Previous Award Recipients

Previous Award Recipients

The award is given annually in recognition of an individual or organization who has made a significant contribution towards eliminating barriers to diversity in Canada. Award recipients are leaders in Canada who have a commitment and have worked tirelessly to enrich the diversity of our country. The award is presented annually at the Harmony Award Banquet.

 
RISE Photo

2016: RISE Collective

2016 Harmony Award: RISE Collective HARMONY AWARD RISE Collective By Letecia Rose Have you ever gone to a place where ...
Read More
2015 Harmony Award Desmond Cole

2015: Desmond Cole

Harmony Award Winner - Desmond ColeWhen I met Desmond Cole several years ago, I was immediately drawn to his strength ...
Read More
Jeremy Dias

2014: Jeremy Dias

This year we will be honouring Jeremy Dias the 2014 recipient of the Harmony Award. As founder of Jer’s Vision ...
Read More
Nishiyuu Walkers

2013: Nishiyuu Walkers

 Johnny Abraham. Stanley George Jr.Travis George. David Kawapit. Raymond Kawapit. Geordie Rupert. Say these names out loud, tell your family ...
Read More
Munira Abukar

2012: Munira Akubar

 Munira Abukar is a fiery and inspiring advocate whose track record, at age 20, reads like that of a veteran ...
Read More
Bilaal Rajan

2011: Bilaal Rajan

 Fourteen year-old Bilaal Rajan isn’t your average young person. The Toronto-based children’s and environmental activist is also a globally recognized ...
Read More
Sol Guy and Josh Thome

2009: Sol Guy and Josh Thome

 Sol Guy and Josh Thome are the co-founders of DCM, and the co-creators, co-producers and co-directors of 4REAL.Sol Guy and ...
Read More
Romeo Dallaire

2008: Roméo A. Dallaire

 L. Gen. The Honourable Roméo A. Dallaire, (Ret’d), Senator, has had a distinguished career in the Canadian military. Dallaire is ...
Read More
Toronto Star

2007: Toronto Star

 The Toronto Star is Canada’s largest daily newspaper, with the largest readership in the country.By Gordon CressyThroughout the many years ...
Read More
Michele Landsberg and Stephen Lewis

2006: Michele Landsberg and Stephen Lewis

 Michele Landsberg is an award-winning Canadian writer, social activist and feminist who wrote a column for the Toronto Star newspaper ...
Read More
City TV

2005: City TV

 Citytv television stations in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg offer viewers intensely-local, urban-oriented, culturally-diverse television programming.By Sharon Ho“The press ...
Read More
Temple Har Zion

2004: Temple Har Zion & Ja’ffari Islamic Centre

 Temple Har Zion was founded with a strong, positive vision of Judaism and congregational life.The community of members that make ...
Read More
June Callwood

2003: June Callwood

 June Rose Callwood was a Canadian journalist, author and social activist. She was born in Chatham, Ontario and grew up ...
Read More
Roberta Jamieson

2002: Roberta Jamieson

 Roberta L. Jamieson, C.M. is a Canadian lawyer and First Nations activist. She was the first Aboriginal woman ever to ...
Read More
Herbert H. Carnegie

2001: Herbert H. Carnegie

Herbert H. (Herb) Carnegie,  (born November 8, 1919) is a former Canadian ice hockey player. Born in Toronto, Ontario to ...
Read More
Elder William Commanda

2000: Elder William Commanda

William Commanda is a traditional Algonquin Elder from Kitigan Zibi, Quebec. Elder Commanda is the great grandson of Pakinawatik, the hereditary ...
Read More
Ajax Race Relations Committee

1999: Ajax Race Relations Committee

The Ajax Race Relations Advisory Committee is viewed as providing a wonderful example of a systematic approach toward the development ...
Read More
Bromley Armstrong

1998: Bromley L. Armstrong

Bromley L. ArmstrongBromley Lloyd Armstrong, born 1926 in Jamaica, is a black Canadian civil rights leader.Bromley Armstrong was born in ...
Read More
Ruth Goldbloom

1997: Ruth M. Goldbloom

A graduate of McGill University, Ruth M. Goldbloom has served on the boards of a number of education and community ...
Read More
Dr. David C. Lam

1996: Dr. David C. Lam

1996 Recipient: Dr. Edward C. LameDr. David C. Lam was from 1988 to 1995 the 25th Lieutenant Governor of British ...
Read More
Corinne Davison Photo

2016: Corinne Davison

2016 Harmony Educator Award Recipient: Corinne Davison Ottawa-Carleton District School Board By Amber-Dawn Davison Corinne has passionately advocated the importance ...
Read More
Deborah Barbon

2015: Deborah Barbon

Harmony Educator Award Harmony Educator Award Recipient Deborah Barbon Grand Erie District School Board Even before Debbie Barbon became involved ...
Read More
Alison Carson

2014: Alison Carson

Alison Carson, Halton District School Board. By Caitlin Grieve. Following her mother’s footsteps as a teacher, Alison Carson was meant to inspire ...
Read More
Sister Pat Carter

2013: Sister Pat Carter

Sister Pat Carter, Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board. By Mary Jo Radey. Sister Pat has been educating others on Equity and Inclusion ...
Read More
Renee Saviour

2012: Renee Saviour

Renee Saviour, City Adult Learning Centre, Toronto District School Board.  By Karen Mock. I first met Renee Saviour several years ago, and ...
Read More
Jamea Zuberi

2011: Jamea Zuberi

Jamea Zuberi has been transforming the lives of others through education for over fourteen years. Deciding early on that she ...
Read More
Javier Davilla

2010: Javier Davila

Javier Davilla, Teacher, Parkdale Collegiate Institute, Toronto District School Board. I first encountered Javier’s work while I was facilitating a workshop ...
Read More
Beverley Muir

2009: Beverley Muir

Principal, Humberwood Downs Jr. Middle Academy, Toronto District School Board. By Trevor Ludski. Every now and again someone comes along that one ...
Read More
Sharon Copeland

2008: Sharon Copeland

 Sharon Copelenad, Teacher, Wilshire Elementary School, York District School Board.  By Trevor Ludski. Sharon Copeland (nee Stein) received her Bachelor of ...
Read More

2017: Jeewan Chanicka

2017 HARMONY LEADERSHIP IN EDUCATION AWARD Jeewan Chanicka Toronto District School Board By Camille Logan As a school administrator, Jeewan ...
Read More
Anne Marie McDonald Photo

2016: Anne Marie McDonald

2016 Mary A. Samuel Leadership in Education Award Winner: Anne Marie McDonald Limestone District School Board By Krishna Burra Anne ...
Read More
Lori Taylor

2015: Lori Taylor

Lori Taylor 2015 Mary A. Samuel Leadership Award Winner Lori Taylor Upper Canada District School Board When Lori Taylor was ...
Read More
Way Skinner

2014: Michael Way Skinner

York Catholic District School Board. Michael Way Skinner is a pioneer in Ontario on diversity, equity and inclusion. A passionate and ...
Read More
Camille Logan

2013: Camille Logan

Even before having the privilege of working with Camille in the Inclusive School and Community Services unit of the York ...
Read More
Christopher Spence

2012: Christopher Spence

Born in Britain to immigrant parents from Jamaica, Dr. Christopher Spence was raised in Toronto and Windsor. After his undergraduate ...
Read More
Mary Samuel

2011: Mary Samuel

Mary Samuel has been a human rights activist for over four decades. With a Master’s degree in social work, she ...
Read More
Viki Bismilla

2010: Vicki Basmilla

Vicki Basmilla, Vice-President, Academic and Chief Learning Officer, Centennial College.  I first met Vicki Bismilla at an award presentation ceremony at ...
Read More
Christopher D’souza

2009: Christopher D’souza

York UniversityBy Yasmin RazackChris D’Souza has been an educator for over twenty years at Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, as ...
Read More
John Morrison

2008: John Morrison

John Morrison, Principal, Anderson Collegiate, Durham District School Board. John Morrison is the founder of Culture of Peace Program. This student-driven ...
Read More

2017: Cardinal Leger

2017 HARMONY SCHOOL OF THE YEAR AWARD Cardinal Léger Secondary School Brampton, Ontario By Heather Reid Located in the heart ...
Read More

2016: Terry Fox Public School

2016 School of the Year Award: Terry Fox Public School Ajax, Ontario By Deirdre Morgenstern Terry Fox Public School is ...
Read More
Russell High School

2015: Russell High School

Russell High School 2015 School of the Year Award: Russel High School Russell, Ontario Russell High School (RHS) is a ...
Read More
Eastwood Collegiate Institute

2014: Eastwood Collegiate Institute

Eastwood Collegiate Institute, Kitchener, Ontario. Eastwood Collegiate Institute is an incredibly diverse school, hosting the Waterloo Region’s esteemed Integrated Arts Program as ...
Read More
Archbishop Denis O’Connor Catholic High School

2013: Archbishop Denis O’Connor Catholic High School

Our school, affectionately known as “DOC”, is proud to say that it has been running Harmony Movement’s Diversity Leadership Certificate ...
Read More
Paris District High School

2012: Paris District High School

Paris District High School Paris, Ontario.Teachers’ Perspective by Debbie Barbon and Michelle BariskyIn a day in the life of a ...
Read More

2017: Crossing Borders

2017 HARMONY SOCIAL CHANGEMAKERS AWARD Crossing Borders By Lynn Schulze Crossing Borders is a group of students that comprises newcomers ...
Read More

2016: Irma Coulson Public School

2016 Social Changemakers Award: Irma Coulson Public School Halton District School Board The staff and students of Irma Coulson Public ...
Read More
Starr Trudeau and TiCarra Paquet

2015 Social Changemakers Award

Starr Trudeau and TiCarra Paquet 2015 Social Changemakers Award Starr Trudeau is an Ojibway Aboriginal and was born and raised ...
Read More

Scholarship Recipients

Young people deserve all the support they can get as they grow into leaders for social change. Harmony Movement awards scholarships to exceptional young people who are being the change in their schools and communities.

