First Mount Royal senior leader in equity, diversity and inclusion announced

Isha ThompsonMount Royal University | Posted: March 15, 2022

Dr. Moussa Magassa, PhD

Moussa Magassa comes to MRU from the University of Victoria (UVic), where he has spent the past 15 years advancing anti-racism, anti-oppression and human rights education programs through progressively senior roles.

Dr. Moussa Magassa, PhD, is someone who has spent his life facing barriers to entry that were created to keep people like him out. This is, in part, what has directed his education and a career that centres equity, diversity and inclusion.

“This work didn’t find me, I didn’t find it, I was born into it,'' says Magassa, who will start as the first associate vice-president, equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) at MRU on May 23. He will advise and make recommendations on the overall EDI structure at the University, which will include strategic change. This position reports directly to the Office of the President.

As an immigrant from Senegal who has made a home for himself and his family in Canada, Magassa says that he has experienced inequities that are present in society but stresses that the need for diversity is about much more than skin colour. There are many equity-deserving groups that aren’t necessarily identifiable by looking at someone, Magassa says. He believes there is an ethical responsibility for everyone to commit to EDI because every person has the same wish to be acknowledged and included.

Magassa comes to MRU from the University of Victoria (UVic), where he has spent the past 15 years advancing anti-racism, anti-oppression and human rights education programs through progressively senior roles. As the UVic principal strategist, community engagement, EDI and anti-racism, he has been responsible for aligning institutional strategic plans with the development and implementation of an anti-racism strategy while establishing community partnerships. He has also created education plans, including workshops and discussions, by working with all members of the UVic community as the equity and human rights educator. Prior to his tenure at UVic, Magassa was an EDI and anti-racism consultant for primary and secondary schools, along with a mineral exploration company in British Columbia.

“I look forward to welcoming Dr. Magassa to a campus that is eager to collaborate and support program and policy development as well as educational resources for students, employees and the general public,” says Dr. Tim Rahilly, MRU president and vice-chancellor.

“Dr. Magassa is someone who believes in creating an action-oriented strategy that aligns with clear goals as a way to progress institutional change. I believe this will serve as the perfect complement to EDI work that is currently in motion across this University.”

Magassa specifically looks forward to meeting and connecting with the people at MRU who are actively working on initiatives related to EDI. He plans to listen and learn while sharing new ideas he is eager to propose as he gets familiar with Mount Royal.

Magassa earned a PhD in curriculum and instruction from the University of Victoria, a Master of Arts in human security and peacebuilding from Royal Roads University, and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in conflict resolution and peace studies from KwaZulu Natal University in South Africa. Through education and experience he has observed that there are many misconceptions around EDI work, including that it is something done to help others, but Magassa asserts that every person benefits when people with different perspectives, lived experiences, backgrounds, and identities are invited to participate and share what they have to offer.

Even though he is excited to get to know the city of Calgary and all that it has to offer, Magassa makes a point to express sincere gratitude to the unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples, including the Lkwungen, Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples who have harboured him on their land.

The Office of Safe Disclosure at MRU provides a range of services related to equity, human rights, discrimination and other safe disclosure concerns.