2022 Speakers

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Fawzia Koofi, Movement for Change in Afghanistan Leader

Fawzia Koofi was a member of the peace negotiation team representing Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Fawzia was elected as the first woman Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament in the history of Afghanistan. She tabled many progressive laws protecting women and children including laws on violence against women, anti-harassment for women and children, and the child act. She promotes women and girls’ education, by advocating for access to good schools, and created opportunities for non-formal education in Badakhshan province. Fawzia holds a bachelor’s degree from Kabul University law and political sciences faculty and her Master on International relations and Human Rights from Geneva School of Diplomacy. In 2021, the Taliban put her under house arrest when they captured Kabul, and she eventually managed to flee Afghanistan. She is now the leader of a newly established political party called Movement for Change in Afghanistan. She continues to lobby for full protection of women’s rights and warns world leaders on the security consequences of ignoring women and people of Afghanistan. She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020.

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Andrea Paras, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Guelph

Andrea Paras is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Guelph. She has conducted research on the history and politics of humanitarianism, including Moral Obligations and Sovereignty in International Relations: A Genealogy of Humanitarianism (Routledge, 2019). Her current SSHRC-funded research investigates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Canada’s foreign aid sector, with a specific focus on how Small and Medium NGOs have adapted to the pandemic. Dr. Paras teaches and supervises in the area of international development, international relations, human rights, religion and politics, community-engaged research, and intercultural competence.

Heather Dicks, PhD Candidate, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador

Heather Dicks is a PhD candidate within the Sociology Department at the Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador; her present research is centered on the nexus between International Development and Migration. Prior to starting her PhD, Heather spent over a decade working in the field of International Development. This included work with the Canadian government, the United Nations, and several non-governmental organizations. Heather is currently working with the University of Guelph as a Research Assistant on a SSHRC-funded research project exploring the impacts of COVID-19 on Small and Medium-sized Organizations working in Canada’s foreign aid sector.

Deena Watson, Indigenous Governance Officer, VIDEA

Deena Watson (she/her) is VIDEA’s Indigenous Governance Officer based on the traditional and unceded lands of the lək̓ʷəŋən People. She is a proud Nêhiyaw, Anishinaabe, and Scottish woman from Mistawasis Nêhiyawak on Treaty 6 territory and Muscowpetung Saulteaux Nation on Treaty 4 territory. Deena is currently finishing her undergraduate degree majoring in Indigenous Studies at the University of Victoria. Her passions revolve around traditional knowledge, holistic wellness, community building, and supporting the intersectionality theory of Indigenous feminisms that practice decolonization, Indigenous sovereignty, and human rights for all Indigenous women and their families.

Marie Meloche, Programs Manager, Jane Goodall Institute of Canada

Marie Meloche works with the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada as the Programs Manager. Marie has worked with grassroots organizations, local and international NGOs in Canada and the Middle East before joining the JGI team in 2018. As the Programs Manager, she supports the implementation of community-centered conservation projects in Africa and Canada. She believes that the key to sustainable development is to build meaningful partnerships with communities and local actors, with women at the center of the locally-led development strategies.

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Morgan Wienberg, Child & Family Advocate, Speaker & Facilitator. Co-Founder & Executive Director, Little Footprints Big Steps

For over a decade, Morgan Wienberg has lived in Haiti, learning valuable lessons about humanitarian aid and international development through first-hand experiences. Originally from Whitehorse, Yukon, Morgan was drawn to Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. In 2011 she co-founded the organization Little Footprints Big Steps, working with local colleagues and authorities to reunite children with their families – and build the self-sufficiency of those families. Through speaking engagements and advocacy work, Morgan strives to raise awareness about the importance of keeping children in their families; other children’s rights issues; and how to ensure international aid is effective. Morgan has spoken at the United Nations Youth Assembly and many other conferences worldwide; her work has been recognized through numerous awards including Canada’s Meritorious Service Cross Medal. www.morganwienberg.com

Amy Lennon, Digital Co-Producer, Not About Me (documentary)

Amy has a degree in journalism, 25+ years’ industry experience and a passion for sharing stories that can ignite social change. Notably, she worked as the lead interactive producer for Knowledge Network (BC’s Public Educational Broadcaster) and a senior producer for CineCoup Media, TELUS Storyhive and CBC funding platforms. Amy has spent much of the last two years creating an educational impact campaign for the independent feature documentary, Not About Me. The initiative provides learning resources to explore ideas on social justice, humanitarian aid and ethical volunteering overseas, with a focus on child rights and family preservation. amylennon.com

Kelly Milner, Producer, Director, Not About Me (documentary)

Kelly grew up in the Yukon and worked across the North as a journalist before getting drawn into land claims implementation and wildlife co-management. For almost two decades she managed NGOs, government programs and projects before coming back to her storytelling roots and starting Shot in the Dark Productions, a media and communications company that creates meaningful impact through storytelling. She is now a producer, director and writer and her documentaries have won numerous national and international awards. Not About Me is her first feature documentary. shotinthedarkmedia.com

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Lili Coyes-Loiselle, Manager of Indigenous Youth Engagement and Reconciliation, VIDEA

Lili (she/her) works at VIDEA as the Manager of Indigenous youth engagement and reconciliation where she is privileged to facilitate and collaborate on a number of VIDEA programs, including the Cwelelep – Journeys From the Heart program, the International Indigenous Youth internships, and the Silenced and Stolen, Human Trafficking Awareness Project. Born and raised on Treaty 6 Territory in Amiskwacîwâskahikan or Edmonton, Alberta, she is a proud member of the Métis Nation of Alberta. Lili is passionate about addressing issues connected to gender inequality, climate justice, colonial violence, and the intersections between them all.

