Balarama Holness is an multidisciplinary educator, research professional and social entrepreneur with a current focus on public policy, equity-based civic engagement programs and the development of legal solutions to pressing economic, social, judicial and other societal affairs. He is a candidate for Mayor of Montréal-Nord whereby he is hoping to springboard solutions to promote education, health, inclusive economic policies and environmentally-conscious transportation solutions.
Balarama’s passion and commitment to improve his community motivated him to found Sports and Studies in Action, a Not for Profit Organization dedicated to youth education,health and career development. As a former professional athlete in the Canadian Football League, via Adopt an Alouette, he toured schools in the Montreal community to share his life experience and reinforced education, ethics and values connected to academic perseverance and youth citizenship. As a Grey Cup champion he brought the Grey Cup to the Montreal Children’s Hospital, a reflection of his values and care for those in need.
Academically, Balarama’s thirst for knowledge as a life-long learner lead him to successfully complete a Masters of Education: Curriculum and Instruction (4.1 GPA) at the University of New Brunswick. The focal point of his research: diversity related issues and the complex relationship between politics, identity, power and privileged within systems of oppression and how they are reproduced at the institutional level. This motivated him to pursue law with a focus on policies that mitigate societal inequities of citizens in underrepresented and marginalized communities.
Translating research into practice, Balarama engaged global environmental policy through an action-oriented approach: he lead a group of students through the Centre for Global and Community Engagement of the University of Ottawa on an international development project in an impoverished and marginalized community in the northern mountain ranges of Costa Rica. Continuing on his globally outreach, he taught in Egypt, United Arab Emirates and China within a range of Canadian, British and American Curricula. He expanded his knowledge and understanding of global communities by actively exploring Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Turkey and Morocco, countries where freedom of speech, religious freedoms, human rights and civil liberties are perceived as a threat rather then an opportunity for healthy civic life and communal democratic cohesion.
Balarama’s multiculturalism lived and innate, academic background and global experience informs his current path towards an interdisciplinary holistic approach to understanding the issues and challenges of local and international communities. As a future jurist he aspires to uplift even the most undermined and underrepresented groups beginning with those in his community.