Global Citizens Forum
Workshop Descriptions | Keynote Presenters | International Partners | Workshop Speakers
GCF Thursday Timetable GCF Friday Timetable *Information and time subject to change

Keynote Presenters

Jennifer Corriero

Jennifer Corriero Named by the World Economic Forum as a ‘Young Global Leader’, Jennifer Corriero is a Canadian innovator, bringing tremendous insight into understanding, reaching and engaging youth. Jennifer is co-founder and Executive Director of TakingITGlobal, a non-profit organization that has thrived for over a decade. She has her Masters in Environmental Studies and serves as Adjunct Professor with the Faculty of Health at York University where she helped to design a course titled Agents of Change in a Global World. Jennifer has been a judge for a range of awards including the World Summit Youth Award, 2011 TD Scholarship for Community Leadership Award and 2010 Buckminister Fuller Challenge. In 2003, Jennifer was a member of the Official Canadian Government Delegation to the World Summit on the Information Society. She has traveled to over 30 countries, presenting at conferences and supporting civil society engagement. In 2011, Jennifer served as a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Youth Unemployment.

Rita Karakas

Rita Karakas Ms. Karakas has over 30 years of global experience in both the government and non-government sector. Over the years, Ms. Karakas has specialized in developing solid strategies for policy development, advocacy, international program development and communications. She has a substantive track record as a determined and conscientious senior executive and has demonstrated her ability to bring about continual and recognizable transformation at Centennial College, Save the Children Canada, the YWCA of/du Canada, TVOntario, and other non-governmental organizations such as Oxfam International and Oxfam Great Britain. Ms. Karakas was also the principal and managing partner of RSK Associates Inc., an international organizational development practice specializing in non-governmental organizations. She has worked extensively with global clients such as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the Australian Government’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Council, Oxfam Australia and Oxfam Quebec. She has served as an independent Director for Green Shield Canada from 1988 to 2007.

International Partners

The following international partners join us as special guests of the Global Citizens Forum 2013, nominated by OCIC member organizations and selected by our Steering Committee through a competitive and inclusive review process. Please join us in welcoming:

Sarah Wambui Itambo

As a young urban farmer and a small-scale agri-entrepreneur, Sarah passion for farming began as a young girl. After completing her studies in Hospitality at Kenyan training institutes and Urban Agriculture at Mazingira Institute, she went on to participate in an internship with the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA). There, she gained the knowledge she would put into practice developing her own urban farming plan, which is currently flourishing and providing employment for other young adults. To learn more about Sarah’s work check out Rooftops Canada video Changing Lives – Urban Farmers of Nairobi.

Madeline Mendoza

With a diverse background in the development sector within Nicaragua, Medeline strongly believes in the importance of participatory methodologies and the need to supporting grass-roots organizations. She has also worked as a researcher on global economic justice issues with a focus on Nicaraguan social movements. Medeline’s other areas of focus include: development aid, the “real life” effects of free trade agreements, climate change, and climate justice.

Dario Merlo

Dario Merlo is the project coordinator for JGI’s community-centered conservation programs in the DRC. These programs are a holistic approach to conservation, where he works closely with community leaders at all levels, and youth leaders to build the community’s capacity for conservation. Before joining the Institute, Dario worked as a project assistant for the North Kivu Farmer’s Association, where he managed rural development programs including the construction of roads and the establishment of a cheese factory. Furthermore, he was a high school history teacher in Brussels, Belgium, before moving back home to the DRC in 2005.

Layton Shaw

Currently a Tavares Gardens Primary School Guidance Counselor and Drama Coordinator, Layton works to bring about positive change in the lives his community through creative self-esteem and behaviour modification programs. Jamaican Self-Help has been proud to support effective models of education for youth in inner-city communities for many years and has worked with Tavares Gardens Primary School since 2007. Layton holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Guidance and Counseling from the Mico University College in Kingston, Jamaica.

Workshop Descriptions

Thursday | Friday


Round One – 11:00am – 12:30pm

1A) Harnessing the youth voice: using Letters to the Editor to influence political and public opinion for social justice. Speaker: Roshelle Filart – RESULTS Canada Despite the surge in popularity in social media and online movements among young people, letters to the editor remain a potent tool of social justice advocates. With numerous publications about proven, cost-effective solutions that address extreme global poverty, participants in this workshop will hone their own persuasive writing skills using a simple EPIC format (Engage audience, state Problem, Inform about a solution, Call to action) to increase their chances for publication. 1B) Convening Learning and Community Spaces for Social Change in the 21st Century. Speaker: Anna Smith – Engineers without Borders Canada The 21st century demands different learning and community spaces, and by consequence, the spaces we convene must reflect a 21st century understanding of how individuals learn, collaborate, and communicate. 21st Century Learning Theory and the Art of Convening provide us with new approaches to challenge our traditional models of education and engagement. This workshop will guide delegates through an exploration of how we traditionally understand learning spaces, and why those can often fall short. 1C) PANEL: Exploring Youth Employment Models Speakers:

