Prof. Carl James to receive 2006 New Pioneers Community Service Award

York Faculty of Education Professor Carl James (left) is one of six individuals who will be recognized today at the 14th Annual New Pioneers Awards for their outstanding achievements and contributions to Canadian society. James will receive the New Pioneers Community Service Award sponsored by Manulife Financial at a gala dinner tonight at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Established in 1993, the New Pioneers Awards celebrate diversity and illustrate the benefits of multiculturalism by showcasing the achievements of immigrants and refugees. The awards were established by Skills for Change, a not-for-profit organization that provides employment-focused programs to newcomers. Recipients are recognized for their accomplishments in the categories of arts, community service, entrepreneurship, science and technology, youth, and as a Skills for Change Graduate.

James migrated to Canada from the island of Antigua in 1973 to pursue post-secondary studies. As a student he volunteered for the Black Education Project by tutoring newly arrived Caribbean youth and ever since has dedicated himself community service.

This early voluntary work molded his contributions to the community and influenced his professional life. Today he is well known as a public educator who promotes equity, anti-racist education and the healthy development of youth. As a professor in York’s Faculty of Education (also affiliated with the Department of Sociology and the School of Social Work), he draws on his front-line experience as a youth worker and shares his knowledge and research with the community.

James, a prolific scholar, has been profiled in the Toronto Star for his most recent book Race in Play: Understanding the Socio-Cultural Worlds of Student Athletes (2005) which looks at how race operates systemically in the lives of high school student athletes to influence their schooling experiences, scholarship aspirations, and educational outcomes. In January 2006, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Uppsala University in Sweden for his contribution to social equity and anti-racism education (see the Jan. 16, 2006 issue of YFile for the full story).

“Carl James personifies what the New Pioneer Awards are all about,” said Jane Cullingworth, executive director of Skills for Change. “The selection committee – which is made up of community stakeholders – was very impressed with his work in the community, particularly his work with youth. They were also stuck by his approach to his work and his very inclusive perspective. We are very happy to have the opportunity to recognize his outstanding work.”