 

2016 Scholarship Recipients

anahitaAnahita Allasvandi

Newtonbrook Secondary School, Toronto, ON
Ryerson University

When Anahita isn’t waking up at 5am to manage two sports teams at her school, she can be found volunteering her time with the Black Student Pride Committee and Gay Straight Alliance where she promotes inclusion based on race, religion, gender, and sex. Anahita has coordinated community activities with Free The Children and Seeds for Success. As an active social changemaker, she has accumulated over 2000 volunteer hours in 3 years.

rashawnaRashawna Blair

River East Collegiate, Winnipeg, MB
University of Manitoba

As a member of the Social Justice Club at her school, Rashawna petitioned the Government of Manitoba to help bring clean water to Indigenous Reserves in the area. She has also delivered speeches on anti-discrimination and has actively volunteered with the Afro-Caribbean Association of Manitoba for 14 years. Along with this, as a Folklorama Youth Ambassador for the Africa-Caribbean pavilion, Rashawna helped promote the longest running multi-cultural festival in the world.

sidSid Boegman

St. Michael’s University School, Victoria, BC
Carleton University

Sid helped create a gender neutral washroom, develop trans-friendly policies, and educated peers and teachers on transgender issues at his school. At the Canadian Association of Independent Schools Conference Sid spoke on the queer and transgender experience in schools. He runs an active blog called “Ask a Trans Guy” where he answers questions from around the world on what it means to be transgender. Sid recently appeared in a film project titled Yes, MAM! addressing masculinity and misogyny.

desmondWayne Desmond

North Nova Education Centre, New Glasgow, NS
Saint Mary’s University

As an involved and active leader, Wayne is a member of his Town’s Race Relations and Anti-Discrimination Group where he promotes inclusive conversations and events. He is also the school Ambassador for welcoming newcomers and international students. He was recently selected to receive the esteemed North Nova ‘Making a Difference Award’. Wayne regularly plans outings and confidence building initiatives for young boys through his work with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

jordanJordan Gray

St. Francis Xavier C.S.S., Mississauga, ON
Carlton University

For two years, Jordan volunteered as a Student Advisor to the Education Minister on curriculum in Ontario. During this time, he also worked on the Aboriginal Studies and Cultural Heritage task force and helped set the framework for Its Never Okay: An Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment in Ontario. In 2012, Jordan started the Mississauga Malton Youth Association, which promotes multiculturalism in Peel Region; the organization has over 65 members from 15 countries, speaking 11 languages.

fatimaFatima Khan

George Harvey Collegiate Institute, Toronto, ON
McMaster University

Fatima is the co-founder of her school’s Mental Health Club, which works to end stigma and increase support systems for people dealing with mental health issues. She also volunteers with Variety Village to provide adapted sports programs for people with physical disabilities. Fatima has worked closely with North York Community Housing to help newcomer youth and families adjust to their new schools and communities.

benjaminBenjamin McDonald

Upper Canada College, Toronto, ON
University of Toronto

Benjamin started the Black History Club at his school, which fosters awareness around the achievements and experiences of the black community. Through presentations and events, Benjamin has successfully taught his peers about anti-discrimination practices. He has also helped raise money for various organizations that offer scholarships and mentorship for black youth. His teachers and fellow classmates have often remarked that Benjamin has changed his school for the better and that he has left an important legacy.

justineJustine Ricketts

Cawthra Park Secondary, Mississauga, ON
Carlton University

Justine has raised money for the Toronto Humane Society, worked with the Gleaner Community Press, and manages the social media marketing for the Eco-club at her school. She has spent her summers volunteering to distribute food with The Healing Cycle in Mississauga and Brampton – an organization dedicated to supporting those in hospice and palliative care. She also writes an active blog about important issues affecting her school and community.

akedaAkeda Sayram

SATEC @ W. A. Porter Collegiate Institute, Toronto, ON
York University

Akeda founded the Accessible Education Association in Ontario, a youth led group devoted to creating education opportunities for children in deprived areas. Along with her team, Akeda raised $18,000 last year which she donated to two elementary schools in the Philippines. She also launched a student run social enterprise called Limitless Co. that sold pinback buttons to raise awareness about social justice issues and promote equity and diversity.

timmeTimme Zhao

Britannia Secondary School, Vancouver, BC
University of British Columbia

As school council President, Timme has actively advocated for student voice initiatives. He was elected as the sole Student Trustee of the Vancouver School Board, and spoke on behalf of high school students in the city during monthly meetings. Timme is passionate about bringing happiness to people around him and being a role model for young students. He continues his passion for community building by volunteering as a Day Camp Leader for elementary school students.

2015 Scholarship Recipients

Nabeela Bhaloo

Nabeela Bhaloo

Nabeela Bhaloo
Trafalgar Castle School, Whitby, Ontario
University of Nottingham

Nabeela was head of her school’s Cultural Club and co-founder of the school’s Gay Straight Alliance. In 2013, she authored a policy paper on women’s sexual and reproductive health rights for the Commonwealth Youth Forum in Sri Lanka. Nabeela is the recipient of numerous awards including the Centennial Shield for representing a spirit of friendly cooperation throughout her high school, the Lieutenant General’s Community Volunteer Award, and the Governor General’s Academic Medal.

 

Tatyana Gudge

Tatyana Gudge

Tatyana Gudge
Northern Secondary School, Toronto, Ontario
Queen’s University

Using her many creative talents, Tatyana educated and inspired youth and adults in her community and beyond. As president of Black Students Association, her speech, “The ‘N’ Word”, educated her peers about the historical significance and oppressive power of the word. Tatyana has written numerous spoken word poems and created a play highlighting the struggles of a gay teenager who struggled with depression. The play was performed at schools across Ontario.

 

Kuhan Jeyapragasan

Kuhan Jeyapragasan

Kuhan Jeyapragasan
University of Toronto Schools, Toronto, Ontario
Stanford University

As the head executive of his school’s Queer Straight Alliance, Gender Equity Committee, and the Positive Mental Health Committee, Kuhan garnered over 2,100 volunteer hours working tirelessly to breakdown stereotypes and to create spaces for social transformation. He created student workshops with materials that are interactive and relatable, examining LGBTQ issues, racism, Islamophobia and Indigenous struggles. Through personal advocacy and sharing of his personal challenges and accomplishments, Kuhan is a truly a social changemaker.

 

Nia Pryce

Nia Pryce

Nia Pryce
Pickering High School, Ajax, Ontario
University of Ottawa

As President of Target Unity, her school’s equity and diversity club, Nia organized empowering initiatives, training programs, and events. She was an ambassador for the Durham Black Educators Network’s And Still We Rise conference for over 150 students from across the school board. Nia planned and implemented the In the Know Summit student conference and created a ten-week leadership program for forty black students who were identified as either at-risk, or demonstrated leadership potential.

 

Bara’a Alabbas

Bara’a Alabbas

Bara’a Alabbas
R.C. Palmer Secondary School, Richmond, British Columbia
University of British Columbia

Bara’a led a Syria awareness campaign, held fundraisers to support children in impoverished countries, helped create a safe learning environment for a kindergarten class, and worked as a teaching assistant at a weekend language school. Through Go Club and the city-wide initiative Unity Club, Bara’a has created social spaces that welcome people to share meals, activities, and social experiences in order to break down the stigmas and social barriers affecting students with different abilities.

 

Kamran Rakhshan

Kamran Rakhshan

Rakhshan Kamran
Westmount Secondary School, Hamilton, Ontario
McMaster University

Rakhshan spearheaded the Students Promoting Acts of Random Kindness (SPARK) campaign that promoted mental health awareness and encouraged kindness and action amongst his peers. The campaign was so successful that it was implemented across the school board, accompanied by a social media campaign he created. Rakhshan was a student trustee, a member of the Hamilton Community Foundations Youth Advisory Council, and worked with the student senate to create gender-neutral washrooms in the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board.

 

Nader Chaya

Nader Chaya

Nader Chaya
George Vanier Secondary School, Toronto, Ontario
York University

Nader emigrated from Lebanon in 1997 at the height of the country’s civil war. In Canada, his family went through hardships and he was bullied because of his accent. Nader was a student representative of his school board’s Equity Policy Advisory Committee, a student director of Opportunity Gap Action Plan, and President of Stomp Out Stigma. He advocated for student voice by spearheading a campaign to create a Student Rights Bill to empower students in his school board.

 

Vanessa Djumo Tchokothe

Vanessa Djumo Tchokothe

Vanessa Djumo Tchokothe
Sir Wilfred Laurier Collegiate Institute, Toronto
University of Waterloo

Vanessa founded Colour Me Truth, a school club that brings awareness to equity and inclusion and breaks down stereotypes. She is a certified Red Cross youth facilitator for Beyond the Hurt, an anti-bullying initiative through which she facilitated workshops at school and in the community. Vanessa works in the community as a peer-mentor at the YWCA Toronto Girls Centre and volunteers at Victim Services Toronto as a leader for their Teens Ending Abusive Relationships (T.E.A.R.) program.

 

Olivia Levy

Olivia Levy

Olivia Levy
Sandalwood Heights Secondary School, Toronto, Ontario
Ryerson University

Knowing the impact of inequities have on marginalized communities has motivated Olivia to create change in her own community. Her social justice club began to focus their attention on anti-bullying, mental health, and suicide prevention in response to three suicides at her school.  Olivia also worked with a Boys and Girls Club and on Ontario Early Years Centre. She is studying social work so as to serve marginalized populations through advocacy, social justice, and meaningful engagement.

 

Milen Melles

Milen Melles

Milen Melles
St. John Paul II C.S.S., Toronto, Ontario
University of Toronto

The growing anxiety that Milen experienced as a racialized woman in relation to police violence towards black communities prompted her to take a deeper look at mental health issues within those communities. Milen wrote a piece on the Ferguson ruling for her school newspaper, managed social media for Young Diplomat’s Mental Health Campaign, and helped coordinate #Real talks 2.0: Black Minds Matter, an event for Young Diplomats involving Ethiopian and Eritrean youth in community development.

2014 Recipients

Farheen AhmedFarheen Ahmed
Stephen Leacock Collegiate Institute, Toronto, Ontario
University of Toronto

As leader of her school’s Equity Club, Farheen spearheaded initiatives that reflect her deep understanding of social justice and intersectionality. She arranged Pink Shirt Days and organized an anti-homophobia campaign for teachers. Farheen also planned an Autism Awareness Week to celebrate neurodiversity and people on the autism spectrum. She has led by example and never shied away from sharing her personal experiences in order to help, motivate and inspire others.

Shaneka AndersonShaneka Anderson
Don Mills Collegiate Institute, Toronto, Ontario
University of Guelph – Humber

Founder of her school’s Gay-Straight Alliance, Shaneka is a passionate advocate for creating safe spaces and opportunities for social transformation in schools. She organized an anti-stress campaign where speakers were brought in to discuss and bring awareness to mental health issues. Shaneka has also worked as a peer mentor to students with mental and physical disabilities, meeting one-on-one and arranging group outings. She plans to become a child/youth social worker and a lawyer.

Kevin ChiKevin Chi
RC Palmer Secondary School, Richmond, British Columbia
University of British Columbia

As president of his school’s Global Network and as an executive member of the Diversify Me Club, Kevin demonstrated a strong commitment to fostering equity and global citizenship amongst his peers. He has raised awareness and funds for various humanitarian projects throughout the world. Kevin also worked for the Tian-Pao Maitreya Buddhist Missionary Institute at homes for the elderly and volunteered as a peer mentor and tutor to English Language Learners and students with disabilities.

Victoria GagneVictoria Gagne
Harvest City Christian Academy, Regina, Saskatchewan
McGill University

Victoria worked hard to break down stereotypes and barriers in her school and community. A proud member of the Métis Nation, she hosted Diversity Days and facilitated anti-bullying workshops both at her school and on a reserve in northern Saskatchewan. Victoria has also travelled to Mexico to learn from and work in solidarity with an indigenous population there. She was awarded Outstanding Female Achievement at the Saskatchewan Youth Aboriginal Awards.

Rebecca HagosRebecca Hagos
St. Joseph’s Catholic High School, Windsor, Ontario
York University

Rebecca founded her school’s annual Diversity Week to create an opportunity for students to challenge misconceptions and build understanding with each other. She also created the Social Justice Club, through which students coordinated events around bullying, acceptance and self-esteem. Rebecca is a co-founder of the African Diaspora Club, as well as Youth Ambassador for the AIDS Committee of Windsor, where she works in the community facilitating workshops for youth around HIV/AIDs education.

Jeenan KaiserJeenan Kaiser
Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate, Toronto, Ontario
University of Calgary

An executive member of the YWCA Girl’s Council, Jeenan educated young girls on issues such as diversity, self-esteem, media literacy, and critical thinking. Through the Miss Media Mentorship program, she encouraged girls to understand the effects media have on their perceptions and raised awareness of gender equity issues. As a member of Plan Canada’s Because I am a Girl Speaker’s Bureau, Jeenan was able to build awareness around many diversity issues.

