Canadian Red Cross Humanitarian Issues Promotion
Work in Edmonton Honoured
By Claudia Kasprzyk-Galus
The Canadian Red Cross in Edmonton, Alberta was doubly recognized recently for youth work in the area of Global Humanitarian Issues and Leadership at a ceremony at Edmonton Red Cross House.
The Capital Region’s Humanitarian Issues Promotion Coordinator Laura Keegan, was presented with Telus’ prestigious National Prix d’Excellence for a Youth Leadership program last summer which culminated in a weekend Global Youth Symposium in October attended by 40 young people from across the province.
This was the first time the Northern Alberta Region has won this award. Keegan was very pleased with the accomplishments of the youth leaders who spent many summer hours organizing and planning the weekend of guest speakers, workshops and a middle-of-the-night refugee camp simulation.
“I’m proud of our youth who took a big risk. The award belongs to them,” says Keegan. “For three days we ask them to experience a different reality. The thousands of hours it took to plan the three-day event is a testament to the dedication of these youth. It sets the stage for others to give it a try.”
Jackie Specken, the Canadian Red Cross Central and Northern Alberta Council President, noted with pride that the award for the Global Youth Symposium was one of only two presented to Western Canada Red Cross programs at the National Annual Board meeting.
“Council has made it a priority to have youth represented on our council and I am very honoured that the youth involved in our Humanitarian Issues Promotion work have been recognized at such a high level,” said Specken.
She was also pleased to accept a $10,000 donation from the TELUS Edmonton Community Foundation presented by board members Angus Watt, a well known Edmonton financial expert, and Dr. Bob Westbury, a community leader and philanthropist.
“We know the great work that the Red Cross does around the world and here in Edmonton,” said Watt attending his second Canadian Red Cross event in as many months. Also the Honorary Dutch Consul in Edmonton, he was a guest at the Calgary Power of Humanity Dinner in May. This was hosted by Canadian Red Cross Honorary Chair Marie Stelmach, with special guest Princess Margriet, of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Red Cross Youth Council Member and Humanitarian Issues Ambassador Nick Conradi thanked the Telus board for helping to ensure the Humanitarian Issues Promotion work by local youth can continue to reach more and more people across the region. When asked about the Humanitarian Issues Promotion group, Conradi spoke eloquently of “working along side a group of young people who are determined to make an impact on the world around them.” Nearing the end of his address to the gathered crowd, the 21 year old University of Alberta student, who is pursuing an education in Biological Sciences and Human Geography, spoke directly to Dr. Westbury and stated: “If ever you ask ‘what this donation is going towards’ or ‘what does the donation mean to the Red Cross’, this, very simply, is your answer. It is going towards inspiring a generation to make a difference.”
With sincere appreciation, he thanked Westbury, Watt and the Edmonton Telus Foundation for their generous support.
Youth interested in finding out how they can get involved in local Humanitarian Issues Promotion or in the Global Youth Symposium are encouraged to call Laura Keegan at 780-423-2680.