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Sarah Danks, Communication and Fundraising Officer, VIDEA

Sarah Danks is VIDEA’s Communication and Fundraising Officer. She started off with VIDEA as a summer student in 2016. Sarah heads VIDEA’s annual fundraiser, the Global Solidarity Challenge, and is a part of the Education and Engagement team. She also runs VIDEA’s social media. Sarah has her BSc in Psychology with a Minor in Professional Communication from the University of Victoria and she lives on the traditional and unceded territories of the Lək̓ʷəŋən speaking people (also known as Victoria, BC). Sarah is passionate about learning, human rights, photography, and accessibility.

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Christina MacIsaac, Director of Innovation for the Fund of Innovation and Transformation (FIT)

Christina MacIsaac (she/her/elle) brings a wealth of experience to her role as the Director of Innovation for the Fund for Innovation and Transformation. A national innovation initiative of the ICN in support of SMOs, the program launched in 2019. Prior to FIT, Christina worked in community investment with a global insurance company, and engaged extensively with the charitable sector across Canada on issues ranging from psychological health and well-being to social responsibility and sustainability. A past participant of Canada World Youth, Christina is thrilled to be a part of this exciting sector initiative with her enthusiastic team.

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Lorraine Swift, Executive Director, Change for Children (CFC)

Celebrating her 20th anniversary this summer, Lorraine has led CFC through a process of growth and specialization in themes such as technological innovation, renewable energy, gender equality, and Indigenous rights. Prior to working with CFC, Lorraine worked as CUSO Co-operant in Nicaragua for four years promoting territorial rights and self-government with the Miskito and Mayagna indigenous peoples of the BOSAWAS Biosphere Reserve. Lorraine has a bachelor’s degree in Native Studies from the University of Alberta, and previously worked with the Little Red River Cree on cultural cartography and land management research.

Ariane Émond, Independent journalist and facilitator

A seasoned writer and presenter, Ariane Émond was a host, commentator, and reporter with Radio-Canada for 25 years and with Télé-Québec (1974-1987). She was also a columnist at Devoir (1990-1995) and at Alternatives (2001 to 2008). Ariane likewise worked extensively in documentary filmography having received numerous awards for her work in journalism and film. Co-founder of the feminist magazine La Vie en rose (1980-1987), she notably published Les Ponts d’Ariane (VLB), et Les Auberges du coeur : L’art de raccrocher les jeunes (Bayard Canada), in collaboration with the photographer Dominique Lafond. Her interest in cultural and social issues (inequality, discrimination, education, city problematics) resonates throughout her work. As commissioner at the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) from 2008 to 2021, Ariane continued to advocate on matters of public consultation. While also being vice-president of the Théâtre Outremont, she considers herself godmother of the organization 60millionsdefilles.org, having been closely involved with the organization for 15 year, which supports projects aimed at women’s education in areas where they are most marginalized. For the last ten years, Ariane, along with other well-known personalities, has supported the white poppy campaign started by the Collectif Échec à la guerre.

Kevin Lopuck, President, Manitoba Social Sciences Teachers’ Association

Kevin Lopuck, M.Ed. is currently the social studies department head at Lord Selkirk Regional Comprehensive Secondary School in Selkirk, Manitoba. For the past 20 years, he has taught a wide variety of social studies courses in the English and French immersion programs. Kevin obtained his Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Manitoba in 2001 and completed his master’s degree in Education with a focus on curriculum studies in 2018. His thesis was a qualitative, phenomenological work focused on his implementation of the province of Manitoba’s grade 12 Global Issues: Citizenship and Sustainability curriculum. Kevin is the current president of the Manitoba Social Sciences Teachers’ Association and is an executive member of the Social Studies Educators Network of Canada.

Patrice Labelle, Principal, La Mosaïque Elementary School, Toronto

Patrice Labelle holds a bachelor’s degree in preschool and elementary education from UQTR and a graduate degree in school administration from the University of Sherbrooke. He is currently the principal of the French elementary school “La Mosaïque” in Toronto, which is a candidate school for the international network of UNESCO Associated Schools and a certified EcoSchools Canada (platinum) school. Mr. Labelle has more than 30 years of experience in the education sector in Quebec and Ontario. From 2017 to 2020, as principal of the Madeleine-de-Roybon School in Kingston (CEPEO), he contributed through his leadership to the school becoming the first francophone school in Ontario to join the UNESCO Associated Schools Network. With this experience, he has dedicated his recent years to helping students become small citizens sensitive to current global issues and ready to change the world, one action at a time.

