Keynote address by Harsha Walia
“[Harsha Walia is] one of Canada’s most brilliant and effective political organizers.”
– Naomi Klein, multiple award-winning author
Harsha Walia is an author and activist who is formally trained in the law. She immigrated from India and currently resides in Vancouver, on the lands of the Indigenous Coast Salish people, and works as an advocate in the poorest postal code in Canada.
Harsha has been named one of the most influential South Asians in BC by the Vancouver Sun and one of the ten most popular left-wing journalists by the Georgia Straight in 2010. She is the winner of the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives “Power of Youth” award.
Harsha’s writings have appeared in over fifty academic journals, anthologies, and magazines, including Briarpatch, Canadian Dimension, Dominion, Feministing, Fuze, Left Turn, Mondoweiss, People of Color Organize, Rabble, Racilicious, Sanhati, Z Magazine, and others. She has contributed essays to academic journals including Race and Class, as well as chapters in the anthologies Power of Youth: Youth and community-led activism in Canada; Racism and Borders: Representation, Repression, Resistance; Beyond Walls and Cages; Stay Solid; Broken Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution; Organize! Building from the Local for Global Justice, and the Winter We Danced.
Harsha is a youth mentor for Check Your Head and an editorial collective member at Feminist Wire. Harsha has made a number of presentations to the United Nations on social and economic justice issues and is a commentator and speaker at conferences, campuses, and media outlets across North America.
Aïcha Koné is a Master’s student at the University of Ottawa in International Development and Globalization, with a specialization in Environmental Sustainability and Agroeconomics. She is especially passionate Côte d’Ivoire, where she has worked with many small-scale producers to find environmentally- and socially-sustainable ways to improve the quality of life for farmers who are living in poverty.
Aïcha is presenting “Commerce équitable et cacaoculture en Côte d’ivoire” (during period 2) at the 2017 Youth Community Leaders Conference. This workshop will be in French.
Jeffry Colin is in his final year of Chemical Engineering and Biochemistry, and also represents the Faculty of Engineering on the Board of Administration at the University of Ottawa. He is the current Chair of Fair Trade Ottawa Équitable, and has been involved in the organization for over three years.
Jeffry is presenting “What Is Fair Trade?” (during period 1) and “De l’eau pour tout le monde” (during period 3) at the 2017 Youth Community Leaders Conference. The first workshop will be in English, and the second will be in French.
Jennifer Williams is a pioneer in fair trade business in Ottawa. She was involved in the growth of La Siembra/Camino until 2013, at which time she started a local, organic produce delivery company called GoodFood2u in Ottawa with her partner. She continues to consult for various businesses on environmental and social responsibility and has lived and worked in Mexico, El Salvador, Peru and Ghana.
Jennifer is presenting “Embedding Sustainability in Business” (during period 3) at the 2017 Youth Community Leaders Conference. This workshop will be in English.
Jonique Gardien has recently finished her second year of Architectural Conservation and Sustainable Design Engineering at Carleton University. She became involved in EWB Carleton shortly after beginning university and has been actively involved since under Directorships and as the chapter President this past year.
Jonique is presenting “Water for the World” (during period 4) at the 2017 Youth Community Leaders Conference. This workshop will be in English.
Kathryn Leblanc is the Event Supervisor at the SFUO Food Bank and the incoming Vice-President of Communications and Services at the SFUO. She also studies Communications and Translation (English/French) at the University of Ottawa and is passionate about educating young people on issues related to food security.
Kathryn is presenting “Securité alimentaire 101” (during period 3) at the 2017 Youth Community Leaders Conference. This workshop will be in French.
Katie Perfitt is the Canada Divestment Organizer with 350.org, where she supports campus fossil fuel divestment campaigns across the country. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in International Development from the University of Ottawa and Master’s of Resource and Environmental Studies from Dalhousie University.
Katie is presenting “Taking Action for Climate Justice” (during period 2) and “Divestment: Cutting ties to Big Oil” (during period 3) at the 2017 Youth Community Leaders Conference. These workshops will be in English.
Lia Walsh is a graphic designer by day and spends her free time as the Director of Community Outreach for Fair Trade Ottawa Équitable. She has been involved with FTOÉ since it began in 2011 and has held many positions in the organization. During the summer, she also likes to tend an organic farm plot with her partner.
Lia is presenting “What Is Fair Trade?” (during period 1) and “The Lottery of Life” (during period 2) at the 2017 Youth Community Leaders Conference. These workshops will be in English.
Liz Connell is a visual artist, designer, entrepreneur and communications professional. After spending 8 years doing business in Zimbabwe, Liz returned to Canada in 2000. Finding that Africa is a hard place to leave behind, she and Paul Whitney started the African Bronze Honey Project in 2012.
Liz is presenting “Why Be a BCorp?” (during period 2) at the 2017 Youth Community Leaders Conference. This workshop will be in English.
Mélissa Dubé has been the Outreach Manager at Fairtrade Canada since 2014, where she focuses on public education about fair trade, as well as managing fair trade programs such as the Fair Trade School designation. She holds a Master’s degree in International Development and Globalization from the University of Ottawa.
Mélissa is presenting “Écoles équitables” (during period 4) at the 2017 Youth Community Leaders Conference. This workshop will be in French.
Mikayla Vattiata is the Service Coordinator for the Pride Centre at the University of Ottawa, where they are in their third year of a Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours) in Conflict Studies and Human Rights. They are very involved in the Ottawa activist community, including organizing with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Mikayla is presenting “Intersectionality and Identities” (during period 4) at the 2017 Youth Community Leaders Conference. This workshop will be in English.
Nethra will be graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree of Public Affairs and Policy Management from Carleton University in June 2017. Professionally, she has volunteered with FTOÉ and interned with international NGOs that focus on education. In September, she will begin her Master’s in Development Studies at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.
Nethra is presenting “Displacement of Indigenous Communities” (during period 4) at the 2017 Youth Community Leaders Conference. This workshop will be in English.
Nour El-Nader holds a Public Affairs and Policy Management degree from Carleton University. She works at the Deputy Minister’s Office of Labour. Nour is passionate about Indigenous issues, and dedicated her Honours Research Essay to still-contested Indigenous land rights. She aspires for a sustainable world that promotes fair trade.
Nour is presenting “Displacement of indigenous Communities” (during period 4) at the 2017 Youth Community Leaders Conference. This workshop will be in English.
Paul is an actor, writer and serial entrepreneur who has created businesses in Canada, the Caribbean and in Africa – from chemical recycling to hurricane protection to seafood supply in a landlocked country. He and Liz Connell started the African Bronze Honey Project in 2012.
Paul is presenting “Why Be a BCorp?” (during period 2) at the 2017 Youth Community Leaders Conference. This workshop will be in English.