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Asian Heritage Month: Profiling Nabila Pirani, Associate in our Banking and Debt Financing Group

May 2018

In honour of Asian Heritage Month, we recently interviewed Nabila Pirani, an Associate in our Banking and Debt Financing Group. We asked Nabila a series of questions about her background and community involvement. To learn more about local organizations she is involved with, the Canadian of Asian Heritage who inspires her, and the most important lesson she learned from her parents, read the full interview immediately below:

Q: What is your earliest memory of celebrating your Asian Heritage?

A: I don’t have one! I grew up in a family that celebrated its Asian heritage by living it on a daily basis. For as long as I can remember, I have been speaking our languages, eating (and now cooking) our foods and watching South Asian films.  

Q: Are you involved in any local communities or organizations with ties to your Asian Heritage?

A: Having recently moved back home to Vancouver, I’m currently rekindling my ties to this city and am the Chair of the Mulgrave School Alumni Board. Roles I’ve held in the past include: Post-Graduate Research Fellow at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and Co-Chair of the South Asian Law Students Association at the University of Toronto.

Q: Can you name a Canadian of Asian Heritage who inspires you?

A: One of many is Zarqa Nawaz, the creator of the CBC show “Little Mosque on the Prairie.” Growing up in a post-9/11 world, it was so important to see people who looked like me and who shared my background and experiences being represented in popular culture. Equally as important, her show played a key role in combating bigotry and ignorance by making Muslim and South Asian-Canadians accessible to a wide audience.

Q: What is the most important lesson you learned from your parents?

A: That each step is an opportunity for growth. My parents instilled this lesson in me and my sister in many ways, including by emphasizing that our culture is not static – that it is composed of many layers. Though my family hasn’t lived in South Asia for generations, we still maintain our South Asian heritage through language, traditions and food, all of which have been influenced by the time my family spent in various parts of East Africa. Coming to Canada nearly fifty years ago, my family could have easily dispensed with our existing culture; instead, they decided to retain it and to add to it, and today I am grateful for the opportunity to occupy multiple identities simultaneously.  

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