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Born in Shanghai, grew up in Hong Kong, Irene came to Canada in 1963 and stayed. She has an Honours B.A. Degree in English Literature from University of Hong Kong and completed one and a half years of M.A. programme at McGill University. She obtained an A.R.C.T. Diploma in Pipe Organ Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and a Media Development Certificate (Television production) from Ryerson Polytechnic Institute Toronto.
Irene is fluent in English and Chinese: Madarin (Putonghua), Cantonese and Shanghai, with elementary reading capability in French.
“RARE BREED: A Chinese Jewish Quest” is Irene’s first novel. Her other published works includes a translation from Chinese to English of “The Biography of Dr. Lee Shau-kee” by Dr. Anita Leung, Oxford University Press Hong Kong (1999).
Irene was the executive producer/producer of a 20-episode television drama series “Once Upon A Time in Toronto” – a first of its kind of a Canadian production in association with a Chinese corporation, Western Movie Group of Xi’An.
In the past, Irene was a Member of the Appeals Division, Canada Immigration & Refugee Board, as well as a Canadian Citizenship Court Judge.
In the volunteer sector, Irene was the Co-Founder of Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (in recent years it was merged with another Canadian cancer institute); the founding President of Hong Kong University Alumni Association (Ontario); and the founder of Ai Cheng Mandarin School which was amalgamated with Toronto District School Board's Heritage Language Programme.
She had sat on a number of Boards. Of note are: Toronto International Film Festival Board (tiff); Rogers OMNI Television Advisory Board where she was the Chair for three years; George Brown College Board of Governors; Toronto General Hospital Board of Trustees; Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation Board; Women’s College Hospital Board; BMO Bank of Montreal Asian Advisory Group. The Canadian Ethnic Media Association (CEMA) Board.
Currently she sits on the Board of Directors of Sweda Canada Inc. and is a Member of The Senate - Toronto & Western General Hospitals Foundation.
Irene’s Chinese Calligraphy adorns the covers of a number of published books namely:
“A Blossom Like No Other” – Ginger Post Inc. – Dr. Angela Wei Djao
“Being Chinese: Voices from the Diaspora” – University of Arizona Press – Dr. A. W. Djao
“Perpetually Cool: The Many Lives of Anna May Wong” – Dr. Anthony B. Chan
“Hong Kong : Portraits of Power” – Little Brown – Evelyn Huang / Lawrence Jeffrey
“Chines Canadian : Voices from a Community” – McLelland & Stewart – Huang / Jeffrey
Irene is listed in Canadian Who’s Who – Grey House Publishing Canada.