Salma Lakhani

Salma Lakhani AOE (born 1951 or 1952) is the 19th lieutenant governor of Alberta. Her appointment as lieutenant governor was made by Governor General of Canada Julie Payette on the constitutional advice of Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, effective upon the swearing of the oath of allegiance and oath of office on August 26, 2020.

Salma Lakhani

19th Lieutenant Governor of Alberta
Assumed office
August 26, 2020
MonarchElizabeth II
Governor General
Preceded byLois Mitchell
Personal details
Salma Rajabali

1951/1952 (age 68–69)[1]
Kampala, Uganda
Spouse(s)Zaheer Lakhani[2]
ResidenceEdmonton, Alberta
Alma materUniversity of Manchester

She is the viceregal representative of Queen Elizabeth II of Canada in the Province of Alberta. Lakhani is the first South Asian and the first Muslim to hold a viceregal office in Canada.[3][4]

Personal life

Lakhani was born in Kampala, Uganda, the daughter of Abdul and Malek Rajabali, into an Ismaili Muslim family. She attended an Aga Khan School during her childhood.[5]

In fall 1971, Lakhani started university in the United Kingdom at Manchester University.[5][6]

In August 1972 while back home on summer holidays, the Ugandan President, Idi Amin, began a set of policies that included the expropriation of properties owned by Asian and European Ugandans.[7] Lakhani returned to the United Kingdom quickly after the announcement of these policies. However, as her family's assets had been expropriated, she was unable to pay her tuition and living expenses. The British government waived these fees for many Ugandans, including Lakhani and her future husband, Zaheer Lakhani, who studied at the University of Leeds.[6]

Lakhani continued her studies at Manchester University, completing a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Clinical Biochemistry.[5]

In June 1977, Lakhani's husband received a medical residency position from the University of Alberta in Edmonton. The Lakhanis were stateless, so the couple travelled on British travel documents and originally intended to stay for two years.[5][6]

The Lakhanis stayed in Alberta beyond their original two-year plan. Zaheer became a cardiologist while Salma helped manage his practice and opened a business focused on early childhood education. Salma became involved in the Edmonton community becoming one of the first mentors in NorQuest College's Youth in Transition program, a founding member of the College’s 1000Women: A Million Possibilities movement, serving on the board of the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights, and volunteering with Lois Hole Hospital for Women, Kids Kottage, Sorrentino’s Compassion House, the Alberta Cancer Board, the Zebra Foundation and Aga Khan Foundation Canada.[5]

In the 1990s, Zaheer helped establish cardiac services at a hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, while Salma volunteered at two of the city’s schools and with local women’s charity groups.[5]

For her service, Lakhani received the Alberta Centennial and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medals. Upon becoming lieutenant governor, she also was inducted to the Alberta Order of Excellence and was made its chancellor. Lakhani is vice-prior of the St. John Council for Alberta and a dame of the Order of Saint John.[5]