Youth Advisory Group Members 2015

Heather Elliott, St. John's NL

Heather Elliott

"We know what we are, but know not what we may be" – William Shakespeare

The study and preservation of culture and heritage is something that has always been Heather’s passion. It pushed her to complete an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Socio-Cultural Anthropology from Trent University, and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Museum Management and Curatorship from Fleming College. She then relocated from Ontario to her new home in St. John’s, NL. The unique and rich history of this province has resulted in a very strong heritage community, allowing her to work on some truly inspiring projects whose topics range from maritime history to the First World War. Most recently, she became part of Youth Heritage NL, a group of individuals whose purpose is to encourage youth engagement and interest in the heritage sector. Youth can bring so much to the conversation around heritage; their experience and passion can bring "fresh eyes" to the field. In a line of work that relies on the retelling of stories, this sort of input is crucial. Different interpretation methods can be implemented and new methods of engagement developed. By encouraging the youngest generations to see the importance of heritage preservation, we ensure that there will always be minds and voices striving to carry on this work.

Caroline Merner, Halifax, NS

Caroline Merner

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make”  – Jane Goodall, UN Messenger for Peace

Caroline Merner is from Victoria, BC and travels coast to coast to study in Halifax, NS, at Dalhousie University. She is passionate about her fields of study, double majoring in Environmental Sustainability and International Development, with a minor in Spanish. 

For Caroline, outdoor adventure has been a platform for education. She crossed Canada twice and mentored youth along the way with La Grande Traversée, a francophone cycling relay. Caroline was also Canadian Youth Ambassador on the 10th stage of Impossible2Possible’s World Expedition Series, aiming to inspire students worldwide about conservation. As a member of the National Youth in Parks Advisory Board and an Outreach Intern for the Habitat Acquisition Trust (Victoria, BC), she worked to encourage youth to experience the outdoors and earned the United Way of Victoria’s Green Award. In summer 2015, Caroline worked as Heritage Ambassador in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Rocky Mountain Parks, in Banff National Park. In early 2016, she will be studying archeology and sustainable development in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Cusco, Peru. Caroline is inspired by UNESCO’s vision to empower communities of individuals working together to build a better future.

Catrina Russell, Saint John, NB

 Catrina Russell

"Be positive! – It’s as much my outlook on life as it is my blood type"

Born in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Catrina has since lived all over New Brunswick and Nova Scotia with stints in Quebec, Florida, and Indonesia. She studied Geology at the University of New Brunswick, where she coordinated outreach for the Planetary and Space Science Centre. Later, as a student at the International Space University, Catrina’s passion for education blossomed through her projects, which focused on using space to inspire youth and spark interest in STEM fields.

Nowadays you can find the ever-enthusiastic Catrina leading public programmes at the New Brunswick Museum, where she interprets all facets of New Brunswick’s cultural and natural heritage to visitors. She proudly resides in the middle of the Stonehammer Geopark and participated in the 6th International UNESCO Conference on Global Geoparks in 2014. In her spare time, she likes to take long walks with her toothless husky, shop for science themed clothing, and is completing a Master’s of Organizational Management at Crandall University.

Catrina emphasizes, “The best outlook for the future needs to not only directly involve, but also compel youth, as we can change the world, given the chance. CCUNESCO YAG presents an incredible opportunity, of which I am thrilled to be a part.”

Ève Fergusson

 Ève Fergusson

"Be the change you wish to see in the world"  – Gandhi

With a degree in marketing and communications, Ève Fergusson participates in UNESCO’s sustainability and dialogue efforts through her role as project manager and communications officer with the Manicouagan-Uapishka Biosphere Reserve (RMBMU). The World Network of Biosphere Reserves, recognized under the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme, is a structuring tool for involving and engaging youth. Through her role in CCUNESCO’s Youth Advisory Group, Ève hopes to bridge the gap in her local community and be an ambassador of UNESCO values, with a particular focus on youth.