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Tamara C. Larson, Educator & National Chair, Peace Literacy Canada

Tamara C Larson is an educator, community leader, mentor, and visionary with a heart for servant leadership. Growing up in a home with a family business, she has developed an entrepreneurial spirit that is reflected in all that she does. As a believer in lifelong learning, Tamara has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Alberta, and a Masters degree in curriculum development from St. Xavier University in Chicago and continues to pursue learning opportunities in all that she does. Human rights and peacebuilding are at the forefront of all that she does. In June 2021, Tamara launched Peace Literacy Canada – a national organization focused on creating peace education for learners of all ages. https://peaceliteracycanada.org. In January 2022, Tamara launched Grow Leaders, a consulting firm that offers inspiring and engaging leadership development experiences for lifelong learners that will continue to build strong communities working in partnership with Peace Literacy Canada. https://growleaders.ca. Tamara was honored to be nominated for the 2021 Tallberg-SNF-Eliasson Global Leadership Prize and awarded Rotary District 5370’s Rotarian of the Year 2017 -2018 for her work as youth chair. Working together, Tamara believes we can achieve positive peace and work that is safe and equitable for all.

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Roy Norris, Learning support teacher with the Louis Riel School Division, Winnipeg

Roy Norris is a father, husband, uncle, cousin, and son. Beyond these critical roles, professionally he supports teachers who are interested in literacy, numeracy, arts education, and educational leadership. As a learning support teacher with the Louis Riel School Division in Winnipeg, Roy supports many teachers and school administrators within the 40 schools of the LRSD. Roy’s research into the ways that secondary teachers think about the future showed that hopeful and optimistic teachers are better positioned to help students to deal with the complexity of our current times. Roy is a graduate of Brandon University, the University of Lethbridge, and the University of Calgary, earning a Doctorate in Education with a focus on Curriculum and Learning in 2017.

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Hannah Slomp, Secondary School Teacher, Vancouver Island

My name is Hannah Slomp. I am a secondary school teacher living on Vancouver Island. I was born in the Netherlands and raised by two very socially conscientious farming parents. My mother was part of starting the first rural Amnesty International chapter in Alberta and I attended write-a-thons from a young age. I was fortunate to be able to travel on a budget in my twenties which fostered a deep love of other cultures in me. Through my Bachelor of Arts, majoring in English, I enjoyed literary works of international authors. My minor in World Religions added a new layer of cultural understanding to my worldview. My subsequent Bachelor of Education allowed me to bring my love of learning, history, literature, and social justice into the classroom. I remind myself regularly of my privilege and how this affects my worldview. Through many wonderful teachers, I continue to learn about systemic racism and gender discrimination, which influences my work in the classroom and daily life.

Jeanne-Marie Rugira, Professor and Researcher in the Department of Psychosociology and Social Work at the University of Québec, Rimouski

Jeanne-Marie Rugira is from Quebec but is from Rwanda originally. She has lived in Rimouski for 29 years where she works currently as a professor and researcher within the Department of Psychosociology and Social Work at the University of Québec. With a doctorate in Education sciences, Jeanne-Marie applies her interests particularly to ethical dilemmas in education in the context of violence and suffering as well as supporting individual and collective resilience development. Her practices, be it teaching, researching, or consulting work within organizations, are based at the crossroads of life stories, somatic education, and a feminist, dialogue-informed, and intercultural approach. Jeanne-Marie is likewise a poet and a committed decolonial feminist.

Rosalinda Hidalgo, Anthropologist and activist in defense of rivers in Mexico and Latin America

Originally from Mexico, having studied rural development, Rosalinda’s work as an activist centers on aiding organizations and grass-root movements in defending their territory from hydroelectric or mining projects through education. Rosalinda was a former member of national networks such as REMA, which focuses on those affected by the mining industry in Mexico, and MAR which aims to help those in defense of their rivers and those impacted by dams. 

Since 2019, she has worked with the Comité des droits humains pour l’Amérique latine of Montreal (CDHAL) and is currently overseeing the organization’s immediate actions and projects. Rosalinda is also a member of the women’s committee with the Temporary Agency Workers Association (TAWA) and is a mother. 

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Thérèse Kulungu Mbungu, President of the World March of Women, Democratic Republic of Congo

Thérèse KULUNGU Mbungu holds a law degree from the University of Kinshasa (UNIKIN); Individual Rights and Judicial Law Specialization and she is a lawyer in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She is also President of the World March of Women in the DR Congo, National Coordinator of the Working Group on Transitional Justice in the DR Congo and, among other civic commitments, is the President of the NGO Encadrement de la Jeune Fille/Femme Désoeuvrées en milieu Rural (EJFR) and RODECOM, a network of community development NGOs. Thérèse has accumulated numerous other accolades and experiences that bear witness to her undeniable commitment to peace and justice. In addition, she works as a consultant at the Fondation Panzi-RDC (2018 Nobel Peace Prize Foundation) which she represented, on their behalf, in Kinshasa in 2018. Also she has worked as coordinator for “Chemin de la paix”, fighting against impunity for international crimes as well as Project Report Mapping. Having experience as the Gender and Administrative Assistant at the Office of Gender Affairs at MONUC, the UN branch located in the DR Congo, Thérèse is an author of many publications and research studies on peace-making, human rights, and transitional justice with her most recent work being entitled “Les piliers de la justice transitionnelle, cas de la RD Congo” (Paris, Villeneuve, Fédération de Femmes pour la paix, 2019).

