Celebrating inspirational women in our communities

Celebrating inspirational women in our communities

By Nikta Sadati, Division of Student Affairs

March 3, 2022


Alejandra Zamora Flores and Rena Upitis
This year’s recipient of the Ban Righ Foundation Leadership Award is Alejandra Zamora Flores, left, while Professor Emerita Rena Upitis is the recipient of the Ban Righ Foundation Mentorship Award. 

To mark International Women’s Day on March 8, the Ban Righ Foundation is combining their Inspiring Women Awards and Spring Awards ceremony into one virtual event, celebrating leadership, mentorship, and women who display exceptional contributions to their communities.

This year’s event will be a live video release on Facebook on Tuesday, March 8 at 7 pm.

“Due to public health guidelines at the time, we decided to bring everyone together and combine both events into one big, online celebration,” says Susan Belyea, Director of the Ban Righ Centre. “At our previous video events many students, alumni, and friends from the community joined us online to virtually comment and applaud the award recipients. It has been surprisingly fun and intimate, and we expect a similar energy this year.”  

The Ban Righ Foundation Inspiring Women Awards celebrate the contributions of women who inspire and support others. These achievements are recognized through two annual awards, one honouring a woman who shines as a community leader and one recognizing a woman faculty member for their mentorship of others.

This year’s Ban Righ Foundation Mentorship Award recipient is the Faculty of Education’s Rena Upitis. Now a Professor Emerita of Education and Sustainability, Dr. Upitis was nominated by a team of students for inspiring them in experiential learning, art, and activism.

The Ban Righ Foundation Leadership award will be presented to Alejandra Zamora Flores. Since her arrival in Kingston from Mexico in 2016, she has had a remarkable impact on diverse populations across the city through her warmth, generosity, and compassion. Flores was nominated in particular for her work with schools and community organizations supporting Black, Indigenous, people of color and immigrant children and youth. 

This year’s video event also features recipients of the Ban Righ Foundation Spring Awards, which provide an opportunity for mature women students to celebrate their achievements and determination with their families and friends, faculty, staff, and Ban Righ donors.

This year 13 students will receive awards established by supporters, whose generous gifts allow the Ban Righ Foundation to continue this tradition. For a full list of the awards and this year’s recipients, visit the Ban Righ Centre website.

To save the date for the 2022 Ban Righ Celebration, visit the Facebook event page. For those unable to join live, the video will be available on the Ban Righ Centre’s YouTube channel.

The Ban Righ Centre provides student advising and other supports and services to mature women students and student mothers at Queen’s University. For more information, visit the Ban Righ Centre website.