Our Team

Jack Jedwab

President and CEO

Jack is President and CEO of the Association for Canadian Studies and the Metropolis Institute. He holds a Ph.D. in Canadian History from Concordia University. Prior to 1998, he served as executive director of the Quebec branch of the Canadian Jewish Congress. He is an author and contributor to academic publications, government reports and newspapers across the country in the fields of immigration, multiculturalism, diversity, human rights and official languages. Following three decades of wide-ranging research on public opinion and demographics, he is regularly consulted by media and government bodies alike for his expertise and insights on issues of import in the public sphere. He has taught and lectured at McGill University, the Université du Québec à Montréal and Concordia University, offering courses ranging from public policy to the history of immigration and minority groups, to sports in Canada.

James Ondrick

Senior Director

James has a B.A. in Political Science from McGill University and an M.A. in Public Policy and Public Administration from Concordia University. His past experience spans the community, non-governmental and political sectors. Since joining ACS in 2001, he has played a fundamental role in the evolution of the organization through the creation and development of key networks and partnerships. James oversees the coordination and programming of ACS-Metropolis’ national conferences, seminars, forums and other events.

Sarah Kooi

Senior Project Manager

Sarah has managed a wide range of multidisciplinary projects at the ACS since joining the team in 2008. From international projects to local initiatives, she brings experience and passion to the work that she does. Prior to joining the ACS, Sarah worked at McGill University and the federal government. When she’s not at work, Sarah enjoys exploring the great outdoors with her husband and rambunctious toddler.

Ashley Manuel​

Managing Director

Ashley holds an M.A. in Education and Society from McGill University and an Honours B.Soc.Sc. in Conflict Studies and Human Rights, with a minor in Sociology from the University of Ottawa. She has previous experience in the government, non-profit and academic sectors. At ACS & the Metropolis Institute, Ashley oversees the successful delivery of research and evaluation projects such as the Canadian Index for Measuring Integration, knowledge mobilization initiatives like the Metropolis North America Migration Policy Forum, and tasks related to strategic planning, financial and operational administration, and human resources management.

Paul Holley

Research Director

Paul received his Ph.D. in Sociology from Arizona State University in 2006. Paul’s current research focuses on immigrant integration and inclusion, the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 on vulnerable populations, mental health and resiliency, as well as issues impacting the English-speaking community of Quebec. In his prior role, Paul was a research and evaluation manager for the Human Early Learning Partnership at the University of British Columbia.

Chloe Nignol

Events Manager

Chloé holds a Master’s degree in Communications with a specialty in Digital Strategy from the Institut supérieur européen de formation par l’action (ISEFAC) in France. She joined ACS as the Communications Coordinator in the Spring of 2018 after several years’ experience in both internal and external communications in the private and non-profit sector. Recently appointed ACS’ Events Manager, she oversees the planning and running of the Metropolis Canada and Metropolis Francophonie Mondiale conferences.

Anh Nguyen

Research Analyst

Anh holds an M.A. in Public and International Affairs from the University of Ottawa. She has more than 7 years of experience working in the field of international cooperation, project management, and program evaluation. Anh has a great passion for collecting, retrieving, and analyzing large datasets to inform decision-making.

Miriam Taylor

Director of Publications and Partnerships

Miriam holds a PhD in Religious Studies from Oxford University and has a background in research, education, community outreach and advocacy. She is the Managing Editor of ACS-Metropolis’ flagship publications, Canadian Issues, Canadian Diversity and the recently launched Metropolis eBook. Miriam also collaborates on eLearning course development and on national and international research initiatives. Her current research focuses on the costs of prejudice and discrimination and the evolution of multiple identities in Canada.

Gillian Aitken

New Projects Coordinator & Assistant to the President

Gillian Aitken holds a B.A. in Global Politics from Carleton University. As Coordinator of Special Projects and Assistant to the President, she is your point of contact to the President and supports the ACS with grant writing and getting new projects off the ground. Since 2012, she has fundraised for social change organizations addressing some of society’s most pressing challenges from illiteracy to youth homelessness and racial & religious discrimination. She is a committed community organizer, yogi, and Francophile.

Lisa Abramowicz

Project Coordinator & Research Assistant

Lisa has extensive experience in the private and public sectors, with an eclectic professional background and range of interests, from science communication to immigration, arts and culture. Since joining ACS in November 2019, Lisa has been responsible for writing research reports and grant proposals. She is currently engaged in a long-term, major diagnostic of the settlement and immigration sector in Canada.