Riaz Nathu – Aga Khan Foundation Canada

Nadine Grant – Plan Canada Expanding Youth Employability: Lessons and Tools from Northern Pakistan. This workshop will engage participants in a discussion on the experience of constructing and implementing tools to understand local realities and opportunities for youth employment. The workshop pulls on examples from the Enhancing Employability and Leadership for Youth (EELY) project, supported by the Government of Canada, and implemented by the Aga Khan Foundation in Northern Pakistan. The EELY project seeks to contribute to sustainable improvements for youth in Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral (GBC) through two complementary components: youth employability and youth participation as leaders. Participants of this workshop can expect to gain an understanding in designing and carrying out a youth-centered LMA and engage in youth employment strategy development. Livelihood Advancement Business School (LABS) Model – The purpose of this workshop is to share the experience of Livelihood Advancement Business School (LABS) model that Plan has adopted and implemented for youth economic empowerment in Asia. Plan recognizes that in order for children to fulfil their potential they need to be prepared to become economically active adults. LABS was developed to address the needs of youth who are constrained by low income levels, inadequate skills, and lack of access to opportunities for training and development. It was adopted by Plan as a model for Youth Economic Empowerment programs and has piloted the program in a number of countries in Asia (Indonesia, India and Vietnam) with different levels of success. This workshop/presentation will share a model that has been using in the pilot projects as well as some of the current youth employability skills development projects.Participants in this workshop will be provided with a brief description of a village setting (e.g. Ifakara in Tanzania) to help them understand economy, youth profile, challenges, and opportunities. Three groups will be formed and asked to come up with modifications to the LABS model that could be relevant to support youth in rural areas.

Lunch Speaker

Poonam Sandhu – United Nation Environmental Programme In February 2003, the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) adopted a long-term strategy, entitled Tunza, for engaging young people in environmental activities and in the work of UNEP. The word “Tunza” means “to treat with care or affection” in Kiswahili (a sub-regional language of Eastern Africa). UNEP’s vision for this strategy is to foster a generation of environmentally conscious citizens capable of positive action through capacity building, environmental awareness, and information exchange. Learn more about the Tunza Youth Strategy here. Join Poonam Sandhu – Youth Fellow for UNEP’s Regional Office for North America (RONA) over lunch to learn more about TunzaNA. TunzaNA is the Tunza network specific to youth in North America. Founded in 2008 by UNEP RONA, TunzaNA highlights the environmental work of North American youth on regional, national and international platforms.

Round Two – 1:30 – 2:45pm

2A) Leading the Way: Inner city youths from Miami and Kingston empowered to lead and drive change in their communities. Speaker: Novia M McKay – RISE Life Management Services Using case studies of individuals and projects which have fuelled positive changes in impoverished communities in Kingston, Jamaica and Miami, Florida, this workshop will highlight the RISE Youth Leadership and Training Program, the Sex Ed: Best Said Project, and the NVP Club Project, highlighting effective youth engagement, youth leadership and an overall community development from the perspective of nonprofit agencies and youth workers. 2B) Creativity. Collaboration. Community.: Supporting Youth Arts. Speaker: May El-Abdallah – Arts Reach When young people are equipped with the skills and resources needed to create change in their communities on their own terms, amazing things can happen. This presentation outlines different models of youth work: unincorporated groups (youth organizers); incorporated nonprofit organizations; charitable organizations; intermediary organizations; and social enterprise. Each model of youth work is defined, followed by steps on how to make it happen, including: the benefits, limits and where to find more information on the particular model. ArtReach’s own model and transformation over the years will be used an illustrative example. 2C) PANEL: Working with Youth in Substitute Care and Homeless Youth: Case Studies Speakers:

Irwin Elman – Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth

Zahra T. Esmail – Eva’s Phoenix Building Relationships Between Youth In Substitute Care – Global Possibilities. Children and youth in substitute care – those separated from their parents and often family through no fault of their own but due to the inability of their caregivers and family to care for them – have a commonality of experience the world over. How can this affinity with one another support a reclaiming of voice, provide a source of wisdom for decision makers, and assist others in similar situations? What ways have young people in substitute care used, and been supported to use, to join across borders for change? What are ways forward? Integrated Support for Homeless Youth – Exploring Overseas Replicability of a Successful Canadian Model. This workshop provides a detailed overview of Eva’s Phoenix – a non-traditional shelter that offers employment programs and housing to homeless and at-risk youth aged 16-24 – and considers the suitability of the Phoenix model in other settings, both within Canada and in developing countries. Participants will learn about the mandate of Phoenix, the cornerstone of which is providing a holistic web of supports to youth including housing, life skills, and employment training. The unique integration of the Phoenix Print Shop, a successful social enterprise, will be examined, along with lessons that have been learned since the inception of Eva’s Phoenix.

Round Three – 3:00 – 4:30pm

3A) Popular Economics & Popular Education Speaker: Mandy Bergman and Deborah Konecny – Catalyst Centre Youth have untapped resources in the stories they have heard about their communities and how they have flourished through practices like paid jobs, subsistence farming and gift economies. Through personal reflection, group dialogue and the interactive tool “jobology”, this workshop will uncover some patterns in how our families and communities have survived and even flourished. Using these emerging themes we will brainstorm some actions to take immediately and some longer-term actions to bring home. 3B) PANEL: The Digital Advance & 21st Century Learning Speakers:

