Abby is a full-IB senior at Archbishop Macdonald High School, where she also serves as President of both the International Mindedness Club, and MOSAIC Club- a student-run initiative that works as a catalyst in stimulating necessary conversations discussing marginalized communities, and youth involvement in politics. Abby is also a member of her school’s Model UN Club, Students Union, is a peer tutor, violinist, and currently volunteers at three different organizations; one of which being Big Brothers Big Sisters, where she works through ‘The Africa Centre’ as a mentor for new-immigrant children ages 8-10. She also is the PR Officer of ‘YEGTheComeUp’, where herself and university students participate in the creation of a variety empowerment events for emerging and immigrant communities in Edmonton. Abby is an advocate for interdisciplinary education in encouraging the diversity of opinion and worldviews when it comes to reaching thought-provoking, and change-emitting results on contentious social issues.
Alex is currently a grade eleven student at Jasper Place High School. He believes that it is important for youth to be involved with their community, and is excited to be apart of the City of Edmonton Youth Council. Alex enjoys being active in his community, having volunteered for Roots for Trees, a municipal political campaign, as well as various local events. At school, he is involved with many clubs, having participated in the Improv Club and the Debate Club, and having competed in the APEGA Science Olympics. In my spare time, he enjoys programming and playing my guitar.
Em Lamache is francophone and has lived in Edmonton for nearly all their life, and graduated in 2017 from NAIT in Personal Fitness Training. They are a member of the FrancoQUEER committee, a francophone non-profit that creates and teaches educational material about LGBTQA+ realities and supports francophone schools in the creation of Gay-Straight Alliances. They have created and teach a group fitness training program for LGBTQA+ folks along with Blitz Conditioning and the EMHC which provides an inclusive and accessible fitness space, while also laying the foundations for research in inclusive fitness. They are also the Vice-Director of CAVA, the francophone art gallery of Alberta, which provides an art community and gallery for francophone artists across the province. Finally, they are the proud dad of a cat named Buttercup, who has really done nothing to be proud of except being a cat.
Gabriella was born in Edmonton, but her family is from South Africa. She goes to Ross Sheppard and is graduating this year. Participating in the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee high school program for the past two years has inspired her to get involved in politics and has shown her that every person has the power to make an active difference. Gabriella’s most important values are humility and individualism. She is Jewish and her religion is very important to her. Gabriella is going to study for a year in Israel before coming back to Canada to do life sciences in university. She is so honoured and excited to be part of the youth council this year!
Born and raised in Edmonton, Giustina studies Political Science and History at the University of Alberta. This is Giustina’s first term with the Edmonton Centre Youth Council. She is eager to join her fellow youth councillors in creating a dialogue about issues facing Canadians. Giustina is passionate about human rights, gender equality and mental health. She is grateful to have a voice during a time where the opinions of young people are being heard and welcomed.
Josh Vani is a spirited engineer, outdoorsman, and advocate. He has dedicated his early career to improving and understanding the complex role of energy generation, distribution, and storage in Canada. His passion for engineering solutions to complex problems is rivalled only by his love for the outdoors—he spent 100 nights outside in 2017 and intends to exceed this number in the future. Josh has a long history of volunteering as a coach and for various music and arts initiatives throughout Alberta.
Maaliter Teng-yang is a new member of the Edmonton Centre Youth Council. Raised in Lac La Biche, Alberta, he has recently moved to Edmonton to study psychology at the Faculté St. Jean. As someone who has always been passionate about politics and the issues that face youth, he feels honoured to share my unique perspective on such a platform. Maaliter is looking forward to taking an active role as a council member and using his voice to make an impact on the issues that matter.
Striving to see the highest potential in everything and everyone, Newel passionately challenges others to take ownership of their dreams. A senior at Old Scona Academic, Newel is the president of the OSA Graduation Council, president of the OSA Cancer Society, and executive of the OSA Interact Rotary club. He is also a committee member of the Mental Health Advocacy of Edmonton and is continually pursuing many community leadership opportunities. His busy schedule guarantees a strong work ethic and pushes him to work effectively. In his free time, Newel can be found reading, singing, or debating others on their ideological beliefs. A new member of the council, he is ecstatic to engage and learn more about the power of youth!
Niranjana is currently a grade 12 student at Old Scona Academic. She loves everything from writing to performing but what she is most passionate about is inspiring change. Whether it be small or large, she is excited to take these steps with this youth council.
Oyebimbola Oyewunmi is a Third Year Student at the University of Alberta where he is specializing in neuropsychology. His interest in the brain stems from the inspiration to one day be able to help people who suffer from neurological problems. He eagerly applied for the opportunity to make an impact in the community through the youth council and has enjoyed his involvement ever since. Inspired by this experience, Oyebimbola hopes to continue being involved in justice and immigration issues with the intention of providing a youth perspective. Oyebimbola aspires to pursue a career in medicine and to become a positive contributor to wherever he decides to settle down. When he is not busy studying developmental psychology, he enjoys playing basketball, meeting up with friends and working out.
Sharif Bakouny is in his second year at the University of Alberta studying a double major in biology and computer sciences. Before fleeing Syria, he was in his last year of Medical School in Damascus before making the life-changing decision to move to Canada in 2016. During these years he worked with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent providing medical care to internally displaced persons, his university’s Student Union and various other organizations. He is currently the co-chair of WUSC at the University of Alberta which resettles refugees to post-secondary institutions in Canada and a dispatcher with Safewalk. He wants to ensure safety for all youth as well as give them a platform to rise despite their circumstances. He is eager to work on council this year!
