David Crenna, M.A., M.Sc. – Director
David Crenna is a former executive in the Canadian federal government, who has also held senior positions in both the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the Office of the Prime Minister of Canada.
He worked as an international development consultant for over a dozen years in a variety of fields, including post-war reconstruction, defence conversion, and demining, as well as environmental policy, housing policy, and technology transfer. He has managed substantial development projects for the World Bank, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, and the Canadian International Development Agency, as well as for a private sector company operating in the high-technology field. He has led projects in India, Kazakhstan, Russia, Uruguay and Thailand. He is the author of a major report on post-disaster and post-war reconstruction for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
Mr. Crenna was a co-founder of Partnership Afghanistan Canada, and has previously served as Secretary-Treasurer of the organization.
He has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Western Ontario, a Master of Arts in Political Science and Public Administration from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Political Sociology from the London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London).
Neil Griggs – Director
Neil graduated from the University of British Columbia and has been a Project Management Consultant for over 40 years, undertaking the Construction Management of numerous small and large-scale projects, for Governments and the private sector in Canada, the United States and Australia.
His first project was coordinating the City of Vancouver’s first residential development on leasehold land. Today False Creek, with its mix of market and non market housing, is a successful inner city community with a school, marina, shops, parks, and home to one thousand families.
He was appointed as the first President and General Manager of the Whistler Village Land Company responsible for the development of the village infrastructure, the Arnold Palmer Golf Course and the first shops, restaurants, and one thousand hotel and condominium units. Whistler today has become a year round world class resort.
In 1999 Neil founded Builders Without Borders (BWB), a Canadian registered charitable organization. BWB recruits consultants from the building industry who volunteer their planning, design and construction services for the construction of housing, schools, and medical facilities in developing countries. BWB consultants have undertaken 140 projects in 8 countries for organizations such as World Vision, Save the Children, the Red Cross, Industry Canada, the Centre for Sustainable Cities, Partnership Afghanistan Canada, the Rinaldi Foundation Haiti, the Canadian Construction Association, and Haiti Village Health . www.builderswithoutborders.com
David S. Jacks, Ph.D. – Director
Jacks received his Bachelor in Economics and History (summa cum laude) from the University of Memphis in 1997. This was followed with a Masters in Economics from the University of Memphis in 1998 and a Masters in Economic History (with distinction) from the London School of Economics in 1999. His terminal degree, a PhD in Economics from the University of California, Davis, was awarded in 2004. His research spans the areas of economic and financial history as well as international trade and finance.
Jacks is currently the Chair of Economics and an Associate Member of the School for International Studies at Simon Fraser University. In 2008, he was also appointed as a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
From the time of his appointment at Simon Fraser University in 2004, Jacks has been invited to give presentations at over 65 conferences, organizations, and universities in 15 countries and has been a visitor at 8 universities in 4 countries. In the same period of time, his research has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council of the United Kingdom, the French National Research Agency, the National Science Foundation of the United States, and the Social Science Research Council of Canada. Finally, he has served as a consultant for Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation and the Richard Chandler Corporation.
Shahnaz Qayumi – Director of M-Learning and Chief Operating Officer of PAC
Shahnaz Qayumi was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. After finishing high school in Kabul, she went to Kiev, Ukraine on a scholarship where she received her Bachelors, and a Masters Degree in Developmental Psychology and Pedagogy.
In 1980, she returned to Afghanistan and started working as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Psychology of Kabul University. She was forced to flee Afghanistan with her family to Pakistan because of the brutal communist regime that captured power in Kabul.She served in refugee camps while living in Pakistan. With her husband and son, they left Pakistan shortly after and ended up in Portugal from where they immigrated to Canada. After facing challenges such as language, cultural, and education barriers she was able to establish herself in Canadian academic circles. She has taught in the Canadian Center for Educational Development to ESL students, Langley Continuing Education; North Delta Continuing Education; Century College; Native Education College, and Kwantlen University College. She has facilitated an ECE (Early Childhood Education) program for Family Empowerment funded by Ministry of Health in North Delta for low-income families. She has also been a member of the Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Awareness committee at the Kwantlen University College, a member of Vancouver Women’s Visible Minority, and also a Mentor in Leadership Roles in Canadian Society/National Organization of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women of Canada (NOIVMWC). She is a member of Canadian Women for Women of Afghanistan (CW4WA). In this capacity she has taught Human Development course to trainers project called “Training the Trainers” in Kabul.
