, Language Decoded; and created Culture Commons, an online resource hub for kindergarten to Grade 12 teachers. The CCMF also spearheaded a petition in 2020 that led to the City of Calgary declaring systemic racism a concern and pledging to create systemic change. “The work I do is about human dignity,” Bukhari says. “I want to make sure all Calgarians have a life filled with dignity.”
Bukhari, who holds a master’s degree in multimedia communications, says the most important thing she has learned in her CCMF journey is how to talk to people. “Having a conversation about racism is uncomfortable for a lot of people,” she says. “How can you say it in a way they need to hear it?”
On top of leading the CCMF, Bukhari works full-time for the City of Calgary and is the mother of two young children. When asked what advice she might give her younger self, “I would tell myself, ‘Do more; do a lot more,’” Bukhari says.
“My father, for his selflessness, that brought me to where I am today.”
Top 40 Under 40 2022
Connor Curran & Dustin Paisley