Geneviève Lemieux

Geneviève Lemieux

"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all" – Oscar Wilde

Geneviève was fifteen when she first encountered the UNESCO Associated Schools. After five years, she is still part of this gathering. In high school, she travelled to Senegal where she taught French and math. Her route since then led her to create Be Active, Live Live (BALL) when she was at Cégep. The goal of BALL is to collect used sports equipment to redistribute in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. She is currently studying finance with a sustainable development focus. She is passionate about the business world, but also about sustainable development, international action and humanitarian development. Her experience in these areas led her to become vice-president of academic and international affairs in the student association of the faculty of administration at Laval University. For Geneviève, it is crucial that the Canadian Commission for UNESCO continue to develop its youth component. ‘’Young people are more than the future – they are the present. Giving value to their voices allows us to have a young and modern Canada.’’

Charles-Antoine Barbeau-Meunier

Charles-Antoine Barbeau-Meunier 

"There is a sense in which we are all each other’s consequences" – Wallace Stegner, All The Little Live Things

Charles-Antoine’s academic career to date is an eclectic blend of disciplinary fields and unusual dialogues. After earning a communications degree at the universities of Concordia (Montreal) and Royal Holloway (London), he completed a master’s in sociology at UQAM, in collaboration with the Institut des sciences de l’environnement. His master’s thesis on the role of empathy with regard to the preservation of the common good and the environmental crisis, recently won an award at the Université de Lyon from Collectif Confluence as a research thesis ‘presenting highly pertinent approaches to a consideration of a shared world.’ Charles-Antoine’s current interests include the ecology of human relations in the urban environment and NICTs, in order to understand the human dynamics of living together and to contribute to the creation of a horizon of peace and social justice. This theme has led him to travel in China and Japan to observe the influence of the context of technological and urban densification on Asian cultures, traditions and populations. He believes that UNESCO is a privileged network and space for exchange, awareness and social action. Charles-Antoine is inspired by UNESCO with a view to rising to the challenges that will define the living conditions of future generations.

Lara Émond

Lara Émond

"La meilleure façon de prédire l'avenir, c'est de le créer" – Peter Drucker

Lara has been involved in entrepreneurship since the age of 13. She has a degree in business administration, and she focused her studies on the international scene (Peru, Spain, England, France, Brazil, etc.). While at university, she worked as development officer for a Canadian-American company in India. She was also a trainer and supervisor for a Canadian delegation on a trade mission in China. After this, she looked after the business development of a young Montreal enterprise in England and Spain. In search of new challenges, she founded BHLB with Olivier Leblanc. Working locally and internationally, BHLB specializes in project management, business development and communications. She is involved in Cercle 179 at the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec and is an administrator for Manif d’art and for Centraide Québec and Chaudière-Appalaches. She is a member of the Youth Advisory Group of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, and sees this engagement as a concrete way of representing the interests of Canadian youth among decision-making agencies. She is also a founder of Nota Bene, a series of meetings connecting emerging entrepreneurs with leaders. The organization has activities in Québec, Montréal and Toronto.

Jeffrey Cherubin

Jeffrey Cherubin

"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education" – Martin Luther King Jr.

With a degree in public administration from UQÀM and a master’s in public affairs, specializing in public finances, from Université Laval, Jeffrey is passionate about education and the economic sphere, and has a particular interest in open data. His passion has brought him to Ottawa, where he works as principal policy analyst for Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan), an organization that represents colleges, cégeps, polytechnic schools and institutes at the national level. In addition to his many responsibilities drafting research notes on the various issues affecting collegial education in Canada, Jeffrey was able to participate in a summit organized by CICan in Ottawa, where members from the postsecondary sector gathered to discuss best practices in the provision of services to learners and Aboriginal communities.

