Kanwal Singh Neel wins Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal

Dr. Kanwal Inder Singh Neel was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal by Ms. Alice Wong, MP for Richmond, BC on November 10, 2012 in Richmond BC.

Kanwal is a resident of Richmond, who has been an exemplary educator and a tireless volunteer in the community for over forty years. He has an amazing ability to give freely of his time, communicate openly, build cultural bridges, and inspire others with a winning smile on his face.

Kanwal has volunteered countless hours for the last forty years as a technical official in Track and Field and Race Walking, from local to international events. He has represented Canada as a technical official at three Commonwealth Games and World Athletics Championships. He has served on the Jury of Appeal for the Vancouver Sun Run and the Vancouver International Marathon for a number of years.

He gives of himself tirelessly in the community, adapting to different roles, mentoring, and reaching people of all ages and all walks of life. He has always believed that education is a key element in fostering social responsibility, which breaks racial and cultural barriers. He was the Coordinator for the 75th Anniversary of the Komagata Maru Incident, and recently served as an advisor to the Komagata Maru Incident Website Project, with the SFU Library. As one of the founding directors of the Punjab Cultural Association, he has been a pioneer in promoting the Arts through bhangra dancing since the seventies. He has hosted many community events and fund raisers including the Vaisiakhi Gala and the Indo Canadian Business Association Scholarship Night.

He is a well-respected and internationally acclaimed mathematics educator, host of the award winning television series Math Shop. To this date, a generation of young adults acknowledge that they honed their mathematical skills by watching Math Shop. He is one of the authors for the Pearson Math Makes Sense 7-10 textbook series. He has presented at many conferences, locally, provincially, nationally and internationally.

During a stint as president of the B.C. Association of Mathematics Teachers, he discovered that in almost every region of B.C., aboriginal students’ math performance was lower than that of non-aboriginal students. So he completed a doctorate in which he focused his thesis research on finding ways to address this issue. Out of this research, he has produced resources for the Haida, Squamish and Stolo Nations. Kanwal retired from the Richmond School District and the Faculty of Education’s Professional Programs at SFU. He is currently a Project Coordinator for Friends of Simon Tutoring Project in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University, Burnaby BC, Canada.

As an educator, he has been instrumental in breaking many barriers, serving as a Consultant and On-Camera Narrator for the DVD Building a Math Community, the TV documentary The Saint Soldier, the TV series: World Religions: Sikhism, and being the Executive Producer, for the Audio CD and Video Khalsa 300. The timeline he compiled for the Sikhs in Canada has been quoted by many sources digitally and in print.

Kanwal has been recognized by many organizations for his achievements and contribution to the community. These include:

• Simon Fraser University Community Award
• Service Award, Indo-Canadian Business Association, Surrey, BC
• Commemorative Medallion, IAAF World Championships in Athletics, Edmonton, AB
• Prime Minister’s National Award for Teaching Excellence in Science, Technology and Mathematics
• Commemorative Medallion, XV Commonwealth Games, Victoria, BC
• Outstanding Secondary Mathematics Teacher of the Year Award, BCAMT
• Governor General’s Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of the confederation of Canada
• Olympic Celebration ’88 Award, Outstanding contribution to amateur sports
• BC Track and Field Official of the Year

Kanwal has a very special connection with H.M. Queen Elizabeth II, as he was one of the technical officials presented to her Highness and Prince Phillip at the XI Commonwealth Games in Edmonton in 1978.