Stefan Stefanovic

Research Analyst

Stefan holds an M.A. in Sociology from the University of Belgrade in Serbia with a focus on research. He has 7 years of experience in conducting applied research, data analyses of large datasets, writing research reports and presenting findings to government officials, researchers, academics, and international stakeholders. He analyzes different national survey datasets to assess the impact of COVID-19 on immigrants and measure its socioeconomic and health-related effects.

Laura Comboigo

Communications Assistant

Laura holds a Master’s degree in Organizational Communication from the University of Ottawa and a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from the Université de Moncton. During her studies, she worked in communications for several organizations. Laura joined the ACS team after working in the media industry at Cision. She has a particular interest in diversity and inclusion.

Chris Surtees

Director of E-Learning and Web

Chris leads the development of e-learning and other web-related initiatives. He has a background in the sciences, holding a BSc in Marine Zoology from the University of Newcastle, UK. He has further qualifications in online education and learning management systems, and is a confident content creator. Chris worked as both a teacher and a senior manager before moving into the field of e-learning.

Erika Lambert

Research Assistant

Erika holds a Joint Honours B.A. in Communications and Sociology from the University of Ottawa, followed by an M.A. in Public Policy and Administration from Adler University, Vancouver. Erika’s research centers on Canadian public policy touching on immigration and social justice issues.

Fatmata Kamara

Research Assistant

Fatmata is a recent graduate, holding a Masters of Public Health from Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Santé Publique (EHESP) and a Masters in Social Science Research in Health from Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), both in France. Before joining the team in 2020, her previous research centered on the global mental health movement, transgenerational trauma, and resilience.

Maria Jose Martinez

Digital Content Creator

Maria Jose holds a B.S in Industrial Design from Humber College. She has experience in graphic design and web design having worked in the past with companies such as Kellogg’s Canada and Warner Brothers among others. Since joining ACS she has been the lead designer in the rebranding of the Metropolis Institute and various other projects. She is also the coordinator of two different projects currently taking place.

Ravindra Shrestha

Research Assistant

Ravindra’s work focuses researching the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 on indigenous peoples and newcomers in North America. He has extensive experience in policy research, data analysis and survey management gained through working with public sector and development agencies in Nepal. Prior to joining ACS, Ravindra worked on household surveys to monitor impacts of COVID-19 on economically vulnerable populations in South Asia for the World Bank Group. He received his Master’s in Agricultural Engineering from Purdue University (USA).

Joy Li

Finance Assistant

Joy Li joined in the team in September 2021. She is in charge of the financial reporting and accounting functions. As the finance assistant, she reports directly to the CEO and president, working closely with him to support and analysis of the ACS finances. She has a diploma of computerized financial management from John Abbott College, and a Master of Arts in Library and Information Science from McGill University. Her past Canadian experience spans a multitude of fields including an accounting firm, small business bookkeeping, recordkeeping at New Frontiers School Board, and competitive intelligence research.

Yasmin Shearmur

Project Coordinator

Yasmin holds a PhD in History from the University of Cambridge, where her research focused on the impacts of European integration on British and French immigration policies. Prior to that, she obtained her BA in Political Science from McGill University, after which she worked in the private sector in France, also volunteering extensively with newcomer-facing organizations. She joined ACS in 2021, coordinating a government-funded project on vaccine hesitancy in Canada’s diverse immigrant communities.

Naser Miftari

Communications Officer

Naser holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and an MA from Temple University in Philadelphia. Before settling in Canada, he worked for many years in the media sector in Southeast Europe, contributing in different roles as a writer, editor, researcher, and program coordinator. He also taught media and political science courses at colleges and universities in the region. His most recent contributions in Canada have been with Canadian Journalists for Freedom of Expression (CJFE) in Toronto and as a writer and researcher for New Canadian Media in Ottawa. 

Ashley Wilkinson

Research Coordinator

Ashley holds a Master’s degree in health sciences with a specialization in Indigenous & Northern health from Lakehead University. She has 3 years of experience in health research, related to community health and social issues for marginalized groups across diverse urban, rural, and remote geographies. She is passionate about health equity, anti-racism, and the health of Indigenous communities. Her current research with ACS focuses on housing sustainability for Inuit communities in Nunavut.