Our team

  • Michel Chikwanine

    A former child soldier, Michel Chikwanine has already endured and overcome unimaginable pain and struggles. His passion and belief in the possibility for change makes him a truly remarkable individual and humanitarian.

    Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Michel grew up amid the terror of the Great War of Africa. He witnessed the torture of his father, who was singled out for his political beliefs, the rape of his mother and endured torture of his own. Much of Michel’s childhood was ravaged by the death and decay of a war that claimed the lives of 5.8 million people, his father included.

    Forced to leave his home as a refugee at the age of 11, Michel has since travelled to many African countries, witnessing first-hand the problems facing the developing world, but also the beauty of the communities and people who live there.

    Today, Michel is an accomplished motivational speaker, addressing audiences across North America. He has spoken to over 100,000 people and has shared the stage with such speakers as Craig and Marc Kielburger, founders of Free The Children, Dr. Jane Goodall, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Mia Farrow and former Prime Minister Paul Martin just to name a few. He was also a speaker on Oprah’s O Ambassadors Roots of Action speaking tour, largely reaching students at resource-poor schools. Sharing his personal story, Michel has captured the attention of national media, including CBC, CTV and major daily newspapers as he inspires people to believe in their ability to create change. Michel leaves audiences with a new perspective on life, a sense of hope through social responsibility and a desire for change.

  • Nigel Fisher, O.C., O.Ont., M.S.C., LL.D (Hon)

    Nigel Fisher, O.C., O.Ont., M.S.C., LL.D (Hon) has worked for over three decades with the United Nations in 15 countries: with UNICEF for over two decades in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, with which he specialized in the protection of children affected by armed conflict; with the UN Department of Peacekeeping at the rank of Assistant Secretary-General and was responsible for humanitarian recovery operations, both in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban and most recently in Haiti, following the January 2010 earthquake; as Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Project Services; and currently with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, as Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria crisis. He is also a former President and CEO of UNICEF Canada, was an adviser to a past Foreign Minister of Canada on children and armed conflict and was Deputy Executive Secretary of the first World Conference on Education for All.

    Dr. Fisher’s career has been predominantly in conflict- and crisis-affected countries. In addition to Afghanistan, Haiti and his current functions related to the Syria crisis, he was UNICEF’s Special Representative for Rwanda and the Great Lakes region of Central Africa in the immediate aftermath of the Rwandan genocide in 1994. He led UNICEF’s response to the first Gulf War in the Middle East, moving to Northern Iraq after the war to restart UNICEF operations there. He likewise led UNICEF’s cross-border operations for Afghanistan in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, until joining the UN peacekeeping mission there in early 2002. He has also been UNICEF’s Director of Emergency Operations and Regional Director for South Asia.

    He has spent much of his career on developing and applying standards for the protection of child soldiers and conflict-affected children, as well as on civil-military relations. He has published on issues of trauma recovery, children in armed conflict and basic education. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Victoria, a member of the board of the Children and War Foundation and in 2013, received the Canadian Medical Association’s Medal of Honour for his lifelong commitment to child health.

  • Joëlle Badman

    Joëlle Badman est retournée s’établir sur la côte Est après avoir œuvré en Alberta pendant un certain nombre d’années. À Edmonton, elle a consacré son temps à diriger des programmes d’apprentissage par le service international destinés à des élèves et étudiants d’Amérique centrale et du Sud, en plus de mobiliser les apprenants et les enseignants autour de l’Éducation à la citoyenneté mondiale (ECM). Elle a servi à titre d’enseignante et de conceptrice de cours à la Faculté du travail social de l’Université MacEwan, se concentrant sur la politique sociale et la pratique anti-oppressive. Plus récemment, ses efforts en qualité de travailleuse sociale communautaire pour la ville d’Edmonton ont porté sur la question des violences basées sur le genre et des agressions sexuelles.

    Joëlle se passionne pour l’enseignement public et la facilitation, avec un accent particulier sur l’apprentissage dialogique et transformationnel. Elle a obtenu une maîtrise en travail social avec spécialisation en développement social et communautaire de l’Université de Calgary en 2011, et un baccalauréat ès arts en sciences politiques de l’Université du Nouveau-Brunswick en 2007.

    Durant son temps libre, Joëlle aime boire du café en lisant des œuvres de fiction, poursuivre ses chiens dans le parc, aller en aventure à travers le monde, y compris les Maritimes dont elle est si heureuse une fois de plus de s’y sentir bien.

  • Bob Fowler

    During his 38 year Public Service career, Bob Fowler was the Foreign Policy Advisor to Prime Ministers Trudeau, Turner and Mulroney, Deputy Minister of National Defence, Canada’s longest serving Ambassador to the United Nations, Ambassador to Italy and the 3 Rome-Based UN Food Agencies, Sherpa for the Kananaskis G8 Summit (chairing the creation of the Africa Action Plan, which laid a new foundation for the G8’s relationship with Africa) and was the Personal Representative for Africa of Prime Ministers Chrétien, Martin and Harper. In 2005 he chaired Prime Minister Martin’s Special Advisory Team on Sudan. Mr. Fowler retired in the fall of 2006, and is a Senior Fellow at the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.

