Advisory Council

The Advisory Council aims to raise awareness of UNHCR’s work through outreach to organizations, business leaders, and key decision makers in the corporate community.

Their goal is to encourage those within these sectors to provide access to employment for refugees in Canada, and provide the financial means to help support displaced people globally. Their priority in 2020 is to establish the Corporate Refugee Impact Initiative. The council will also offer guidance and mentorship to our Young Leaders Committees.

Meet some of our inspiring council members below and hear what brought them to UNHCR.​

Meet the council

Name: Mohamad Sawwaf

Role: Chair of Advisory Council

“People need to see that there is some corporate responsibility to integrate refugees into society.”

Mohamad is a corporate finance professional who is dedicated to bringing awareness to the refugee cause. He hopes to bring the private sector on board by educating them on how refugees contribute to the economy. He’s even taken his own initiative to hire one refugee a year at his own startup, Manzil. As the chair of the Advisory Council, Mohamad brings a wealth of knowledge on corporate partnerships, and a commitment to bridging the gap between refugees and economic integration.

Mohamed Sawwaf’s website


Name: Mustafa Alio

Role: Council Member

“I’m a big believer in changing narratives.”

As a Syrian refugee, Mustafa knows first-hand the challenges of resettling in Canada. He’s now dedicated his career to empowering newcomers through the Jumpstart – Refugee Talent, an organization that focuses on the economic empowerment of newly settled refugees in Canada, by connecting them to meaningful employment and entrepreneurial opportunities. Mustafa hopes to change the narrative of newcomers through an economic lens.

A photo of Peng - Sang Cau

Name: Peng-Sang Cau

Role: Council Member

In 1980, Peng and her family arrived in Canada as refugees after fleeing the genocide in Cambodia. Today, she is the president and CEO Transformix, a company which has provided a multitude of jobs for Canadians. Peng hopes to bring her insight and continue advocating for refugees in her role on UNHCR Canada’s Advisory Council.



Name: Theresa Ebden

Role: Council Member

“With the new day, comes new strength, and new thoughts.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Theresa Ebden is a marketing and communications professional with strong leadership, project management, and interpersonal skills honed at a Fortune 500 company, and 12 years as a financial journalist. Theresa is the marketing and communications lead for Office of the CSO programs at Accenture, one of the world’s largest consulting firms.  She is active in the community, serving on boards including Ryerson University’s School of Journalism Industry Advisory Council, and Canada’s leading media development non-profit, Journalists for Human Rights. An avid runner and cyclist, she enjoys hiking and canoeing along Canada’s storied Bruce Trail.


A photo of Lina

Name: Lina Ismail

Role: Council Member

Lina has over 17 years of experience working as a product and growth leader, advisor and investor. In her work, she is passionate about building teams with people from diverse backgrounds and experiences. As she joins the Advisory Council, Lina hopes to bring her ambitious and innovative spirit to continue challenging boundaries and broadening perspectives.



Name: Dr. Fariha Sultana Khan

Role: Council Member

Dr. Fariha Sultana Khan works at the Bolton Family Health Organization in Ontario. Her philanthropic interests have brought her to sit on the board of Directors for Islamic Relief Canada, the National Council of Canadian Muslims, and Naseeha Mental Health. As she joins UNHCR Canada’s Advisory Council, Dr. Fariha hopes to raise awareness of UNHCR’s work in Canada.




A photo of Fariha Khan

Name: Mark Reid

Role: Council Member

“The world is a better place when we take action to help those in need.”

Mark has witnessed the daily challenges refugees face when he volunteered in Lesvos, Greece. Working with multiple NGOs, Mark helped with intake, getting refugees dry and coordinating medical aid. Since he left the island, he’s been looking for a way to make a difference here in Canada. That’s why he joined the Advisory Council and hopes to use his networks to raise money for refugees.

Mark Reid’s LinkedIn



Name: Noora Sharrab

Role: Council Member

“People don’t leave everything that they had, and start from scratch, unless they have no other option.”

Noora brings more than 10 years of experience working with refugees in Canada and abroad. As a Palestinian woman who grew up in Canada, Noora has always empathized with those who are unable to go back home. As the founder of Sitti Social Enterprise, she’s a champion of providing scholastic and employment opportunities for refugees. Noora hopes to bring awareness around how newcomers contribute to our economy, while also breaking the stigma around what it means to be a refugee.

The Sitti Social Enterprise website


logo that reads: UNHCR Canada Corporate impact initiative

Mission: We’re asking businesses to put their corporate responsibility mandate to the test. Lead by example to support refugees, and join the Corporate Refugee Impact Initiative. This initiative will encourage the private sector to help refugees with employment, skills-development, and monetary donations in support of UNHCR operations.

Our partnered businesses will commit to donating a percentage of their sales or an annual or one-time sponsorship each year to support the work of UNHCR Canada. We also ask organizations to either help raise awareness of the refugee crisis or promote a specific product line that aligns with UNHCR’s mission and values.

By joining as a business or individual member – you commit to working towards a broader global goal to support UNHCR’s mission, activities program, and initiatives. This is a perfect opportunity to be recognized and respected worldwide for your commitment to helping the world’s most vulnerable people.

If you would like to learn more about how you can join the movement, please contact

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