Sara Hassan – TakingITGlobal

Aniket Bhushan – North – South Institute Kate Gatto – International Development and Relief Foundation: IDRF Building Future Friendly Schools through The Use of Collaborative Technology. Today’s global challenges require that youth develop global awareness, environmental responsibility, and the drive and capacity to take on critical leadership roles. For schools to be future-friendly, each of these areas must occupy a critical space in the classroom. Through this presentation, participants will explore the concept of future friendly schools through the lens of global citizenship, environmental stewardship, and student voice, how to incorporate these into teaching and learning through the use of collaborative online technologies, social networking and digital media tools, and leave with tangible concepts to bring to their practice. Introducing the Canadian International Development Platform: Leveraging Open Data for Development Impact. Through this panel presentation and interactive session to follow, Aniket Bhushan, the creator and lead of the CIDP, will introduce the platform and demonstrate how users can interact with, analyze and download data on Canada’s engagement with developing countries, encompassing Canada’s over $5billion a year aid program and other areas such as trade and investment. One of the key motivations behind the CIDP is to engage a new demographic of Canadians in an interactive, technology-enabled dialogue on how they would like to see Canada rise to global challenges such as poverty reduction and sustainable economic development. In this regard the CIDP is a tool that can, and is, being used in universities and classrooms. Through the panel presentation Aniket will discuss how the open data movement in the international development sector in Canada is growing rapidly. He will talk about recent and forthcoming initiatives by NSI and NSI’s partners in the open data space, and suggest ways young Canadians can get more involved in the same. Licensed to Learn Peer-to-Peer Mentorship Program. L2L (Licensed to Learn) is a Toronto-based program that trains student tutors to provide support and mentorship to other students at their schools who struggle academically. Tutoring is provided at no cost to students, and is proven to benefit youth by improving academic success among those being tutored, by fostering the development of leadership skills among tutors, and by nurturing positive relationships that make up vibrant and inclusive school communities. During this panel presentation, the topic of 21st Century skill development in the L2L program will be explored. What do these skills look like in peer-to-peer support, and how can we foster further engagement in our schools by tapping into this under-used model? 3C) PANEL: Youth-Led Program Case Studies Speakers: Craig Frayne – Horizons of Friendship Shaunna Burton – Plan Canada Fostering youth identity and inclusion in Central America. Youth, the drivers of development and change, are often uprooted from communities. Nowhere is this more evident than rural-urban migration in Latin America, or the route from Central America and Mexico into the U.S. This workshop will outline the socio-political context in Central America and why partners in the field have made youth participation (through skills training and creative arts) a priority in their communities. The presentation will include brief case studies of innovative projects in the field and insight into possible new projects that address the topics of youth and migration. Empowering Girls for Global Change. Because I am a Girl clubs are an initiative from Plan Canada, supported by the Because I am a Girl movement. The clubs offer girls across Canada the opportunity to explore issues that matter to girls here and in the developing world. Aiming to empower girls to support one another and stand up for the rights of girls in Canada and around the world, the clubs are designed to be youth-led, youth-driven and adult or educator mentored. Plan Canada will present an overview of our innovative program, provide youth engagement activity ideas, and discuss some club highlights, which have included lobbying the United Nations to formally adopt October 11 as the International Day of the Girl.


Round Four – 10:30 – 12:00pm

4A) Unpacking Global Youth Connections. Speakers: Sara Hsiao Cari Bourrie Dario Merlo – Jane Goodall Institute This workshop will share the Jane Goodall Institute’s experience in trying to create a global youth movement with their various partners around the world, through the “Roots & Shoots” youth engagement program, as well as build understanding and unpack the way we currently engage in ‘cultural exchanges’ for youth . We will also identify challenges faced by workshop participants in their experiences with global youth programming, and together apply the information discussed to propose solutions and ways forward to create meaningful exchanges between young people. 4B) Acting out Social Conscience: Using Participatory Theatre to Develop Global Citizenship. Speaker: Simon Malbogat – Mixed Company Theatre This workshop will demonstrate the prospect of using participatory theatre as a pedagogical tool to promote dialogue within organizations and communities and to demonstrate the integral link between creative thought and critical reflection – a skill necessary for global citizenship development and education. This method of facilitation provides participants with a safe space to explore alternatives and critically evaluate global systems and their social, environmental or cultural consequences. 4C) Productive Education, Skills Development and Dignified Work. Speaker: Leigh Eagles – Save the Children This workshop will highlight two case studies in particular: 1) the productive education projects in formal schools in Bolivia and Peru, including ‘Education for Work’ Curriculum, and 2) the Bulgari Jewelry Making project in formal schools in Colombia. This workshop will show the intersectionality of Save the Children’s two main niche areas; children and work, and gender. The presentation will also delve into ways in which young people exercise their right to participation to improve the promotion and protection of girls’ and boys’ rights among civil society, government, child-led groups and the private sector.

Round Five – 1:30 – 2:30pm

5A) Youth as Male Allies and Leaders: Building Cultures of Respect and Non-Violence. Speaker: Jeff Perera – White Ribbon Campaign Ending violence against women and girls requires partnerships among women and men, boys and girls of all walks of life. The workshop will explore concepts of masculinity and the role of fathers and sports as powerful influences over the lives of young men. It will highlight various strategies and the leadership roles that young men can play in promoting gender equality and ending violence against women and girls in their communities and how international organizations can support young men in this role. 5B) Designed to inspire, educate and ideate with practitioners. Speaker: Natasha Walji – Google Learn about and brainstorm innovative ways to to engage and empower youth using technology — get inspired, learn about freely available technologies to engage youth and have the opportunity to brainstorm your own ideas (prize to be awarded for top idea). 5C) First Aid Includes Mental Health. Speaker: Sjors Reijer – Mental Health First Aid Canada For years, the international development sector has widely provided excellent pre- and post- travel briefings and training to ensure a healthy overseas experience. This workshop will focus on the necessity of mental health training for volunteers and professionals prior to overseas postings to help decrease early returns, ensure effective and early interventions, and enhance the ability of Canadians overseas to be effective partners with their local counterparts.