    In July 2008, the UN Secretary General appointed Mr. Fowler to be his Special Envoy to Niger. In December 2008, Mr. Fowler and his colleague Louis Guay were kidnapped by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. In November 2011 HarperCollins (Canada) published his account of that experience entitled, “A Season in Hell: My 130 days in the Sahara with Al Qaeda.”

    Mr. Fowler was awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Ottawa in 2010 and from Queen’s in 2011. In November 2011, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.

    He is married to Mary, and they have four daughters and six grandchildren.

  • Senator Mobina Jaffer

    Senator Mobina Jaffer represents the province of British Columbia in the Senate of Canada, where she chairs the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights. Appointed to the Senate on June 13, 2023 by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, she is the first Muslim senator, the first African-born senator, and the first senator of South Asian descent. Senator Jaffer also sits as a member of the Senate’s Anti-terrorism and Legal and Constitutional Affairs committees. Senator Jaffer served as Canada’s Special Envoy for Peace in Sudan from 2002 to 2006. From 2002 to 2005, she chaired the Canadian Committee on Women, Peace, and Security. Most recently Senator Jaffer chaired a Senate study on the sexual exploitation of children in Canada and the need for national action. A champion of Canada’s linguistic bilingualism, she advocates measures to advance the use of English and French in communities across Canada.

  • The Right Honourable Paul Martin

    The Right Honourable Paul Martin was the twenty-first Prime Minister of Canada from 2003 to 2006, Minister of Finance from 1993 to 2002 and he served as the Member of Parliament for LaSalle-Émard in Montréal, Québec from 1988 to 2008. Since leaving office, Mr. Martin chaired a high level panel responsible for submitting a report on a new strategic vision for the African Development Bank, following upon an earlier United Nations panel report on private sector investment in the Third World of which he co-chaired. Domestically, he leads the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative which aims at reducing the Aboriginal youth dropout rate and at increasing the number of Aboriginal students attending post-secondary institutions. He also founded, along with his son David, the Capital for Aboriginal Prosperity and Entrepreneurship Fund, whose investments seek to further a culture of economic independence, ownership and entrepreneurship amongst both on and off reserve Aboriginal peoples, through the creation and growth of successful businesses.

  • Dr. James Orbinski

    Dr. James Orbinski is a globally recognized humanitarian practitioner and advocate, and a leading scholar in global health. Dr. Orbinski served as international president for Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF), from 1998 to 2001, and accepted the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to MSF in 1999 for its pioneering approach to medical humanitarianism, and most especially for its approach to witnessing. In 2004, Dr. Orbinski co-founded Dignitas International, a hybrid academic Non-Governmental Organization that is now a leading organization in the development of solutions for global health.

  • Gérard Veilleux

    Gérard Veilleux, O.C., B.Comm., M.Pub. Admin., born May 7th, 1942 in East Broughon. He attended Laval University earning a Bachelor of Commerce Degree in 1963 and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Carleton University in Ottawa. In March 1994, he attended the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School. From 1982 to 1986, he served as Secretary to the Cabinet for Federal Provincial Relations and Deputy Clerk of the Privy Council. In 1986 he was appointed Secretary of the Treasury Board and was named President and CEO of the CBC in 1989. Mr. Veilleux has been, and still is, active in a number of government, professional and cultural organizations. He is the author of “Les relations inter-gouvernementales au Canada”. He became Officer of the Order of Canada in 1995.

    In June 1990, Mr. Veilleux received an honorary doctorate degree (Administration) from the University of Ottawa. Later that year, he was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award, the highest award in the Public Service of Canada. On October 19th, 1991, he was the recipient of the prestigious Prix Hermès, bestowed by the Faculty of Administration of Laval University. Mr. Veilleux became an officer of the Order of Canada in November 1995.

    Mr. Veilleux was President of Power Communications Inc., subsidiary of Power Corporation of Canada from 1994 till May 2015. He was Vice-President of Power Corporation of Canada from 1998 to December 2009. He was also on the Board of Directors of Gesca; La Presse; IGM Financial Inc., Investors Group Ltd; Great West Life Assurance Company, Mackenzie Inc. Mr. Veilleux was also Chairperson of Forces Avenir and Fondation Baxter & Alma Ricard. Mr. Veilleux is presently Chairperson of Fondation Jean-Monbourquette.

  • Jody Williams

    Jody Williams received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her work as founding coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which shared the Peace Prize with her that year.Since January of 2006, she has served as the founding chair of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, which uses the influence of the six women Peace Laureates of the Initiative to support the efforts of women globally working for sustainable peace with justice and equality. In May 2012, the Nobel Women’s Initiative launched the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict, which Williams co-chairs.

    Williams continues to be recognized for her contributions to human rights and global security. She is the recipient of sixteen honorary degrees, among other recognitions. She holds the Sam and Cele Keeper Endowed Professorship in Peace and Social Justice at the Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston where she has been teaching since 2003. Her 2013 memoir on life as a grassroots activist, My Name is Jody Williams: A Vermont Girl’s Winding Path to the Nobel Peace Prize, aims to inspire people to use their own power to help make the world a better place for us all.