The Honourable Karina Gould was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Burlington in 2015. A graduate of McGill University and the University of Oxford, Minister Gould is passionate about public service and international development. Before her election as the Member of Parliament for Burlington, she worked as a trade and investment specialist for the Mexican Trade Commission in Toronto, a consultant for the Migration and Development Program at the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C., and spent a year volunteering at an orphanage in Mexico. Minister Gould has deep roots in her hometown of Burlington, Ontario, and is an active member of the community and an advocate for women’s issues and affordable housing. She has volunteered with and actively supports the Iroquoia Bruce Trail Club, the Burlington chapter of the Canadian Federation of University Women, the Mississauga Furniture Bank, Halton Women’s Place, and other local organizations. Minister Gould lives in Burlington with her husband Alberto and son Oliver. With the birth of Oliver, Minister Gould became the first federal cabinet minister to have a baby while holding office. She is passionate about breaking down barriers for women, youth, and underrepresented groups.
Dr. Zephania Matanga is a representative of The Canadian Multicultural Disability Centre. He holds a doctorate in the area of Special Education from the Department of Applied Psychology, at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. In addition, he is a certified teacher in Ontario and Manitoba. He came from Zimbabwe in 1992 with a wealth of experience and first-hand knowledge about the debilitating effects of disability on professionals in his homeland and throughout Africa. His post-graduate studies in Canada and abroad are extensive. As a Special Education research leader, he has developed educational strategies that are most effective for children, youth and adults with disabilities, non-speaking students and those with seizure disorders, students with emotional-behaviour disorders, and those with visual disabilities and other physical and perceptual disabilities. He also understands how such skills can be applied in both developing and developed countries. This is demonstrated by a series of projects he has implemented both in Canada and Zimbabwe. He also has just completed a book chapter entitled: A Comparison of Institutional Discriminatory Practices against People with Disabilities in North America and Africa: Cases in Zimbabwe and Canada. As the Executive Director of The Canadian Multicultural Disability Centre (INC) he has been very effective, working with engineers and physicians in the development of assistive devices for persons with disabilities.
Amélie Nguyen is the coordinator at Centre international de solidarité ouvrière (CISO), an international inter-union solidarity organization aimed at strengthening bonds between workers here and abroad fighting for the respect of their rights, for better working conditions and for a more just and democratic society. She was previously a policy analyst with l’Association québécoise des organismes de coopération internationale. She holds a master’s degree in international law and policy from UQAM.
Erik Pocasangre is a Guatemalan thought-leader and change-maker who has dedicated his life to making the world a more just, inclusive, and equitable place. Through his role in SERniña, as well as his leadership and activism in national and grassroots movements, Erik leads social transformation throughout Guatemala by challenging patriarchal social norms and taking a grassroots gender-transformative approach to promoting gender equality and advancing human rights and dignity for all. Erik currently acts as the Director of Operations for SERniña (by the REALgirl Foundation) and oversees all operations of SERniña’s girl empowerment, positive masculinity, and gender equity programs. A key pillar of Erik’s work with SERniña and beyond is his focus, understanding, and development of innovative ideas on positive masculinity and the inclusion of boys and men in the creation of gender-equitable communities. Erik’s work focuses on helping boys and men develop more holistic, more dynamic, and healthier forms of masculinity so they are able to become sources of positive energy and agents of change in their families and communities.
Kimberly Gibbons (she/her) has been the Executive Director of the Ontario Council for International Cooperation (OCIC) since 2005. Kimberly believes in supporting community-led development and an enabling environment for civil society organizations, and in mobilizing Canadians to achieve universal sustainable development. Kimberly is a vocal advocate for small and medium-sized organizations and their potential to strengthen local to global connections, transformative partnerships and solidarity.
Regie Plana-Alcuaz has been in education for more than two decades. Originally from the Philippines and the US, they moved to Canada in April 2017 where they eventually became an elementary department head in School District 92 (Nisga’a) prior to moving to Surrey as an Integration Support Teacher. Regie has Master’s degrees in Special Education, and English Teaching; and an undergraduate degree in Psychology. Regie is currently serving their third year in the BCTF Committee for Action on Social Justice (Peace and Global Education), and their first term in the Canadian Teachers’ Federation Advisory Committee on the Status of Women.
