Dr. Vianne Timmons, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Regina. Dr. Timmons has been President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Regina since 2008. She has been named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women four times as well as being named one of the 10 most influential women in Saskatchewan. Dr. Timmons was recently appointed as Officer of the Order of Canada. Read more here.
Jackie Hansen is Amnesty International Canada’s Gender Rights Campaigner based in Ottawa. She covers women’s rights, LGBTI rights, and gender equality campaigning for Amnesty International Canada. Her work is currently focused on ensuring the rights of women and LGBTI rights defenders are respected, protected and fulfilled; addressing the human rights impacts of energy development in Canada on women, transgender, and non-binary individuals; addressing violence against Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people; and more broadly, ending gender-based violence in Canada. Her previous work has focused on transgender rights in Canada, ending torture, and promoting sexual and reproductive rights. Her activism began by founding an Amnesty International student group at her junior high school. After finishing her studies she spent a year interning with the Canadian Red Cross, followed by over a decade campaigning to eliminate victim-activated weapons through work with the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate International Campaign to Ban Landmines and its research and monitoring initiative Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor. In 2013 she came back to Amnesty International Canada in a staff role.
Darlene R. Okemaysim-Sicotte
Darlene R. Okemaysim-Sicotte, is a Cree from Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation near the town of Duck Lake, Saskatchewan, and was educated at Rivier Academy in Prince Albert and the University of Saskatchewan. Darlene has been working with the Gordon Tootoosis Nikaniwin Theatre since 2013. She is extremely hardworking in any work place but her devotion is to family and dedicates that other part of her life with showing much love and support. Darlene’s past experiences in the workplace include Executive Assistant at Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies, Departmental Secretary at U of S Native Studies, and One Earth Farms FN LP. Darlene is also a 12-year member of the local concerned citizens group Iskwewuk Ewichiwitochik (Women Walking Together) whose focus is on missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. Darlene received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in January 2013 for this volunteerism and national finalist & national juror for Samara.com “Every Day Political Citizen – Project”. Darlene has written published articles and engages in local, provincial, and national interviews media outlets on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. She currently lives in Saskatoon with her husband Chris Sicotte and mother to Christopher, Cory, Aren, Sunflower, and grandmother to Albert Jr. all of whom enjoy the local, provincial, and national arts scene.
Lori Johb has been a proud activist and dedicated advocate for working people her entire career. Lori is the Secretary Treasurer for the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour, chair of the SFL Women’s committee and is a member of the Canadian Labour Congress’ Women’s Advisory committee.
Through her work with the SFL, Lori has been a strong voice on women’s issues and has taken a lead role in the work on Domestic Violence at Work throughout the labour movement. Lori believes that ending violence against all women must be a priority in our movement, communities and in our governments. Lori is a leader in OH&S and sits on varies boards and committees working to improve safety at work for all Saskatchewan workers.
Crystal is a volunteer Fieldworker with Amnesty International Canada and a member of Amnesty International Group 91. In her Fieldworker role, Crystal works to educate the public on human rights issues both internationally and within Canada, with a particular focus women’s human rights and violence against women.
Crystal Giesbrecht is a Registered Social Worker and the Director of Research and Communications at the Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan (PATHS), the member association for 21 domestic violence shelters and counselling centres. Crystal’s work at PATHS includes community-based research and educating member agency staff, professionals, and the public on issues related to intimate partner violence and abuse. She is also an Adjunct Professor with the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Regina.
Christian Andrews (Andrew)
Andrew is a 3rd year Education student at the U of R, currently working as the Student School Coordinator for fYrefly in Schools in Regina. He is also on the board of directors for Transsask. He started out with fYrefly as a volunteer, sharing his story and experiences around his identity across Saskatchewan to various school divisions and education professionals. He now leads school workshops around the Regina area.
Asher is a Faculty of Arts graduate of the U of R. He has volunteered with Camp firefly and Fyrefly in schools for the past two years. Asher presented last year at the Amnesty International Sustainability conference with Camp Fyrefly. And in his spare time, he enjoys drawing, and binging video games.
Manal is an environmentalist by Background and Women’s Rights activist by profession and interest, born and grew-up in Sudan and moved to live in Canada due to her activism work. Studied in Juba University in Sudan (currently is in South Sudan) USA (Rutgers university- Women Center) and University of Regina. She worked in the Horn of Africa countries (Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda) on issues of women rights, VAW and GBV, targeting women and youth. In Canada she worked with people with physical disabilities – Neil Squire Society for 9 years.
She accumulated an experience of more than 15 years in designing, developing and delivering capacity building programs working with women, displaced, immigrants, refugees, returnees and in diaspora in Sudan, South Sudan and Canada. Highly involved in Women Movements’ groups, networks and Initiatives in Sudan. Manal interests in social justice issues and women equality.
Regina Akok is a South Sudanese Canadian. She moved to Regina, Saskatchewan via Cairo/Egypt as a refugee in 2000, with her son and have been living in Regina since. Akok holds BA degrees in Journalism and Media Studies, and is currently completing both education (to teach in Saskatchewan or Canadian high schools) and a Master’s degree in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Regina, convocating in spring and fall of 2018. Regina’s thesis topic is about “Women’s stories of War in South Sudan/ Sudan”. Regina has presented at Graduate Conference at the University of Regina (2011); Centre for Refugees Studies at York University (2012); and at Children and War: Past and Present at Salzburg University in Austria (2016). Akok likes to pursue writing in the future, along with teaching and continues to work on social justice issues, representation in the media, and equality for women in South Sudan and African women in diaspora.
