Meg is currently a student at the McGill Faculty of Law. She is also a legal researcher at an immigration law practice, where she works primarily in the area of refugee law. She is keenly interested in international development, and has previously worked in Tanzania supporting a women’s rights organization that trains communities on human rights, advocates for constitutional and social reform, and provides free legal services to women.
At age 7, Melanie came face to face with a young girl begging for food in India. That experience profoundly impacted her and she is now committed to ensuring that socio-economic circumstances don’t dictate ones’ future. That belief has taken her to the brothels of Mumbai and the villages of Cambodia to fight trafficking and exploitation. She also led a student-run, development initiative across Eastern Europe, where she taught entrepreneurship in Russia and Moldova.
Melanie holds a Juris Doctor from Osgoode Hall Law School and an Honours of Business Administration from the Ivey Business School. Currently, she is working in the banking sector in Toronto.
Nadim Nasser is an impatient changemaker. Although some would consider it ironic, attending business school allowed Nadim to hone his passion for international development making him more creative, results-oriented, self-reliant, and driven to succeed. Nadim has spent time working overseas in East Africa, Central America and most recently in Central Asia. As the Manager of Academic Operations at the University of Central Asia (UCA), Nadim was responsible from 2014-2016 in supporting the Founding Dean of Arts & Sciences with strategy implementation to launch UCA’s first campus. UCA’s mission is to offer high quality post-secondary education for students living in the mountainous regions of Central Asia.
Nadim intends to challenge audiences from students to leaders across various fields to redefine international development.
Nareena Switlo (Currently on assignment abroad)
‘Tuko Pamoja’. Those two words launched Nareena’s career in international development from her hometown of Vancouver, BC. Her passion has led her to focus on social enterprise as a way to tackle some of our most pressing global issues. Nareena’s extensive experience as a project manager and leadership facilitator contributes to her holistic approach to development. Nareena is known for her funny and approachable style that allows her to engage people from all backgrounds. She loves to spark participants’ own desires to learn about the world – Nareena will inspire you to become a global citizen.
Nareena holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and has worked with innovative organizations in Zanzibar in Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, and India.
Everyone grows up hearing fairy-tales. For Nawida, these stories told by her father painted a picture of her beautiful home country. These stories gradually replaced her own early childhood memories. It wasn’t until Nawida’s return to her home country that she was awakened to how the impact of war had tarnished the country she’d heard about her whole life. This experience shaped Nawida’s understanding of why her parents had moved the family to Canada and the importance of quality education.
Nawida holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Sociology from the University of Ottawa. She currently works at Aga Khan Foundation Canada.
Salimata has spent the last two decades working with communities in West Africa on international development. Driven by the belief that building capacity can help people get out of poverty, she’s focused on helping those in need transform their lives using business opportunities. While working in this field, she’s focused also on maintaining hope and believes that good international development holds the key to breaking the cycle of poverty.
Salimata holds a Master’s of Science in Community Health from Laval University of Quebec.
Sandra is a first generation Canadian who leverages her academic, private/industry and government sector experience to coordinate quality and international development initiatives. She believes that the best way to achieve development goals is through collaboration and cooperation between all sectors.
Sandra is a Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence who holds Bachelor degrees in Psychology, Biology and Biochemistry from the University of Winnipeg and a Master of Science in Food Science and Technology from the University of Alberta. She is a Corporate Social Responsibility Consultant who connects with companies and NGOs to develop community change and other social impact programs.
Sarah is from Ottawa, and although she holds her hometown very close to her heart, she has lived abroad in many different contexts, whether for work or studies. Throughout her work in international development, Sarah has developed friendships that go well beyond borders. The personal connections that are developed with people that may seem different than us at first glance is what helps create bridges towards understanding, collaboration and peace.
Sarah holds a Bachelors of International Development and Globalization and a Masters of Education in Adult Learning and Global Change, and she now works as the Training and Development Advisor with NGO Cuso International. Sarah loves sharing her passion for working interculturally with like-minded individuals.