Round Six – 2:45 – 4:15pm

6A) PANEL: Youth as Global Citizens & Agents of Change Speakers: Evans Rubara – York University Chizoba Mary Imoka – The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education / University of Toronto Youths in the Global Citizenship Era: Influencers or Influencees. This workshop will attempt to define “global citizenship” from sociopolitical, developmental and academic perspectives. The heart and focus of the workshop is to help participants discuss the pros and cons of being a youth in the “global citizenship” era. In conclusion, the paper will draw crucial and persuasive points that encourage a more balanced view of “global citizenship” Equipping Nigerian Teenagers with Social Change Capital for Nigeria’s development. Making the case for an alternative conceptualization and implementation strategy for youth engagement programs, this workshop will present results/testimonials from a teen driven social change research project in Nigeria. Recorded results include teenagers giving up their lunch money for a week and then raising 20,000 to buy a bus for a home to a teenager living on the street self-facilitating his transition into an internship in a salon to students in a public school writing a letter to the governor of their state demanding for qualified teachers to teenagers organizing community programs that has impacted over 3000 people. At this workshop, program attributes and the lessons learnt will be discussed. Attendants will gain insight on how to engage young people from an assets based approach and how to deepen engagement with young people for social change. Conceptual frameworks about development especially as it relates to Africa will also be challenged. 6B) PANEL: Rethinking Power and Privilege in Oversees Volunteering and Global Youth Unemployment Speakers: Mai Ngo – The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education / University of Toronto Juwaeriah Abdussamad – University of Ottawa Canadian Youth Volunteering Abroad: Rethinking Issues of Power and Privilege. Since the 1960s, over 65,000 young Canadians have participated in volunteer abroad programs (Tiessen, 2008), and this number continues to expand each year as young people travel to developing countries to “change the world”. In recent years, researchers and practitioners in the international field have questioned the ethics of volunteering as development, with scrutiny on who actually benefits from volunteering initiatives. The purpose of this workshop will focus on how complex social relations and institutional structures in international development can shape the issues of power and privilege of the young person’s experience in volunteering. Youth Change Lab; a think tank to tackle Global Youth Unemployment issues. Global unemployment is on the rise, particularly for youth and as a global economy we seem to be undermining the growing gap between educated youth and their entry into the workforce. Unemployment is a consequence of a large system level failure. A youth change lab aims to address this issue by means of social innovation and technological collaboration. The concept of a Youth change lab sparks a hope to tackle unemployment issues from ground up to the system level. A designed thinking is required to defrost this stagnancy of unemployment and to compel young minds to delve deeper into region specific barriers, issues and their localized solutions. The aim of this discussion is for the youth: 1) To have a holistic understanding of barriers surrounding youth unemployment, and 2) To empower the Youth to design change labs where these issues can be addressed Why do youth need to take control of this? You are just about to find out. 6C) PANEL: The Role of Youth in Humanitarian Education & Outreach Efforts Speakers: Kelly Bowden – Oxfam Andrea McArthur – Red Cross Exploring Syria: what needs to be done, and why we must do it now. More than two million refugees have now fled violence in Syria and are in desperate need of shelter, food and water. Over half of them are children. The scale of the Syria crisis is rapidly deepening, particularly as winter approaches, leaving relief agencies overstretched and struggling to cope with massive numbers of refugees, who are often living in inadequate shelter in neighbouring countries. Ultimately, there needs to be a political solution to this crisis. The humanitarian suffering caused by the crisis is already staggering. More than 100,000 lives have been lost and more than two million people have fled to neighbouring countries. This workshop will look at the case study of Syria to explore how Oxfam provides humanitarian assistance, advocates for lasting and peaceful solution to conflicts, and connects Canadians to the struggles of people living in poverty. I Don’t Want to Go Back. Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL) is an international education program from the International Committee of the Red Cross about humanitarian education, justice and International Humanitarian Law. EHL workshops provided by the Canadian Red Cross offer teachers the ability to learn how to best fit EHL resources into classes while earning professional development at the same time. In this workshop, limits in armed conflict are explored through the issue of the recruitment or other use of children by armed forces or groups. The workshop begins by taking a look at childhood and the needs of children. It then uses photos, a film and readings to communicate to students the experiences of child soldiers and to help them understand the consequences of these experiences for the children themselves and for their societies. Finally, the exploration looks at the recruitment and use of children in armed conflicts around the world in such a way that no one can dismiss this practice as occurring in ‘another part of the world.’

Workshop Speakers

A – G | H – M | N – R | S – Z

A – G

Juwaeriah Abdussamad

Juwaeriah Abdussamad Juwaeriah Abdussamad is a Systems Engineer with a passion for social work. Her projects are directed towards technology befitting rural and international development. Her background is in the area of systems science engineering, project management and design thinking. She is passionate about promoting the application of systems engineering to solve social system issues. By understanding the root cause of an issue as a system and designing effective problem solving strategies, recurring social dependencies can be dealt with to bring about long term solutions. She is currently a part of a system thinking based start up called d9mix, which deals with issues pertaining to youth unemployment, quality of higher education, food security in low income societies and health system strengthening. Also, as a youth facilitator, you will find her actively contributing towards the youth engagement initiatives in Ottawa, such as the ongoing Youth portal development with the City of Ottawa. In the future, she aspires to successfully launch an online literacy and skill development service for youth and women in the developing countries.

Hasnat Ahsan

Hasnat Ahsan Hasnat Ahsan began her involvement with Oxfam as a campus group representative for McMaster University and went on to become Oxfam’s first Youth and Campus Outreach Officer. In 2010, Hasnat joined Oxfam’s Humanitarian Unit. Hasnat currently works in the Program Development Unit in Ottawa designing programs and providing support to Oxfam’s Africa-based field staff in the administration, management and implementation of development projects focused on capacity building for women’s rights. She has a BSc (Hon) in Microbial Genetics and a BA (Hon) in Psychology. She also has technical training in Emergency Food Security and Livelihoods (EFSL) in humanitarian crises as well as gender and social protection programming.