Melissa LyonMelissa Lyon
Stelly’s Secondary School, Victoria, British Columbia
Camosun College University

Melissa is a powerful force for change. Born with cerebral palsy and epilepsy, Melissa continually defies inaccurate assumptions about her abilities. She volunteered at speaking engagements for United Way and the Headway Epilepsy Association, as well as created a “Purple Day” for epilepsy awareness at her school. Melissa is also a peer tutor for students with special needs and has created the online program “Cooking with Friends” for students with disabilities.

Karissa ManningKarissa Manning
Hagersville Secondary School, Hagersville, Ontario
University of Waterloo

Recognizing a need for better access to resources on mental health and bullying for students, Karissa created the Living Out Loud Club at her school. She organized Truth Day, a whole-school event that worked to break down social barriers between individuals and groups at school. Karissa was also active within her school board and community in raising awareness of mental health issues as a student trustee and as a volunteer at the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit.

Sonali PatelSonali Patel
White Oaks Secondary School, Oakville, Ontario
University of Toronto

As president of her school’s GSA, Sonali worked to make environmental, attitudinal and behavioural changes in her school, spearheading the installation of gender-neutral washrooms. She worked with Health Education teachers on making their lessons more inclusive, and collaborated on a school guideline to accommodate transgender and gender non-conforming students. Sonali demonstrated personal courage by coming out herself as a way to build awareness and promote the school’s International Coming Out Day.

Adonika WilkesAdonika Wilkes
Stephen Lewis Secondary School, Concord, Ontario
York University

Adonika created and organized her school’s first Equity Forum as a safe place for students of colour to voice their concerns. As part of a small minority of Black students in her school, she was active in organizing events and assemblies for Black History Month each year, partnering with local organizations for support. Her work and passion are evidence of her commitment to anti-discrimination and implementing programs that support youth civic engagement and development.

2013 Recipients

Alexandra BuhlerAlexandra Buhler
Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate, Kitchener, Ontario
University of Waterloo

Passionate about empowering other members of her community, Alexandra founded the youth leadership program Kinetic Youth Service Initiative and acts as a mentor to other young people in the Revolution Youth program at her church. Alexandra has helped address issues of food insecurity and socio-economic inequity in her community through her volunteer work at the Ray of Hope Community Centre, while also volunteering at Pride Stables to support the participation of children with disabilities in a therapeutic horseback riding program.

Graham CoulterGraham Coulter
Bedford Road Collegiate, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
University of Toronto

Dedicated to ensuring increased social inclusion of youth with disabilities, Graham has devoted much of his time over the past five years to the Saskatchewan Abilities Council. Given his tremendous contribution to his community through his involvement with the Saskatoon Youth Volunteer Program, Graham was recognized with the 2010 Saskatoon Youth in Philanthropy Award. As a member of his school’s Student Council, Graham also advocated for increased diversity of representation and student voice in school governance.

Joel CurryJoel Curry
Sacred Heart Catholic High School, Stittsville, Ontario
Concordia University

As a founding member of the Stittsville Youth Association and long-term volunteer at Stittsville Youth Connexion, Joel has played a major role in fostering a more equitable and inclusive community. His commitment to human rights and courage to speak out for social justice has helped create a more positive school climate that welcomes and values diversity. Through his leadership, Joel has empowered other youth to take pride in their identities and celebrate differences in sexual orientation, gender, race, faith and ability.

Rachel EasterbrookRachel Easterbrook
Vincent Massey Secondary School, Windsor, Ontario
Brock University

Rachel’s initiative, strength and perseverance have been instrumental in transforming her school into a safer, more inclusive space for LGBT youth. Co-founder of her school’s Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), Rachel helped to reduce bullying and discrimination at her school by staging a play addressing issues of homophobia and by implementing workshops for teachers on Reducing Homophobia in the Classroom. The resource binder she created for LGBT teens has been used to support youth across her school board.

Baraa HamodiBaraa Hamodi
Bluevale Collegiate Institute, Waterloo, Ontario
University of Waterloo

Baraa has dedicated countless hours to empowering youth in his local community and internationally. He has provided mentorship and support to many students at his high school through the Bluevale PASS tutoring program, as well as through the Muslim Student Association that he founded while in grade nine. Baraa’s work with the University of Waterloo’s Orphan Sponsorship Program has helped increase awareness of global economic inequity, while the YouTube channel he created uses the media to share messages about equity, respect and bullying.

Nelly LetourneauNelly Letourneau
Canterbury High School, Ottawa, Ontario
Mount Allison University

The impact of Nelly’s actions to build stronger communities has been far-reaching. She has worked passionately to improve conditions for homeless families and women in transition in her community, while also raising awareness and funds to ensure children’s access to education worldwide. Nelly has dedicated much time and energy to fostering literacy skills amongst low-income and newcomer youth through the Stories and Art literacy program, as well as through a local book drive for youth living in emergency shelters.

Katlyn PettipasKatlyn Pettipas
Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional High School, Antigonish, Nova Scotia
University of King’s College – Halifax

Concerned for the safety and well-being of LGBTQ students at her school, Katlyn became one of the first members of her school’s GSA, initiating discussions and events to reduce bullying and harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Katlyn’s involvement in the GSA has helped transform the lives and educational experiences of youth at her school, creating a space where everyone feels welcome and accepted and a healthier, safer learning environment for all.

Darcy RankinDarcy Rankin
Saint Paul High School, Niagara Falls, Ontario
University of Guelph

Darcy’s commitment and dedication to creating more empowering and inclusive environments for children with disabilities has had a transformative impact on his community. As a volunteer with the Niagara Peninsula Children’s Centre for five years, Darcy’s leadership has encouraged youth with intellectual and physical disabilities to set high expectations for themselves and to exceed those expectations. Darcy is also an active leader at his high school, where he helped to organize events such as Relay for Life.

Arena ThomsonrArena Thomson
Inglenook Community High School, Toronto, Ontario
University of Toronto

An inspiring and passionate advocate for social change, Arena promotes and models anti-oppression practices to build stronger, safer, healthier communities. As a member of her former school’s GSA and as a Peer Counselor with the LGBTQ Youthline, Arena’s mentorship and support have empowered youth to make positive choices and to take pride in their identities. Arena has also helped educate and empower her school community around mental health and wellness through a student conference she co-organized.

Jessica TomarchioJessica Tomarchio
Sinclair Secondary School, Whitby, Ontario
University of Western Ontario

Through her work with Nova’s Ark and Autism Durham, Jessica has played a critical role in fostering increased integration of people with diverse abilities in her community. Serving as a mentor and role model for other youth, Jessica takes action to address discrimination and raise awareness of important social issues. Jessica’s involvement with the Youth in Action club has helped draw attention to issues on inequity on a local and global level.

2012

Maymun AbukarMaymun Abukar
Scarlett Heights Entrepreneurial Academy, Toronto, Ontario
York University

An outstanding young leader and exceptional student, Maymun has helped promote women’s rights as a volunteer for the Zonta Club and has advocated for her community as a member of the Toronto Community Housing Youth Council. Additionally, as a Community Safety Animator, Maymun has helped raised awareness around issues such as racism, Islamophobia, and media literacy, while securing a grant for The Gatehouse, an organization that supports those affected by childhood abuse.

Lena BaronikianLéna Baronikian
Parkdale Collegiate Institute, Toronto, Ontario
Trent University

Dedicated to creating more equitable and inclusive schools and communities, Léna has been a strong advocate for refugee rights and integration. She has also been an excellent role model as a member of Parkdale’s Organization for Women’s Equality and Rights (P.O.W.E.R.), helping to organize events focused on gender equity and women’s empowerment. Léna’s leadership and enthusiasm have definitely made a big impact on the Grade 1 class she assists in her spare time.

Billy-Ray BelcourBilly-Ray Belcourt
St. Andrew’s School, High Prairie, Alberta
University of Alberta

A passionate activist for Aboriginal rights, Billy-Ray was one of the first Youth Representatives on the Board of Directors at the High Prairie Native Friendship Centre and was a delegate for the 2010 National Association of Friendship Centres Youth Conference. He is also a strong advocate for youth literacy, acting as Assistant Coordinator of the High Prairie Library’s Summer Reading Program. He inspires others with his tireless commitment to the promotion of equity, diversity and social change.

Indigo ChristIndigo Christ
Moira Secondary School, Belleville, Ontario
University of Ottawa

As a member of the Ontario Student Trustee’s Association, Indigo’s actions have impacted students across the province. She played a pivotal role in organizing her school board’s Youth Forum, for which she led a workshop on sexual diversity and inclusion. Indigo’s activism as a member of her school’s Global Awareness Club, the Rotary AIDS Action Committee, as well as the YMCA’s tutoring program have played a large role in creating a safer and more equitable community.

Maysa HaqueMaysa Haque
Campbell Collegiate, Regina, Saskatchewan
McMaster University

As a member of the Anti-Racism Cross-Cultural Team, Maysa helped coordinate her school’s first Anti-Homophobia Day and created a video of personal stories from staff and students about racism, discrimination and homophobia. She is co-founder of the Regina Youth Group, a discussion and advocacy group for young Muslim women. Maysa’s work has had a major impact on challenging inequity and discrimination within her community, creating a legacy that will last for years to come.

SJ JanySJ Jany
Appleby College, Oakville, Ontario
McMaster University

Through his work promoting positive spaces for gender and sexuality minority students, SJ has transformed his school into a more equitable and inclusive environment for all. He courageously coordinated a Positive Space Training workshop for teachers and also established a support group for GSM students and their allies. Not only has he dedicated himself to creating safer learning environments, but has also assisted students to achieve academic success through his work as a volunteer tutor.

Arash KhazaeiArash Khazaei
William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute, Toronto, Ontario
University of Toronto

As President of the Toronto District School Board’s Super Council, Arash advocated for over 250,000 students across the city. He has been a passionate activist for social justice since moving to Canada, becoming the first Student Ambassador of Toronto’s Gender Based Violence Prevention Office, as well as initiating the Peer Education Network to foster leadership skills in other youth. Arash is also a graduate of Harmony’s DLCP program, which inspired him to start a Harmony Club at his school!

Victoria MercierVictoria Mercier
Paris District High School, Paris, Ontario
Mohawk College

Victoria has played a huge role in making her community a safer and more inclusive place for LGBTQ youth, sometimes at great cost to herself. She has taken a leadership role as a member of her school’s GSA and mentored Grade 8 students in her community through the Power of One program. Victoria has used the skills she gained through Harmony to promote positive, discrimination-free environments in her school and throughout her town with her Safe Spaces initiative.

Seemi QaiserSeemi Qaiser
Monarch Park Collegiate, Toronto, Ontario
University of Toronto

An enthusiastic champion of students’ rights, Seemi is responsible for instigating the first democratic Student Council elections at her school. She also drafted a new Student Council Constitution to ensure the sustainability of more equitable governance practices. Seemi’s leadership skills have inspired and empowered those she has worked with as a Peer Mentor for newcomer students, as a member of Toronto Public Health’s Youth Health Action Network and as a peer tutor in math and literacy.

Ana-Maria QarriAna-Maria Qarri
Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute, Toronto, Ontario
McMaster University

With an impressive record of academic accomplishments, even more remarkable about Ana-Maria is her unwavering commitment to creating positive social change. Founder of her school’s Queer Straight Alliance, she has demonstrated her willingness to take personal risks for the benefit of her larger community. Her passion for supporting and educating others has led to her involvement in the LGBTQ Youthline, the Hearing Every Youth through Youth (HEYY) program, as well as the Teenagers Educating And Confronting Homophobia (TEACH) program.