Jeffrey is delighted to join the Youth Advisory Group, because UNESCO’s history proves that this institution has contributed directly to maintaining peace and security through education, science and culture. UNESCO has a unique role to play on the international scene and understands the need to involve youth through its different initiatives, since they play a major role in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Xing Chiu

Xing Chiu

"Dreams don't work unless you do"  – John C. Maxwell

Xing first got involved with the Canadian Commission for UNESCO as an enthusiastic participant of the World Heritage Youth Forum in 2008, and joined the YAG later that year. In 2009, she had the opportunity to participate in the 6th UNESCO Youth Forum in Paris as one of the Canadian youth delegates and was invited back to the 7th Youth Forum to speak about some of her projects. Her involvement with UNESCO over the past few years sparked her interest in sustainable development issues, which inspired her to pursue a master's degree in that field. She is presently writing her dissertation on migrant workers in Chinese cities, a topic she is passionate about, and is looking forward to graduating from her Erasmus Mundus Masters in Sustainable Territorial Development program (University of Padova/Universite de Paris 1 - Sorbonne/KU Leuven) in September 2015. She is also currently pursuing an internship in the Social and Human Sciences Sector of the UNESCO Office in Beijing, where she has been researching and writing reports on topics including engaging diaspora in development and the importance of youth participation, among others. Some of her hobbies include playing the Chinese harp and ukulele, practicing capoeira, slacklining, going to garage sales, and DIY projects.

Lindsay DuPre

Lindsay Dupré

"What does it take to be healthy? For my nation to be healthy? For all the people of the world to be healthy? It is up to the young people to return us to health"  – Dr. Lee Brown

Lindsay is an energetic young change maker, passionate about youth empowerment and rebuilding relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities-particularly through decolonizing education. She holds a Master of Social Work degree specializing in social justice and diversity and has years of experience working with youth in a variety of settings. Lindsay recently received the Assembly of First Nations Heroes of Our Time, Walter Dieter Award for Social Work and has carried out her commitment to youth mobilization and healing through several non-profit organizations such as TakingITGlobal and Canadian Roots Exchange.

In addition to her academic and work experience Lindsay brings a new set of perspectives through her community involvement. She is a proud and active member of the Métis Nation of Ontario, currently sitting on council as the Women's Representative of the Toronto & York Region Métis Council. She is also on the Community Advisory Council for the Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health where she is pushing for change in regards to health inequity.

Lindsay is constantly looking for ways to promote spaces for dialogue and critical thinking and hopes that by joining the CCUNESCO advisory group there will be more opportunity for such dialogue to occur.

Victoria Lesau

Victoria Lesau

"Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud" – Maya Angelou

Victoria Lesau is a consultant at KPMG and holds a bachelor degree in international business administration from the Schulich School of Business (York University). She has worked as a researcher at the university focusing on business research with a social impact. Victoria is treasurer of the Canadian Network for Arts & Learning (CNAL), which is an organization that brings together all stakeholders engaged in arts education, across disciplines, regions and sectors to surface the best work in the field. In her spare time, Victoria is an amateur artist and particularly enjoys painting watercolours. She studied fine arts at the Etobicoke School of the Arts. 

The role of the UNESCO is particularly crucial to solving some of the most complex issues we face today as a global society, which can only be combatted using the inter-disciplinary approach that is unique to UNESCO. For Victoria, the importance of this integrative approach can be seen in her work in business and the arts.

Derrek Bentley

Derrek Bentley

"Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light"

Derrek Bentley has always been passionate about ending homelessness in Winnipeg where he was born and raised. Through the organization of school food drives when he was younger, Derrek now co-directs the project, “Une nuit sans-abris” which offers an eye opening experiential learning opportunity to high school students. Through awareness among youth, Derrek believes it is the strongest path to offering a sustainable solution to ending homelessness. This passion led Derrek to complete a degree with a double major in Human Rights and Global Studies and International Development at the University of Winnipeg. Derrek has also enjoyed being involved in the Franco-Manitoban and Franco-Canadian communities through the participation and organization of multiple youth focused events. Through these networks, Derrek had the opportunity to be part of the organizing committee of the 2012 International ASPnet UNESCO conference, Learning to Change Our World Together, held in Winnipeg. Since then, Derrek has continued to be part of the UNESCO network through YAG and it has been an incredibly exciting path! He strongly believes that focusing on youth and education is a necessary to ensure a bright future for all. Youth are full of knowledge and creativity that can be an incredible asset to any team or organization, including UNESCO.