Mandy Bergman

Mandy Bergman Mandy Bergman is a member of the Catalyst Centre and a part-time instructor at George Brown College who has previously taught at York University as well as developed & facilitated workshops in education, community development & organizational management. Mandy is also a member of the Toronto Community Development Institute. Mandy has worked on community engagement and planning projects ranging from the Community Responses to Crisis: City of Toronto Safety Secretariat project to multiple day training and community engagement workshop with the YMCA Youth Exchanges Canada.

Cari Bourrie

Cari Bourrie Cari Bourrie is the JGI Program Coordinator for Education and Youth Engagement. She joined the organization because she believes in JGI’s holistic approach to conservation; addressing the interconnectedness of social, economic and environmental issues, and is eager to empower youth with the tools to create positive change using this holistic approach. Before joining the JGI team, Cari worked for the YMCA where she developed a national Environmental Education Leadership Program. Cari has extensive experience facilitating youth leadership development programs and has completed extensive leadership training herself. Cari holds a joint degree in Biology and Environment & Resource Studies from the University of Waterloo where her thesis project involved organizing an Environmental Sustainability Leadership Conference for 120 students across Ontario

Kelly Bowden

Kelly Bowden Kelly Bowden works as Oxfam Canada’s youth engagement coordinator to build the capacity of young women and men across the country to be advocates for women’s rights. Oxfam’s sees young people as invaluable movement builders in civil society who have a critical role to play in challenging the systems and structures that perpetuate poverty, injustice and violence. Kelly coordinates Oxfam’s CHANGE training program which builds the attitudes, skills and knowledge to build support for gender justice in communities across the country and around the world. Prior to joining Oxfam Kelly worked as an educator with the Otesha Project and CISV International bringing together diverse communities to explore issues of sustainability and human rights.

Shaunna Bruton

Shaunna Bruton Shaunna Bruton is the Youth Engagement Specialist at Plan Canada. Her role is to activate, motivate, and support youth across Canada to become involved in positive social change. This includes delivering presentations and workshops to schools across Canada, and supporting Plan Canada’s Girl Speakers Bureau and Because I am a Girl Clubs. Prior to joining Plan Canada, Shaunna worked for organizations such as the YMCA, Plan International, and Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute. She is a long time youth leadership facilitator, and has led workshops at McGill University, the Montreal Neurological Institute, and The Canadian Centre for Diversity. Her interests include engaging youth and communities with local and global issues and exploring socially innovative solutions, particularly as they relate to gender inequalities.Shaunna holds a BA in Psychology and a MA in Women’s Studies.

Leigh Eagles

Leigh Eagles Leigh Eagles is Learning and Engagement Coordinator at Save the Children Canada (SCC), where she supports education and youth engagement activities for the Children Lead the Way (CLW) and Youth in Action (YIA) programs. Prior to joining SCC, Leigh worked with the Youth Learning Team at The MasterCard Foundation on the Global Scholars Program. Previous to this, Leigh was National Coordinator for the Canadian Global Campaign for Education (CGCE), a coalition of civil society organizations working to enhance Canada’s contribution to achieving the Education for All goals and the universal right to education. Leigh’s passion in education and development stems from her experiences working in communities both at home and abroad in South Africa, Nunavut and Nepal. In 2009, Leigh returned from South Africa as CIDA Gender Equality Resource Specialist with the Centre for Rural Development (CRD) at Walter Sisulu University (WSU). Leigh has also worked in a number of consultant roles, delivering workshops on gender equality with rural agricultural Cooperatives in South Africa, and proposal development for Pueblito Canada. In 2010, Leigh completed a Masters of Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) in Adult Education and Community Development (AECD), developing rights-based curriculum on the right to education, gender, disability, and Education for All. Leigh also has a degree in Sociology and Development Studies from Queen’s University. During her studies at Queen’s, Leigh worked extensively with Queen’s Project on International Development (QPID), a student-run NGO in three positions as Nunavut Site Director, Summer Operations Director and Project Director. In her role as Nunavut Site Director, Leigh worked in partnership with the Kivalliq School Operations (KSO) executing a summer literacy program entitled “Books, Fun, and Sun!” a bilingual literacy program working towards literacy appreciation and the incorporation of Inuit culture and language.

Irwin Elman

Irwin Elman An educator by training with a Masters in Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education Irwin brings an extensive background as a counsellor, youth worker, program manager, policy developer and child and youth advocate. In working with young people in our ‘systems’, he has carried out these roles with respect – borrowing from the courage and hope of the young people he served to create innovative approaches for youth in Ontario, Jamaica, the United States and Japan. For over 20 years, Irwin was the Manager of the Pape Adolescent Resource Centre in Toronto: a program of the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto and the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto. More recently, he was the Director of Client Service at Central Toronto Youth Services: an innovative children’s mental health centre. As the Provincial Advocate, Irwin is responsible for how the Office conducts its work. The Office is built upon a foundation rooted in the strength and wisdom of the children and youth it serves. The Office is driven through the efforts of talented and passionate staff who, every day, strive to improve the lives of children and youth in Ontario.