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Remie Abi-Farrage, Senior Program Officer - Global Programs, Equality Fund

As Program Officer of the Global Programs at the Equality Fund, Remie (she/her) supports the organization’s grantmaking and partner accompaniment strategies. Remie is well-versed in working with social justice, youth, and feminist organizations, with a special focus on the Middle East—a region close to her heart, as she’s originally from Lebanon and has visited and lived in the region for years. Remie is deeply connected to feminist and youth movements globally, with valuable local and international experience in human rights philanthropy, advocacy, programming, and social justice organizing. Remie believes in shifting power through flexible core funding and respecting the autonomy and work of local organizations and groups, as the main implementers, while donor organizations act as facilitators. When not working, you can find Remie exploring in nature with her fur baby, doing yoga, cooking, engaging in a passionate discussion with friends, or binge watching a series on Netflix.

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Amani Aruri, Palestinian women’s rights activist

Amani is a Palestinian women’s rights activist and a member of the UN Women’s Global Youth Task Force on Beijing +25. She
is also a member of the Gender Innovation Program AGORA, and a co-founder and member of Bani-Zaid Youth Council. Amani
holds a Master in Economics from Birzeit University and has managed innovative programs that help youth and women in the
region. Amani’s experiences in conflict affected countries like Palestine contributed to her understanding that engaging more
people, especially girls and women, as peacebuilders and change-makers is necessary in order to prevent and break cycles of
violence, and to achieve peace and justice.

Umair Ahad, Founder, Pamir Canadian Multiculturalism Council

Umair Ahad is the founder of Pamir Canadian Multiculturalism Council Canada, a nonprofit organization giving services in education, environment, project/program management, refugee resettlement, LGBTQ+ and social activism nationally and internationally. Umair is also a former Deputy Director in the Environmental Protection Agency in Pakistan with the Government of Pakistan. He is a Northern Lights Volunteers Award winner from the Government of Alberta. His volunteer work is to educate the community on different issues such as environment, drug addictions, racism, LGBTQ+, human rights, supporting and working on multiculturalism. Umair has an emergency management volunteer role with the Canadian Red Cross (Personal Disaster Assistance PDA Responder) and he is a Peace Ambassador for Canada with Global Peace Chain. Umair is also a member and volunteer with the UN Association of Canada and an International Public Relations Director with Global Alliance Canada.

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Bev Carrick, Executive Director – Embrace International Foundation

Bev Carrick has 45 years international experience working in humanitarian relief, post-conflict rehabilitation and sustainable development programming. Her overseas experience has been focussed on Central America and Africa. In 1984 Bev co-founded CAUSE Canada, where she worked for 36 years. Bev’s educational background is in public health (BScN) and leadership (MA) although she also has significant experience in Education, Gender & Microfinance. Bev and her husband co-founded Embrace International Foundation (Embrace) in 2017. The organization focuses on maximizing the potential of children living with disabilities. Embrace is currently conducting research in Uganda through a Fund for Innovation and Transformation grant. The project is measuring the impact of E-Learning on rural Ugandan students.

Asa Coleman, Master’s Student, Political Science, University of Guelph

Asa Coleman (he/him) is a Master’s student pursuing a degree in Political Science at the University of Guelph. His area of specialization is International Development, with his research focusing on education in the Inuit community of Nunatsiavut.

Bill Fairbairn, Latin America Program Manager, Inter Pares

Bill Fairbairn is a graduate of the University of Guelph where he specialized in international development and French literature. He became deeply involved with solidarity work after spending time with Argentinian and Chilean refugees fleeing the military regimes in their countries in the late 1970’s and studying in Guatemala in the early 1980s during the Lucas Garcia dictatorship. Since then, his work has largely focused on the defense of human rights in Latin America and the promotion of Canadian solidarity. He has worked with the Inter-Church Committee on Human Rights in Latin America (ICCHRLA), KAIROS, York University’s Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC) and Horizons of Friendship. Bill joined the staff at Inter Pares in 2011 and is part of the Latin America team with main responsibilities for Inter Pares’ work in Peru and Colombia. Bill has taken part in many electoral observer missions and led various fact-finding missions to a number of countries in Latin America. He is the author of numerous human rights reports. Bill has also worked as a volunteer with several organizations including the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT) and Peace Brigades International-Canada (PBI), serving as the latter’s representative on PBI’s International Council.

Rachel Barr, Head of Youth Opportunities and Leadership, VIDEA

Rachel Barr is VIDEA’s Head of Youth Opportunities and Leadership – she lives on the traditional lands of the Lekwungen speaking peoples with her dying plants, which she just can’t manage to keep alive. Rachel became part of the VIDEA family in 2015 as an IYIP intern and joined as a staff member in 2018. She is a collaborator on a number of VIDEA programs, including the International Indigenous Youth internships and the Journey from the Heart programming. Rachel feels lucky to work within a local and international context, alongside her friends, colleagues, and partner organizations, who are always teaching her new things about the global issues that connect us all. You can catch Rachel listening to reggae and knowing everything is trending on TikTok… pop culture references are her speciality.

Raymond Legault
Raymond Legault, Spokesperson for Collectif Échec à la guerre

Currently retired from teaching computing at the Cégep level, Raymond Legault has always been interested in global affairs concerning justice and peace, in particular in the Middle-East. Preoccupied with the often negative role Canada occupies on the international stage – despite trying to cultivate an image of benevolence – Raymond has notably applied himself to actions of solidarity with the people of Palestine and Iraq. He has been a spokesperson for Collectif Échec à la guerre since its creation in the fall of 2002.