Ritva Gahimbare is in her final year in Human Justice and she is also pursuing a certificate in Non-profit Sector Leadership and Innovation. Her interest in social justice issues and her passion for human rights influenced her to choose this area of study. She is also highly involved in various campus-based organizations such as Engineers Without Borders, Justice Studies Student Association, African Club Society, Voluntary Sector Studies Network, and the Regina Public Interest Research Group where she sits on the board of directors.
Christine van der Merwe, Education Coordinator, Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan (MCoS)
Christine is committed to social equity and the establishment of a safe environment for all members of a community to live, grow and nurture their own and each other’s well-being.
In her role as Coordinator of Education with The RCMP Heritage Centre she had the opportunity to explore and teach aspects of multiculturalism as related to Indigenous communities, newcomers, government and policing. She values the opportunity she had to work with the Office of the Treaty Commissioner to develop the educational program ‘Our Treaties’ which brings awareness to the history and impact of colonization and the disastrous effect of the residential school system on its many victims.
Christine holds a BA (Honours) degree in Psychology from the University of Pretoria in South Africa where her family moved from Holland when she was a seven-year-old. She believes in volunteering as a powerful instrument to give back to the community.
Born in Burma now called Myanmar. Lived in the Shan states of Burma and then studied at Rangoon University. Left Burma after the military coup in 1964. Lived in Britain for 12 years. Taught in Elementary and High schools in Scotland, Wales and England. Studied in the University of Wales and the University of Nottingham in England as well as the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. Wrote thesis, in Nottingham University, on the Ugandan crisis and the exodus of Ugandan Asians from that country. Worked as a Community Relations officer in Derbyshire, England, mediating between the indigenous community and newly arrived immigrants from various parts of the world.
Wrote poetry from a very young age. Wrote a book in response to Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses. More recently wrote a semi-autobiographical memoir: Where Flowers Bloom-Memories of Burma. Currently raising funds for the Rohingya from the sale of the book. Also currently working to help the Rohingya in solidarity with other activists from across Canada.
Jaqueline Anaquod is a nêhiyaw and nahkawē woman from Plains Cree territory located in Treaty 4. She holds a Bachelor of Health Studies with a Concentration in Indigenous Health from the First Nations University of Canada and an Aboriginal Addictions diploma through Keyano College. Jaqueline is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in the Social Dimensions of Health program at the University of Victoria. Jaqueline’s research is on the nêhiyaw language and its connection to Indigenous health and wellness. In addition to her academic achievements, she has traveled extensively taking part in international and cultural exchanges learning from others and sharing her own knowledge. Jaqueline was a teen mother and now a very young grandmother. As a matriarch, she has a strong commitment to the preservation and revitalization of her nêhiyaw culture, traditions, and language. Jaqueline works to further the advancement of Indigenous women in health and education through social justice work locally, nationally, and globally. Jaqueline is the founder of Sisters in Spirit South Saskatchewan, which is a grassroots initiative that raises awareness about violence against Indigenous women through educational presentations, social justice gatherings, and working with families of missing & murdered Indigenous women.
Dr. Amber Fletcher is Associate Professor of Sociology and Social Studies at the University of Regina. Her research examines the social and gender dimensions of climate hazards in rural and Indigenous communities. She has served as a delegate and consultant to the United Nations on issues of gender and environment. She holds two medals from the Governor General of Canada for her work on gender equality issues. Dr. Fletcher’s research has been published in a number of scholarly journals and anthologies, and her edited book, Women in Agriculture Worldwide (with Dr. Wendee Kubik), was published by Routledge in 2016.
Patience Umereweneza came to Canada in 2008 as a refugee from Rwanda. She has Bachelor in Health Studies with a particular focus on the intersectionality of gendered violence and social determinants of health. Over the last five years she has worked as Domestic Violence Counselor in local women shelters, as an Income Assistance Worker for the Ministry of Social Services, and as a freelance research assistant. She is currently working as the Project Coordinator for the Sexual Assault Services of Saskatchewan and is committed to the work of eliminating sexual violence in Saskatchewan through collaborative partnerships.
Jett Brewer is a trans man who has been involved in different forms of activism for 30 years. Discovering that he is transgender later in life led to him learning about and advocating for gender rights. He has held the positions of Vice President and Co-Chair of TransSask Support Services. He has been on many boards and committees with such organizations as Queen City Pride and Camp fYrefly. He participated in a provincial education round-table on GSSD (Gender, Sex, and Sexuality Diverse) issues. Recently, he has put most of his volunteering aside to focus on his own healing journey. Out of gratitude for the work done by the Amnesty International group in Regina, he has accepted the invitation to sit on the panel at this conference.
Zarqa Nawaz is the host of CBC Saskatchewan’s The Morning Edition and Zarqa creator of the world’s first sitcom about a Muslim community living in the west. Little Mosque on the Prairie premiered to record ratings on the CBC in 2007. It finished airing it’s 91th episode in 2012 after completing 6 seasons and is now being broadcast to over 60 countries. The show demystified Islam for millions of people around the world by explaining how practicing Muslims live their lives from dating to marriage to burying their dead.