Claire Paetkau

Claire Paetkau

"The best way to resolve any problem in the human world is for all sides to sit down and talk" – Dalai Lama

Claire is currently completing a Human Rights and Global Studies degree at the University of Winnipeg, Global College. She has volunteered for projects with the International Institute for Women’s Rights - Global College including the Girl Ambassadors for Peace project in 2015, as well as a rapporteur for the UN-DPKO Gender Toolkit Workshop on Conflict Related Sexual Violence in 2014. In 2013, she was the Canadian youth observer at the 8th UNESCO Youth Forum in Paris, France. She is fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in various international student conferences, and these experiences have shaped her interest in international dialogue, human rights, and culture. She thinks that the capacity to have an international, intercultural dialogue is something that is incredibly valuable to fostering relationships between cultures and to promote the claiming and living of human rights. ‘’UNESCO creates the opportunity for youth to become participatory citizens within their own communities and offers the opportunity to become global citizens. In this increasingly globalized world, connecting youth through UNESCO creates the opportunity and possibility for a more peaceful and sustainable future. ‘’

Sidney Tutcho

Sidney Tutcho 

"I’m going to tell you once’" – Sidney Tutcho

Sidney is a young leader from the Dene First Nation (NT). His passion for his community and his enthusiasm has led to his involvement within the Deline Renewable Resources Council (DRRC), where he is a youth Councillor for the land programs, as well as within the Charter Community of Deline. Sidney is passionate about everything the land has to offer. Through storytelling, he raises awareness about the importance of preserving traditional knowledge and culture. As a member of the Youth Advisory Group, Sidney wishes to gain experience from different cultures and inspire other northern youth.

Jacq Brasseur

Jacq Brass

"Queer doesn’t mean ‘don’t label me’, it means ‘I am naming myself’" – Asher Baur

Born and raised in Yellowknife, NT, Jacq co-founded an outreach program for queer and trans youth in her hometown in 2010 and two years later, she co-founded the first LGBTQ+ Pride festival and society in the Northwest Territories. After discovering her love of non-profit work and supporting her community, she went on to complete a Bachelors of Social Work from the University of Regina, graduating in January 2015. Jacq has spoken and facilitated at various national conferences including the Canadian University Queer Services Conference (CUQSC) and the New Canada Conference. During this time, she also served as a board member for the Fédération de la jeunesse canadienne-française (FJCF) from 2012 to 2015. In July 2015, she secured a contract working as the Campaign Coordinator with the United Way NWT and started her own non-profit consulting and coordinating business. 

Jacq often expresses her passion for queer rights, feminism, anti-oppression and language rights through the work she does, as well as through spoken word poetry. The work UNESCO does is vital to promote a safer, more peaceful and less oppressive world for many marginalized people, and Jacq couldn't be more excited to be a part of such great change.

Chase Blodgett

Chase Blodgett 

“In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own mind and then believe them to be true" – Buddha

Chase Blodgett is an advocate, spoken word artist, public speaker and educator on matters pertaining to gender diversity and sexual orientation. He has spoken as part of the Public Service Alliance of Canada's YEU Human rights Speaker Series (2014) and delivered a key note address to dignitaries at the United Nations Conventions on Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Whitehorse, Yukon (2015). He holds an Honors Degree in Health and Physical Education and a Bachelor of Education. Chase is also a certified and experienced facilitator of Restorative Justice Community Circle Conferencing. 

Chase has worked closely with the Whitehorse Women's Hockey Association to create a fully transgender individuals inclusive policy which set a National precedent as the first policy of its kind in an Canadian Adult Recreational Hockey League which garnered National attention. More recently, he has successfully lobbied the Yukon Territorial Government to amend the Yukon Human Rights Act to include gender identity and expression as explicitly protected grounds. Chase believes it is important for UNESCO to focus on youth because young people are the catalysts of our future. When given a platform to speak out, it is youth who possess the most powerful voices of today. According to him, “it is youth who will leverage increasing global awareness into action.” Chase holds a vision for a world in which all individuals are free to express their gender fully and without limitation.