While at Yale University completing his law degree, Jamil Jivani’s classmates agreed he has the qualities to be Mayor of Toronto. Whether he chooses to go down that road is anyone’s guess.
What however is certain is Jivani is a bright young leader who is going to make an impact in his community and on a global platform.
As a recipient of the 2013-14 DiverseCity Fellowship, he is among 25 rising city leaders poised to take action on issues critical to the health and prosperity of the city.
“This is a great way for me to settle back in Toronto after being gone for three years at law school,” he said. “My colleagues in the program are brilliant and forward-thinking leaders who are diverse culturally and professionally. At this stage in my career, I know how important it is to be around people who can keep you motivated to keep growing into a better version of yourself. I am excited to learn from them and work with them on projects that can address unemployment in the Toronto area.
“For me, this program provides an exciting opportunity to continue exploring what diversity means for Toronto. I think diversity means more than just having a multicultural population, but also proving that we can work together to solve common problems and also issues that only impact a smaller number of communities. Not only that, but diversity also means being able to work together with mutual respect for the perspectives everyone in the city can bring to all conversations.”
Last August, Jivani co-ordinated the launch of the Policing Literacy Initiative (PLI) that’s modelled after the Yale Law School Innovations in Policing Clinic.
“We are an independent group made up of about 20 young leaders in the city from various professional and cultural backgrounds,” he said. “For the rest of this year, PLI will focus on grassroots initiatives that build trust between police and communities, policies related to policing and law enforcement, disproportionate police contact in some Toronto neighbourhoods and citizen complaint processes and internal disciplinary measures for officers.”
Jivani said Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair has approved the Service’s participation in the initiative.
A 2006 Humber College President’s Medal winner, Jivani spent the summer of 2009 teaching English, History, Math and Business at a boarding school for homeless and orphaned youths in Nairobi, Kenya. It was his second trip in three years to the East African country which is the birthplace of his father, Ismat Jivani, who is a master chef in Mexico.
Prior to heading to Yale, Jivani was at York University’s Harriet Tubman Institute where he met award-winning author, historian and archeologist, Dr. Karolyn Smardz Frost, who was the senior research fellow for African-Canadian history at the institute.
They reunited last year when she was appointed a visiting scholar in Canadian Studies at Yale.
“Jamil is an incredible young man who is going to move mountains, said Dr. Smardz Frost.
Other DiverseCity Fellows are George Brown professor and Boys and Girls Club of Canada senior manager Neil Price; Procter & Gamble innovation manager Michael Bosompra; Institute for Canadian Citizenship national program manager Tawanda Chirenda and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation business & rights deputy director Gave Lindo.
The one-year action-oriented leadership development program for rising city builders was launched five years ago. The program comprises four integrated streams of activities – interactive learning sessions, network connections, a mentoring relationship and city-building projects.
“The future of work is a critical issue for rising leaders,” said DiverseCity co-chair John Tory. “Their companies, their families and their communities will be affected first-hand by decisions made today and our Fellows program gives them a platform to influence these decisions.”