May El-Abdallah

May El-Abdallah May El-Abdallah is the Chair of the ArtReach Steering Committee and former member of the Grant Review Team (GRT). May has also been involved in other community-based initiatives and organizations such as the South Asian Legal Clinic’s Forced Marriage Project, Maytree’s DiverseCity Fellows program, the HIV/AIDS Legal Clinic of Ontario, and AQSAzine. May is currently a Toronto-based lawyer practicing in the area of civil litigation and credits ArtReach for having a positive impact on her journey to get there.

Zahra Esmail

Zahra Esmail Zahra Esmail is the General Manager of Eva’s Phoenix, one of three shelters run by Eva’s Initiatives. With a background in community development and microfinance, Zahra has worked with homeless and at-risk youth for many years. She has extensive experience with participatory development and community-led project design and implementation, and has lived and worked in Canada, Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean. Zahra is passionate about sustainable development and finding innovative, long-term solutions to systemic issues that can be taken to scale. She is keen on creating synergies between local and international programs. Prior to joining Eva’s Initiatives, Zahra worked with Street Kids International, Haven Haiti, BRAC, Junior Achievement of British Columbia, and the YMCA of Greater Vancouver.

Roshelle Filart

Roshelle Filart As co-leader of the Toronto Volunteer Group of RESULTS Canada, Roshelle Filart has published numerous letters in major newspapers across Canada. She recruits and mentors RESULTS volunteers in the Greater Toronto Area and organizes monthly Education and Action meetings. Roshelle volunteered in Botswana with WUSC and Guinea- Bissau with VSO Canada before returning home to become a passionate champion of efforts to end global poverty. She is a member of the Toronto Volunteers 4 the World Committee of CUSO International and served on the editorial board of OCIC’s iAM, vol. 4, online, multimedia journal of international cooperation and development. Roshelle currently works as a science demonstrator at the Ontario Science Centre.

Craig Frayne

Craig Frayne With both private sector and non-profit organizations, I’ve led and contributed to various stages of projects related to organizational change, environmental protection, and social services. I’m currently involved in projects with OCIC member organizations S.H.A.R.E Agricultural Foundation and Horizons of Friendship. I like to approach development from an anti-oppression, human empowerment perspective and am interested in how emerging technologies can be used for this purpose.

Kate Gatto

Kate Gatto Kate Gatto holds an M.Ed from Brock University, where she studied the social and cultural contexts of education, covering topics like equity and diversity in the classroom, as well as the effects of globalization on K-12 and higher education. Prior to joining L2L, Kate managed education programs at TakingITGlobal, supporting educators around the world to bring global citizenship education to their students.

Nadine Grant

Nadine Grant Nadine Grant is a child rights advocate with over 25 years experience working in international development in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific. As Director of Programs, Nadine leads Plan Canada’s program and policy development with integrity and excellence. Before joining Plan, she has worked with the United Nations Development Fund, the World Bank, CARE, Save the Children and the Aga Khan Foundation. Nadine and her team offer high calibre technical expertise in such areas as maternal and child health, education, microfinance, gender and food security. Nadine is a mother of three and is based in Toronto.

H – M

Sara Hassan

Sara Hassan With a passion for global education and youth development, Sara Hassan is an Education Program Officer at TakingITGlobal (TIG), the world’s leading online community for young global citizens committed to changing their world. Since 2010, Sara has been coordinating DeforestACTION (, a global movement of youth and schools taking action to stop deforestation through collaborative learning and action using innovative online educational resources, social media and technology tools. More recently, Sara has been involved in developing and administering the teacher professional development e-course Empowering Student Voice in Education (, as well as facilitating the Sprout social entrepreneurship e-course for youth aged 18-30 globally ( She is currently also a B.Ed candidate at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto, specializing in Primary/Junior and Aboriginal education.

Sara Hsiao

Sara Hsiao Sara has been working with JGI since 2009. She holds a Masters of Research in primatology, and has experience working with local communities in Uganda to evaluate practical and integrated strategies to address conservation and development issues. Before JGI, Sara interned at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC, where she focused on cross-border environmental issues between Canada and the United States. Through JGI’s community-centred conservation and education programs, Sara strives to promote critical thinking and link every day, local action to global impacts.

Chizoba Imoka

Chizoba Imoka Chizoba Imoka, is a 2nd Year Masters student in Educational Administration and Comparative International Development Education program at OISE. Her research is focused on African teenagers and how they can be mobilized and engaged through education to bring about sustainable development in Africa. Outside of OISE, she is the founder of Unveiling Africa Foundation (UVA) that provides a platform for African teenagers to contribute to social change through engagement in various academic, leadership and community development programs. Between 2010 – 2012, she spent time in Nigeria where through UVA, she worked with more than 2000 teenagers across Nigeria in nation building conferences, essay and innovation contests, social problem solving bootcamps, magazine publications, mentoring programs and teen led community service projects. All together, these programs have impacted more than 3000 people and counting. Based on her work in Nigeria, she was nominated for the popular Nigeria Future Awards in Advocacy and was recently awarded with the Selfless Hero Award for Africa. Currently, Chizoba is building on the results of her work in Nigeria and developing a program that will equip Nigerian teenagers with the capacity to run their own social change campaigns and mobilize and engage communities for greater social action. Chizoba is a Junior Fellow at Massey College in the University of Toronto. More information about her and Unveiling Africa Foundation can be found on and

Bob Isenberger

Bob Isenberger Bob Isenberger has spent over 30 years consulting and managing projects with organizations large & small, including the analysis of underlying requirements and co-designing of improved interactions and practices. He is a member of Catalyst Centre, and is a strong believer in dialogic and narrative processes; he strongly values the experience and knowledge base within organizations which can be leveraged to improve effectiveness and results. Bob has extensive experience designing and facilitating group interactions to include all voices, and to maximize the resulting group learning and generation of solutions.