Sabrina Lefebvre, Teacher, La Mosaïque School, Ontario

My experience as a teacher in France and Ontario has enriched my view of education by combining complementary approaches. As a mother of three daughters, my vision of education is to awaken the curiosity, expression, well-being and respect of each child and of nature. Guiding each child to blossom, to gain confidence in their abilities in a rich and warm classroom environment is the heart of my daily exchange with the children.

Catherine Durot, Teacher, La Mosaïque School, Ontario

Catherine Durot began her professional career as a technical writer and translator in France, before branching out into teaching. Her dual training in teaching, first in France and then in Ontario, allowed her to appreciate the difference between the two approaches and to discover her vocation and passion: teaching as a complete discipline that aims to develop both knowledge and skills. Catherine worked for the Conseil scolaire catholique Mon Avenir in Toronto for 10 years, before joining the Conseil scolaire Viamonde in 2017. In her spare time, Catherine is a member of an adult francophone vocal ensemble in the Toronto area, and also facilitates the elementary choir at her school.

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Tanya St-Jacques, Teacher, CSSMB Enfants-du-Monde School, Montreal (LL.B., B.A., B.Ed.)

I am a full-time teacher at the CSSMB Enfants-du-Monde school in Montreal. I teach 2nd-grade students. In addition, I am the instigator of the NPO Le Choeur des Altruistes which is an apolitical and altruistic collective of volunteers and committed citizens on four continents. It is managed by a board of directors whose mission is to reach people’s hearts through its actions.

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Yvette Jean-Jacques, Principal and Educator, Echo Dene School, Fort Liard, Northwest Territories

Yvette Sasha Jean-Jacques is a principal at Echo Dene School of The Dehcho Divisional Education Council. She is a Haitian-born immigrant raised in Calgary Alberta. Yvette received her B.Ed from the University of Alberta, Master in Leadership from the University of Gonzaga, and Graduate Diploma in School Leadership from the University of Alberta. Her Vision is to unapologetically re-center Indigenous knowledge. She aims to create engaging learning experiences through a culturally responsive framework. In addition, she has worked to decolonize the educational system for the past four years. She has developed various Land-Based learning courses. Most recently, she developed a culturally relevant visual composition curriculum that she is currently teaching to her students and conducted at other schools in the district. In July, she will be the new Curriculum Coordinator at the District Board Office, allowing her to shift pedagogies, transform curriculum using a Land-based learning model, and influence policy toward empowering Indigenous students. She seeks to remove academic achievement barriers and end hidden intergenerational traumas they experience.

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Dr. Robin Neustaeter, Assistant Professor of Adult Education, St. Francis Xavier University

Robin Neustaeter is an Assistant Professor of Adult Education at St. Francis Xavier University and Teaching Staff at Coady Institute. Her teaching focuses on peacebuilding, conflict transformation, adult education, women’s leadership, and community development. She leads Coady’s peacebuilding programming. Her research focuses on women’s peacebuilding leadership learning and asset-based citizen-led peacebuilding. Robin brings 20 years of experience in community education and organizing for peace, community development and social justice in countries around the world.

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Gabrielle Rogers, Classroom Teacher and GSA Coordinator

Gabrielle (She/her/elle) is a high school teacher on Mi’kmaw territory in Riverview, New Brunswick. She teaches French, Social Studies and an interdisciplinary program. She is the teacher coordinator for the school’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance and works on several projects related to diversity and inclusion. She is the New Brunswick representative for Canadian Geographic Education. Gabrielle is passionate about creating safe, affirming school environments for all youth. She also enjoys cooking, fermenting and gardening.

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Jessica Rumboldt, Professor, Criminal Justice - Bachelor of Social Science - Faculty of Social and Community Services, Humber Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning

Jessica Rumboldt (she/her) is in the final stages of completing a Ph.D. in Gender, Feminist, and Women’s Studies at York University. Jessica has obtained a master’s degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice Policy at the University of Guelph. She has also completed a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Criminal Justice and Public Policy (with minors in Sociology and Family Studies), and a Diploma in Psychology. Stemming from her passion to teach, Jessica has also completed a master certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Applying her educational background in criminology and sociology, Jessica’s Ph.D. research explores the systemic sexism and racism in a homicide trial involving an Indigenous woman who is a sex worker and victim of a homicide. Jessica has worked in non-profit organizations, government, and post-secondary settings and received the 2017 Lieutenant Governor’s Visionaries Prize for Reconciliation. Jessica hopes to further explore her Mi’kmaq ancestry and connect with the community in a meaningful way through professional and personal experiences.

Julie Descheneaux, Doctoral Student in Sexology, Université du Québec à Montréal

Julie Descheneaux is a doctoral student in sexology at the Université du Québec à Montréal. She is a sexuality educator for children, adolescents, and young adults. She specializes in the development and implementation of programs for positive and inclusive sexuality. In addition, she has been involved in the development of professional skills for sexologists and teachers since 2017, including teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in sexology at UQAM.