Lasha Zenashe Aytenfisu works with the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation as a Public Engagement Coordinator, engaging primarily with youth and educators. Previously, Lasha worked with Spur Change as a Project Officer. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in History and Spanish at the University of Alberta, with a Certificate in International Learning. Outside of her work in the international development sector, Lasha is involved in youth programs and collectives dedicated to supporting Black communities in Edmonton, Alberta.
Jenna Forslund teaches Grade 7 and 8 Math and Science in the Flexible Learning Program at Elmwood High in Winnipeg, MB. As an educator, Jenna strives to make curricular connections to the Sustainable Developments Goals using project-based learning and action projects that engage students in social justice issues and environmental impact. Jenna graduated from the University of Winnipeg in 2012 with a Bachelor of Education before completing her Masters of Education at the University of Manitoba in 2019; focusing her studies on climate change education and science literacy in Northern communities. Her passion for STEM has motivated several projects within her school that specifically aim to increase female representation in the sciences and have recently awarded her the Prime Minister’s Excellence in Teaching STEM and the Bioscience Association of Manitoba’s Outstanding Educator of the Year.
Dr. Anju Bajaj is the STEM Educator for the Catholic Schools Commission in Winnipeg Manitoba. She teaches: science, social studies, and physical education at Holy Cross, a K-8 school. She has led many provincial and national in-services and been a leader at various conferences including Education in Diversity: Diverse Teachers for Diverse Learners-Unleashing the Power and Potential of Newcomer Youth in Manitoba. Three of her latest activities, through her Kids’ New Horizon Club are the Let’s Talk Science Webinar Social Distancing-Prototype Design and Build October 2020, the Webinar International Day of Women and Girls in STEM 2021, and the upcoming March 8 Quantum Leaps Conference in collaboration with the Society for Canadian Women in Science & Technology. Her efforts have been recognised with various awards. Awards received include: Science Teacher of the Year –STAM (Science Teachers Association of Manitoba), Global Educator Award –MCIC (Manitoba Council for International Cooperation, Outstanding Science Educator –Bioscience Association of Manitoba, Teacher Appreciation Award –MSSS (Manitoba Schools Science Symposium), Manitoba Education and Training’s Excellence in Education Award, and K12 Ed TechK-12 Canadian EdTech Award.
Amy’s work with Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation is centered on bringing Global Citizenship Education Curriculum, including a focus on the Sustainable Development Goals, and into schools across the province. Amy is equipped with a Bachelor of Education and worked as a Special Education Teacher in British Columbia and Saskatchewan. She moved over to the non-profit sector 10 years ago after volunteering and working casually for a number of non-profit organizations during her time as a teacher. Amy has a passion for social justice work and believes as an educator, it is imperative that educators, teachers, and students are discussing issues around social justice and working together to create a more just and sustainable world.
Antoine-Samuel is the inaugural appointee to the role of Black Student Affairs Liaison at McGill University. His position was created pursuant to the University’s Action Plan to Address Anti-Black Racism. In this role, Antoine-Samuel is responsible for connecting with and supporting Black students across McGill at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, to ensure that their needs and interests are communicated effectively to the University and addressed in a timely and effective manner. He also works on educational resources and community outreach to Montreal’s Black community. Antoine-Samuel completed his Honours BA at McGill (’07) and a Master’s degree in International Studies at Université de Montréal. He has worked as a Liaison Officer and Field Studies Officer with McGill’s Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Science. He also worked as a coordinator for the Côte-des-Neiges Youth Center and with all Montreal High Schools through e-mentoring organization Academos.
Mercedes Cote is from The Pas, Manitoba and is currently teaching at Frontier Mosakahiken School in Moose Lake, Manitoba. As the high school English and humanities teacher, she strives to promote cultural values while expanding students’ perspectives about the incredible world around us. Her primary focus has been working within the Indigenous lens and allowing students to explore their personal history as well as advocating for the rights and freedoms they are entitled to. As she grows as a teacher, she has developed her skills while relying on the sacred knowledge of others to support students’ in their ability and confidence to pursue their dreams and goals as Indigenous peoples.