Jo-Anne Liburd

Jo-Anne Liburd Jo-Anne Liburd has over 18 years of experience in communications and marketing, having held senior positions at Canadian Living Magazine, Southam’s Business Information Group, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Family Service Toronto. Today, she consults for Sherbourne Health Centre, VHA Home Healthcare, Crime Prevention Ottawa, Toronto Enterprise Fund, Call2Recycle and Toronto Symphony Orchestra. As a VSO Canada volunteer, she supported the communications team at Sewalanka Foundation in Sri Lanka for 16 months. Jo-Anne has a degree in English from the University of Western Ontario, a post-degree certificate in Public Relations from Humber College and completed continuing education courses in writing, French, and environmental studies.

Simon Malbogat

Simon Malbogat Simon Malbogat has been a key player in Canada’s popular theatre scene for over 25 years now. He has studied with the greatest contemporary popular theatre practitioners (Augusto Boal, Jerzy Grotowski, Eugenio Barba, Yoshi Oida) and blended Forum Theatre with the Sweet Medicine Teachings (SMT) of the Deer Tribe Metis Medicine Society for an innovative theatre and teaching approach. Simon has directed and acted in over 50 new Canadian works, many of which many are now seen as important benchmarks in the development of Canadian theatre. He has played key roles in numerous plays by the Chalmer’s award winner Rex Deverell; David Fennario’s On The Job, Nothing to Lose, Banana Boots which won the Montreal Gazette’s Best New Play and Joe Beef which won the Pauline Julienne Award; George Walker’s Criminals in Love; and Michael Glassbourg’s Bad Apples. Teaching credits include The University of Toronto, York University, Humber College, Queen’s and Brock University.

Mica McCurdy

Mica McCurdy Mica is a University of Ottawa graduate, having studied social sciences looking at the intersection of politics, health, and gender. She spent the past year uniting fundraising champions across Canada with Engineers Without Borders Canada while learning how to write exciting e-mail marketing copy and witty, yet informative, tweets. What really gets Mica’s creative juices flowing though is the opportunity to work on teams to create conferences that inspire and challenge individuals in the social justice community. With this passion, she is pursuing future employment opportunities in leadership development, communications, and/or public relations.

Andrea McArthur

Andrea McArthur Andrea McArthur has been with the Canadian Red Cross as a volunteer and staff for over 10 years as a public speaker, workshop facilitator, and program coordinator. With the Canadian Red Cross, she has developed and facilitated numerous workshops about youth engagement and leadership, social justice and diversity, humanitarian issues and International Humanitarian Law. Andrea holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Brock University and obtained her Masters of Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University in 2011 with course work focusing on community building, program management, group facilitation and research. She also completed a thesis towards her MSW about the impact of services provided by youth engaged in indirect volunteering in the Greater Toronto Area.

Novia McKay

Novia McKay Novia McKay has seven years of experience working with Jamaican and US based nonprofit organizations in vulnerable communities. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Macalester College, St Paul, Minnesota, as well as a Master of Arts in Communication for Social and Behaviour Change, from the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica. While working as a Project Coordinator for the nonprofit RISE Life Management Services a CUSO-International partner, she coordinated seven youth centered projects and supported more than ten projects funded by international and local donors. These include the Tackle Child Labor Project and Community Upliftment and Human Rights Awareness projects, implemented in Kingston, Jamaica, funded by the European Union; as well as the HIV Prevention in Vulnerable Communities Project, funded by USAID. In these projects she helped build capacity, increase knowledge of and empower more than 250 children, youth and adults in the areas of parenting, conflict resolution, sexual and reproductive health, human rights, and gender-based violence.

Mai Ngo

Mai Ngo Mai Ngo has 10 years experience working and volunteering with non-profit organizations and community development projects in Canada, Vietnam, Kenya and Bangladesh. She has worked as a project coordinator for Canada World Youth, Taking it Global and the Child Welfare League of Canada. In particular Mai has developed and delivered a range of anti-oppression materials including workshops. Mai graduated from her BA at Carleton University in Ottawa in 2005 before attaining a B.Ed from the University of Ottawa in 2006 and MA in Comparative and International Development from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto in 2012. Mai’s work on “Education and Empowerment: HIV/AIDS Prevention among Street Based Sex Workers”, has been published by Social Action (2007), she was a co-author of “Weaving a Movement: Creating Local Connections Canada”, published by Taking it Global (2009), and a contributor to Canada’s Children by CWLC (2010). Mai is also on the editorial board for the Ontario Council for International Cooperation and, in addition, she has presented her own research on Global Citizenship at international conferences such as at the Comparative International Education Society in New Orleans, 2013. Mai is particularly interested in working with new mothers and offers doula services in Ottawa, Ontario.

Janis Mosquera Benites

Janis Mosquera Benites Janis Mosquera Benítes joined the ACJ- YMCA of Medellin in 2006 as a participant in Preunycom13, the university preparation program, which prepared him to gain acceptance to the University of Antioquia. Since then, he has also become active in a number of other YMCA programs including Jugandhi – a program that uses cooperative games to teach non-violence to children and youth. He has been part of a group called Reciclarte Taller y Vida (Recycle Workshop and Life) where he learned and taught others how to make handmade paper with unused items and to create useful items such as notebooks and cards. Currently, he is part of a project called Semilleros Infantiles para la Participacion (Seed Children for Participation), which seeks to accompany groups of children from the different districts of Medellin to promote civic education and community participation. Janis also teaches dance classes, including bachata, salsa and merengue, to anyone who wants to learn.