Shahirose is an Associate University Professor with the University of Calgary, Faculty of Nursing and has worked as a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner and Public Health with Postpartum Community Services. She has over 20 years’ experience in newborn health and has practiced clinically or provided technical expertise in countries such as Australia, China, Kenya, Tanzania, Pakistan, Syria, and Uganda. Her academic involvement began in 1994 which includes 2 years as an Associate University Professor at Aga Khan University—School of Nursing, a consultant position with Aga Khan Foundation Canada’s Canadian Development Exchange Program (CADEX). She is passionate about strengthening health care for pregnant women, particularly in relation to addressing their mental health needs, and ensuring that every baby has the same chance of survival no matter where they are born. Her program of research relates to vulnerable population with a global health perspective.
Growing up in Saskatchewan, the birthplace of Canadian Medicare, Stephanie has always had a passion for building healthy societies and giving back. After working at the World Health Organization in Switzerland and completing her Masters of Public Health, her interest in international public health began to cross Canadian borders. Her passion for international development has led her to work in South Africa and most recently, in the mountainous regions of Tajikistan. During her time in Tajikistan, she learned many lessons about health care in a developing country including the value of evaluating success and learning from data, and time. She soon realized that there are so many lessons we as Canadians can learn from initiatives in developing countries, and vice versa.
Stephanie is currently completing her PhD in Public Health at the University of Saskatchewan where she also works as a Research Assistant with Johnson Shoyama School of Public Policy.
Tazim is an Ottawa-based interior design professional, and the owner of a social enterprise. Her passion extends to being a vehicle to build upon the skills of those less fortunate, through volunteering and enterprise. Tazim works with Aga Khan Foundation Canada on various initiatives, and through osmosis has learned how development empowers and is a solution to many of the world’s struggles.
Tina Parbhakar is a practicing lawyer and an avid volunteer based in Vancouver, B.C. She is passionate about social justice issues in Canada and abroad. In 2012-2013, she worked in Kampala through the Aga Khan Foundation Canada as a Communications Specialist with the Madrasa Early Childhood Programme and has previously worked in Delhi with Participatory Research in Asia on issues related to violence against women. She is currently a member of Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada and Rotary International, among other organizations.
Growing up with parents who worked in the airline industry, Tracey spent her childhood boarding planes, exploring new places and growing increasingly curious about the world beyond her own borders. This curiosity led her to work in West and Southern Africa on HIV/AIDS projects and complete an AKFC fellowship working in Bangladesh on economic development projects. In Bangladesh, she faced the healthcare barriers people encounter globally every day when she herself felt ill and no longer had access to Canada’s healthcare system.
Tracey is a graduate from the University of Ottawa’s school of International Development and holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy. Tracey is now a Program Officer at AKFC.
Victry was born and raised in Cameroun by Nigerian parents and she’s fully embraced her role as a global citizen. She is a peacebuilder and a development champion who specializes in bringing communities together for mutual development and has done this through organizations like the United Nations, International Rescue Committee and Agriteam Canada.
Her work with the United Nations has taken her to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where she was named Regional Expert for the DRC in 2014 by the United Nations Security Council. During her time working in the DRC, she experienced periods of violence and uncertainty, even evacuating the country at times. Driven by Nelson Mandela’s words, “courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it”, she’s continuously returned to this work with the hope of bringing tools for peace to local communities.
Zahra has dedicated her career to social services. She believes in the potential of every human being and works to ensure that vulnerable people are actively engaged in the development of their own communities. From volunteering and fundraising, to working overseas, to currently leading the South Vancouver Neighbourhood House as Executive Director, Zahra is a passionate advocate for positive change.
While working in Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the Caribbean, Zahra developed a critical eye and learned the importance of local leadership to implement programs effectively. She offers a mix of optimism and realism, having seen the best and worst of development in practice. Zahra holds a Masters in Globalization and International Development from the University of Ottawa, focused on microfinance for the ultra poor.