Alim Fakirani has always had an interest in international development work. However, his journey into this field happened in a somewhat circuitous manner. Upon completing his undergrad in Montreal, he pursued graduate studies in the field of education. After being a classroom teacher for several years, he decided to see if he could contribute his skills in new and exciting ways. This led him into an area that he’d always had a passion for.
His experience as an educator and program developer has seen him work in a variety of settings. He has worked in Montreal, Vancouver, Dar Es Salaam, Kinshasa, and most recently, in various regions in Madagascar. Alim has seen how education can have great benefits for local communities in a variety of ways.
Growing up in Uzbekistan, Anna believed education would change the trajectory of her life and she worked hard to create opportunities for herself. Her schooling has allowed her to become a true global citizen, fluent in Russian, Korean and English, who now advocates for accessible education for all. Having experienced the transformative power of education and the opportunities it brings, Anna is committed to help younger people in the developing countries to pursue their dreams through education.
Anna holds a Masters of Arts in International Relations from Sogang University in Seoul, South Korea and is currently pursuing her second Masters of Arts in Political Science at SFU.
Anum’s passion for international development stems from her unexpected, brief, yet impactful encounter with a young girl her age. Having spent most of her childhood and youth in Pakistan, she has always felt connected to the cause of global development, and the need to have sustainable, community-driven development initiatives. Her interest in AKFC came from closely looking at the impact that development projects from the Aga Khan Foundation have made at the grassroots level in Pakistan.
Anum has a Bachelors Degree in Development Economics, and she is currently working as a Donor Development Associate for The Lung Association.
Asif Pradhan is an enthusiastic professional and volunteer with diverse international work experience in the public and private sectors. He has extensive experience in international development, sustainability, consulting, and training. Asif also has a passion for innovation and technology, and has the pleasure of speaking at various global conferences. When volunteering in the mountainous region of Chitral, he learned how to live among a herd of sheep and various other animals. He was amazed that some children used to walk for two hours to get to school!
Attiya Hirji (Currently on assignment abroad)
Attiya grew up in Canada, but knew from a young age that she wanted to work internationally in the field of development. She is passionate about working with women and children in the areas of education and health. Her experiences abroad include working with children in an orphanage in Tanzania and in a community school in Costa Rica. Recently she started her own social enterprise that seeks to provide early childhood education to children in urban slums. Attiya hopes to inspire others to inform themselves about global issues, generate meaningful dialogue, and take action to make a difference – even from right here at home.
Azin is a Toronto-based communications professional. Her varied background in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors provides a diverse perspective and broad professional proficiency. She is an engaging facilitator and public speaker with a passion for inspiring thoughtful dialogue and empowering a broad range of audiences to think about, and act on, international development and global issues.
Dr. Mario Santana Quintero
Mario is an assistant professor in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carleton University and a board member with an international council for monuments and sites (ICOMOS). He has actively contributed and coordinated international development projects in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Jordan, Palestinian Authority, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Syria, Peru, Tunisia, Sudan, and the Sultanate of Oman. His main focus is the role of documentation in conservation of cultural heritage places. He has worked with a number of international cultural organizations and institutions including UNESCO, The Getty Conservation Institute, and the UNDP.
With the right resources, people can transform their lives and communities through the power of good food. Growing up in an agricultural community and connecting with farmers in Ghana and Kenya has ignited a passion in Erin for food security and equal access to resources. She has learned valuable lessons from community leaders and women farmers, and she believes in a community-driven approach to global issues.
Erin holds a Masters degree in the Political Economy of International Development from the University of Toronto. She is pursuing a Graduate certificate in Food Security while advocating for improved global health, nutrition, and education outcomes as RESULTS Canada’s Advocacy Officer.
Like politics, all development policy is local. For Graeme, this realization came through the somewhat unlikely path of literature. Turning that insight into practice has motivated all of his future work. Since 2014, Graeme has worked with the Uganda National Academy of Sciences to help build capacity for indigenous policy analysis and advice. Graeme’s current research interests include urbanization and the dynamics of informal economies.
Graeme holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science from Quest University Canada in Squamish, British Columbia, and is currently completing his second year of the Master of Global Affairs program at the University of Toronto’s Munk School.
The daughter of two teachers, Hilary is passionate about education and lifelong learning. Her introduction to international development took place in a primary school classroom in Kenya, and her international development career began with an Aga Khan Foundation Canada Fellowship to Bangladesh, supporting preschool education in some of Bangladesh’s most disadvantaged communities.
Hilary’s university days saw her attend five universities on three continents in two languages, including earning a Master’s degree in African Studies from Oxford University. A lifelong Girl Guide, Hilary is always prepared with a smile (and a box of cookies to sell!).