Prerana Bhatnagar is an educator and international development practitioner with a passion for designing education programs that create accessible and inclusive learning spaces. With undergraduate degrees in Commerce and Law from India, she is a recent Master of Education (M.Ed.) graduate from University of Toronto in Curriculum Studies and Teacher Development, specializing in Comparative Education. She is currently working as a research assistant at Ryerson University and a curriculum design consultant at a literature and arts start-up. Her research focuses on the use of equity-centered principles, experiential learning, and arts-based peace-building pedagogies in low-income schools for marginalized children and youth.
Margerit Roger of Eupraxia Training has worked with community-based organizations, post-secondary institutions, industry, labour, and governments to develop and evaluate programs that support vulnerable and marginalized populations. She uses social impact analysis as a way of strategically describing an organization’s “ripple-effect” on individuals, families, communities, and social infrastructure. Building capacity in organizations to think about and increase their impact is a key aspect of her work.
Dominic Martin has been teaching English as a second language for twenty years in high schools in the Quebec region. He was first initiated to informal education through his participation in the Canada World Youth Program, and then during his work with the organization Chantiers Jeunesse, which offers citizen engagement experiences to young adults through volunteering and group living. Building on this experience, Dominic strives to make his teachings meaningful for his students by developing lessons related to citizenship education and by proposing activities which foster greater openness towards the community and the world.
Geneviève Labrecque has been teaching for thirteen years in Grade 6 in primary school in the Quebec City region in underprivileged areas. She has been involved with her community by collaborating with the various partners in her community. By collaborating with Quebec’ERE, Craque-Bitume and local businesses, the “Eat Local” project will take shape. Students will become ambassadors on social networking platforms to demonstrate how our actions, however simple, can make a difference. The collaboration with family, openness to the community and the transition to adolescence are part of her daily life. She believes that the growth of her students requires autonomy and accountability for their own academic success. Her most cherished wish is for students to develop their own taste for learning and to evolve with their strengths and challenges while being proud of themselves.
Tiyahna Ridley-Padmore is a Toronto-based author, advocate and equity and inclusion strategist. She works at World Vision Canada as a policy advisor specializing in social inclusion and co-leads Cooperation Canada’s Anti-Racism Taskforce. Tiyahna has an MA in Public Policy, Administration and Law from York University and a BA in Political Science from the University of Ottawa.
Lena Bheeroo is the lead on anti-racism work at Bond, the network for UK organisations working in international development. She is currently working to roll out sector support to actively create an anti-racist sector, by engaging those who are in positions of power. She has also created a POC in the Development working group at Bond as a brave space for POC in the sector to come together to share experiences and learnings from one another and to influence the sector. Lena is a Committee Member for Charity So White, the award-winning campaign which aims to root out racism in the charity sector. She is also on the working group of the Racial Equity Index.
Laurent Breault is the General Manager of Fondation Émergence since April 2017. Laurent holds a master’s degree in sociology from the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQÀM), a graduate degree in post-secondary education from the University of Montreal (UDeM) and a degree in business administration from HEC-Montréal. He is also a member of the scientific committee for the development and implementation of the scientific programming at UQÀM’s Research chair on Homophobia. Laurent Breault is also the director and chair of the standing committee of the program of Égides, l’Alliance internationale francophone pour l’égalité et les diversités.
Kim Vance-Mubanga is the Director of International Programs and Partnerships for Egale Canada. Prior to starting with Egale in 2020, she was the ED of ARC International for 17 years. ARC International is an NGO geared to advancing human rights for LGBTI persons across the globe. They have played a key role in global movement building and strategic dialogue. Their efforts on the application of international human rights law in relation to sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics, have led to significant normative gains and concrete action. They provide support to NGOs working in countries around the world to ensure that the records of all UN States on LGBTI issues are subjected to regional and international scrutiny. She has been invited as a global expert to contribute research and advice to the political, expert, and agency bodies within the United Nations.
Mide Akerewusi is a proud husband and father to two young adults. He is passionate about equity and social justice and possesses an avid interest in current affairs and global politics. Mide is a British-born African living in Canada. With more than 25 years’ experience as a philanthropy expert, Mide is the Founder and CEO of AgentsC Inc., a Canadian-based international company delivering equity philanthropy and social research services to the non-profit and private sector. He has worked in senior relationship fundraising roles and consulted for a number of the world’s leading non-profit organizations.