In 2005 due to interest and passion toward community work she becomes a member of Board of Directors of Partnership of Afghanistan- Canada (PAC – a non-for-profit organization). She lead Afghan community programming called “Caravan TV” for 7 years and chaired the Afghan Cultural Heritage Day in 2011.
In 2012 she became the Chief Operating Officer of PAC, and assumed the responsibility for building the Center of Excellence for Innovation and Research for Faculty of Psychology and Education at Kabul University. She is also working to establishing a countrywide phone based education system in Afghanistan.
She believes education is the key to solving many of the problems of the world. The largest barrier to learning is that educational materials are delivered through written materials, which are unsuitable for an illiterate population. Therefore, she has devoted her life to providing mass education to illiterate members of the world using state of the art technology called LIVES (Learning through Voice Educational System). This is an exciting new technology that allows education over mobile phones.
She implemented the LIVES system in Afghanistan with the M-Learning (Learning via Mobile). The module that she created is called “Parents Guide”, which educates parents on how to effectively communicate with their children.
Karim Qayumi – MD, PhD, FRCSC – Director
Karim Qayumi is a Professor in the Divisions of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, Director, Centre of Excellence for Simulation Education, Simulation and Innovation (CESEI), Department of Surgery at the University of British Columbia. He is the Chair of the Canadian Network for Simulation in Health (CNSH); co-Chair of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) Simulation Summit 2009; and Chair of the Technology Enabled Learning Committee of the Education Division at the American College of Surgeons (ACS).
Dr. Qayumi’s work has been acknowledged by prestigious awards such as the Bright & Shiny Award, Killam University Teaching Prize, H. Rocke Robertson Award for Recognition of Outstanding Clinical Teaching, Andreas Van Recum Award among others. Dr. Qayumi’s work has generated over $10 million in peer review grants and tens of millions of dollars in non-peer review grants. He is widely published and has been an invited lecturer to many academic events and he has also taken an advisory/consulting role for simulation centers being built or simulation-based programs developed at various universities.
Dr. Qayumi is a veteran investigator and an outstanding teacher at the University of British Columbia. He has extensive international teaching experience with excellent records. He obtained 11 awards in the field of medicine. His teaching records demonstrate a score of 6.7 (from 0-7) for the past several years evaluated by 120 medical students per year.
Zahir Faqiri – Board Member
Mr. Faqiri is currently a Senior Fellow and Faculty Associate – Lead Greater Central Asia Initiative the Institute of Asian Research University of British Columbia. Having served as a career diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, Mr. Faqiri has held high positions of professional responsibility at home and overseas ranging from a General Directorate to Minister plenipotentiary -Ambassadorial levels.
He obtained a master degree in Peace building and Conflict Resolution from Center of Diplomatic and Strategic Studies Paris – France. He has successfully attended numerous Fellowships Programs throughout his professional and diplomatic career.
Mr.Faqiri is both an academic and a practitioner in the fields of diplomacy, international relations, Peace building and Conflict Resolution as well as issues related to central Asian. Mr. Faqiri has worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan from February 2002 to July 2014. He served in various capacities, more precisely, as Deputy Permanent Delegate of Afghanistan to UNESCO in Paris, Spokesman and General Director of Media relations MoFA, Minister Plenipotentiary Deputy Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations, and Minister Plenipotentiary Deputy Ambassador to Washington D.C.
Mr. Faqiri has acquired an international environment of multi-cultural character, He has fervent desire to contribute and serve in the fields of peace building, conflict management, social and economic development and more specifically the ascending of Asian and its new security order.
He speaks English, Farsi, Pashtu, and intermediate French.
M-Learning Volunteer Staff
Shabnam Hazrati – Coordinator of M-learning in Kabul
Shabnam Hazrati was born in Panjshir province in 1989. Her primary education was in Panjshir Province as in other provinces education for girls was forbidden. Shabnam started secondary education in Kabul after implementation of the Taliban government, and finished high school also in Kabul. Following this, Shabnam joined the educational psychology faculty for further studies, and while at university also worked as editor, producer and radio operator in Amozgar Radio. After graduation from Kabul University, Shabnam studied the 10000 business women course in American University. Her working career after graduation began with work as a project coordinator in Panjshir province for a women empowerment project. Now Shabnam is the volunteer project coordinator for M-Learning Project under PAC Organization.