2011 Recipients

Faiza AliFaiza Ali
Milton District High School, Milton, Ontario
McMaster University

With her courage, confidence, and determination, Faiza serves as an excellent role model for other youth. In 2008, she co-founded the Milton District’s Students Unite Club, which promotes and supports social justice and diversity initiatives in her high school. Faiza has since continued to actively challenge discrimination in her school and community through the development and delivery of workshops that address stereotypes on race and sexual orientation. A tireless supporter of the Halton Women’s Shelter, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Halton, and youth mentorship programming at the Islamic Community Centre of Milton, Faiza has already had a major impact on those around her and hopes to extend this impact even further in the future.

Jona ChoNa Hyun (Jona) Cho
Oakridge Secondary School, London, Ontario
University of Waterloo

A born international leader, Jona was selected to be the Canadian Ambassador for the 2009 UNICEF Junior 8 Summit in Rome, Italy, where she proudly represented the voices of youth on global issues impacting young people today. Jona initiated her school’s first Social Justice Club, held forums at local elementary schools to address issues like climate change and poverty, and also established her school’s first Korean Language lunch-hour classes. Jona’s passion for activism has inspired many other youth to mobilize for social change, including taking action to stop the deportation of a fellow student. The strong legacy she has created in her community will ensure that her work for social justice is sustained as she moves on to university and to impact other communities.

Sarah ErmiasSarah Ermias
Jarvis Collegiate Institute, Toronto, Ontario
Ryerson University

Sarah’s strong commitment to community-building is evident in her dedication to helping other youth in her community succeed.  At her local recreation centre and library, Sarah works with newcomer youth on reading and writing skills.  She has volunteered as a peer mentor and tutor for many years and acts to challenge racism and celebrate diversity through her school’s Ujaama Club. Additionally, through the establishment of both an Environmental Club and Girls’ Club at her school, Sarah has played an important role in engaging other young people in thinking about and taking action on critical issues that impact people across the globe.

Zahid KayumZahid Kayum
West Hill Collegiate Institute, Toronto, Ontario
York University

Zahid is a perfect example of a courageous leader who is passionate about diversity and equity. An important part of his school’s Gay-Straight Alliance, Zahid helped to implement a school-wide Pink Shirt Day to encourage his peers to speak out against homophobic bullying. An active member of the Equity Team, School Action Team, Student Council, and the Student Advisory Council, Zahid gives voice to student concerns at many conferences and on many different discussion panels. In the near future, he plans on working with his university on a Toronto District School Board-wide initiative to plant and foster seeds of equity, excellence, and social justice.

Jaxson KhanJaxson Khan
Gordon Graydon Memorial Secondary School, Mississauga, Ontario
University of Western Ontario

Addressing the problems of ableism and homophobia with great dedication, Jaxson leads the way for other students to speak out against injustice. As president of his school’s Gay-Straight Alliance and co-author of the Charter of Rights for the Mental Health and Well-being of Children and Youth, Jaxson truly shows active and committed leadership.  The contributions he has made as the Operations Officer of the Ontario Student Trustee’s Association and as a board member of the Canadian Mental Health Commission demonstrate that Jaxson has a deep understanding of what it means to empower others to take positive action for social transformation.

Sarah RadmoreSarah Radmore
North Park Collegiate and Vocational School, Brantford, Ontario
University of Windsor

Since 2005, Sarah has set an example for her peers by fearlessly standing up against discrimination. With the belief that youth are the leaders not only of tomorrow, but of today, Sarah works with young people from diverse backgrounds to cultivate skills for social change. Part of her school’s Anti-Racism Committee and Gay-Straight Alliance, Sarah spends time creating safer spaces for students and promoting awareness of social issues through various events. She has led numerous Day of Pink assemblies and community rallies, creating an impact that will continue to grow as she embarks upon a new chapter of her life.

Sujen SaravanabavanSujen Saravanabavan
Weston Collegiate Institute, Toronto, Ontario
University of Western Ontario

Sujen is known as the type of person “who will stand up on stage to advocate for diversity but will also step down from the stage and stand up for his peers when no one else will.” As president of the Toronto District School Board’s (TDSB) SuperCouncil, Sujen is concerned with ensuring that equitable decisions are made for all students.  He co-founded H.E.A.R.T. (Human Equity Action Rights Team) and also contributed to the writing of the Human Rights Code of Conduct for his school board. A passionate advocate for LGBTQ rights and against socioeconomic discrimination, Sujen’s tireless efforts have helped to create learning environments in which all students are able to feel respected, reflected, and welcome.

Sigogini SivarajahSigogini Sivarajah
Pickering High School, Ajax, Ontario
University of Ottawa

Sigogini started promoting diversity in her community at the young age of five! A graduate of Harmony Movement’s Diversity Leadership Training, Sigogini is an active member of the Tamil Cultural and Academic Society of Durham and received the 2010 Volunteer Award from the Town of Ajax. Inspired by Harmony’s message, Sigogini also decided to create and run a Multicultural Club at her high school. Her dedication to equity and diversity doesn’t stop there. She is also the Team Leader for a Youth in Policing program and has created a website to help students access academic tutoring and volunteer opportunities. A remarkable student indeed, Sigogini also choreographed and performed a multicultural dance that included thirteen different cultures!

Olivia SuppaOlivia Suppa
St. Jean de Brebeuf Catholic High School, Woodbridge, Ontario
University of Ottawa

Olivia’s work is truly inspirational, opening the eyes of her peers to the diversity within her community.  She was involved in founding both a Multicultural Society as well as a Modern Language Club at her high school and continues to work courageously to combat many forms of discrimination. Hosting monthly discussion forums, Olivia has encouraged her school board to think about and challenge homophobia and gender-based discrimination within the school system and society. Olivia is also President of her school’s Student Council as well as the Ontario Student Trustees’ Association, Catholic Board. Through her efforts, Olivia hopes to create a culture of acceptance and awareness while also inspiring others to work towards greater equity and inclusion.

Oluwatobi TaiwoOluwatobi Taiwo
R.H. King Academy, Toronto, Ontario
Ryerson University

Drawing upon her strong sense of social justice, Tobi founded the organization Hand in Hand, which provides students with the tools to prevent and stand up against bullying. A dedicated Youth Advocate, Tobi’s work has been recognized by The Toronto Star, CBC’s The National, as well as by an Empowered Student Partnerships plaque. Tobi’s contribution to her school’s Safe School Council also demonstrates her dedication towards equity and diversity issues, as she has liaised with staff and students on a weekly basis about the council’s initiatives. Her actions have set a strong example for her community about the importance of addressing discrimination and taking a stand for justice.

No posts found.

2009 Recipients

Neelam KhareNeelam Khare
Windermere Secondary Schoool, Vancouver BC
Simon Fraser University

As co-founder of the Under9teens, an initiative at her high school, Neelam has travelled across Canada to film a documentary on First Nations’ rights, displacement and poverty. She is also a performer, educator and organizer of TEAM, Teens Educating Against Misuse, which performs skits and plays to educate students about homosexuality, sexual exploitation and HIV/AIDS. Neelam has been a peer-to-peer facilitator for the Prevention Education Program since 2004, creating workshops about regionalism, classism, body image and substance abuse. She co-founded her school’s chapter of the “Room to Read” program, helping raise funds for educational opportunities in developing countries.

Peggy LamPeggy Lam
Windermere Secondary Schoool, Vancouver BC
Simon Fraser University

Peggy Lam has been an educator, mentor and facilitator for Prevention Education Program since 2003, teaching her peers about drugs, gangs, HIV/AIDS and homophobia. She is also the club coordinator for SING, Students Inspiring a New Generation, creating peer education for youth about war, poverty and homelessness in Vancouver and around the globe. Through SING, Peggy organized a white-poppy campaign to promote peace; a hygiene drive to collect essentials for the homeless; and pioneered a school-wide anti-discrimination experiment to raise awareness of labeling and stereotyping. Peggy is currently working on an innovative documentary exploring homelessness, nuclear weapon use and the oil sands industry across Canada.

Fatemeh MayanlooFatemeh Mayanloo
Waterloo Collegiate Institute, Waterloo ON
University of British Columbia

With a passion for youth representation in policy making, Fatemeh has volunteered with the Federal-Provincial conference since 2005, engaging students in the Canadian political process. This passion for youth empowerment has led to her involvement in her school’s Diversity Club, acting as assistant director of their Multicultural Show, WCI’s Human Rights Club, as well as initiating their first AIDS campaign at her previous high school. In addition, she was the coordinator of a year-long campaign to educate others about gender discrimination around the world while fundraising for “Women for Women International” in Afghanistan. Fatemeh is a graduate of Harmony Movement’s Diversity Leadership Certificate Program.

Nasriin MohamedNasriin Mohamed
Jarvis Collegiate Institute, Toronto ON
University of Toronto

As vice president of her school’s Muslim Student Association, Nasriin has shown a commitment to acceptance and diversity. She was a peer leader participating in the “Brick by Brick” campaign to help raise funds to build schools in Sierra Leone. Nasriin has taken on the role of a teaching assistant in Somali languages at Ryerson University, allowing students the opportunity to learn their native tongue and connect to aspects of their cultural heritage. Nasriin is also a volunteer at the Yongue Muslimahz Program, helping to create dramatic performances and leadership activities for female youth and allowing them to embrace their differences and foster a community of understanding.

Victoria PequegnatVictoria Pequegnat
Cobourg District Collegiate Institute East, Cobourg ON
University of Ontario Institute of Technology

For the past three years, Victoria has been a personal support worker at Direct Funding Attendant Care services, assisting people with disabilities to live independently. She is a board member of the Cobourg Accessibility Advisory Committee and assistant facilitator for the Association for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), where she provides information sessions and AODA training. Victoria was also the disability awareness leader for the “Walk a Mile in My Shoes Day”, where she assisted elected officials and dignitaries in experiencing a variety of disabilities to expand their awareness and understanding of the struggles that people with disabilities face daily

Tringa RexhepiTringa Rexhepi
Dartmouth High School, Dartmouth NS
Sheridan College

In November 2008, Tringa co-founded her school’s “Invisible Children Book Drive”, collecting over 12,700 books for schools in Northern Uganda. She is a founding member of the “African Heritage Project”, presenting African cultures through art and music to her school and community, and is also the founder and director of the “Trebled Youth Vocal Ensemble”. These initiatives use the performing arts to raise awareness about poverty and slavery, as well as help raise funds for local community organizations such as “Dapopo Theatre”, “Right to Play” and FOOD (Feed Others of Dartmouth).

Corey SherwoodCorey Sherwood
St. Edmund Campion Secondary School, Brampton ON
Wilfrid Laurier University

As a graduate of Harmony Movement’s Diversity Leadership Certificate Program, Corey has embraced what it means to be a leader for social change. Since 2004, Corey has been involved in initiatives to promote peace and understanding, from being a team leader for his school’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to participating in the University of Toronto’s Back History Month conference. Corey was the organizer of “SPEAK UP”, a charity basketball tournament to raise money for Knights Table, a local soup kitchen in Brampton. He also independently created a presentation for his school of 2,000 students about Canada’s only all-black military battalion in World War I.