Nichelle Penney, Secondary Social Studies Teacher, unceded territory of the Secwépemc people (Kamloops, British Columbia)

Nichelle Penney (she/her) is a Secondary Social Studies teacher on the unceded territory of the Secwépemc people, colonially known as Kamloops, and has been teaching for nine years. As a straight, cisgender settler, she is committed to infusing Indigenous and Queer content into all courses and has recently completed her Masters in Education in Curriculum and Instruction, in which her final project was a creation of a Queer inclusive sexual health program for high schools. Nichelle is also an active member in her community and union, volunteering locally with Kamloops Pride, and working provincially to advocate for disability justice.

Oscar Benavides Calvachi,  General Coordinator, Projet accompagnement Québec-Guatemala (PAQG)

Colombian, a lawyer by profession, and a specialist in human rights and gender studies, Oscar Benavides-Calvachi has dedicated his entire professional career to the defense of human rights across diverse institutions and experiences on the local, national, and international scale. From his wide range of expertise, Oscar has worked as a coordinator with the office of Life, Justice, and Peace – Human Rights of the Dioceses of Pasto in Colombia ; provided legal support and aid to organizations helping victims of forced displacement and women; piloted and implemented a program promoting peace and supporting women affected by domestic abuse in Brazil; and assured the continued work of an agency focused on international development in Mexico by providing legal representation.

Since 2020, Oscar works as the General Coordinator of the Projet accompagnement Québec-Guatemala (PAQG), an organization based on solidarity and volunteer activists of human rights, whose mission consists of encouraging support for Guatemalan defenders of civil rights, political rights, social rights, cultural rights, and economic rights as well as for those who are victims of abuse. In Quebec, PAQG implements programs to increase awareness on the issues at hand in the interest of international solidarity to promote action and engagement.

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Libertad Benito Torres, Gender Advisor, Equitas

Libertad joined the Equitas team in March 2020 as a gender advisor. She recently worked for the Center for International Studies and Cooperation as well as for World University Service Canada as Regional Advisor on Gender and Social Inclusion, where she developed great expertise in capacity building in gender mainstreaming and the intersectional approach. She is a graduate in Political Science and Law and holds a Master’s degree in International Relations and Women’s Studies. She strongly believes in social justice and gender equality!

Rebecca Chin
Rebecca Chin, Technical and Innovation Program Officer, Fund for Innovation and Transformation (FIT)

Rebecca Chin has been with the Fund for Innovation and Transformation since the launch of the program in 2019 and has been supporting the program and funded SMOs with their innovation testing in the Global South. Rebecca has a background in Bioresource Engineering (B.Eng, M.Sc. in Eng.) and a minor in International Development Studies. She combined her interests in agriculture and international development and interned and studied in India, Senegal, The Gambia and Benin working on and promoting improved cookstoves, agroecological practices, post-harvest processing and technology transfer.

Dr. Kenneth Deer, Indigenous Rights Activist and Chief Officer, International Indigenous Association

For the last 20 years, Dr. Kenneth Atsenhaienton Deer has worked as a political activist and newspaper publisher and editor of the weekly newspaper The Eastern Door. Giving the community a balanced platform of information they could depend on. Kenneth was on the Board of Directors for the Quebec Community Newspapers Association. Using his own community based in Kahnawake, he has engaged and educated business people and international communities on Indigenous Peoples’ Human Rights. Mr. Deer’s involvement in the Indigenous people’s international movement led him to the United Nations in Geneva. In December of 2000, he served as the Chairman/Rapporteur of the UN Workshop on Indigenous Media in New York. Mr. Deer was one of the first Indigenous people to ever hold this role in the UN. He was an active participant at the meetings of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations since 1987; and the UN Working Group on the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples since 1995. Having spent over 16 years in the educational sector, he has been a school counselor, high school principal as well as co-chair of the National Indian Education Council in Canada.

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Danica Derksen, Teacher & Member of the Conference Advisory Committee

Danica Derksen is a Grade 8 Humanities teacher in Calgary, Alberta. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Social and Cultural
Anthropology and International Development Studies from the University of Calgary. Danica is a lifelong activist who seeks
to empower others, she is passionate about making a difference wherever she finds herself. Danica is currently working on a student-led mural project about Indigenous Reconciliation.

Javier Antonio Escamilla Hernandez
Javier Antonio Escamilla Hernandez, Global Citizenship Education Officer, Comité de solidarité - Trois-Rivières, Educator, and Multidisciplinary Artist

Multidisciplinary artist and cultural mediator, originally from Colombia, he has been living in Quebec since 2002. He graduated in plastic arts at UQTR and in education in Colombia. He promotes and participates in participatory artistic creation projects and intercultural exchanges with communities, organizations and educational institutions in the region and internationally. He considers his artistic work as an approach to the power of art in contemporary society in the construction of a living and participatory culture. His works encourage reflection on the contemporary world, individual, as well as collective and social responsibility. Her artistic projects link art, education and culture by allowing citizen participation in the process of artistic creation.
Recipient of several awards and grants in Quebec and Canada. Awarded by Les Arts et la Ville and the Conseil des arts du
Québec as artist in the community 2018.

