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Gail Asper

Duff Roblin Award Dinner


Gail AsperGail Asper was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and obtained her B.A. and LL.B. from the University of Manitoba in 1981 and 1984 respectively. After receiving her call to the Bar of Nova Scotia in 1985, Gail practiced

corporate and commercial law with Goldberg & Thompson in Halifax, Nova Scotia, before joining CanWest Global Communications Corp. in 1989, as Corporate Secretary and Legal Counsel. Ms. Asper was a member of the Board of Directors of Canwest Global Communications Corp. from 1991 to 2010 and from 1998 to 2008 was a member of the Board of Great-West Lifeco Inc., and its subsidiaries.

In 2002, Gail became President of The Asper Foundation, a private charitable foundation established by her parents, Babs and Israel Asper. The Foundation supports and initiates numerous projects in Canada
and Israel and Gail has also spent the last 14 years working to establish the Canadian Museum for Human Rights as Canada’s first new national museum in 45 years and the first national museum to be located
outside of the capital region. As a grateful Canadian, Gail is extremely excited to see her father’s dream finally become a reality!

Thanks to the examples set by her parents, Gail believes in the importance of giving back to one’s community and trying to leave the world a better place than the way you found it. Gail is an avid supporter of numerous arts groups and believes in the importance of the arts in building a creative, civil society.

Gail serves and has served on the Boards of numerous not-for-profit arts groups such as Business for the Arts and the Arts Stabilization program 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. Ms. Asper is currently
the Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Arts Centre Foundation.

In addition to her passion for the arts, Gail 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. She is a Governor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and recently served as Campaign Chair for Winnipeg’s Combined Jewish Appeal and now sits on the Jewish Federation’s Board of Directors. In 2008, she was
appointed to the inaugural Board of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and also sits on the Board of The Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. She is the National Campaign Chair for the Museum’s $150 million private sector campaign, which began in 2003.

With a deep commitment to education, Gail and the Asper Family, are long time supporters of The University of Winnipeg and its Collegiate. A generous gift of $3 million from Canwest Global Communications Corp. to renovate and establish the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film has allowed UWinnipeg theatre students and faculty to flourish in a state-of-the-art facility that encourages creativity and learning, is a welcome addition to the arts community and contributes to Winnipeg’s cultural landscape. Gail’s ongoing support of UWinnipeg and Collegiate student awards is a testament to her dedication to excellence in education and encouragement of youth to pursue lifelong learning.

Ms. Asper has received numerous awards for her community service, including the YMCA/YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Community Voluntarism and the 2005 Governor-General’s Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts. She received the Order of Manitoba and is an Officer of the Order of Canada. She has received Honorary Doctorates from the University of Manitoba and Hebrew University of Jerusalem and was honoured by the Business for the Arts with the receipt of the Bovey Award. She was also awarded the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Gail is a proud Winnipegger and is inspired by the many compassionate business and community leaders who work tirelessly to improve the city and the lives of all citizens.

She is married to Dr. Michael Paterson and has two sons, Stephen and Jonathan.