Downtown in the heart of the City of Calgary where AAISA's offices are located

Who We Are

Representing, advocating, & developing

The Alberta Association of Immigrant Serving Agencies (AAISA) is a non-profit umbrella organization representing agencies that provide resettlement, settlement, and integration services to newcomers in the province of Alberta. Since 1980, we have been working to build the sector’s capacity to better serve newcomers by fostering collaboration, professionalization, and member-driven research and policy work.

Facilitate collaboration and leadership within the settlement serving sector.
An inclusive, welcoming, and engaged society.

Board of Directors

Beba Svigir

Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association

Beba Svigir is the Chief Executive Officer of the Calgary Immigrant Women's Association. She came to Canada 17 years ago, following the civil war in the former Yugoslavia. CIWA has thrived under her leadership through implementing & diversifying the programs that address language, health, employment & parenting. She oversees 150+ staff members & 900 volunteers all working to help immigrant women become the foundation of their families’ success.

Aftab Khan

Action for Healthy Communities

Aftab Khan is the Executive Director of Action for Healthy Communities. Over the last 10 years, he has worked with several immigrant serving agencies in Alberta. Before moving to Canada, he spent 15+ years as a manager, consultant, advisor, & director with various non-profits, UN agencies, & multilateral donor funded initiatives focused on social justice, community capacity building & infrastructure, & capital development projects in Pakistan.

Carol Gil

SPEC Association

Born and raised in Piura-Peru, Carol moved to Canada in 2010. Carol completed a BSc with a Major in Business Administration and has almost 20 years of experience in a senior leadership and executive management roles. Her background includes working with expansion projects with multi-disciplinary teams in a very dynamic and goal-oriented organization. Carol speaks three languages: Spanish, English and French.

Ricki Justice

Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers

Ricki Justice is the Director of Programs and Services at the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers, one of the largest settlement agencies in Western Canada welcoming over 16,000 newcomers each year. In her role she builds strong collaborations to increase the impact of the settlement sector in the community, guides strategy to address unmet needs, and contributes to the development of a strong and healthy organization. She also volunteers as the Treasurer on the Executive Committee of the Canadian Council for Refugees. Working with vulnerable and marginalized communities is a passion for Ricki, who has twelve years of experience in community economic development. She spent eight years working in various East African countries developing and implementing public private partnerships to deliver essential public health services to remote communities. Ricki holds a Master’s Degree in Community Economic Development from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and a Bachelor’s Degree in Global Studies from Huron University College. In all she does, tries to live out the values of respect, social justice and compassion.

Christina Nsaliwa


Dr. Christina Nsaliwa is the Executive Director of the Edmonton Immigrant Services Association and Grande Prairie Centre for Newcomers. Her academic qualifications include a Doctorate in Educational Policy Studies from the University of Alberta, Masters in Education and in Human Ecology from University of Birmingham in England and Mount St. Vincent University, in Halifax respectively. She has broad experience in leadership, administration and management; program planning, implementation and monitoring at government, community and institutional levels; curriculum development and teaching; research and community development. She has served as the Vice-Chair of the Alberta Association of Immigrant Serving Agencies (AAISA) and Chair of the AAISA Training and Accreditation Committee. Her community involvement includes sitting on various initiatives and boards including Canada Volunteerism Initiative, Edmonton and Area Child and Family Authority, Volunteer Alberta, Council of Canadians of African and Caribbean Heritage. She actively participates in various community support networks for immigrant families, women, children and youth. Christina is a past recipient of Daughter of the Year, RISE and Diversity awards.

Hyder Hassan

Immigrant Services Calgary

Hyder has held positions in various leading financial institutions and most recently was Head of Wealth Management at First Calgary Financial/Qtrade before joining Immigrant Services Calgary in February, 2019 as their CEO. Hyder and his wife, Christina, moved to Calgary in 2013. It did not take long for Hyder to become involved in the local community, including Rotary, Junior Achievement, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and Alberta Health Services. In addition, Hyder has also volunteered with Immigrant Services Calgary where he organized several newcomer client seminars and he hopes to see this initiative continue. Following a visit to Uganda, Hyder and Christina started a non-profit charity – FullSoul – an organization supporting maternal health in Uganda. As a recognized strong community leader, Hyder received an Immigrants of Distinction Award in 2018, 2017 University of Waterloo Young Alumni Award, 2018 Calgary Top 40 under 40 award, 2016 Global Runner-up Plan Plus Financial planning awards, & 2019 Compelling Calgarian.

Frank Bauer

Central Alberta Refugee Effort

In 2009 Frank immigrated to Canada from The Netherlands with his family. Soon after their arrival in Red Deer he started volunteering with amongst other C.A.R.E. to connect to the community, make friends and also to build a Canadian resume. After a successful career for over 20 years in international sales, marketing and business development, Frank decided to change his career path to the community serving business. Since September 2013 he is the Executive Director with C.A.R.E. in Red Deer, and has lead introduction of several new initiatives, such as employer readiness training, community-based childcare, applied ESL and the Red Deer Local Immigration Partnership. While he challenges fellow immigrants to take initiative in obtaining a good quality of life in this country full of space and opportunities, he is a strong advocate for building stronger communities to be welcoming and inclusive to new immigrants. In this he believes that a strong settlement sector is crucial on regional, provincial and national levels.

Désiré Kiana

Association Francophone de Brooks

En 1998, il quitte son pays natal pour l'Ouganda et, une année plus tard il sera réinstallé au Canada, dans la ville de Sherbrooke, au Québec, le 09 septembre 1999. En avril 2005, il quitte Sherbrooke pour Brooks en Alberta et se joint aux fondateurs de l'Association Francophone de Brooks, AFB, la même année. De 2006 à 2008, il est Président du conseil d'administration de l'AFB tout en travaillant chez Lakeside Parckers comme agent d'emballage. Il quitte cette compagnie de viandes pour se concentrer sur le Projet d'intégration des Jeunes Immigrants à Brooks et ses environs depuis 2009 jusqu'à nos jours. Désiré Kiana est l'un des principaux acteurs du film "De Sherbrooke à Brooks" du professeur Roger Parent sorti en 2016.

Barhet Woldemariam

HIV Edmonton

Barhet Woldemariam currently serves as the Director of Programs for HIV Edmonton. Her previous work includes working with the Canadian Red Cross with the Safety and Wellbeing team supporting the recovery operation after the Wildfires in Fort McMurray and BC. She brings experience from both the business world, working with TD Canada Trust and community organizations. Her roles have allowed her to work closely with community partners to help address the needs of individuals, families and the community. Her academic background in Sociocultural Anthropology along with her personal experience and community work provide her with the acumen to deeply understand the importance of equity and advocacy.



Sarosh Rizvi

Leslie Cramer

A series of concrete overpasses weaving between one another

Business Development
& Administration

Raeesa Farooqi

Nada Starcevic

Programs & Services

Kevin Thome

Sami Khiami

AAISA Opportunities