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Riaz Nathu

Riaz Nathu Riaz Nathu is a Program Officer with the Aga Khan Foundation Canada. He currently oversees the Enhancing Employability and Leadership for Youth (EELY) and Improving Rural Incomes through Savings-led Financial Services (IRIS) projects, which are on-going in Pakistan and Tajikistan, respectively. Riaz is also the lead on private sector investment and impact investing at AKFC. Previously, he was an International Microfinance and Microenterprise fellow working with a microfinance bank in Pemba, Mozambique focusing on business strategy, client outreach, and operations. Riaz has also worked in value-chain financing in parts of South America. Riaz has a Master’s in Applied Environmental Studies in Local Economic Development from the University of Waterloo.

Jeff Perera

Jeff Perera Jeff Perera is a Community and Youth Engagement Manager for the White Ribbon Campaign, the world’s largest effort to engage men and boys in re-imaging masculinity and helping end violence against women. Jeff speaks to grade school, high school, post-secondary students and people from all walks of life across Canada regarding ways that society’s unattainable concepts of masculinity are effecting men and boys as well as impacting women and girls. Jeff also started Higher Unlearning, an online space to explore how ideas of gender and masculinity play out in everyday life. He also founded a chapter at Ryerson University working to further a gender-inclusive environment. He is the director of the annual discussion-focused ‘What Makes a Man’ White Ribbon Conference and was event director for the first TEDxWomen event in Toronto, Canada. Jeff was named to Racism Free Ontario’s Top 100 Person of Colour list spotlighting anti-racism activists. Jeff also co-founded the Ryerson Black History Awareness Committee & annual Viola Desmond Day Awards Ceremony celebrating strong Black/African Canadian women.

Meaghon Reid

Meaghon Reid Meaghon Reid is the Director of Mental Health First Aid Canada. In her role, Meaghon is responsible for all strategic and operational decisions related to the MHFA program. Meaghon spends a great deal of time networking to generate interest, build credibility, establish rapport, and maintain communication with stakeholders from various sectors and at multiple jurisdictional levels. Her current priorities include working with academics and advisory groups to develop adaptations of MHFA for northern peoples, Inuit, and seniors, as well as working with counterparts and colleagues in the Mental Health Commission of Canada to maximize the Commission’s ability to have a positive impact on mental health in Canada. Prior to joining the Mental Health Commission, she had a highly successful career as the private sector partnerships advisor at CUSO-VSO, a civil society development agency that works through volunteers on collaborative development projects in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. Meaghon has experience working at the Senior Management and Executive level, and brokering partnerships with private sector companies using a multi-dimensional engagement approach.

Sjors Reijers

Sjors Reijers Sjors Reijers is the Manager, National Program Promotions and Business Development for Mental Health First Aid Canada. In his role, Sjors is responsible for working with companies, non-profit organizations, public and private groups to arrange MHFA courses. He also communicates regularly with the network of over 900 MHFA instructors across the country as well as represents MHFA at conferences and events. He also builds cross-promotional partnerships, prepares proposals for project funding, and reaches out to key stakeholders to ensure they are aware of MHFA. Prior to joining the Mental Health Commission, Sjors’s career moved from international development to alumni relations in higher education. He has a background in adult education, communications, and fund development.

Evans Rubara

Evans Rubara Evans is a social justice campaigner with expertise in policy engagement. He is passionate and focuses on sociopolitical and environmental justice issues related to multi/transnational resource extraction – the mining sector in east and Southern Africa and has extensive experience working with civil society organizations in the region, and internationally. Evans has played and continues to play an active role in the civil society movement in East and Southern Africa, and is engaged in efforts geared towards the creation of discursive platforms to address the impacts of neoliberal economic trends related to the mining sector. He is currently a graduate candidate in environmental studies at York University – Canada, specializing in International (critical) Development Studies and Policy.

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Poonam Sandhu

Poonam Sandhu Poonam Sandhu is the Youth Fellow for UNEP RONA and is overseeing the Tunza outreach across North American colleges and universities. Licensed as a Registered Nurse in Vancouver, Canada, and in Washington, DC she has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and recently completed a Master of Public Health at The George Washington University. Poonam has dedicated two decades of her life to television, film, dance, and entertainment for youth and young adults in English, Punjabi and Hindi. Poonam is delighted to help youth green-up their campuses and their cities. Watch Poonam and her sister speak at Pecha Kucha Night Vancouver: Walk the Talk Green Your City. Click here for more information

Anna Smith

Anna Smith For six years, Anna has worked professionally and voluntarily to curate unique learning spaces and educational programs for non-profits. Rooted by a displeasure for our traditional models of – usually public – education, she has committed herself to understanding why we teach the way we do, and how we can move beyond that to accelerate the potential of each individual to know, care, lead, and make a difference in the world. Her biggest project at the moment is organizing the National Conference of Engineers Without Borders Canada; a space to rethink the way we develop leaders, invest in entrepreneurs, and foster partnerships for global development.

Natasha Walji

Natasha Walji Natasha Walji is currently Head of Consumer Packaged Goods for Google Canada. Prior to Google, she was a (Senior) Engagement Manager with McKinsey & Company for ~4.5 years. Prior to McKinsey, she was a product developer for 3+ years. Natasha has a B.Sc. in Computer Science from the University of Victoria (with distinction), an M.B.A. from Yale University and an M.St. in Sustainability Leadership from the University of Cambridge.
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