Natasha SomaniNatasha Somani
Western Canada High School, Calgary AB
Queen’s University

As Teen Critic on CBC Radio Calgary, Natasha is constantly raising awareness about issues such as gang violence and discrimination within her community. She has been a key member of Calgary’s Interfaith Youth Council for the past two years. In this capacity, she has served meals at the Calgary Drop-In Centre, volunteered at a local senior’s home, worked with Habitat for Humanity and spoken at the Canadian Race Relations Foundation Conference. Natasha has been the Chairperson/President of the Calgary Mayor’s Youth Council since 2006, helping to represent the voices of youth in her community while addressing issues such as homelessness and advocating for healthy living initiatives.

Melisa YorganciogluMelisa Yorgancioglu
Elgin Park Secondary School, Surrey BC
McGill University

In 2006, Melisa approached local businesses and her school administration in order to establish a non-profit organization aiming to help the homeless and increase awareness of social injustices in her community. Despite encountering unexpected obstacles, Melisa persevered and became the founder and chairperson of TAP (Teens Aiding the Planet). With thirty-five active members, TAP works to make a positive impact in the community by collecting and distributing donations to homeless shelters, volunteering at local food banks, and planning.

2008 Recipients

Ailsa BeischerAilsa Beischer
Mount Boucherie Secondary, Westbank, British Columbia
University of British Columbia

Ailsa has always had a deep commitment to helping others. She has volunteered at Free the Children for over ten years and as a teen, has committed much of her free time to helping seniors at a local care facility. Ailsa has served as a peer mentor for the Girls Group and Girl Guides of Canada, and is a cross cultural conflict resolution mediator for YOUCAN. Ailsa was also a facilitator for the I am the Joy the World is Waiting for course, designed to increase self-esteem in preteen girls, and for the Safe Harbour Youth Ambassador Program, which helps children foster empathy and understanding for diversity.

Michelle ChenMichelle Chen
Little Flower Academy, Vancouver, British Columbia
University of Toronto

Described by her teacher as a “silent hero,” Michelle is the founder of her school’s first Multicultural and Diversity Club. Through this she initiated and organized a Multicultural Week, celebrating the different cultures of the school, International Dinners, Human Rights Walks, and a Harmony Conference. Michelle also worked as a leader with Vancouver’s Amnesty International Youth, organizing petitions, letter writing campaigns and awareness-building events. Michelle dedicates much of her time to developing and delivering presentations to elementary schools, helping to raise awareness about bullying, peer pressure and violence amongst youth. She also volunteers with Kids Help Phone Vancouver.

Rodney DiverlusRodney Diverlus
Westdale Secondary School, Hamilton, Ontario
Ryerson University

Rodney is a role model in his school and in the greater Hamilton community. He has worked with Habitat for Humanity to raise funds to support families in Honduras, and is a member of the Hamilton Community Foundation’s Youth Advisory Council, implementing community initiatives and projects to aid Hamilton’s in-need neighborhoods. Rodney also sits on the Hamilton Police Service’s Youth Advisory Committee, helping decrease tensions between the law enforcement and Hamiltonian youth. He is the OnPAR (Ontario Partners against Racism) youth committee co-chair, where he acts as liaison to organizations such as the Youth Anti-Racism Network and Hamilton Center for Civic Inclusion.

Norman JureidiniNorman Jureidini
Anderson Collegiate Vocational Institute, Whitby, Ontario
Carleton University

Norman is described by his principal as “a motivational force within our school and community.” As the co-founder of the Anderson CVI Environmental Club, a member of the Culture of Peace Committee, the White Ribbon Campaign, the Justice Equality Movement, Amnesty International, Black History Month presentations, Kids Day Camp and Harmony Movement’s Diversity Leadership Certificate Program, Norman is certainly making his mark in the world. His activism also reaches into the community, where he has served as a volunteer at Vincent’s Kitchen, the Salvation Army, R.A.G.E. (Reaching a Generation Everywhere) Ministries and with Project Porch light, which distributes low impact light bulbs to the community.

Leanna KatzLeanna Katz
Langstaff Secondary School, Richmond Hill, Ontario
McMaster University

In Grade 9, Leanna joined the Stephen Lewis Foundation at her school, raising awareness about HIV/AIDS. Two years later she became the group’s president and helped to bring the Art for AIDS project to her school, raising over $20,000 for AIDS awareness. Through this project, Leanna traveled to South Africa as an ambassador and ran art workshops for children. Locally, Leanna has written articles for the Toronto Star about child labour and water scarcity in Darfur, and organized a Cultural Exchange Program at her school in order to promote racial and cultural equality, and bridge the gap between ESL and non-ESL students.

Krupa KotechaKrupa Kotecha
Balmoral Hall, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Queen’s University

Krupa was appointed to the Manitoba Association of Rights and Liberties as the youngest board member in history. Her tireless efforts to achieve equality have inspired her to write a monologue about the prejudice faced by a teenage Indian immigrant to Canada, organize a school wide anti-racism and cultural awareness assembly, and spearhead a used glasses drive to provide eye care to those in need. Krupa is the Youth Director of the Gujarati Cultural Society of Manitoba, the 2005 winner of the Racism. Stop it! National video-making competition, and was asked to be a speaker to over 5000 people at the Canadian International Day in Ottawa.

Katelyn MurrayKatelyn Murray
Essex District High School, Essex, Ontario
York University

As founder and president of her school’s first Humanities Club, Katelyn has been at the forefront of many initiatives to address racism and discrimination in her school, including DIVERSIFY ME!, a cultural sensitivity training programming highlighting the importance of differences in society. Katelyn took her passion for diversity and acceptance into the community, volunteering with organizations such as the Leukemia Research Foundation and New Canadians Centre, teaching adult ESL classes. She has also been a panelist at the University of Windsor’s Social Justice Forum, speaking about her recent trip to Ghana, Africa, where she taught local youth and helped renovate a medical clinic.

Annika SamsonAnnika Samson
St. Edmund Campion Secondary School, Brampton, Ontario
University of Toronto

As a founding member of Campion Cares, Annika spearheaded numerous campaigns such as the White Ribbon Campaign, Spare Change for Mozambique Children Drive and Girls Night, an event for grade 9 girls dealing with gender inequality. Annika was also a member of the PEACE TEAM, a peer mediation group to resolve youth conflict in the school. In addition to her work at St. Edmund Campion, Annika is currently taking part in a campaign to help build a new school in Attawapiskat, a First Nations community in Northern Ontario, which has been without a proper school for 29 years.

Maala SharmaMaala Sharma
Maples Collegiate, Winnipeg, Manitoba
University of Winnipeg

Maala puts her passion into action. She has served as the Seven Oaks School Division Representative for the UN (Winnipeg Branch), and is a Free the Children Global Voices Junior Journalist. She has organized letter-writing campaigns and petitions for women’s rights, safe schools, and anti-child labour initiatives in developing nations. She has also run fundraisers for Adopt-A-Minefield, The Laurel Centre, UNICEF and Canadian Red Cross. Maala initiated and helped create a World Religions course in her school to reflect the diversity of the student population, and is also the recipient of the United Way of Winnipeg Student Community Service/Leadership Award.

Connor SteeleConnor Steele
Bradford District High School, Bradford, Ontario
Carleton University

Through his work as a motivational speaker, Connor has delivered presentations on human rights and equity to thousands of students, teachers, and school board members throughout the GTA. As a self-identified spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy, and as a gay male, Connor has fought tirelessly for equal rights. Through his many initiatives, including founding the first Gay Straight Alliance at his school, integrating “queer-positive” literature into the library and helping to re-write the Bradford District High School student handbook to include discrimination based on sexuality as harassment, Connor’s work has not only made a significant impact on his own life, but also on those around him.

2007 Recipients

Aminka BelvittAminka Belvitt
Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate, Kitchener, Ontario
University of Ottawa

Described by her vice principle as “an exceptional young person who cares deeply for others”, Aminka started her school’s first-ever multicultural club and established a Students Taking Action Now: Darfur (S.T.A.N.D.) chapter. As a participant in the regional Federal Provincial Simulation Conference in both 2005 and 2006, she played the respective roles of health care minister from the Northwest Territories and Premier of Ontario. Aminka has been an advocate for causes such as Black History Month, as well as a champion for AIDS awareness, as she has volunteered with the AIDS committee for the Kitchener/Waterloo area since 2005.

Anees BahjiAnees Bahji
Maple Ridge Secondary School, Maple Ridge, British Columbia
Simon Fraiser University

His teachers identified him as “revolutionary”. Since emigrating from Tehran, Anees has nurtured a spirit of multiculturalism in his adopted country. He demonstrated personal courage by standing up for a fellow student who was being discriminated based on his sexuality. Anees initiated Living Above and Beyond Every Label (L.A.B.E.L.), an anti-racism and anti-prejudice group at his school. Through this group, Anees worked towards improving his school’s climate by educating and hosting events such as the Stereotype Fashion Show. In addition, Anees worked with Unity in Diversity, a local organization that promotes racial respect through education, and volunteered extensively with the Vancouver Humane Society.

Ryan ChangRyan Chang
Turner Fenton Secondary School, Brampton, Ontario
University of Western Ontario

Ryan was instrumental in organizing his school’s Culturefest, a celebration of world cultures that involved dances, fashion shows, as well as food and activity booths. Ryan headed Raising the Bar Monologues to convey the realities of victims of abuse, rape, HIV/AIDS, genocide and violence; Smoking Isn’t Kool (S.I.K.) and Extinguish programs at his school to discourage tobacco use among students; and the Leadership Development and Manual Creation in the Students The Active Risk Takers (S.T.A.R.T.) overnight leadership conference that trained thirty senior students to become mentors. Ryan also organized a community fair for the Suddenly Opportunities Are Reachable (S.O.A.R.) leadership conference.

Nikki D'SouzaNikkieta D’Souza
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Mississauga, Ontario
York University

Nikkieta has worked to make a positive difference in her school and broader community throughout her four years of high school. She joined the social justice group Carmel Cares and went on to become its president in her senior year. Through Carmel Cares, Nikkieta spearheaded many new initiatives, including raising funds to sponsor two children in Bolivia, creating a community outreach program with the Eden Woods Seniors Centre, and assisting Via Manor, a home of young mothers. In addition, Nikkieta co-chaired the school’s annual Christmas Basket Project. Nikkieta delivered two successful workshops in Harmony Movement’s Diversity Leadership Certificate Program.

Aravind GaneshAravind Ganesh
Notre Dame High School, Red Deer, Alberta
University of Calgary

Aravind came to Canada from India three years ago and has already made a profound impact on his community. Due to his personal experiences with racial stereotyping and bullying, Aravind founded the group Students for International Friendship and Understanding (S.I.F.U.) which brings immigrant and refugee students together with club members and host families. He also created the official poster for Black History Month in Ontario and helped raise money for orphans in Peru and Chile through his work with Students for Justice. Aravind’s recent essay on promoting egalitarian treatment for refugees is now a promotional medium for the Central Alberta Refugee Effort (C.A.R.E.).

Ayan Ga’alAyan Ga’al
L’Amoreaux Collegiate Institute, Toronto, Ontario
Queen’s University

As president of her school’s Equity Committee, Ayan organized campaigns to address issues of discrimination and was influential in creating an “Equity Special Collection” at her school’s library, filling it with equity-oriented books and videos. Ayan successfully campaigned for a Women’s and Gender Studies course, which will be added to her school’s curriculum in the upcoming year. She has organized successful fundraisers for local community organizations and for the Acholi children in northern Uganda. In 2007, Ayan designed and delivered a 75-minute interactive workshop on student activism to teacher candidates at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Education (O.I.S.E.).

