Kanani Conference Rooms: A legacy for learning and giving

September 1, 2011

Not long ago the old dental clinic in the John B. Macdonald Building (JBM) was decommissioned space, unused and derelict, waiting for complicated, expensive renovations. Students, like Amro Foda when he was in his third year of the DMD program, would walk through the abandoned space on their way to various, insufficient study spaces scattered throughout the Dentistry buildings. Foda wondered why this extensive space lay dormant. “We had a beautiful new dental clinic,” Amro observes, “but we didn’t have adequate study space to match the calibre of the new clinic.” That is, until now.


After years of returning to the drawing board, Dentistry, with the generosity of supporters like Dr. Aly Kanani and his family, overcame the daunting task of dealing with a forest of stubborn concrete-imbedded, steel-framed operatory shells in the venerable JBM. Now, small-group seminar rooms and flexible study space have been built next to a new computer learning centre.

“The seminar rooms are perfect for our groups,” Amro explains. “We can concentrate together on our cases without the noise and distractions we had in other areas. The large monitors make a difference, too, in how we learn.” Both rooms are equipped with the same technology, so all student groups have the best possible learning environment.

For Aly Kanani, his wife Suphattra and son Aaryan, their gift of supporting the seminar rooms—now called Kanani Conference Room 1 and 2—is an expression of their belief in the power of education as a transformative tool in society. “UBC Dentistry is teaching and training the future leaders of this profession, both in Canada and around the world,” says Aly. As young dentists with a young family, Aly and Suphattra firmly believe that earning a livelihood is not just about supporting one’s immediate family, but is also a means to the goal of giving back.

“With this gift to the Faculty of Dentistry,” says Aly Kanani, “we hope to inspire others to give generously to worthy causes they support, be it education, social development or any other act of kindness or charity.”

Kanani - FodaDuring the ceremony to unveil the rooms on May 8, 2011, Aly remarked that not only are the new conference rooms a strong legacy for dental students, but they represent, going forward, the commitment and admiration of his family for the Faculty of Dentistry. Aly credits his and Suphattra’s parents with modelling great support and commitment. They sacrificed tirelessly to provide their children with financial and moral support in pursuing their passions, and instilled in them “a moral code grounded in the ethics of faith.”

The Kanani family’s gift exemplifies the faculty’s focus on providing the very best in oral health education, according to the dean, Dr. Charles Shuler. “These seminar rooms,” says Shuler, “are an innovative and dynamic environment, where an academic partnership of students and faculty will be instrumental, providing an enjoyable experience, encouraging communication, and ultimately, completing the vision and passion of our profession.”