Our Members

Meet the members of the Abbotsford Local Immigration Partnership. Coming from a diverse set of backgrounds and experiences, they represent the vibrant community of Abbotsford and are a direct reflection of ALIP's statement of diversity.


We are children, youth, adults and seniors.
We are of all races, all religions, all cultures, all abilities, all sexual orientations, all genders, and all economic levels.
We speak many languages.
We value diversity.
We endeavour to reflect this diversity in our volunteers, board and staff.
We respect all our neighbours and clients and extend our respect to them in all that we do.
We embrace all types of families.
Therefore, we will act to promote inclusion of all in our agency and in our community.



The Council is led by co-chairs Manpreet Grewal and Sue Federspiel from Abbotsford Community Services and the City of Abbotsford respectively. Lia Bishop and Eyerusalem Abebe from the Diversity Education Program in the Abbotsford Community Services manage ALIP's projects. For more info regarding governance, click here.

Manpreet Grewal

Organization/Title: Abbotsford Community Services - Director of Multicultural Immigrant Integration Services

Position: Co-Chair

Bio: Manpreet is the Director of Multicultural and Immigrant Integration Services at Abbotsford Community Services and has worked in the non-profit sector for 26 years. She has also worked as a freelance journalist with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the Vancouver Sun, the Province, the Abbotsford News and the Abbotsford Times. Manpreet has a Masters Degree in Political Science from the University of Delhi, a diploma in print journalism from the London School of Journalism, and several credit courses from BC Institute of Technology.


Sue Federspiel

Organization/Title: City of Abbotsford - Community Developer

Position: Co-Chair

Bio: Sue is a lifelong resident of the Fraser Valley, and is interested in how human diversity makes a city and community stronger and wiser, by reaping the benefits of multiple perspectives and voices.  She works for the City of Abbotsford as a Community Developer, connecting with neighbourhood residents and associations, and developing partnerships to enhance the general quality of life for residents of Abbotsford.


Lia Bishop

Organization/Title: Abbotsford Community Services -  Program Coordinator/Supervisor (Diversity Education Program)

Position: Project Management

Bio: Lia is a community member living on unceded Sto:lo Terriorty in the Fraser Valley who is deeply committed to social justice work. She is the Coordinator of Diversity Education program at Abbotsford Community Services. In this role, she provides education and consulting for organizations, including schools, businesses, and government organizations; support and advocacy for community members and groups; the development of diversity and equity policies, community events, and outreach to diverse groups; provides direct support to victims of discrimination using an anti-oppressive, decolonizing framework. She teaches Sociology at the University of the Fraser Valley and is an active member of local creative initiatives supporting inclusion and diversity in this region.

Eyerusalem Abebe

Organization/Title: Abbotsford Community Services - Community Developer (Diversity Education Program)

Position: Project Management

Bio: Eyerusalem is a recent graduate of UFV (Global Development Studies Program). She is a Black, African, Immigrant Woman who is passionate about social justice work and community development. She was born and raised in Ethiopia, lived in Europe in her teens and currently calls Abbotsford home.  She works for two non-profit agencies whose work is focused on the empowerment of marginalized peoples and vulnerable groups, building welcoming and inclusive communities, and creating spaces for community dialogue about diversity/immigration/race/culture and other social issues.



Allan Asaph

Organization/Title: Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce - Executive Director

Position: Member

Bio: Allan has been an Abbotsford resident for more than 20 years, and is heavily involved in numerous local community initiatives.

David Loewen

Organization/Title: City of Abbotsford - Councillor

Position: Member

Bio: Born and raised in Abbotsford, Dave is a retired teacher and school administrator who has lived in the area for the majority of his life. Utilizing his languages whenever he can – English, German and some French – he’s lived two years in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, two years in Australia, several months in Belgium, and three years in Manitoba.

Varinder Dhesi

Organization/Title: Fraser Valley Packers - Owner

Position: Member

Bio: Varinder, an Indo Canadian Sikh, was born and raised in Abbotsford and has been involved in the blueberry farming and packing industry, locally and internationally. He’s currently a student at the University of the Fraser Valley, enrolled in the Criminology Program. He works at Fraser Valley Packers Inc. as Production Manager.


Ajay Khausal

Position: Member


Kanta Naik

Organization/Title: Consultant - SWIS Liaison

Position: Member

Bio: Kanta Naik is a recently retired educator from the Abbotsford School District. Currently, she is working as an Education Consultant. She is a member of the Advisory Board at the Institute of South Asian Studies at UFV. Kanta seeks to be involved by working with city partners to help create a welcoming and inclusive community in Abbotsford.

Bharati Sandhu

Organization/Title: Fraser Valley Indo-Canadian Business Association - President

Position: Member

Bio: Bharathi, a seasoned financial advisor, is President of the Fraser Valley Indo Canadian Business Association, serves on the board of the prestigious Dasmesh Punjabi School, and is a member of the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce and the Business and Professional Women’s Club.  Her volunteer work has included 10 years of coaching Jawani Bhangra, a competitive girls’ Bhangra dance team, which she started during her own university days.

Andy Sidhu

Organization/Title: Punjabi Patrika - Owner & Publisher

Position: Member

Stephen Piper

Organization/Title: University of the Fraser Valley - Associate Professor, Social, Cultural and Media Studies & Global Development Studies

Position: Member

Bio: Stephen immigrated to Canada as a child, and has lived in Abbotsford for the last 20 years. He teaches Sociology, Global Development Studies and Latin American Studies at the University of the Fraser Valley and is relatively fluent in English and Spanish.


Nicola Mooney

Organization/Title: University of the Fraser Valley - Associate Professor, Social, Cultural, & Media Studies

Position: Member

Bio: Nicola Mooney is an Associate Professor in the University of the Fraser Valley’s department of Social, Cultural, and Media Studies, and a Senior Associate of its South Asian Studies Institute. She has a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Toronto, where she completed the collaborative doctoral program in Ethnic, Immigration, and Pluralism Studies. Nicola’s research interests include identity, gender, caste, religion, modernity, postcoloniality, migration, citizenship, cultural poetics, and popular culture, and she has published in several of these areas, in addition to her ethnography, Rural Nostalgias and Transnational Dreams: Identity and Modernity among Jat Sikhs (2011), which broadly concerns ethnicity, culture, and belonging amid the multiple contexts of the Punjabi diaspora. Nicola has been a member of ALIP’s Research, Policy, and Practice group since 2016.

Ghizlane Laghzaoui

Organization/Title: UFV Modern Languages Institute - Assistant professor

Position: Member

Bio: Ghizlane is a professor of French at the University of the Fraser Valley. She immigrated to Canada in 2000, and taught French language at SFU from 2001 to 2011. Born and raised in Morocco, she has also taught French in a private school ofbBusiness, l’Ecole Supérieure de Gestion, which is a Moroccan branch of the Parisian school. She has a PhD in French language and Literature, and recently finished an Ed.D. in education.

John Potts

Organization/Title: University of the Fraser Valley International Education  - Partnership Manager

Position: Member

Bio: As the Partnerships Manager in the International Education Department at the University of the Fraser Valley, John invites potential partner universities, colleges and private/public agencies to collaborate in all areas of education and development.


Harpreet Singh

Organization/Title: Abbotsford Community Services - Essential Skills Worker - SACRO

Position: Member

Camilla Boisvert

Organization/Title: Fraser Health - Community Health Specialist

Position: Member

Bio: Camilla is compassionate and committed to social justice values. She works as Community Health Specialist with Population and Public Health,  Fraser Health in Abbotsford. Her knowledge of health as a more holistic concept (e.g., social determinants), stems from a background in a wide range of contexts related to adult health education and community development. Camilla ‘s origins are Acadian from New Brunswick.  She has lived in BC since 1990, and has worked and  lived in Abbotsford since 2016.

Hillary Russell

Organization/Title: Clearbrook Library, FVRL - Manager, Abbotsford Libraries

Position: Member

Bio: Hilary has worked as a Librarian and a Manager for over 20 years in the Abbotsford Libraries, member libraries of FVRL. She is delighted to work with the dedicated community partners at ALIP who do the critical work of making sure that Abbotsford continues to be an inclusive and welcoming place for people of all backgrounds.

Balbir Gill

Organization/Title: Clearbrook Public Library, FVRL - Supervisor

Position: Member


Melissa Giles

Organization/Title: Mennonite Central Committee - Director of Programs

Position: Member



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