Manju Varma, Ph.D. moved to Canada with her family at the age of two and grew up in Moncton, NB. She obtained her doctorate in anti-racist education from the Ontario Institute in Education/University of Toronto. For the past 30 years she has focused on issues around diversity and anti-racism in New Brunswick and has published both national and internationally on the topics of mental health, diversity in the workplace, inclusion, and anti-racist education. Dr. Varma is a certified Conflict Mediator (Harvard Law School) and Negotiator (Dalhousie University). She also co-owns Engaging Matters Diversity Consultants, a business that teaches organizations how to be inclusive and anti-discriminatory.
She began her career as a teacher in a First Nations community and later became a professor in the Department of Education at the University of New Brunswick. She later joined the federal government where she worked on portfolios including multiculturalism, anti-racism, Aboriginal issues, mental health, disability and conflict management. In 2020, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) asked her to create and lead its Office of Inclusion, Equity and Anti-Racism. In 2021, Manju Varma was appointed Commissioner of Systemic Racism for New Brunswick, the first such position in Canada. In 2022, she was appointed co-chair of the National Coalition Against Anti-Asian Hate. She was also awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal for her volunteer and professional work against racism. In 2023, Manju Varma joined the Nova Scotia Community College as Executive Director of Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion.