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OLABANJI AKINOLA

Olabanji is an Assistant Professor of Political Science in the Department of Law and Politics, Algoma University, Sault Saint Marie, Ontario, Canada. He holds a Doctorate (Ph.D.) from the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, and has previously studied in Nigeria, Switzerland, and South Korea. He is a dedicated scholar-practitioner with a passion for community engagement and development at the local and international levels. As a community engagement specialist, Olabanji works closely with community organizations to build inclusive, livable, and vibrant communities. He often volunteers and works with different community partners, committees, groups, and individual citizens, including youths, to develop community projects. For more about Olabanji, visit olabanjiakinola.com.

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MAZENNE BAUCAS

Mazenne graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with her Bachelor of Science in Biology and Psychology. Born in the Philippines, Mazenne has always been interested in youth leadership and advocacy. In her search for volunteer opportunities she started joining youth activities hosted by Immigrant Services Guelph Wellington and consequently was able to gain experience in youth leadership and community service as a Youth Outreach Worker and a Settlement Worker in Schools. Taking the drive and energy that she received from this experience she is preparing for a career in Education by pursuing a Bachelor of Education as a step to further her involvement in the development of youth empowerment.

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SAMIRA KARSIEM

Samira attained an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto in the fields of Political Science and Health Studies. She is looking forward to continuing her studies next year and pursuing a career in international development and the public sector. While she has a strong interest in international development, she also works to strengthen her local community. Over the years, she has been associated with various non-governmental organizations in Guelph, including Immigrant Services Guelph-Wellington, eMERGE Guelph Sustainability, the Business Centre Guelph-Wellington, and the Guelph and District Multicultural Festival. She was born in Guelph to immigrants from Ghana. 

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KAREN KEW

Karen has over twenty years of experience in the not-for-profit sector as an administrator, project manager and at a board level. She is passionate about community development and driven to use her operational skills to create effective and equitable systems so that people and organizations may thrive. While her background is in the arts, she has also worked in the settlement sector focusing on financial management, systems improvement, youth program development and engaging diverse communities. Karen is currently Managing Director at MABELLEarts, Treasurer for the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition and is a past Chair of CFRU 99.3FM community radio station.