Conestoga news

December 4, 2023 6:43 AM

APFM graduate honoured with Premier's award

Conestoga graduate Jehan Salim was honoured with a Premier’s Award on Monday, November 27 during a gala event held as part of the Colleges Ontario Higher Education Summit in Toronto.

Conestoga - Jehan Salim.jpeg
Conestoga graduate Jehan Salim was honoured with a Premier’s Award on Monday, November 27 during a gala event held as part of the Colleges Ontario Higher Education Summit in Toronto.

The awards were established in 1992 and acknowledge the social and economic contribution that Ontario college graduates make to the province and throughout the world.

Award recipients, chosen from nominations submitted by the province’s 24 colleges, have demonstrated outstanding career success related to their college experience and have made significant contributions to their community.

“Congratulations to the winners of the Premier’s Awards for college graduates,” said Premier Doug Ford. “This award represents all the hard work and dedication that you’ve poured into your education over the past years. Thank you for your contributions and for helping to make our colleges and universities among the best in the world.”

This year, 117 graduates were nominated for the awards which recognize graduates in seven categories: Apprenticeship, Business, Community Services, Creative Arts & Design, Health Sciences, Recent Graduate and Technology. 

Salim, a 2013 graduate of the Bachelor of Applied Technology - Architecture - Project and Facility Management (APFM) program was recognized in the Community Services category for the impact she is making across the globe.

Salim has put her college education to work on the international stage, using her project and facilities management expertise to lead post-conflict rebuilding efforts.

As an architect officer with the United Nations Development Program in Iraq from 2017 to 2019, she co-ordinated the rebuilding of Mosul University that allowed 40,000 students and 11,000 teaching staff to resume their studies and work after four years of war.

Between 2019 and 2021, she was a technical lead with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Jordan, overseeing services at the largest Syrian refugee camp in the world. This year, Salim was sent to Afghanistan where she made it a priority to give marginalized women income, experience and a voice.

“I would like to thank Conestoga College. For the past 10 years since I’ve graduated, they’ve been in touch with me. I’d like to thank the APFM program which I graduated from - they just celebrated a 20-year anniversary. I’m so proud to be part of our small-knit family. I would like to thank them and thank my family who attended,” said Salim who travelled from Afghanistan to accept the award.

“It’s very hard to leave such a job when there are so many people underprivileged across the world. From Iraq, Jordan, Syria, to Ukraine in the middle of the war, to currently in Afghanistan. I’m really privileged to be a Canadian and to be able take my education international.”

Six other Conestoga graduates were also nominated for Premier’s Awards this year:

  • Apprenticeship nominee: Mark Duchesne, Electrician Construction and Maintenance, 1986
  • Business nominee: George Vezza, Business Admin Marketing, 1983
  • Creative Arts & Design nominee: Angela Onuora, Broadcast Performance & Digital Media, 2019
  • Health Sciences nominee: Laurie Lafleur, Computer Programmer Analyst - Co-op, 2002
  • Recent Graduate nominee: Bohdana Tyshchenko, IT Innovation & Design, 2021
  • Technology nominee: Brett McQueen, Mechanical Technician - Tool & Die Maker, 2008; Quality Assurance, 2008; Industrial Engineering - Basic, 2009

“The Premier’s Awards are a tribute to the phenomenal achievements of our Ontario public college graduates,” said Marketa Evans, president and CEO of Colleges Ontario. “We congratulate all of our nominees and recipients on their successes and their inspiring contributions to the success of our province.”

In addition to this year’s recipient, several other Conestoga graduates have been recognized with Premier’s Awards:

  • Jennifer Green (Apprenticeship, 2022)
  • Massi Basiri (Business, 2021)
  • Meti Basiri (Business 2021)
  • Clarice Ward (Apprenticeship, 2019)
  • William Werth (Recent Graduate, 2019)
  • Kevin King (Health Sciences, 2019)
  • Don Gosen (Apprenticeship, 2018)
  • Allie Libertini (Recent Graduate, 2018)
  • Marianne Walker (Health Sciences, 2015)
  • Tahani Aburaneh (Business, 2013)
  • Charmeli Naraine (Business, 2012)

Visit the Alumni website for profiles of our Premier’s Award winners and the 2023 Conestoga nominees.