CCB 2018 PERSON OF THE YEAR AWARD RECIPIENT THE HONOURABLE DR. ASHA SETH
By Mike Potvin
The Canadian Council of the Blind is extremely pleased to present its 2018 Person of the Year Award to the Honourable Dr. Asha Seth.
Dr. Asha Seth, the first Indo-Canadian female to be appointed to the Senate of Canada, is an obstetrician and gynecologist within family practice. Born in Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh (UP), India Dr. Seth earned her medical degree from King George Medical University in Lucknow, UP. Among other achievements at medical school, Dr. Seth was instrumental in organizing a blood donation clinic in service of the Indian Army during the Sino-Indian conflict.
From very early on Dr. Seth’s parents developed in her, a great respect for people in need, a prerequisite for opening one’s heart to the less fortunate. She tries to lead her life with humility and generosity, a virtue inculcated in her from the time she was an impressionable young mind in India.
Upon her arrival in Canada in 1971, Dr. Seth finished her resident training in obstetrics and gynecology at St. Joseph’s Health Centre and The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.
She has dedicated her career and personal life to improving the health and life of others. Her philanthropic work has earned her the respect and recognition of her community inspiring others to follow her example.
Philanthropy has been a mainstay in essence of Dr. Seth’s work. Living up to the mantra: “Give back more than you take”, she has been involved in many charitable endeavors. Highlights include: founder of the Canadian Foundation for Health and Human Welfare; Patron of the Canadian Council of the Blind; fundraising for the Philippines typhoon recovery; National Board of Director for CNIB; Chair of Fundraising for the Heart and Stroke Foundation; a contributor to the “Aim for Seva” project, where she funded a home for 100 underprivileged children; a member of the Board of Governors of the Canada-India Foundation; Co-Chairperson fundraising committee for the St. Joseph’s Foundation; Chair of the Police Bravery Advisory Council and a member of the Advisory Board of the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce among others.
The Honourable Dr. Asha Seth has been publicly recognized for her humanitarian work the recipient of many awards, including: a lifetime achievement award from the Dancing Damsels (2016); Times Now – ICICI Bank “NRI of the Year Award” 2015 for Philanthropy; “Peace Dreamer” Award 2014 from the Sri Chinmoy Foundation of Canada; Kayastha Group: Community Leadership Award (2014); Grant’s Desi Achiever’s Award for excellence and contributions to the South Asian Community and the Canadian Mosaic (2012); the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012); Council Award by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (2011); Recipient of the Canadian Immigrants People’s Choice Award as one of the top 25 Canadian immigrants (2010). The list goes on.
The trust and admiration of her adopted country was crystallized in her appointment to the Senate of Canada, where she became the first Indo-Canadian female to be a member. In this role, Senator Seth adopted humanitarian causes such as International Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health and the welfare of disabled people. She has succeeded in bringing new attention to these and other causes with her efforts being felt around the world by millions of people.
In the Senate of Canada, Senator Seth also sat on many committees, including: Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Affairs; Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs Science and Technology and the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance. in the Senate, Senator Seth also did much to strengthen diplomatic ties between Canada and India.
She travelled to India three times on behalf of the government of Canada, in 2012 for Canada’s longest ever trade-mission to India; in 2013 with a trade-mission where she met with Prime Minister Modi to whom she delivered greetings from the Government of Canada and In 2013 when Senator Seth organized and executed the first ever trade mission to take place between Canada and Uttar Pradesh. Dr. Seth continues to engage high-level stakeholders in India working to expand academic, cultural, and commercial exchange.
May 1st, 2014 –The Honourable Dr. Asha Seth launched the first-ever National Vision Health Month with the unanimous support of her colleagues. A united Senate joined Senator Seth in her campaign to recognize May as a month to educate Canadians about their vision health and to help eliminate avoidable sight loss across the country.
Senator Seth was instrumental in creating the government-endorsed the “International Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health Week” campaign, as an important platform in the effort to decrease maternal and childhood mortality.
She continues working with civil society organizations. In March 2016, Senator Seth established as chairs an advisory group in Parliament entitled “Parliamentary Nutrition Champions”. This is a continuation of her unanimously supported motion for International Maternal and Newborn Healthcare Week.
The Honourable Dr. Asha Seth is a visionary leader, trail blazing a path for many to emulate. Through it all, it is her commitment to helping others that shines brightest among her accomplishments.