Niki MadoreNiki Madore
Fenelon Falls Secondary School, Norland, Ontario
Carlton University

Niki should be commended for her courage in starting the first Gay Straight Alliance (G.S.A.) in her rural community school. In the initial phases of the club’s creation, they were being denied rights given to other clubs to advertise through posters or school announcements. However, Niki fought and prevailed and G.S.A. was granted those rights after the first year. Niki ran the G.S.A. at her school for over two years and during this time the group was recognized by Youth Hotline in Toronto for their work in a rural community. She also presented a workshop on her group’s success at the 2006 National Guelph Sexuality Conference in Guelph, Ontario.

img002Aisha is an individual who is passionate in her pursuit of social harmony. She has volunteered an excess of 100 hours at It Takes a Village, a non-profit organization in Ajax. Through this organization, Aisha spearheaded programs and events that included the annual Kwanza festival, Black History month events and the Ajax Waterfront Festival. As a member of their special events committee, she organized events to promote African culture through crafts, dance, food, music and presentations. Aisha has worked towards creating a more inclusive curriculum at her school, where no African history courses are taught by proposing a plan to petition for change in Ontario’s history curriculum.

Novel RahmanNovel Rahman
Vaughan Secondary School, Thornhill, Ontario
University of Toronto

Novel is a young man with proven leadership abilities. He served three consecutive terms as head of both Community Alliance for York Region Education (C.A.Y.R.E.) and Fusion, two anti-bullying organizations in his school. During this time, Novel organized anti-bullying assemblies for his school and also founded Unity, an umbrella organization for C.A.Y.R.E., Fusion and the Gay Straight Alliance. In addition, as student council president, he organized a weeklong fundraising event, “Raise the Beat”, raising over $2,000 for the Sick Kids Foundation. Novel is also responsible for organizing an International Spirit Week at his school where different cultures were celebrated each day of the week.

Katie ZeppieriKatie Zeppieri
Anderson Collegiate Vocational Institute, Whitby, Ontario
Ryerson University

Katie is a leader in the promotion of diversity and equity at the regional, national and international levels. As a member of the Culture of Peace Committee at her school, she was involved in White Ribbon and Amnesty International campaigns in her community. She represented Ontario at the United Nations Regional Consultation on Violence Against Children for North American Region. During her last two years of high school, Katie was active in Harmony Movement’s Diversity Leadership Certificate Program, delivering workshops and developing lessons on diversity education to elementary students. These lessons have become part of a Teacher Diversity Education Resource Manual distributed to all Whitby and Pickering schools.

2006 Recipients

Stephen BenawayStephen Benaway
A.B. Lucas Secondary School, London, Ontario
Trent University

Since his first day at A.B. Lucas, Stephen has worked with teachers and the administration to establish a safe resource for students who have been bullied. He has worked tirelessly to establish an anti-bullying committee, a Gay/Lesbian support group, a Crimestoppers committee, a Gay/Lesbian library, for which he got support from the United Way, as well as created a survey to help administration understand the effects of bullying on new Grade 9 students entering high school. Outside of school, Stephen teaches Math and English to special needs adults and councils victims of sexual abuse, rape, bullying and traumatic events. Stephen has been granted the Violence Prevention Award and the Lucas Silver Medal for his work at A.B. Lucas.

Heidi ChoHeidi Cho
School of Experiential Education, Toronto, Ontario
Ryerson University

As a self identified South Korean feminist, Heidi Cho took it upon herself to be a powerful leader at the School of Experiential Education (SEE). She initiated and organized different events within her school such as the 2004 Gandhi Peace Festival, the 2005 Ruckus Anti- racism Conference for youth of colour as well as created numerous events for queer youths including PrideProm and Fruit Loopz 2006. Heidi also is a writer for Shameless Magazine in which she speaks to individuals about gender, racial and sexual stereotypes. Heidi’s talent’s, as an artist has been showcased at the Art Gallery of Ontario in the students component of the Massive Change exhibition, where its focus is to tackle social issues.

Aliza DadaniAliza Dadani
Sir Winston Churchill High School, Calgary, Alberta
University of Alberta

Aliza’s effort to promote harmony has not only touched her school, but has also reached a global level. She has worked with Afghani refugees to help them adapt to Canadian culture, volunteers at a Muslim Mosque/Community Centre working as a reading buddy, a Big Sister, helps run tutoring programs and created “African Outcry” to raise awareness about poverty in Africa. She also traveled to Tanzania to volunteer at a school for the blind, an orphanage and a beggars’ camp. In addition, Aliza has created a youth project called “http://www.harmony.ca/photospeak” which displays youth’s views on health through photography. Thanks to such program, Aliza has spoken about teen suicide at many conferences and exhibitions.

Doug HaynesDoug Haynes
Anderson C.V.I, Whitby, Ontario
Trent University

Referred to by his principal as the “unassuming superhero”, Doug has created and volunteered with many organizations and fundraisers at his school to help promote diversity and acceptance. Some of his involvement includes graduating from Harmony Movement’s Diversity Leadership Certificate Program, being a member of S.T.A.R. (Students Together Against Racism), Culture of Peace, creating a White Ribbon Campaign at his school to promote men against male violence against women and created a “ Battle of the Bands” fundraiser for a women’s shelter. Doug has also been a key participant in the Tsunami Relief Campaign, the Fostering Hope Campaign as well as initiated the creation of Anti-Homophobia day and the development of the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) at Anderson C.V.I.

Gurkiran KangGurkiran Kang
Killarney Secondary School, Vancouver, BC
University of British Columbia

From the very beginning of her high school career, Gurkiran noticed that a change needed to be made at Killarney Secondary School and took it upon herself to initiate such change. She organized a Multi-cultural week, volunteered for Student Street Squad, was a leader of the Killarney’s Violence Prevention Team and was Prime Minister of her Student Government. Gurkiran applied for and received a grant from the community to hold an evening of fashion, food and student performances at her school called “Desi Dayz”. This evening was held to highlight East Indian culture and to promote multi-culturalism. Outside of her school, Gurkiran volunteers and helps with fundraising initiatives for the Variety Club, Tsunami Victims, Hurricane Katrina, Diabetes and Food Bank agencies.

Courtney KillamCourtney Killam
St Joseph’s Collegiate, Brooks
Alberta/ Mount Royal College

Identified by one of her teachers as an individual with a truly global vision, Courtney has made many contributions to both the local and global community. She has organized “Operation Bosnia” which gathered and donated unneeded school supplies from students cleaning out their lockers, assisted in the 36 Hour Wake-A-Thon raising over $3,000 for AIDS Orphans and Street Children (AOSC) in sub-Sahara Africa and joined Amnesty International Group which organized a rock show raising over $750. For the past three years, Courtney held World Vision 30 Hour Famine for her birthdays collecting donations instead of birthday gifts. Courtney has volunteered at Tim Horton’s Camp for children with different abilities and financial needs and Ten Thousand Villages, which is committed to providing fair income for Third World individuals.

Jeremy MatlowJeremy Matlow
Sir John A. MacDonald Secondary School, Waterloo, Ontario
Western University

Jeremy is an individual who has invested hundreds of hours into volunteering and is still continuing with his efforts. As a member of the Unity and Diversity Club, he promoted equality amongst different cultures, ethnicities, and religions through education. He was a member of Working Against Youth Violence Everywhere (WAYVE), a youth-led group that would educate communities about bullying, labeling, stereotypes and gang violence. Through WAYVE, Jeremy hosted Bullying Awareness Week, WAYVE Awareness Day, A Step in the Right Direction Campaign and the March 21 STOP Racism Campaign. As a recognized guidance counselor at his school, Jeremy has lead anti-violence workshops at nearly 20 schools within the Kitchener Waterloo area, child wellness centers and City Hall.

Fathia MbarakFathia Mbarak
Anderson C.V.I., Whitby, Ontario
University of Toronto

As a past participant at the UN Secretary General’s Case Study for the Rights of the Child, Fathia was not only involved with the planning committee but was also a youth delegate presenting to the entire forum. She represented her school at the UN’s New York Conference on War Affected Children and was on the organizing committee of the Citizenship Ceremony for new Canadians at Anderson C.V.I. Fathia organized the Tsunami Disaster Relief efforts, the Foster Hope Campaign and was a recipient of the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration’s 2004 Ontario Spirit Tsunami Award. Involved with her schools Cultures of Peace Committee, White Ribbon Campaign and annual Black History Month events, Fathia balances these committees with her ongoing responsibilities as a Corporal at 151 Chadburn Squadron in Oshawa.

Van-Nhi NguyenVan-Nhi Nguyen
Archbishop Romero Catholic Secondary School, Toronto, Ontario
University of Toronto

Van-Nhi Nguyen’s commitment to volunteerism has gone beyond 500 hours. As Minister of the Environment within her school, she designed a peer tutoring program, a Reach Out and Respect Club which promotes acceptance for all individuals and a Multicultural Club. Recognizing the need for youth to understand the power of volunteering and the importance of leadership, she created the Leaders of Today program. Additionally, she is a member of the Empowered Students Patrol that promotes anti-bullying and diversity through multiculturalism and has founded the Youth Links with Youth group which helps youth facing problems and tough situations. Van-Nhi is a member of the Toronto Youth Cabinet and volunteers at the Humber River Regional Hospital and the Hospital for Sick Children.

Helen YohannesHelen Yohannes
Sir Sandford Fleming Academy, Toronto, Ontario
York University

As an individual that has had to struggle to overcome barriers preventing her own personal achievement, Helen has displayed a passion for assisting youth in her community. Helen is a founding member of Revolutionaries Honouring Your Minds Eye (RHYME) which is a by youth, for youth spoken word collective which educates and empowers individuals through poetry. Using her spoken word talents, and as employee of the Lawrence Heights Health Care Center, she unites young people through hip hop and poetry dealing with issues such as HIV, violence, racism, and other common dilemmas within marginalized communities. Helen has held a multi-cultural showcase that displayed different cultures from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, and facilitated an African History assembly to eliminate false perceptions of African heritage and culture.

2005 Recipients

Farida Abu-BakareFarida Abu-Bakare
Fort William Collegiate Institute, Thunder Bay, Ontario
Carlton University

Farida was a leader in promoting harmony and diversity in the Thunder Bay area. As vice-president of the Northwestern Ontario Regional Multicultural Youth Council, she was involved with their Safer Communities Campaign and Anti-Racism Working Group. Farida organized forums and presentations on youth crime and violence and hosted March 21st events to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. She also organized Girl Power camps to empower young women to follow their passions and fulfill their dreams. Farida was a leader m RMYC’s Summer Camp Program where she organized workshops on First Nations’ reserves to advocate against violence. Last fall, she organized receptions to welcome Aboriginal students entering school in the Thunder Bay area. Farida was a recipient of the City of Thunder Bay’s Citizens of Exceptional Achievement Award in April.

Brianna BrownBrianna Brown
St. Francis Xavier Secondary School, Ontario
York University

Brianna graduated from Harmony Movement’s Diversity Leadership Certificate Program this past spring. As an enthusiastic participant in the program, she helped organize an assembly at St. Francis Xavier Secondary School to discuss issues including race, gender and disabilities. During the program, Brianna created a video for the school to teach the students about racism and stereotypes. She also played an active role in the school’s Black History month by helping to organize Blackology, an educational event. As part of the month, Brianna helped coordinate daily audio announcements about the history of blacks in Canada. She also created television segments on black history for the school’s X-Factor television program. Brianna has also made a film and video about racial issues facing young women and students in their interactions with teachers.

