International Community Achievement Award

International Community Achievement Award (ICAA) applications open April 30, 2021.

Please review the 2021-2022 ICAA Guidelines for more information on how to apply.

ICAA Review Panel

The review panel may comprise a mix of professors from various faculties, a representative from the International Student Initiative portfolio, and an International and Program Services staff member. Recipients will be notified by email and will receive a signed certificate.

Recipients 2021

Devina Prasad Jaiswal

Having already recognized the issue of low female representation in computer science courses in her home country, Devina was surprised to see the problem of gender diversity persisted at UBCO. Other female students inspired her to act as a mentor for women who were new to the field. Devina spent the last three years promoting gender diversity in Computer Science both on campus and in the broader community. In 2018, she co-founded UBCO Girls in Tech, a club to support, connect, and inspire women in technology. As president of the club, Devina organized 6 social events, raised funding to send 8 members to an all-female hackathon, and held weekly study sessions. In 2020, the team hosted UBCO’s first technical career fair with 270 attendees and co-hosted a province-wide hackathon with 200 attendees. Beyond her club involvement, Devina has been involved with various initiatives that enable her to share her technical skills with the community. On campus, Devina has worked as a teaching assistant, as well as a JumpStart orientation leader to welcome international students on campus. Devina has also volunteered with the Student Experience Office to assist senior citizens with technology issues and to help elementary school children learn coding. Through her co-op work, Devina was recently selected as RBC’s Student Ambassador for UBC (both campuses) where she continues to mentor students and connect them with employment opportunities or mentors at RBC.

Lisvet Parra Montas

Lisvet was elected as a Student Representative at Large to the Okanagan Senate for 2021-2022. Since the beginning of her campaign, Lisvet has advocated for a shift from punitive to preventive and restorative measures to instruct students who are unaware of the intricacies of academic integrity, ensuring that the number of UBCO’s academic misconduct files stop scaling up. Lisvet has utilized the insights obtained from her membership in UBCO’s Academic Integrity Working Group, where she held conversations with faculty and staff members who are experienced in the matter. Lisvet is also currently developing more effective communication channels to increase the transparency of the Senate. In conjunction with her Senate position, she was formerly employed as a Research Analyst at UBC’s Planning and Institutional Research office, analyzing the consequences of COVID-19 on work-integrated learning (WIL) stakeholders, and the socioeconomic impact of WIL programs in BC. In this role, Lisvet researched and advocated for changes to the existing Work Integrated Learning program in BC. As part of the IPS/GG Internal Advisory Group, Lisvet presented a student perspective on the external review International Programs & Services and Go Global. Lisvet also previously held the positions of TA, Writing and Academic Integrity Consultant, SL Leader and IDP Coordinator.

Marcelle De Moreira Dos Santos

In Marcelle’s first year, she started a Club and taught Aerial Silks to 27 UBCO students and Kelowna residents. In the years following, Marcelle has been on the Dean’s List and was awarded the Deputy Vice-Chancellor scholarship. Marcelle has also volunteered in our community by teaching biology under SOS (students offering support) and was successful in supporting over 20 students academically. Marcelle has been a jumpstart leader, as well as a Collegia Assistant, which allowed her to host innovative programs, such as mental health advocacy sessions with tarot cards, as well as plant-based cooking sessions, which were meant to address the environmental impact of the food we consume.  Marcelle also participated in a Global Seminar on International Development, which prompted an interest for social change. This interest has drawn Marcelle to become the President of Enactus UBC, as well as the coordinator of Project Smart Meals, which has already facilitated the donation of $1782 to the Central Okanagan Food Bank, helped Kelowna entrepreneurs make 645 sales, and trained 8 other UBCO students to do the same.  Marcelle intends to continue this work, and hopes to create a larger social movement that recognizes the importance of food security in our communities.

Zoia Suleiman

Through her involvement in the Intercultural Development Program, Zoia has worked to shape intercultural learning at UBCO. Zoia facilitated the intercultural training of the Learning Coaches and the Peer Mentors through the Canvas platform, and had the privilege to imbue first-year students with the inclusive spirit of UBCO. Zoia was especially successful at helping students to recognize and comprehend their own personal cross-cultural struggles and those of others’.

Zoia had the opportunity to utilize this unique experience to produce original and analytical academic work, holding an intercultural approach as a core focus. This was especially relevant in her course titled, “Decolonial Political Thought” as she brought a more humanistic and critical perspective to her class discussions. Furthermore, in the aforementioned course, Zoia produced a multitude of essays that embodied rigorous analysis of decolonial thinkers to remodel their arguments in a contemporary context.  Through her position as an International Scholars Small Group Leader, Zoia forged connections with and between the international scholars and thus, created a safe atmosphere that encouraged open and respectful communication. Zoia’s thoughtful support to students struggling with academic, cross-cultural, and identity-formation issues has been recognized by many members of the UBC Okanagan community.

Binta Sesay

Binta Sesay (she/her) is a Gambian- Sierra Leonean student in her 4th-year of the International Relations program. She works at the Equity and Inclusion Office as an Inclusion Action Plan assistant. Being an international student, thus far away from home, Binta has been very active in different campus communities and building up those communities as well. She served as the VP external of the African Caribbean Student Club in 2019/2020, as well as the co-chair of the student committee on the UBC Anti-Racism and Inclusion Excellence Task Force. She was also a part of the organizing committee of UBC’s first-ever Black Student Orientation and currently sits on the UBC Black Caucus executive team as the undergraduate student representative. Binta is very passionate about the betterment of Black student experiences at UBC and advocating for equal opportunities for all marginalized communities. She has plans to study law in the future with a focus on international human rights.

Emilio Freire Raymond 

Emilio has always grounded his extra-curricular activities in student advocacy, intercultural and professional development, equity-based initiatives, and research. As Director at Large (2019-20) of the UBC Students´ Union, Emilio advocated for more accessible education for UBCO students through provincial campaigns, such as open educational resources and the elimination of interest on student loans. Moreover, as an Intercultural Development Program Coordinator (2019-20), he promoted diversity and inclusion through facilitating workshops that foster intercultural dialogues. Furthermore, as a Spanish Teaching Assistant (2018-20), as well as the co-cultural coordinator of the Latin American Students´ Organization (2019-20), Emilio worked to create a better understanding of Hispanic culture on campus. For example, Emilio co-organized the club´s first panel, sharing Latin American cultures with more than 100 assistants. As president of the club, Emilio is developing the first peer mentorship program and networking event for Latin American students. Last year, he finished his second summer as a research assistant, studying artificial intelligence and how to counter its inbuilt bias to prevent the reproduction of structural inequality. Emilio has also served as a Destination, Create, and Jumpstart Orientation Leader throughout his time at UBC. Emilio has also been part of the  Co-operative Education Program, where he has worked for GEO as a project coordinator supporting their programming for international students. Lastly, Emilio embodies academic excellence, as he is on the Dean’s List and received the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences International Student Award for demonstrating strong academic achievement and potential to make a scholarly contribution in sociology and political science.