Samantha is Co-Executive Director of Inter Pares since November 2020, sharing the role with Charlotte Kiddell. She is also a member of the Asia team, focusing on Inter Pares’ Burma program. She is also one of two staff leads for the prevention of sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment. Samantha is particularly interested in documenting and promoting non-hierarchical management structures, consensus-based decision-making, and feminist practice. She was one of three principal researchers in Inter Pares’ participatory action research project on its feminist methodology and structure.
The Honourable Rona Ambrose is a dynamic national leader, a champion for the rights of women and girls, the former leader of Canada’s Official Opposition in the House of Commons and a former Cabinet Minister serving across several government departments. Rona is a passionate advocate for supporting and protecting disadvantaged women and girls. Her commitment to this fight led the global movement to create the “International Day of the Girl” at the United Nations. Rona serves on the board of directors for Plan International Canada and is the co-author of a best-selling children’s book “International Day of the Girl: Celebrating Girls Around the World”. Rona’s proceeds from the book are donated to Plan International Canada.
Lindsay Glassco is a dynamic leader with 25+ years of experience developing and managing social policies and programs in diverse environments worldwide. Driven by a passion to make a meaningful contribution to sustainable development and social change, her work has spanned across sectors, including not-for-profit, government, the UN and the private sector. Throughout her career, Lindsay has been rewarded for her people-oriented and collaborative management skills and honoured with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013 for her significant contributions to community development in Canada. She seeks to bring this people-centric and community-focused approach to all facets of her life and is guided dutifully by her North Star – making an impactful contribution to social change.
Armand Doucet is a visionary, award-winning educator, author, social entrepreneur and business professional. A sought-after leader, manager inspirational speaker, author, columnist and blogger in multiple fields, who has collaborated with UNESCO, OECD, Education International and many more. Armand is also a two-time Ironman athlete.
Laura Burke practices as a psychotherapist, mental health advocate, and writer. She has acted as co-author and collaborator on papers, chapters, and research projects, including her work in creative knowledge translation, mobilization and advocacy through film, theatre, and print media. Laura aims to be trauma-informed and intersectional in her perspective on mental distress and strives to support and highlight the wisdom and contributions of those who face marginalization due to sanism, and other forms of oppression.
Tanya is a Grade 2 teacher at Enfants-du-Monde Elementary School in Montreal, Quebec. She teaches students between the ages of 7 and 8. In addition, she is the president and instigator of the international collective Le Chœur des Altruistes, which has a mission of touching people’s hearts through its actions. This apolitical and solidarity collective was created in September 2019. Until this day, its members and its altruistic projects are found on three continents: North America, Europe and Africa.
Martial Towou is president of the NGO JEDAFEM in Benin, a member of the coordinating committee of Choeur des Altruistes (Canada) and a Youth Champion of the 2020 cohort of the Youth Champions Program of Spur Change. Martial is a committed gender equality activist and has received training on the psychology of children in difficult circumstances and the legal protection of children in conflict with the law.
Cat founded KIDS Initiative Inc., and organization focused on helping to facilitate sustainable solutions in developing communities to enrich the lives of children, in April 2010 and assembled a group of professionals who, like Cat, are passionate about bettering the future of children globally while inspiring children locally by participating in service-learning projects and educational activities. In 2019, the organization launched their newly branded organization with a shift in their overall mission and vision for the organization and most importantly, broadening their scope to developing communities WORLDWIDE. A year later, in 2020, Cat was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal (Civil Division) for founding KIDS Initiative to support humanitarian projects and motivate Canadians to take action against global poverty. Cat’s commitment to providing aid to those in need will likely continue for a very long time. Some people give through a one-time bequest. Others choose to give during their lifetime in order to see the impact of their contribution and to share in the joy and rewards of giving. For as long as Cat lives, she will continue to build relationships with beneficiaries and partner agencies, and she will continue to inspire her family, friends, staff, and community to ensure that all live more and suffer less.
Annette Greene is a Learning Support Teacher at Maples Collegiate in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Annette has been supporting students at Maples for 12 years, and has been in the education industry for 25 years altogether. Annette works with a diverse population of students in a variety of ways. Annette has helped students find their way through high school while also finding meaningful purpose in life. Annette’s philosophy on education is rooted in relationship building before anything else. Students are always given a safe space to share, develop their talents, learn new skills, see themselves as citizens in a global village, and become the best versions of themselves so they will be set for life after high school. Annette won MCIC’s Global Citizenship Award for Educators in 2015.
