FOA Hall of Fame - Jim Karygiannis

Jim Karygiannis
Jim Karygiannis

Inducted 2015

Jim is a former businessman and industrial engineer with a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Toronto and a Fellowship of Business Administration from the Canadian School of Management.  Currently a Federal Member of the Canadian Parliament, Karygiannis has been involved with politics as a Liberal since the early 80’s, first in provincial politics and later as a federal MP.  He represents Scarborough-Agincourt, one of the most ethnically diverse federal ridings in Canada and he is the Liberal Party Critic for Multiculturalism with responsibilities for stakeholder and community outreach.

Jim Karygiannis is Chair of the Parliamentary Friends of the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) and is working with his colleagues to urge the Canadian Government to take a principled stance on the protection of human rights, the cessation of attacks against civilians and a return to democracy.  He continues to work with the Canadian Diaspora of the DRC on these issues.  In 2012, Karygiannis led a Canadian team of international election observers to Libya to monitor the first free election there since 1965.  As the Chair of the Canada Somaliland Friendship Group, Karygiannis is working with the Diaspora on issues concerning economic stability for nation building.  He has traveled to Somaliland twice – once as an international election observer.  In 2011, he convened a Round Table on Famine in East Africa in which members of the Canadian African Diaspora, representatives of non-governmental organizations and politicians discussed Canada’s role in providing support in the Horn of Africa.

In 2003, Karygiannis went to Ethiopia to witness how Canadian local aid projects were making a difference in the lives of people in famine and drought-stricken Ethiopia.  Karygiannis is Chair of the Canada-Nigeria Parliamentary Friendship Group, a role through which he has influenced and engaged members of the community with respect to issues of concern in Canada and in Nigeria.  In 2010, he visited Nigeria to meet with the business people, community leaders and government officials to learn about how to facilitate economic opportunities in the public and private sectors in the “gateway” to Africa.  Karygiannis has traveled to Egypt on fact-finding trips and to explore business opportunities for Canadian entrepreneurs.

Jim Karygiannis is involved with other nations in the developing world apart from Africa.  Immediately following the tsunami in December 2004, he played a prominent role in organizing Toronto-area support for victims of this disaster.  He also traveled to tsunami-ravaged countries in Southeast Asia.  In March 2005, Karygiannis visited Guyana to witness the damage that recent floods had caused in the country.  He pushed for Canada’s assistance and secured $2.7 million in CIDA aid for Guyana.  For many years he worked with colleagues and the Armenian community on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.  In 2004, the Canadian House of Commons recognized the killing of 1.5 million people in Armenia as a Genocide.

Jim effectively manages the affairs of the people he serves in the riding including advocating changes to immigration, taxation, justice and other issues.  He is known to have opposed the federal government’s plan to handle the application backlog for the ‘Foreign Skilled Worker’ program. Jim believes in the power and potential of the human race.  He is often quoted as saying that R.A.C.E. stands for Respecting our neighbours, Accepting our differences, Celebrating our rich diversity and Embracing our heritage.

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