Patsy George, C.M., O.B.C., was conferred the degree of Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) on May 24, 2018.
Patsy George is a social worker and internationally recognized advocate for human rights and social justice. With a decades-long public service and professional career, Ms. George is the recipient of numerous distinctions including Order of British Columbia, Order of Canada, and a Woman of Our Times Award. She has had a career characterized by service and partnership with multiple communities in Canada and abroad.
Patsy was a founding member of the BC Organization of Immigrant Women and Vice President of the National Organization of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women of Canada. She was founding member and past President of Pacific Immigrant Resources Society, providing language training, settlement support and leadership development of immigrant and refugee women and early developmental supports for their preschool children.
Her support of human rights, multiculturalism and anti-racism initiatives locally and nationally have included serving on the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, being Director of Multiculturalism BC wherein she developed a mentorship program within government to create career paths for qualified immigrants and refugees within public service and government, and serving as a member of the BC Hate Crimes Team, bridging between police and First Nations while supporting First Nations to pursue legal remedies for hate related crime.
In the child welfare arena, Patsy was a founding member of the Native Indian Child Welfare Advisory Committee in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, formed among parents, elders, Native homemakers, service providers and provincial child welfare workers to try to reduce the number of First Nations children coming into care.
Patsy also was an Order in Council appointee to the Community Panel charged with the review of Family and Child Welfare Legislation in BC. She has been voluntary chair of Parents Together of BC an organization formed to provide self-help support to parents experiencing conflict with their adolescent children. Through her close association with the schools of social work in BC, she has mentored numerous students over the years and has established scholarships to support their studies at UBC, Capilano University, and the University of the Fraser Valley.
At the international level, Patsy was Founding Director of the Stephen Lewis Foundation of Canada dedicated to creating care and support for children and women impacted by HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. She played a pivotal role in the organizations establishment, fundraising efforts and strategic programming including the Grandmother to Grandmother Campaign which has had a continuing impact. She is past President of the United Nations Association in Canada, Vancouver branch wherein she worked to promote public discourse on international issues through partnership projects with UBC, SFU and several NGOs. As President of the International Council on Social Welfare and as North American Vice President of the World Organization, Patsy has participated in a number of UN Summits and Forums contributing to the development of international agreements and protocols to fight poverty, enhance social cohesion, human rights and sustainable development.
Other than her close connection and contribution to our School of Social Work, Patsy has also contributed significantly to the School of Nursing over the years. She has been an ardent and enthusiastic supporter of their international development programming in particular, being a strong supporter of faculty and students. By supporting tables of students at various international fundraising and educational events in the community, she provided mechanisms for nursing students to interact with others in the senior international development community and to catch the fire of enthusiasm for the value of this work.