Jamil Jivani is a Canadian lawyer, activist, professor and author. An alumnus from LA&PS, Jivani is being honoured at the Bryden Alumni Awards on Nov. 20 in the category of One to Watch for his work creating economic opportunities for families, empowering youth and improving public safety.
Jivani has held research and teaching appointments at Osgoode Hall Law School and Yale Law School. He was also the director of law and policy at Our Ohio Renewal, a nonprofit organization founded at Ohio State University to develop solutions to the issues raised in J.D. Vance’s bestselling memoir “Hillbilly Elegy.” He previously practiced law at the international business law firm Torys LLP.
“Winning this award is very meaningful because it makes me wonder what the future might hold,” said Jivani. “What I’m most proud of is, I’ve learned through a lot of tough circumstances to take life’s punches and still get up again. Thinking back to what led me to returning to York and teaching at Osgoode Hall – I came here to do a guest lecture while I was a practicing lawyer. I got here, I did the lecture, and I wound up having the sense that this is just a really special institution and one that I’m not sure how many there are like it.”
Jivani’s community leadership has included founding the Citizen Empowerment Project and serving as Vice Chair of the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto. He has also volunteered with youth organizations in Kenya, Egypt and Belgium. His work in disadvantaged neighborhoods in North America and Europe has led him to appear on numerous national and international television and radio programs. His writing has been published by The UK Guardian, Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, National Post and Australia’s Quillette magazine.
Jivani was named the 2015 young lawyer of the year by the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers and received the International Development and Relief Foundation’s 2017 youth leadership award.
“If you want to make an impact in the world, develop a skill set, that you can then go out in the world and say, I can offer this to people, and with my skills, I can make someone’s life better, I can make some sort of change,” he said.
Now in its 18th year, the Bryden Alumni Awards celebrate outstanding York University alumni who have achieved the extraordinary and made remarkable contributions in their fields, communities and to the University. Learn more about the 2018 Bryden recipients and purchase tickets or corporate tables for this year’s event at yorku.ca/Bryden2018.
Jivani’s first book Why Young Men: Rage, Race and the Crisis of Identity was published by HarperCollins in April 2018 and was listed for the Toronto Book Awards.