Gisèle Eva-Côté, Senior Gender and Social Inclusion Specialist, IMPACT

Gisèle leads IMPACT’s gender work, developing, implementing, and overseeing gender equality strategies in consultation with local communities. She trains staff members, stakeholders, and community groups on women’s rights. Gisèle also leads our research on gender and liaises with stakeholders to develop recommendations on women’s empowerment in the extractive industry for policymakers at all levels of government. Gisèle has over 25 years of international experience, including designing and managing projects that address human rights, women’s rights, and indigenous rights, as well as rights to land and natural resources. She is skilled in program evaluation and alliance building and has extensive field experience with grassroots and non-
profit organizations in Latin America and Africa (in particular, in Democratic Republic of Congo). Gisèle’s research has focused on crimes of sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict contexts and examining mining issues through a gender lens.

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Peter Friedrichsen, Spur Change Youth Champion, Saskatchewan

Peter Friedrichsen (he/him/il) is the General Manager of the Prince Albert Model Forest Association (PAMF) living in kistapinânihk, or Prince Albert, Saskatchewan (Treaty 6, Homeland of the Métis and the Dakota). His work includes supporting community-led research in Saskatchewan’s northern forest communities, and engaging local youth in environmental stewardship and land-based education. He is a cis-male gay man who is actively engaged in the small but mighty queer community in north-central Saskatchewan.

Arshpreet Gill
Arshpreet Gill, Spur Change Youth Champion, Manitoba

Arshpreet Gill studies at the University of Manitoba. While studying, he works part time at a local law firm in Winnipeg, and at a
local MLA’s constituency office. In his free time Arshpreet is working towards studying International Law and trying to accomplish
his bucket list such as getting a motorcycle license, learning to fly, and saving money to travel. Arshpreet strongly believes that
there needs to be selfless global leadership to solve our current global issues. Arshpreet’s career plans are to work for the UN and
Global Affairs Canada to help and work with global citizens to find and implement the solutions to the global issues.

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Yogesh Ghore, Strategic Partnerships Advisor, Coady Institute, St. Francis Xavier University

Yogesh Ghore leads the Inclusive Economies thematic area at the Coady Institute where he provides leadership to its educational
programs, research initiatives, and capacity strengthening efforts globally. He also offers strategic and thought leadership to
Coady’s partnerships initiatives with a range of global partners, including linking them with the small and medium organizations
(SMOs) in Canada. As a practitioner and educator Yogesh has over 20 years’ experience working in South, East and Central Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and North America. His current research and capacity strengthening work focuses on market systems/value chain development, gender and social inclusion, social enterprise, and future of work and workers. Recipient of several awards and grants in Quebec and Canada. Awarded by Les Arts et la Ville and the Conseil des arts du
Québec as artist in the community 2018.

Isabelle Hachette, Program Manager, World Accord

Isabelle Hachette has over twenty years’ experience working on international development and emergency relief programs in
countries of Africa and South-East Asia, the Caribbean and more recently in Central America. She has worked with international
non-governmental organizations (INGOs), United Nations agencies as well as the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. She
collaborated in the creation and implementation of community mobilization projects that integrated gender and community health components. She has Bachelor degrees in Education and Political Sciences, a Certificate in Journalism as well as a Masters in International Development. Isabelle joined the World Accord (WA) team in 2015. She brought her experience in monitoring and
evaluation as well as project coordination and her knowledge of international development issues to the Program Coordinator role
at this small NGO based in Ottawa. Isabelle, now as manager with WA, is contributing to strengthen their partners’ capacities
and build new partnerships in Canada. She is also looking at how the climate crisis is impacting partners’ participants, particularly
women and girls, and how all crises are affecting the achievement of their programs’ goals. Presently, WA has three partners
based in three countries in Central America and one in Nepal. All four focus mainly on sustainable agriculture with agro-ecology and forestry as well as human rights with prevention of sexual and gender based violence.

Photo by Alistair Maitland Photography
Skaydu.û Jules, Spur Change Youth Champion, Teslin Tlingit Council First Nations, Yukon Territory

Skaydu.û yu xhut duwasakh, Autum Jules dlet ka xanaxh. My Tlingit name is Skaydu.û and my English name is Autum Jules.
Daxhlawedi I ya xhut. I belong to the eagle clan. I am from the Teslin Tlingit Council First Nations in the Yukon Territory. I was lucky
to grow up living off the land and water, harvesting berries and medicines, and subsistence hunting and fishing on my first nations traditional territory. I was taught by my elders at a young age how important environmental protection, equality, and respect
is to the prosperity of all living things on this earth. The quote that guides me is, “who speaks for the ones who can’t speak for
themselves?” I work for the Teslin Tlingit Council Heritage Department and am passionate about learning and teaching my First Nation language, Tlingit. I have completed a fashion design diploma and the Coady Institute’s Indigenous Women in Community Leadership Program. I was fortunate to participate in both the City of Whitehorse’s exchange program in Japan and the
International Internship for Indigenous Youth Program in Cambodia. I hope to show future generations that anything is possible if
you put your mind and heart to it.

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Andréanne Martel, Spur Change National Program Director

Andréanne Martel is the national director of Spur Change, a program of the Inter-Council Network (ICN) funded by Global Affairs Canada. Prior to joining the Spur Change team, she was the lead of the Next Generation: Collaboration for Development program,
a joint initiative between Cooperation Canada and the Canadian Association for the Study of International Development (CASID)
aiming to foster better collaboration between practitioners and academics in the Canadian global development sector. She held a Research Award position in the Policy and Evaluation Division at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) where she led a research on survivor-centric approach for survivors of sexual violence. She conducted programs evaluation for post-earthquake projects and programs implemented in Haiti by humanitarian NGOs and international organizations.

