Celyn is a passionate peace activist striving for nuclear disarmament and carbon reduction. He is currently working as a Progressive Policy Intern at the Rideau Institute and as an Academic Writing Advisor at the University of Ottawa.
In addition to spearheadingCeasefire.ca’s Louder Than the Bomb campaign to abolish nuclear weapons, an action endorsed by over 100 parliamentarians, Celyn has recently been busy promoting a national discussion on the importance of peace by leading Ceasefire.ca’s controversial I Remember for Peace Remembrance Day campaign.
Celyn is set to graduate this December from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelors, specializing in Political Science with a Minor in History.
Originally hailing from Trois-Rivières, Québec, Cynthia has been in a state of perpetual motion for the last ten years, living all over Canada as well as abroad. Her passion for social change was ignited by the Québec student movement when she was in college, and has continued through her work studying the politics of water access in Africa, and waste management in both Canada and in the developing world.
Driven by curiosity and her sense of ethics, her work aims to tell the stories of those falling through the cracks of an unfair system. In the future, she hopes to be able to combine this with her love of documentary film-making and multimedia platforms.
Emily is a certified “trauma nerd” and has years of experience as a trauma counsellor and feminist advocate working with survivors of sexual violence. She currently serves on the collective board of the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape. She works with Wilfred Laurier University, assisting with research that explores the impact of intersectional feminist principles on community practice, specifically in regards to sexual assault and rape crisis centres. As a steering committee member of the Toronto Women’s City Alliance, Emily is organizing to end the invisibility of diverse girls’ and women’s voices within the City of Toronto’s political agenda. Her experience growing up as a second-generation immigrant gave rise to her fascination with concepts like identity and belonging.
In her free time, you might find Emily training for her next half marathon race or tinkering away in her urban garden. She loves creative expression, especially through cooking, and enjoys bonding with family and friends over good food.
Felix Chu, 24, was born in Hong Kong. He lived most of his life in Scarborough, having completed a B.A. in Public Policy and Political Science at the University of Toronto. While there, he was involved in a wide range of LGBTQ issues and applied an intersectional approach to planning events.
Now residing in Ottawa, he is currently completing a Master’s in Public Policy and Administration at Concordia University. He is excited to be part of Next Up. He says, “I hope to be able to integrate my background and knowledge in public policy into arenas where that knowledge is not readily accessible, to marginalized communities and youth.” He believes in integrating feminist, anti-racist, anti-colonial and intersectional approaches into his work as a means to broaden its reach to marginalized communities. Life isn’t all activism, though: “In my free time, I like to practice yoga – preferably hot yoga.”
Born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Geoffrey Carter grew up on a farm. Now an urbanite, he is in his second year at the University of Ottawa. This past summer, Geoffrey was employed as a page in the House of Commons. He is now the proud coordinator of the free store at the university. One of his many dreams is to work at improving environmental justice in our country. Having been raised on a farm, Geoffrey feels a strong connection with our natural environment and he is profoundly devoted to its protection.
Also fond of political change at all levels, he would like to see the Canadian Parliament reformed, notably through the adoption of a fair representation of seats.
Geoffrey is a young man who sees the world with the eyes of passion and determination, using his family values and traditions as guides to change society for the greater good.
Born in Cape Breton, Grant studied abroad for a year prior to beginning his undergraduate studies in Anthropology at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax. Grant was involved in the community garden, and he worked at the campus PIRG and at a food coop. Grant was involved in student issues such as the provincial and national days of action against tuition fee increases.
In 2011, Grant began his Master’s in Anthropology at Carleton. While at Carleton, Grant was involved with the student union, and was elected President in 2013. Grant is currently conducting research and balancing the demands of the student union. When he is not promoting social and environmental justice, Grant can be found cooking and spending quality time with family and friends.
Jjessica has spent the last eight years living between Ottawa and Edmonton, growing to love the cities for their distinctive contrast. She has been involved in activities on the International Day of the Child, and has participated in different summer camps (including one offered by the Sierra Youth Coalition, and ROBSI Baha’i Camp). She believes that youth are a big part of our communities and it is in society’s’ best interest to ensure their rights are being met. She’s developed a strong interested in youth and children after having worked with them for many years. She is looking forward to bringing those interests to Ottawa after having finished a diploma in Early Learning and Child Care at Grant MacEwan University.
Despite her love of Ottawa and Edmonton, Jjessica lives to be in nature. Her passion for hiking, biking, and gardening led to her interests in permaculture, sustainability, and animal rights. A self-described lifelong learner, Jjessica is always interested in learning to apply new frameworks and sets of tools.
Kelly grew up in North Vancouver, BC. She completed a B.A. in Geography at McGill University, where she discovered her passion for human health and its relationship to physical and social environments. An internship at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and a semester working at the UN headquarters during the Summit on Climate Change cemented her dedication to this field of study.
During her Master’s in Population and Public Health, Kelly continued to delve deeper into the study of upstream social and environmental determinants of global disease. This included an emphasis on public policy to combat the growing rates of chronic disease in developing countries caused by Big Tobacco, Big Food and Big Beverage.
In 2013 Kelly was awarded a research grant at the International Research Development Centre to study the food sovereignty movement in Ecuador and its potential for improving diets and reducing chronic disease. Her work has convinced her of the need for alternatives to the neoliberal trade regime, and the importance of building an economy that places the well being of people and the environment at its heart.
With a background in environmental economics and a passion for system thinking and design, Kyla’s work aims to promote and nurture sustainable lifestyles and business practices. Kyla was born and raised in Ottawa to a multiracial ancestry, and she is dedicated to working with the different people and communities that surround her.
Always on the go, Kyla is currently involved with a multitude of projects burgeoning around the city. From collaborating with the local arts community to managing an online magazine, to volunteering with several environmental groups and campaigns, Kyla combines her passion for social and environmental justice with her profound interest in the identity and stories of others to foster a community driven by a collective understanding of one another.
Najib Ahmed was born in ’84 in Mogadishu, Somalia. At a young age, he journeyed through many East African countries before finally reaching North America and eventually settling in Ottawa with his family. He has carried with him on this journey a passion for the preservation of our natural environment. He finds it a real shame that Canada doesn’t preserve the natural beauty of its country that it is so lucky to have. Indeed, his travels in Canada have deeply affected how he feels about the need for preservation. He takes a lot of pride in delivering rants about environmental issues to whomever will listen to him. The rants are very easy to listen to given Najib’s kind and friendly demeanor that has gained him many friends. He is very proud of how he has integrated himself into Canadian society given the less fortunate circumstances of some immigrants from his home country.
Najib enjoys painting, photography and gardening. He even dreams one day of having his own organic farm! On the whole, Najib is a very personable gentleman who is determined to fight for the little guy in whatever way he can.