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Board of Directors

Joseph Yu-Kai Wong - Founder and Chair (Chair of Nominating Committee)

My time with Toronto ALPHA has been a tremendously fulfilling and rewarding journey.

Toronto ALPHA’s progress and achievement has been none other than outstanding and amazing, thanks to the cooperative effort of our volunteers and educators.  Our collective vision has steered the organization into a direction that exemplifies the best virtues of global citizenship, of respecting life and dignity and of embracing peace and harmony. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with a group of dedicated and selfless individuals who share my ideals and have a similar vision of a caring world.  Whatever little that I can contribute, in terms of my time, my experience and role of a connector, I will do so and continue to walk this meaningful path with people who I consider my inspirations and teachers.

Toronto ALPHA will forever have a place in my heart.

Flora Chong - Vice Chair (Chair of Communication Committee)

Ever since I personally met the survivors of the Nanking massacre and listened to their heart-wrenching stories, I found it impossible to turn away from Toronto ALPHA’s cause. Their tear-filled eyes, their trembling hands and their horrendous and graphic stories will never leave my mind.  Although many of them have already passed on, my pledge to them to tell their story remains. The victims of the atrocities and its heroes, like Iris Chang, have inspired me and brought me closer to understanding humanity.

Our mandate to foster human rights education for peace and reconciliation has been validated by numerous education initiatives including the study tour, the Canadian Parliamentary Motion on the topic of “Comfort Women” and the making of “Iris Chang – the Rape of Nanking” docudrama. As the coordinator of multiple education projects in the last few years, I have been able to share ALPHA’s vision of promoting awareness of the WWII atrocities in Asia and its significance to people around the world.

I wish to use my past years of corporate and community experiences to serve the organization and the cause, to build up solidarity with people around the world with similar passions and to engage our young generation to take up the torch in the future.

Judy Cho - Co-Chair of Fundraising Committee

I can describe my involvement with Toronto ALPHA simply as a series of unexpected but inspiring, encounters with people, their lives and their histories.

It all started from one evening when I met fragile but feisty grandmother Jang who came to testify for the Comfort Women motion movement in Canada in November 2007. It was as if it was a pre-planned turning point in my life. When she entered my house for the first time, I saw my own grandmother standing in her place and it was amazing how her presence instantly became so personal to me without any previous connection to her. My emotional engagement into her story became more prominent as my time spending with her increased.

Once her story touched my heart, I knew that I had to do something and get involved and the rest is history. I have been passionately involved in Toronto ALPHA to the best of my ability and more, because I have matured and learned a lot about my own potentials more than I ever thought I could. 

One of the things I have been persistently pursuing since my participation in Toronto ALPHA was to bridge the gap between Toronto ALPHA and the Korean community. I am confident in saying that I have been successful in connecting the two communities and I am enthusiastic and excited to continue to develop this bridge. I hope to continue walking the journey of contributing to preserve the humanity where I live as I am committed to continue serving my duty as one of the Board of Directors of Toronto ALPHA. 

Judy Yeung - Co-Chair of Fundraising Committee

I am very passionate about Toronto ALPHA's mission and work.  I believe in our mission although it is extremely challenging to implement. I consider myself blessed to have the opportunity to work and meet with other Board members and volunteers who are so committed, dedicated, giving, and believe so strongly in the concept of justice, a concept which my father had instilled in me growing up.  I am proud to be a member of Toronto ALPHA!

I have been active with different charitable organizations for over ten years with a network consisting of many people from different professions, backgrounds, races and communities. I believe I could use my strength in connecting people for Toronto ALPHA’s cause.

I will continue taking an active role to help raise funding for ALPHA as I understand the needs of financial support.  Together with my core group of friends and volunteers, we will strive to do our best in every campaign, fundraising event and education project.

Gerry Connelly - Chair of Education Committee

ALPHA’s commitment to helping educators, especially teachers, understand the events of World War II based on the stories of survivors and the research of respected scholars is the reason I am so passionate about helping ALPHA achieve its goals.  Their work goes beyond the actual topic. It reinforces the importance of helping educators deliver a more inclusive curriculum that truly reflects the actual events and the very real experiences of many of the families of the students and staff in our classrooms and in our community.  Based on my experiences in meeting and talking to teachers who have participated in a study tour, watched videos or read about these events, I know that their curriculum and instructional strategies have been transformed.  The knowledge they have gained stimulates their curiosity, critical thinking and deepens not only their understanding, but their students’, reflected in how they teach and in what students learn.

As global citizens in a multicultural society, an inclusive curriculum is imperative and key to the government’s equity policy.  Toronto ALPHA plays a key role in implementing this policy.

It is a privilege to work with extraordinary leaders like Dr. Joseph Wong and the ALPHA team to help realize this goal.

As global citizens in a multicultural society an inclusive curriculum is imperative.  It is key to the government’s equity policy.  ALPHA plays a key role in implementing this policy.

It is a privilege to work with extraordinary leaders like Dr. Joseph Wong and the ALPHA team to help realize this goal.