Samantha Cooper
Inuksuk High School, Iqaluit, Nunavut
Carlton University

After being bullied, Samantha became an advocate against violence in Nunavut. In September 2001, she and 17 other students formed the group, Iqaluit Kids Against Violence. The group promotes awareness of violence at Inuksuk High School and in the surrounding community. Samantha volunteered with the Kamatsiaqtut Nunavut Help Line where she answered the telephone to help people in distress. She was also involved with Inuksuk High School’s breakfast program and helped serve meals in Iqaluit’s soup kitchen. Samantha was a representative on the Minister’s Youth Action Team Against Tobacco for the last three years.

Andrea Derbecker
Ecole Secondaire Kelvin High School Winnipeg, Manitoba
University of Winnipeg

For the last four years, Andrea was a member of Kelvin High School’s human rights and environmental group, Hopeful Aware Students Taking Action. As part of her work she helped organized educational events about human rights, including the Human Rights Symposium and Global Awareness Day. Andrea helped bring 50 presenters to Kelvin High School for the latter event. This past summer she ran a summer day camp program at The Mamawiwi-chi-itata Centre, which provides support to the aboriginal community. Andrea was a recipient of the YMCA International Peacekeeper’s Award and the Manitoba Teacher’s Society’s Young Humanitarian Award.

Mani Kakkar
Turner Fenton Secondary School, Brampton, Ontario
McGill University

Mani was a leader in promoting diversity at Turner Fenton Secondary School and in Brampton. She had a pivotal role in the school’s Spread the Word group, which promotes the acceptance and appreciation of all people. Mani gave tours of the temple, Hindu Sabha Mandir, at the Doors Open weekend in Brampton. This event helped provide insight into Indian culture and religion. Mani was the student leader of the South Asian Pavilion during Culturefest, a celebration of Turner Fenton Secondary School’s diversity. She also helped organize an assembly and ribbon campaign at her school to raise awareness of violence against women in Commemoration of the Montreal Massacre.

Navtej MudharNavtej Mudhar
Dunbarton High School, Pickering, Ontario
Carlton University

Navtej has actively promoted diversity at Dunbarton High School and in the Durham region for the last four years. As a co-founder of The Students Stopping Violence program, she helped organize anti-Violence and anti-bullying programs for elementary school students. Navtej was also president of Students Together Opposing Prejudice. As president, she convinced other students to help her paint the school’s ceiling with flags of the countries represented by Dunbarton’s students. Navtej was also an active participant in the Students Together Against Racism camp and was most recently one of its student organizers. She volunteered with the Multicultural Council of Oshawa / Durham for four years and formed a youth group of the organization.

Shivani SharmaShivani Sharma
St. Francis Xavier Secondary School,
Mississauga, Ontario / York University

Shivani was a driving force behind Avant Garde, the newspaper at St. Francs Xavier Secondary School. She published many articles in the newspaper to raise awareness about racism, sexism, ageism and discrimination against the disabled. Shivani was one of 12 students chosen at the school to participate in Harmony Movement’s Diversity Leadership Certificate Program. Shivani was also actively Involved in the Saints Against Injustice Now and Together Society club where she helped organize anti-racism campaigns and presentations on anti-Semitism. She was the recipient of St. Francis Xavier’s Oscar Romero Award, given to a graduating student who is the best example of someone seeking social justice.

Ashley ThompsonAshley Thompson
Ajax High School, Ajax, Ontario
University of British Columbia

After participating in a Second City workshop on anti-bullying, Ashley was inspired to start an anti-bullying committee in her school. She organized 35 students to create a Stop the Bullying presentation for staff and students at Ajax High School. The presentation discussed the problem of bullying, possible solutions to the problem and the impact of bullying on society. This committee explored issues including racism, sexism and homophobia in an attempt to create positive change at the school. Ashley also created a school outreach program to promote anti-bullying among elementary school students.

Ankit TiwariAnkit Tiwari
Parkdale Collegiate Institute Toronto, Ontario
University of Toronto

As president of Parkdale Collegiate Institute’s Equity Club, Ankit helped organized a year long equity program at Parkdale Collegiate Institute. This program included five equity workshops to teach students about discrimination and how they could create change. The workshops subsequently inspired the school’s teachers to form an equity group amongst themselves. Ankit also coordinated Equity Week at Parkdale to raise awareness about issues including racism and human rights. He coordinated two fundraising drives in his last year at Parkdale to help victims of Hurricane Ivan and tsunami victims. Ankit was the recipient of the Diversity Award from Scadding Court Community Centre and the Mary A. Campbell Equity Award from Parkdale.

Caitlin TreadgoldCaitlin Treadgold
Anderson Collegiate Vocational Institute Whitby, Ontario
Queen’s University

Caitlin promoted racial harmony through Anderson Collegiate Vocational Institute’s Culture of Peace committee. She was a leader and activist on the school’s, Black History Month and Multicultural Month celebrations. Caitlin was also actively involved in Anderson’s White Ribbon Campaign, a campaign against male violence towards women and Amnesty International. She gave a speech, Fostering Unity and Diversity in our Secondary Schools at a meeting of the Ajax Baha’i community. Caitlin has also given a presentation advocating for human rights at Queen’s Park.

2004 Recipients

Holly BurtonHolly Burton
Burnaby Mountain Secondary School, Burnaby. S. C., B.C.
University of British Columbia

Holly served as President for her school’s first Gay/Straight Alliance and is committed to the security and comfort of LGBTQ youth in Canada. She was involved in a Homophobia-Free Zone poster campaign to ensure that students of all sexual orientations experienced a positive leaning environment. Holly promoted tolerance by initiating a school policy against verbal and emotional abuses such as homophobic slurs. As a member of the Amnesty International since 1999, Holly worked to bring light to the void’s injustices and to provide global assistance through campaigns such as aWARness Week., letter-writing blitzes arid a food drive.

Saron GhebreslaseSaron Ghebreslase
York Memorial Collegiate Institute, Toronto, Ontario
Ryerson University

Saron was featured in a TV Ontario documentary as a motivated young leader whose life is filled with extra-curricular and volunteer activities. She hosts of two feminist radio shows on CIUT B9.5, and is very interested in creating anti-racist and anti-sexist initiatives in the media. Saron worked with Anti-Racism Media Education and was the media coordinator of World Vision’s thirty-hour famine. Last summer, Saron worked as a journalist in Eritrea, Africa covering stories on drought, disease and tourism. Saron’s passion for broadcasting developed from the negative portrayals of minorities in the media, and she aims to make diversity a coverage priority and have news seen through minority eyes.

Boshra Sara HosseiniBoshra (Sara) Hosseini
Ecole Secondaire Kelvin High School, Winnipeg, Manitoba
University of Manitoba

Sara’s involvement in HASTA, Hopeful Aware Students Taking Action, helped this group to win the YM/YWCA’s Peace Medal and the Manitoba Teachers’ Society Young Humanitarian Achievement Award. She organized many awareness-raising events such as Human Rights Day, Addictions Awareness Week, Environment Week and Buy Nothing Day. Sara also participated in Youth in Philanthropy (YIP) and started a 30-hour ‘famine’ at her school. She regularly coordinated educational workshops and participated in citywide panel discussions on issues such as racism and landmine awareness.

Rahim KassamRahim Kassam
Dunbarton High School, Pickering, Ontario
University of Waterloo

In his final year of high school, Rahim served as President for the Students Together Opposing Prejudice (S.T.O.R) movement and Chair of the Model United Nations Committee. He created a forum for opposing groups to discuss highly controversial topics such as the one involving Israel and Palestine. Rahim has bean involved in assisting refugee-status immigrants to deal with their violent past and to adjust to their new life in Canada. In 2004, he spoke at a fundraiser for a refugee from Sierra Leone in an effort to create awareness of the indecencies and vulgarities that occur overseas. Rahim organized a multicultural show at his high school and is an active member of the Muslim Students Association, he established a yearly Eid luncheon.

Sadia RafiquddinSadia Rafiquddin
John Fraser Secondary School, Mississauga, Ontario
University of Toronto

In her three-year term as president of John Fraser’s Amnesty International chapter, Sadia was involved in a variety of positive programs such as campaigns for Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Human Rights Day, Stop Torture and Rights of the Child. She participated in a letter-writing campaign that resulted in the release of a prisoner from Myanmar. Sadia organized a multimedia presentation entitled the Embracing Cultures Tour and she volunteered at the Peel Police Race Against Racism. In 2003, Sadia created a chapter of Kids Can Free the Children and spearheaded a project that raised $10.000 to build a school in Kono, Sierra Leone.

Aaida RajabaliAaida Rajabali
Old Scona Academic, Edmonton, Alberta
University of Alberta

Aaida dedicates her time to community service projects that have a positive impact on society. For the past three years, she was an active member of the Hope for the World Club (HMC). During her two-year presidency, HWC has highlighted today’s issues through walks, fundraisers, and conferences. As part of the Multicultural Club, an organization that works to encourage pluralism, she was able to participate in events such as Keep the Beat for Warchild Canada. Aaida also volunteered with the Youth Criminal Defence Office at a sub-organization called Youth Restorative Action Projects (YRAP). YRAP educates youth, especially those marginalized about their rights and responsibilities.

Rupayan RoyRupayan Roy
Lester B. Pearson High School, Burlington, Ontario
University of Guelph

Rupayan was an active member of the Lester B. Pearson’s Multicultural Society for the entirety of his high school career. As leader and chair of the Multicultural Society, he enabled the organization to nourish and expand its horizons. In 2002, Rupayan raised money to help poverty-stricken orphans in Guatemala. The next year, he organized another fundraiser in support of the Halton-Peel Central American Relief Effort, raising over $1,000. This money was used to provide 100 Guatemalans with adequate vitamins for an entire year. Rupayan was recently awarded with the Ontario Principals Council Award for Student Leadership.

Nikki ShaffeeullahNikki Shaffeeullah
Sinclair Secondary School, Whitby, Ontario
McGill University

Nikki was tie organizer and emcee for Global Threads, a cultural showcase event that celebrated world fashion, food and culture. Nikki also emceed and helped organize a fundraiser concert for the Peace and Community Harmony Project. She developed and implemented a Global Awareness Week campaign at Sinclair and later abated a Global Awareness Resource Package so that other schools could implement similar projects. She was a guest speaker at Kids for Change (anti-racist Workshops) and a writer for Multicultural Durham magazine. Nikki has served as chair of Students Together Against Racism (STAR), and co-chair for Amnesty Youth and as an executive member of a Model United Nations team.

Prubjoth SidhuPrubjoth (Sonu) Sidhu
St. Marguerite d’Youville Secondary School, Brampton, Ontario
York University

Sonu organized the first ever Anti-Bullying conference at her school, in which she presented workshops on physical abuse, prejudice, gossip and racism. She is currently working with the City of Brampton on a youth initiative project. Sonu proudly represented Brampton’s youth when she appeared on “Politically Speaking” to promote harmony on Rogers Cable. Sonu was chosen as in school’s first U.N. Ambassador for Multicultural Night and she led a workshop at a Social Justice Symposium. She was selected on the conference planning team for the Coalition on Diversity Education, promoting diversity in schools.

