2016 Youth Leadership Program

We recognize that youth participation in our region is a priority and we have secured resources to support youth participants from each Atlantic province to come together in Charlottetown for ASI 2016.

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Donovan Taplin

Keynote Speaker for ASI Youth Leadership Program
Tuesday, August 16


Donovan is a storyteller and community builder. He studies Communications and Folklore at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. Donovan aims to tackle the issues he cares about most in both local and global contexts.

Locally he is Newfoundland’s youngest Municipal Councillor, serving on both the Wabana Town Council and the Premier’s Advisory Committee on Youth. In the context of international cooperation, Donovan was a delegate at the United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro Brazil in 2012, and a negotiator and ambassador of the Young Diplomats of Canada Delegation to the 2016 Y7 Summit – an official counterpart of the 42nd Annual G7 Summit – in Tokyo, Japan. After travelling to the Arctic and Antarctic with Students on Ice, creating a keynote presentation program for high schools, and helping found a community radio station, Donovan was offered both of Canada’s largest merit scholarships: the TD Canada Trust Scholarship for Community Leadership and a Loran Award, valued together at $170, 000. CBC Gen Why Magazine named Donovan one of “12 Young Leaders Changing Canada”.

Donovan was the keynote speaker for Newfoundland and Labrador’s first province-wide conference on mental health, and more recently, gave a TEDx talk at TEDxYouth@StJohns.

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Somaya Amiri
Youth Leadership Program Coordinator
Atlantic Summer Institute on Healthy and Safe Communities / The Quaich Inc.

Somaya Amiri is the Youth Leadership Program Coordinator. She is studying Political Science and International Development at McGill University. She joined Atlantic Summer Institute as part of her internship this year to learn about grassroots. She has been involved with women empowerment, healthcare, and immigrant and refugee organizations in Vancouver and Montreal, and right now she is learning about the community in Prince Edward Island. Somaya is aspiring to become a humanitarian worker in the future working with diverse communities.

Jillian Kilfoil
National Programs Coordinator, Girls Action Foundation
Girls Action Foundation is a proud supporter of the ASI Youth Leadership Program

Jillian Kilfoil joined the Girls Action team in November 2012 as National programs coordinator. She is an activist and facilitator originally from PEI.Jillian has studied political science, gender studies and adult education at Saint Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. Previous to Girls Action she worked with Katimavik, a national youth volunteer service program from 2007 to 2012 and during that time she developed and coordinated projects throughout the Atlantic and Quebec region. Jillian strongly believes in collaborative approaches to learning and discovery to increase critical thinking in the hopes of creating systems change in society. She is an organizer and feminist who strongly believes in the popular education and anti-oppression approaches utilized by Girls Action.

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Youth Leadership Program Working Group

  • Jillian Kilfoil, Girls Action Foundation
  • Candice Pollack, ACCESS Open Minds NB
  • Brian Kelly, NB Dept. of Education and Early Childhood Development/SEAK Project
  • Meghan Hallett, Employed by the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage, Government of Nova Scotia
  • Katherine Lowings, Catholic Family Services Bureau
  • Patrick Hickey, Mental Health Commission of Canada
  • Simon Henley, Metro Youth Mental Health Committee
  • Andrew Hall, ACCESS Open Minds-NB
  • Chelsey Hicks, Dance Thru It
  • Odette Gbeve, Young Immigrant Women’s Group – Halifax
  • Julia Hartley
  • ASI Staff: Somaya Amiri, Patsy Beattie-Huggan

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