Having grown up in New Delhi, Pawan Chugh could hardly have ended up in a more different part of the world than Yellowknife.

However, in the isolated communities of Northern Canada, he recognises many of the same challenges from his home town, including housing and social issues.

These similarities motivated Chugh, who retired two years ago from his day job as CEO of the NWT Business Development and Investment Corp., to devote himself to everything from multiple sclerosis to Alzheimer’s to support for seniors.

Recently, Chugh was recognized for his efforts by his alma mater, Athabasca University, with their Volunteer Service Award. This award “Recognizes an AU graduate who has demonstrated a spirit of volunteerism and community service,” according to the university’s website.

“It’s exciting to get it,” says Pawan Chugh. “It’s not something I expect in return for the things I do.”

Organizations to which Chugh has contributed include the Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Northwest Territories Disabilities Council, and the Young Women’s Christian Association.

Chugh earned a Master’s of Business Administration from the university in 1997. He also has a Master’s Degree in Law from the University of London and a PhD in Economic Development from Central Queensland University, and is pursuing two more PhDs from Australian universities.

Chugh says he has no plans to slow down, either: He’s interested in rallying both public and private funds to create more housing for those in need. “[Developers] can get nominal returns, and they can take pride in doing something for the society,” says Chugh. “It’s a win-win.”

Chugh says his generosity comes from his parents, who taught him that “even if it’s little, little things, at the end of it, you’ll have the satisfaction and happiness that someone else benefitted from what you did.”

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