Mallory StathamMallory Statham
Brooks Secondary School, Powell River. B.C
University of British Columbia

As a leader on the Public Health Youth Advisory Council, Mallory helped bring attention to the needs of First Nations She was a youth organizer for the First Powell of Hope Camp where Native Elders and artists empowered at-risk teens to make positive changes through exploration of native culture, arts, and the outdours. Mallory served as a youth representative for Municipal Strategic Planning and brainstormed with the mayor and department heads to weave youth mentorship throughout municipal affairs. Mallory was the only youth to ever be presented with the Community Service Medallion for her outstanding accomplishments.

2003 Recipients

Joy LappsJoy Lapps
Ajax High School, Ajax, Ontario
York University

For the last six years, Joy promoted diversity and harmony through music for organizations such as the Ajax Race Relations Committee, the Pickering Caribbean Canadian Cultural Committee and Multicultural Durham. She was also a leader of Ajax High School’s Culture for Peach Committee where she had a significant role in the school’s Multicultural Show and Black History Month events. Joy was a member of the leadership team for the White Bandana Anti-Violence Campaign and a leader at the Students and Teachers Against Racism camp where she raised awareness of ethno-cultural equity issues and anti-racist strategies.

Rahana AdamRahana Adam
Notre Dame High School, Ottawa, Ontario
University of Toronto

Rahana chaired the Black History Month celebrations at Notre Dame High School and helped organize the school’s multicultural show. Rahana was the first black Head Girl at the school and led Notre Dame’s Ambassador program. She also promoted diversity through her volunteer work with the Catholic Immigration Center, Child and Friendly Ottawa, and the United Way. Rahana was the recipient of the Citizen of the Year Award for Ottawa.

Giselle DavidianGiselle Davidian
St. Joseph’s Morrow Park High School, Toronto, Ontario
University of Toronto

As the Multicultural Minister at St. Joseph’s Morrow Park High School, Giselle organized an anti-racism campaign and multicultural celebrations such as a Black History Month assembly and Chinese New Year celebrations. She was also the Under-Secretary General for the Catholic Schools United Nations Assembly 2003 where she chaired the Human Rights Committee. She was actively involved in the Armenian Pavilion during the International Day event and a member of Amnesty International at her school.

Tristen NaylorTristen Naylor
Oakville Trafalgar High School, Oakville, Ontario
University of Ottawa

Tristen is a founder of the Oakville Youth Council on Race, which has created a website promoting diversity and has published three award-winning essays on discrimination, diversity, and intolerance issues. Tristen is a Canadian Landmines Foundation Youth Ambassador. He has also been an active volunteer of the Rotary Club of Oakville Trafalgar for thirteen years. Tristen was the recipient of two awards from the Nihewan Foundation for creative works on cultural understanding, diversity, and communication.

Jennifer ProvostJennifer Provost
Lo-Ellen Secondary School, Sudbury, Ontario
Harvard College

Jennifer is the founder of an Amnesty International Youth Group and a discussion group on discrimination issues at Lo-Ellen Secondary School. She organized annual events to commemorate the International Day for human Rights, National Day for the Remembrance of Violence Against Women, and March 21st, the UN International Day for the elimination of Racial Discrimination. Jennifer has attended youth conferences on human rights violations resulting from discrimination and was the recipient of the Sudbury Multicultural and Folk Arts Association Awards for community involvement and the promotion of intercultural awareness.

Ellen QuigleyEllen Quigley
Walter Murray Collegiate Institute, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Harvard University

For the last four years, Ellen was actively involved with the Walter Murray Human Rights Society, which organized two multicultural feasts and an anti-racism simulation. She was also an actor in a play about homophobia, for grades nine to twelve students. Ellen helped create and implement Students Forum, which allowed students at Walter Murray Collegiate Institute to have a voice in school decisions and promote harmony in the school. She was speaker at the University of Saskatchewan’s “Breaking the Silence Conference”, which educated people about homosexual, bisexual, transgendered, and transsexual youth.

Sumaiya SharmeenSumaiya Sharmeen
West Toronto Collegiate, Toronto, Ontario
University of Toronto

Sumaiya promoted harmony and anti-racism at West Toronto Collegiate for the last four years. She helped create a video on race and anti-racism, organized an anti-racist assembly and a school-wide Stop Racism activity. As President of Student Council, she organized the multicultural and anti-racism assembly to celebrate March 21st and a multi-Religious holiday assembly to celebrate different cultural holidays. Sumaiya was the promotion coordinator for Multicultural Teen Coalition, affiliated with CultureLink, to help students new to Canada adapt to Canadian culture and language.

Divya ViswanathanDivya Viswanathan
Centennial Collegiate Vocational Institute, Guelph, Ontario
University of Guelph

As a mentor in the Challenge Day Mentorship Program, Divya mentored students on issues including racism, oppression, violence and how to respect and communicate with each other. She was a leader of Centennial Collegiate Vocational Institute’s Global Outreach club and helped organize activities on Black History Month and No-Racism Day. She also worked on planning educational programs for Teacher Advisory groups on topics including Tolerance, Multiculturalism, Violence Against Women, and Sexist Images in the Media.

Lisa WangLisa Wang
Notre Dome High School, Ottawa, Ontario
University of Toronto

Lisa created Unity Through Art to promote harmony as a response to the events of September 11th, which included the creation of wall-sized art triptych. She is an active volunteer with Child and Youth Friendly Ottawa and has coordinated projects such as the Anti-Bullying Symposium. Lisa is a youth representative for Health Canada and Child Engagement Experts Resource Team and is working on Canada’s National Plan of Action to be submitted to the United Nations. She is also a volunteer with Catholic Immigration Center to help newcomers to Canada.

Li ZhangLi Zhang
Langstaff Secondary School, Richmond Hill, Ontario
York University

As President of Racial Acceptance and Cultural Equality (RACE), Li organized a conference, Helping Youths Promote Equality. She began a Feeder School program in which members of RACE visit elementary schools to promote diversity and multiculturalism. Li was the main organizer of the Student Ambassadors for RISE, a conference on equity issues for teachers in York Region. As an Ontario Youths Multicultural Representative, she founded the For Rights Everywhere Everyday Depend on Mankind conference.

2002 Scholarship Recipients

Kamyar ArjomandKamyar Arjomand
Sir Frederick Banting Secondary School, London, Ontario
University of Western Ontario

Kamyar was an active member of the Multicultural Committee at Sir Frederick Banting Secondary School and started the Baha’i Club there to promote cultural awareness and break down social barriers between students. He helped organize a March 21st anti-racism assembly last year and a “Racial Unity” workshop for a conference on human rights. As a member of the London Dance Workshop, he has been promoting unity in diversity for the last seven years. The dance group won the 1999 Baha’i Award for excellence in the promotion of racial harmony in London, Ont.

Gurneesh BhandalGurneesh Bhandal
Notre Dame Secondary School, Brampton, Ontario
University of Waterloo

Two years ago, Gurneesh founded the Multicultural Committee at Notre Dame Secondary School. As part of this committee, she organized the school’s Heritage Festival, which raised awareness of the school’s cultural diversity. The festival has been successful in promoting respect, tolerance and an appreciation of other cultures. Gurneesh was actively involved in the World Issues Group that raised awareness of social justice issues and undertook actions to work for positive change through fundraising and educational campaigns.

Jessica DuarteJessica Duarte
Sinclair Secondary School, Whitby, Ontario
University of Ottawa

As co-chair of Students Together Against Racism (S.T.A.R), Jessica promoted anti-racism at Sinclair Secondary School by organizing events including a March 21st Elimination of Racism Campaign and Black History Month. She is a trained leader with the Durham District School Board’s Anti-Racism Program and was a counselor in the 2001 S.T.A.R. camp. Jessica helped with the production of a documentary “Stop Racism” on the topic of racial intolerance and children. In 2001, Jessica won the Student Recognition Award for Personal Excellence from the Durham District School Board.

Manraj PannuManraj Pannu
Dunbarton High School, Pickering, Ontario
Queen’s University

For the last four years, Manraj actively promoted anti-racism through the Durham District School Board’s Students Together Opposing Prejudice and S.T.A.R. programs. Manraj was a senior counselor with the S.T.A.R camp from 1999 to 2002. He was also a member of S2ARC (Senior Student Anti-Racism Commission) and a member of the school board’s Ethnocultural Advisory Committee. Manraj is a recipient of the City of Pickering’s Youth Leadership Award and the Durham District School Board’s Student Recognition Award for Personal Excellence.

Lana RamalhoLana Ramalho
St. Joseph’s Morrow Park High School, Toronto
York University

Lana was president of Amnesty International at St. Joseph’s Morrow Park High School where she organized various campaigns that promoted awareness of human rights. She is also the co-founder and chairperson of Amnesty International’s Toronto Youth City-Wide Group in which she organized a conference on the topic of refugee rights. Lana was the pavilion leader for the “International Day” celebration at her school at the Light of Nations’ pavilion, which promoted racial equality and justice. She was the recipient of the Graduating Student Award from her school.

Amrita RoyAmrita Roy
Lester B. Pearson High School, Burlington, Ontario
University of Guelph

As the founder of Lester B. Pearson High School’s Multicultural Society, Amrita promoted diversity and education on human rights issues. The society’s work included organizing assemblies, fundraisers, forums and presentations. They also presented messages of peace and inclusion in the school’s morning announcements. Amrita has written about human rights issues for local and national publications. She also spoke to the Halton District School Board of Trustees this past February about multiculturalism and discrimination in school. Amrita is the recipient of the 2001 OPC Principal’s Award for Student Leadership.

May SanaeeMay Sanaee
Richmond Hill High School, Richmond Hill, Ontario
McMaster University

May was the founder of the One Planet Club at Richmond Hill High School, which promoted tolerance and harmony among the diverse cultures present at the school. She also hosted regular gatherings at her home to discuss how to eliminate racism at school. May was a key organizer of Unity in Diversity week at school and events promoting March 21st as the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. She is the recipient of the Anti-Racism Award from the York Region District School Board.

Adam Sheikh
Upper Canada College, Toronto
University of Toronto

Adam created the Diversity Council at Upper Canada College to celebrate cultural diversity. He played an instrumental role in obtaining his school’s recognition of the council as an independent body of students. The council is now an integral part of the student government. As part of the council, Adam helped organize a student dance to celebrate Diwali and organized celebrations of Chinese, Jewish, Christian and Ukranian cultures. Adam is also the founder and coordinator of UNICEF Canada’s Youth Advisory Council. He is the recipient of the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award.

Geetha Subramanian
Woburn Collegiate Institute, Toronto
University of Western Ontario

For the last three years, Geetha was actively involved with Grrls Coalition, which promoted gender equality at Woburn Collegiate Institute. The group’s activities included organizing a visit to a women’s shelter and providing a forum for students to discuss equity issues and body image. She was also a Volunteer Student Mentor at the Toronto District School Board’s SMILE Multicultural Leadership Camp where she taught leadership skills and facilitated discussions among students dealing with equity issues. In 2001, Geetha was a keynote speaker at the school board’s Diversity Network Conference.

Sandra Udegbe
Heartlake Secondary School, Brampton, Ontario
University of Toronto

Sandra has been educating youth on oppression issues with the Youth Action Network through anti-racism and anti-oppression workshops. She is the editor of “Rock the Boat” newsletter and writes a column for the Youth Action Forum magazine on issues facing young women of colour. Sandra helped organize an anti-racism conference at Heartlake Secondary School and had an integral role in Black History Month celebrations. She was also a member of the Student Council Spirit Committee at her school.