Sarah Newton, Teacher, Begbie View Elementary

I am a Grade 5 teacher in British Columbia, on the territory of the Sinixt, Secwepemc, Sylix, and Ktunaxa First Nations, in
Revelstoke. I worked for nine years in Fort St. James, in the Carrier Sekani Nation. I was born in Halifax, territory of the Mi’kmaq
First Nations, to the parents of Italian and English immigrants. I have volunteered in West Africa, Myanmar, and France. I strive
to enable students to be forces for good. As a volunteer with the BC Teachers’ Federation, I work with the Environmental Justice
group on the Committee for Action on Social Justice. My passion is unpacking privilege and making student activists. Currently I
am a grade 5 teacher and in my own time I am involved with a 10 month blockade to stop old growth logging in the last inland
temperate rainforest in the world, and core habitat of the critically endangered mountain caribou.

Dr. Shawna Novak, Executive Director, CISEPO

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.

Jessica Ramos, Union activist and social leader, activist and worker at the Comité pour les droits humains en Amérique Latine (CDHAL)

She was born in Bogotá, Colombia in 1989. She obtained a degree in social sciences at the National Pedagogical University of
Colombia. She is a public policy specialist for Latin America at CLACSO and holds a postgraduate degree in university teaching.
Militant and worker of the CDHAL Committee for Human Rights in Latin America, Militant of the Colombian Communist Party. Professor of History and Philosophy. Some of her published texts: Social Memory and Recent History as Key to the Political Claim of the Patriotic Union, Pages of Our America Magazine 2013. We Will Not Change the Gun for a Pan, The Voice of the People
Newspaper 2016. Women Weavers: Alternatives to the plundering system with Yira Urzola, young Colombian social leader, CAMINANDO magazine vole.33, 2018.

Richard Rudashama
Richard Rudashama, Animator, Development and Peace - Caritas-Canada

Richard Rudashama did his University studies in the Economics, Management and Administration option. He then completed them with various training courses and certificates, particularly in Management, Monitoring and Evaluation of projects and programs, in organizational development as well as in advocacy strategies. Mr. Rudashama has several years of experience in the field of development cooperation and international solidarity. For more than 10 years, with various international organizations, he has accompanied and supported development partners and agents of change in post-conflict and/or fragile countries such as Burundi, the DRC and Rwanda. He is particularly interested in the issues and the solutions to be implemented in terms of sustainable development, the defense of human rights, governance, support for citizen participation and political action. For 3 years, Richard Rudashama has been an animator with Development and Peace – Caritas-Canada. In this capacity, he is responsible for campaigns, mobilization and partnerships for Western Quebec and Eastern Ontario.

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Olena Suslova, Founder, Women’s Information Consultative Center, Ukraine

Olena Suslova is a human rights and gender specialist and researcher with more than 25-year experience of gender advising and policy development. Olena is a founder of Women’s Information Consultative Center; she worked with UN Women, US AID, CIDA/GAC, amd other donors on reforming the security and defense sector gender policies and gender mainstreaming. She is a contributing author of several key analytical and strategic papers, including Human Resources Management – Gender Analysis for the Border Guard Service, Gender Audit of the Ukraine HIV Strategy, Gender Audit of the Ministry on Foreign Affairs, Women as Agents of Change, Peace Building and Conflict Prevention – Mapping of Implementation 1325 NAP in Ukraine, Feasibility study
on gender mainstreaming in security and defense sector’s universities, and others. Olena is a member of the NATO Civil Society
Advisory Panel on Women, Peace and Security. Olena Suslova has around 50 publications on gender issues; she holds a Master’s
degree in international law.

Utthara Wanigasekara, Youth Champions Program, Ontario

I am Utthara Wanigasekara, born in 1993, originally from Sri Lanka. I completed my Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations.
Currently a post graduate of Centennial College specialized in International Development. As an International Relations scholar my
main focus fields of study were SDGs, human security, and peace building. I have done research on the above fields. I served as
the cultural ambassador to the United States of America where I got opportunity work for many volunteer organizations on human
rights, reconciliation and peace building portfolio and also to work with senior administrations.

Murwarid Ziayee, Senior Director, Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan

Murwarid Ziayee is responsible for program management, and supporting public engagement outreach and fund development.
Murwarid has a BA in Political Science and Law from Kabul University. She has over two decades experience working with
various national and international organizations in Afghanistan on policy development, program design and management. Her
focus is on gender equality, human rights and women’s empowerment. Before joining CW4WAfghan, she worked with the
United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan as a National Gender Affairs Officer and later as a National Human Rights
Officer. She has worked closely with the Afghan Ministry of Women’s Affairs and served the Afghan Office of the President as
Program Officer with a focus on women’s rights issues. She is a leader and advocate for women’s rights and the recipient of the
CW4WAfghan Champion for Education Award (2015). This award is in recognition of her many achievements, her dedication,
knowledge and passion for advancing education for Afghan women and girls.

Inter-Council Network-Réseau de coordination des conseils