Giving back through commitment to community

Ai Thien Tran, BSW’09, the 2018 winner of the McGill Alumni Association’s James G. Wright award, fled Vietnam and lived as a stateless refugee for years before arriving in Canada. The McGill graduate was honoured for his selfless work with the Vietnamese community.

Story by McGill News

May 2018

Ai Thien Tran, BSW’09, fled his home country of Vietnam by boat and lived as a stateless refugee in the Philippines for 12 years, where he became passionate about helping others. When he immigrated to Canada in 2001, he dedicated himself to working selflessly with the Vietnamese community.

His desire to improve the lives of those around him led Ai Tran to McGill, where he graduated from the School of Social Work in 2009. As a student, he was one of 10 people globally to receive a Golden Key International Honour Society Award for balancing academic excellence with leadership and community service.

In 2012, Ai Tran became the first Canadian of Vietnamese origin to win the Top 25 Immigrants Award and the following year, he was presented with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award.

A resident of Edmonton, Ai Tran has been working as a social worker with the Government of Alberta for the last five years. In 2017, he was recognized by the Alberta Minister of Justice and Solicitor General and the Alberta Minister of Children’s Services for making a difference in the lives of Albertans.


In April, the McGill Alumni Association selected Ai Tran as its 2018 recipient of the James G. Wright Award for his dedication to community service and helping others.

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