Yahya Jama is a first-generation Canadian Muslim. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at the University of Alberta. While at the U of A, Yahya has Co-Founded Learn and Grow Edmonton, an out of school service that supports youth 8-18 years old through academic enrichment, mentorship and course planning. Yahya serves as a long-time member of the Muslim Association of Canada, where he has organized many initiatives such as “MAC Snow Buddies” and coordinating a solidarity roundtable between the local synagogue and the MAC Centre. Yahya is passionate about Education Policy reform and believes that it is imperative that curriculums are designed to give all students the best opportunities to succeed. During his free time, Yahya enjoys exploring Edmonton’s River Valley by foot, on his bike or on a Segway.
Sarah Lavimizadeh is a recent graduate in political science from the University of Alberta – Campus Saint-Jean. This is her second term with the Edmonton Centre Youth Council. In the past year working with the Immigration Subcommittee, she and her peers were able to host a panel and create a proposal on the integration of newcomer youth. Beyond her passion for politics and empowering youth, she sits on the City of Edmonton Youth Council as a committee member and chair of Social Equity as well as an advisor and volunteer with numerous organizations. She hopes to one day see a world where the youth of marginalized communities can be the leaders and have their voices heard. She cannot wait to work with the new committee members and introduce new proposals!
Fatima is a grade eleven student who is involved in her school’s Student Council as the Co-Vice-President of Finance, a dedicated member of the Social-Justice Committee, a part of the APEGA Science Olympics Team, as well as a mentor with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program integrated into her school’s scheduling. Further, she is bilingual in both French and English and maintains a great interest in learning languages as she progresses towards fluency in Spanish. She loves sports and physical activity, especially soccer! Fatima has been playing club-soccer for over 5 years and has also been playing school basketball for 3 years. She enjoys reading, baking, being around friends and family, learning, and being positive. In short, Fatima is a passionate individual who aspires to make the world a better place for all!
Denver Suttie is a grade 12 student at Strathcona High School. He is passionate about Canadian and global issues and is planning to pursue a career in politics, either locally or abroad. He is passionate about real politics and maintaining political engagement at all 3 levels of government. In his spare time, Denver spends much of his time volunteering, either at his school where he sits on the executive of the Student’s Union or at various political or charitable events. Denver is also pursuing a competitive curling career, looking to compete in many major tournaments across Canada. Denver is also a photographer and enjoys travelling around Edmonton and area to capture the beauty of the city.
Sean Sonego, one of the most dynamic, active and soulful musicians in the Edmonton music scene, is continually trying to engage in social justice and human rights work within our local community through music. Being the youngest musician to ever work at Edmonton’s Dueling Piano Bar, the Red Piano, on a regular basis, opening the 2nd Annual Edmonton Rock Music Festival where he played alongside Trooper, April Wine, and Blue Oyster Cult, singing back up for Johnny Reid at Rexall Place, and having the opportunity to share the stage with world renowned musicians including William Joseph, Nathan East, Dean Parks, John JR Robinson, Matt De La Pola, and David Foster’s orchestra, Sean has developed a strong musical foundation within the local and national music industry, as he continues to incorporate elements of social justice within his musical performances however he can. Currently, Sean is active in regular community engagement with the iHuman Youth Society, The Edmonton Institution for Women, and the Edmonton Centre Youth Council. His debut EP, “In the Heart,” was created in support of the YMCA Welcome Village – an initiative that is a part of Edmonton’s 10-year plan to end homelessness, with proceeds from the EP going towards the project. Recently, Sean was selected as one of the Top 20 under 30 for his continued community work.
With a BMus (Composition), Sean currently works with The Sarah McLachlan School of Music in Edmonton to help provide an anti-oppressive and safe space for people to get creatively active.
Genna is a student at the University of Alberta with a biology major and political science minor. This is her second term as a member of the Edmonton Centre Youth Council and she is very excited to be returning this year. Genna also serves as chair of the City of Edmonton Youth Council, as a science councillor on the University of Alberta Student’s Council, and as a volunteer and board member with a variety of community organizations. Recently, she completed an internship in the Office of the Premier. Genna believes that young people deserve a spot in decision-making and that the best way to empower youth is through the actions of other youth.
Brandyn is a recent graduate of the Faculty of Law at the University of Alberta. He is currently articling at the Alberta Court of Appeal, after which he will complete his articles at Bennett Jones LLP in Edmonton. With research experience in a broad array of legal topics, including criminal law, international human rights law, health law, and employment law, Brandyn has a strong foundation in legal research and writing skills. As a dedicated advocate for social justice initiatives, Brandyn has spread his passion for justice and equality through organizations such as OUTlaw Alberta, Student Legal Services, and the Alberta Human Rights Commission. Brandyn’s academic interests lie in the areas of international and domestic human rights, health law, feminism and the law, and equality and diversity within the legal profession. In his spare time, Brandyn enjoys travelling, dancing, and playing the marimba.
Chris Wiebe is a law student at the University of Alberta and part-time musician. Prior to law school, Chris worked in housing first for two years where Chris became passionate about issues relating to poverty and welfare reform. In 2017, Chris wrote a report on basic income policy for the ECYC and was the point-of-contact for the Economic Inequality Subcommittee.
Nate is a third-year Political Science and Planning double major, a second-year Sheet Metal Worker and a competitive rower with the Edmonton Rowing Club and University of Alberta Rowing Club.
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