Isaac Garcia-Sitton, director of International Education and the York University English Language Institute (YUELI) at the School of Continuing Studies, has been named one of 2018’s “10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians,” a recognition presented by TD Bank and organized by the Hispanic Business Alliance.
The Hispanic Business Alliance (formerly known as Association) has established its prestigious reputation as the only national Hispanic group with a presence across the country to promote entrepreneurship and the image of Hispanics in Canada.
Garcia-Sitton is a respected leader in the education sector, with more than 15 years of experience in international relations and business development. Born in Barcelona and raised in Panama, Garcia-Sitton moved to Canada in 2007 to take on the role of consul general of Panama in Montreal. In his current role at York University, he is the director of YUELI in the School of Continuing Studies. YUELI is the largest university provider of academic English training in Canada, with an annual enrolment of 3,500 students from more than 50 countries.
“I am deeply honoured and truly humbled to accept this prestigious award,” said Garcia-Sitton. “It is particularly special because I was nominated for my involvement in various social development initiatives in support of low-income individuals in Latin America, principally El Salvador, a cause that is near and dear to my heart.”
Beyond his work, Garcia-Sitton is involved in a range of national and international professional associations, international boards and community initiatives. In 2016, he was the only Canadian recipient of a scholarship from the Organization of the American States and Instituto de Empresa to complete a global senior management program co-created by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and the IE Business School in support of the development of the Canadian education sector. In 2015, Garcia-Sitton was recognized by the Salvadoran government with the ministerial designation “Amigo de El Salvador” for his continued dedication to various social development initiatives in support of low-income individuals.
Furthermore, he has been invited to speak at many international meetings and conferences to share his experiences and opinions on diverse topics such as diversity and inclusion, the art of doing business in Latin American and international education.
“I would like to thank the Canadian Hispanic Business Alliance for this recognition, for their commitment to promote entrepreneurship and the image of Hispanics in Canada, and for providing a platform to celebrate the positive impact that influential Hispanic Canadian leaders have on their community and on our country,” said Garcia-Sitton. “It is my firm belief that the exchange of experiences and ideas is what enables the Canadian society to evolve and remain one of the most open, inclusive, multicultural and livable places in the world. Congratulations to my fellow recipients for their remarkable trajectories, contributions and accomplishments. It is an immense honour to be part of this group. I am forever grateful and will strive to continue finding ways to benefit our community.”
The 10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians list, started in 2007, recognizes community members from across Canada. To date, there are 110 awardees in seven provinces representing 17 countries of origin.
Notable previous winners include:
- Pablo Rodriguez (Argentina), minister of Canadian heritage and chief government whip;
- Carlos Gonzales Prado (Guatemala), philosopher, Fellow at Royal Society of Canada;
- Adrian Baranchuk (Argentina), president of the International Society of Electrocardiology;
- Joseph Bovard (El Salvador), first and only Hispanic member of the Ontario Court of Justice;
- Ricardo Pascoe (Mexico), EVP and chief transformation officer, National Bank of Canada;
- Carmen Aguirre (Chile), actor, director, writer; and
- Osvaldo Nuñez (Chile), first Hispanic member of Parliament, lawyer, writer.
Selection factors for winners include one or more of the following criteria: influence in the Canadian mainstream, education, achievements and awards, support of the Hispanic community and volunteerism, and entrepreneurship.
The judges include previous winners plus journalists and executives from the CBC, the Globe and Mail, National Post, Toronto Star, Canada West Foundation, Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council, Canadian Council for the Americas, and the North American Association of Asian Professionals.
The award ceremony took place on Nov. 1 in Vancouver and the awards were presented by Pablo Rodriguez, a previous recipient of the award.