Gail Sheryl Asper, OC OM (born May 28, 1960, Winnipeg, Canada) is president and a trustee of The Asper Foundation, the private charitable foundation spearheading the establishment of the $351 million Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) in Winnipeg. The CMHR is the first national museum established outside of Ottawa, Canada. Its image now adorns Canada’s new $10 bill. On August 26, 2008, Asper was appointed to the board of trustees of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights by the Stephen Harper government.
Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the daughter of entrepreneur and philanthropist Izzy Asper, OC, OM, LL.D (Honorary), she attended Kelvin High School before receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1981 and a Bachelor of Laws degree in 1984 from the University of Manitoba. She was called to the Nova Scotia bar in 1985 and is a member of the Law Society of Manitoba. She articled with Halifax, Nova Scotia law firm of Cox Downie & Goodfellow in 1984 and was an Associate Lawyer in Halifax with Goldberg McDonald from 1985 to 1989. In 1989, she joined her father's firm, CanWest Global Communications Corp., as a corporate secretary and director. She has long been associated with arts and culture as a volunteer, performer, and fund-raiser.
She is associated with the Liberal Party of Canada. She serves and has served on the Boards of numerous not-for-profit groups and co-Chaired the $11 million Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre Endowment Campaign, which followed a $6 million capital campaign also co-Chaired by Ms. Asper. She also served on the Board and as President of the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. She is the past Campaign Chair for the Winnipeg 2002 United Way Campaign and is Past President of the Board of Directors for the United Way of Winnipeg. Ms. Asper was the Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Arts Centre Foundation from 2013 to 2017 and also served as Campaign Chair for Winnipeg’s Combined Jewish Appeal for the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg.
Ms. Asper serves on the Executive of the Board of Governors of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Boards of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. She led the $150M National Capital Campaign for the Museum’s private sector campaign, which began in 2003 and ended in 2015.
Asper has received numerous community service and humanitarian awards and was the 2005 recipient of the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts, a companion award of the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards. In 2007, she was awarded the Order of Manitoba. In 2008, she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. Other awards include: YMCA/YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Community Voluntarism, Association of Fundraising Professionals’ 2006 Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year Award, Jane Jacobs Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Urban Institute, Canadian Bar Association’s President’s Award, Business for the Arts’ Bovey Award, Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals, Canadian Red Cross’ Humanitarian of the Year Award, the Israel Bonds 66 Award, the Canadian Actors’ Equity Honorary Membership, the Jewish Federation of Manitoba’s Max and Mollie Shore Memorial Award, the University of Winnipeg’s Duff Roblin Award. She received the Peter Lougheed Award for Leadership in Public Policy, The Mahatma Gandhi Peace Award, The Nellie McClung Foundation Nellie Legacy Award and the David Foster Foundation Humanitarian Visionary Award. She also received the Outstanding Philanthropist Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals. She has received honorary doctorates from the University of Manitoba, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Carleton University and Mount Saint Vincent University.
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