Dr. Andrea Paras is the lead author of the Spur Change Program’s 2021 SMO report, “The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on SMO Adaptation and Resilience.” She has over 15 years of experience conducting research on humanitarian organizations. Her recent book “Moral Obligations and Sovereignty in International Relations: A Genealogy of Humanitarianism” (Routledge, 2019) examines the history of humanitarianism from the 16th century to the present. She has also conducted research on how Canadian faith-based development NGOs position themselves in relation to public institutions, and how they navigate the distinction between missions and development. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Guelph.
Shawna Novak has spent over 20 years working with The Canada International Scientific Exchange Program (CISEPO). CISEPO is a registered charitable organization that works at the intersection of global health and peacebuilding to support health equity and conflict mitigation. CISEPO programs improve quality of life through health systems strengthening and capacity building. Shawna studied Medicine and Conflict Resolution and is also a graduate of the Global Health Delivery Program at Harvard Chan School of Public Health. Her work is supported by Ashoka Changemakers and she was a previous recipient of the YMCA Women of Distinction Award for her social justice work in healthcare. Shawna lectures frequently on approaches to conflict management in healthcare, innovation in health systems, health diplomacy, and the application of CANMEDS competencies to Global Health. She serves as a board member for Women for Dignity and Development Foundation and on Save a Child’s Heart Canada Medical Advisory Committee.
Brittney Potvin joined the Northern Council for Global Cooperation in 2018. Before moving to Yukon, she worked with the Inter-Council Network (ICN) in Vancouver; with Cuso International in Nicaragua through the International Youth Internship Program (IYIP), and in her hometown of Ottawa as a recent graduate with the Canadian Red Cross International Operations Department. Brittney is passionate about human rights, global citizenship, gender equality and international justice. She holds a Master of Arts in International Studies from Simon Fraser University and a Bachelor of Arts specializing in Human Rights from Carleton University.
Miriam Nobre is an agronomist with a Master’s degree from the Latin American Integration Program – PROLAM-USP. She formed the team at SOF Sempreviva Organização Feminista, an NGO based in São Paulo, Brazil, where she conducts training activities and action research on agroecology, feminist economics and the solidarity economy. She is also an activist with the World March of Women, and coordinated the international secretariat between 2006 and 2013.
Reema Nanavaty leads SEWA’s economic and rural development activities. Under her leadership, SEWA has grown to become the single largest union of informal sector workers with over 1.8 million women members and their families across India. Since joining she has pioneered revival, restoration, and innovation of rural livelihoods from district to global level. She is being recognized across India and globally as a champion of making the livelihoods of the poor women reach the markets they deserve. The informal workers that SEWA works with include artisans, salt pan workers, farmers, waste collectors, street vendors and labourers. For over three decades Reema has made efforts to mainstream amazing diversity of skills and knowledge into the national mainstream, creating a more dynamic local economy and fairer and equal society for thousands of SEWA sisters. More recently Reemaben was a member of the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Global Commission on Future of Work which made Centenary Declaration in 2019 for “human-centred approach” to Future of work.
Yogesh leads the Inclusive Economies thematic area at the Coady International Institute at St. Francis Xavier University. He provides leadership to the Institute’s educational programs, research initiatives, and capacity-strengthening efforts globally in the area of inclusive economic development. As a practitioner and educator Yogesh has over eighteen years’ experience working in South and Central Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and North America. His current research and capacity-strengthening work focus on market systems/value chain development, social enterprise, future of work and workers, and just transition towards a green and inclusive economy. Before coming to Coady, Yogesh was working in India with ACCESS Development Services (a CARE India promoted organization) managing innovative livelihoods programs. Yogesh holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) Degree from Columbia University, New York; Post Graduate Diploma in Forest Management from Indian Institute of Forest Management; Bachelor of Engineering from Government Engineering College Raipur, India; and a Certificate in Livelihoods and Markets from the Coady Institute. Yogesh is also a recipient of the Ford Foundation’s International Fellowships Program (IFP).