Dennis Lam

Toronto ALPHA is an amazing organization which focuses on unearthing the Asian World War II history and educating our next generation about this forgotten history in order to avoid the problem of history repeating itself. I am thankful to have the opportunity to be a part of the Board of Directors of Toronto ALPHA for the past 3 years. Through organizing various events for Toronto ALPHA, I learned a lot about the cause from the leaders and volunteers of ALPHA, educators, survivors and peace activists. I feel a sense of urgency for us to promote the awareness of this chapter of history as most WWII survivors are aging.  Testimonies of survivors are important archival evidences and need to be collected and preserved. I wish I could continue to serve the Board, able to speak for the voiceless and help out future events and education initiatives in promoting ALPHA’s mission.  I will continue to work as a team with all Board Members of Toronto ALPHA in sharing our vision with other education institutions and organizations.

Patricia O’Reilly

I am the coordinator of the Catholic Social Justice Secondary Cohort at the University Of Toronto, Ontario Institute for Studies In Education. I know and believe that teachers, as caring adults, can and do make a difference. It is essential that in their initial training, teacher candidates are formed as reflective practitioners and life-long learners, guided by principles of equity and social justice. ALPHA helps me in the task of preparing new teachers for this task. I wish that ALPHA had been around when I was a young teacher with the Toronto Catholic District Board.

As a proud and committed volunteer with ALPHA, I am continually impressed with the organization’s commitment to social justice and global citizenship. I applaud ALPHA’s initiative in working directly with Canadian youth and am confident that this work will sensitize students to the dangers of racial and ethnic intolerance and the importance of engaged and ethical citizenship. ALPHA has the respect and admiration of the major stakeholders in Ontario education.

 Dr. Joseph Wong and Flora Chong inspire me to be a better teacher and a better citizen. I wish them continued success as I continue to work with and learn from them and ALPHA.

Joseph Tsang

It is my honour to be able to write this, as part of a group that not only believes in social justice, but also acts selflessly for its goal.

I have been working closely with the Toronto Chinese media for the past 10-15 years. During this time, I have witnessed how the world has been changing, for better or worse. The abundance of information and opportunities I was presented with made it hard to remain a bystander in the course of history. I had come to realize that in such a highly commercialized global environment, indices in the stock markets dominate the lives of generations and the will of many governments. Justice and peace would be nothing but theoretical dreams if nobody took the very first steps to stand up for it.

Toronto ALPHA, along with other ALPHAs, has demonstrated that there are people who care. People who care for one another, are willing to extend a helping hand. We are not alone and we can be united. Through peaceful, intellectual documentations and educations, ALPHA has led thousands of people to restore hope in humanity. I admire such aspiration. I wish I can be a humble part of such global movement. I wish that I can put my experiences in the media, my training as an emcee, my goodwill with various sectors of communities, and my passion as a human, to good use for Toronto ALPHA.

Whether serving occasionally on the side, or working closely with the core group, I would remain a faithful supporter to the Toronto ALPHA.

Margaret Wells

My involvement with Toronto ALPHA has been such an amazing learning opportunity for me and I want to work to extend this opportunity to as many teachers as possible. I believe that my background as a secondary school teacher, a curriculum consultant with the Toronto District School Board, a volunteer with Facing History and Ourselves and a teacher educator at both York University Faculty of Education and OISE, University of Toronto gives me a broad perspective on how to support teachers who take on the challenge of teaching for social justice.

I am very excited to work with ALPHA to develop initiatives that will provide teachers with resources and appropriate pedagogy to teach the history of World War II in Asia. I believe that it is important for ALPHA to support teachers to teach this history in a way that not only provides students with information but also engages them in critical moral reflection and encourages their own social activism.

My involvement with Facing History and Ourselves has convinced me of the value of working in depth with teachers to provide professional development opportunities that encourage and support best practices in their classrooms. I believe that ALPHA and Facing History and Ourselves share a common purpose and can both support each other’s work and also work together on joint initiatives. I hope to facilitate the development of this partnership.

Gerri Gershon 

What an honour to be involved with Toronto Alpha! It is a privilege to volunteer and learn alongside a team of dedicated individuals – all working towards common goals of education, truth and enlightenment.

For over 25 years I have been an elected School Board Trustee first with the North York Board of Education and now the Toronto District School Board.  I have been President of the Ontario Public School Boards Association and the Canadian School Boards Association, as well as serving on the Toronto Board of Health, The Learning Partnership of Canada, and several provincial committees. Throughout my work I have witnessed the power of education across Canada and how it can change lives, build community and indeed, mend fences. I believe in developing outstanding educational programs that challenge students to achieve their very best. My work has always been to promote and encourage the development of fine programs throughout our schools. 

Several years ago I bought a motion to the Board to develop a course for secondary students on Genocide. After all, some of the darkest times in history can produce the richest learning material for our students. Not only would they learn about significant historical events but they would also learn about the seeds of prejudice, the role of the victim, by-stander and heroes, the folly of blind patriotism, issues of social justice, the part that international law plays ( or does not play) etc.

During the course of preparing for that course on Genocide I saw the Iris Chang’s The Rape Of Nanking and met Dr. Wong and Flora Chong. I was astounded that there was a lack of teaching about World War 11 in Asia -simply because our curriculum is largely Eurocentric. A year later I went on the study tour to China and Korea and I became determined to do what I could to help bring to our school system the horrors of the years during the occupation of the Japanese Imperial Army.

Our leaders at ALPHA Flora and Joseph are exemplary role models, visionaries and teachers. Their mission is noble, worthwhile and important. I am blessed to be part of their team.

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