Jacqueline holds a Master’s Degree in International Communications and Development from City University London and has spent the past several years living and working abroad with a diverse roster of international organizations and start-up enterprises. Her work has taken her throughout Canada, the United States, Brazil, Austria, India, and Zambia, and she has traveled extensively in East, West, and South Africa. Jacqueline’s mantra is ‘so long as we live in this world, we have a responsibility to it’. She is passionate about human rights issues, particularly as it pertains to the livelihoods of women and children, and stimulating economic growth through responsible business.
Jamie holds a Master’s degree in Development Economics from Dalhousie University. He has worked in rural Kenya on environmentally sustainable development projects and recently returned from a fellowship in Bangladesh through Aga Khan Foundation Canada. During that fellowship, Jamie worked on agricultural value chain and microfinance projects connecting smallholder farmers with access to markets. Jamie also worked with an NGO that “walks beside” hundreds of organizations in 68 countries as they develop their capacities to deliver water and sanitation programs locally. He now works with University of Calgary International helping students, faculty and staff work with universities, governments and organizations worldwide to develop and implement development projects.
Jennifer truly enjoys engaging with Canadians about international development. Her interest in international development stems from her childhood living in Kenya, Thailand and Jamaica and experience working and volunteering with international development organizations. Her professional career has allowed her to spark ‘global conversations’ while recruiting consultants and volunteers for international placements for over 20 years. Her recent trip to Mozambique and Tanzania, visiting AKFC-sponsored projects, has inspired Jennifer to share the role Canadians can play in giving the people globally a hand- up. An experienced speaker and facilitator, Jennifer will leave you with ideas for what you can do.
Jennifer appreciates the opportunity to share her stories with schools in particular.
Jo-Anna has chosen to work in global child health because she is passionate about improving maternal and child nutrition and generating new knowledge about how to save lives. She’s had the opportunity to witness good nutrition firsthand during her research projects in Uganda and Bangladesh. These experiences have contributed to her ongoing research in the field. Born and raised in beautiful Victoria, BC, Jo-Anna is currently a PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto in Nutritional Sciences. The focus of her PhD is on improving the nutrition of adolescent girls and young women in rural Pakistan so that they might become healthier and have healthier pregnancies.
Joannes Paulus Yimbesalu
Gender equality and education are two issues very close to Joannes’ heart. His mother never had the opportunity to continue in school in North Western Cameroon because of the many barriers women faced in her time. Because of this experience, she made sure to instill in her children the importance of quality education. Joannes has harnessed this energy and devoted himself to campaigning for university access to education, speaking at conferences such as the United Nations. In 2014, he was awarded the Youth Courage Award for his leadership in advancing education for marginalized education in rural Cameroon.
Joannes holds an International Development diploma from the University of British Columbia. He is currently working on a World Health Organization project related to the use of smart phones by community health workers in Niger.
Kari Mariska Pries
Kari is a staunch campaigner for citizen participation in the building of a strong and inclusive society. With degrees in History, Geography, and Political Science, as well as professional experience in Central American migration, she supports the development of responsive and collaborative policies to build safer communities through local councils and grassroots political engagement. Kari is a country risk analyst with a London-based foresight company.
Laura uses food systems as an entry point to promote sustainable development. She is actively involved in local food initiatives and sustainability education. She has taken her passion for sustainable development to Nepal, India and Sri Lanka, where she has carried out research on agricultural technology innovation for her Master’s degree in Anthropology and with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Research Award program.
In her current role at IDRC, Laura bridges science and society in the implementation of a research fund that is improving food security for smallholder farmers in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Laura uses her experience to inspire youth to become development champions in their communities and internationally.
Manolli is a lover of cities and is an international urban development expert. She understands the unique challenges that we face today in planning and organizing our cities. For 2 years, she worked for a non-profit organization in Niger—one of poorest countries in the world. In her work there, she was helping women and youth to improve their lives by empowering them and giving them new opportunities especially in the green economy. She came back to Canada to contribute differently and help to “build bridges” with developing countries. Toronto is the most diverse Canadian city and is facing its own challenges in going green and trying to be a model for other cities. This is something that all countries are keeping a close eye on. She feels that she is exactly where she’s supposed to be!
Margaret’s work in development has been driven by her passion for agriculture and a desire to understand it on a global level. In the Gambia and Senegal, her local colleagues taught her much more by taking her under their wing and giving her a traditional West African name. The result was a re-evaluation of how she relates to new experiences and other cultures, which Margaret carried with her to Tanzania and back again to Canada. Here, she hopes to pay it forward by encouraging others to get involved.
Margaret holds a Master of Science degree in Agriculture and currently works as a Program Manager with Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Agriculture. Margaret is available to deliver presentations throughout Nova Scotia.
A former career diplomat, Margaret served as Ambassador in Europe, Asia and the Middle East and was the former Chief of Protocol of Canada (2010-13). In 2014, she was a Harvard Advanced Leadership Fellow. Currently she is active on a variety of boards (including the Harvard University Club of Ottawa) and supports a number of organizations including a non-partisan organization promoting stronger voter and community engagement. She is a graduate of McGill University (BA), the University of Ottawa (MA), and the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program.