Thank you to everyone who joined us for this year's AGM & Symposium!
OCIC 35th Anniversary AGM, Symposium & Celebration:
‘Strength in Community, Collaboration & Solidarity’
September 26 – 27, 2023
During the 35th anniversary year of the Ontario Council for International Cooperation (OCIC) we are filled with gratitude for the efforts of so many towards a more equitable and sustainable world for all. We look forward to many opportunities to amplify and celebrate the accomplishments of the Council and our broader community, and to work together with a renewed sense of purpose to redefine what we can best achieve together for many more years to come.
This two-day event was a key opportunity to expand participant’s knowledge and worldviews, to co-create priorities for collective action, to flex storytelling and advocacy skills, and to build participant’s network, locally and globally.
Annual General Meeting
On September 26 we met virtually for our AGM. Hosted by OCIC’s Board of Directors and staff, this online gathering included presentations on the governance, finance and operational aspects of our collective work, election of new Board Directors, ratification of new members, and recognition of key contributors this year.
Brandon Lee, Director General, Grants and Contributions Transformations Bureau, also provided an overview & update on the Grants and Contributions Transformation at Global Affairs Canada.
Our Symposium & Celebration: ‘Strength in Community, Collaboration & Solidarity’ was a key opportunity to expand participant’s knowledge and worldviews, to co-create priorities for collective action, to flex storytelling and advocacy skills, and to build participant’s network, locally and globally.
On September 27 we met in-person on the traditional territory of the Huron Wendat and Petun First Nations, the Seneca, the Haudenosaunee, the Anishnaabe and the Mississaugas of the Credit River First Nation at the Centre for Social Innovation – Spadina, in downtown Toronto.
In recognition of Truth and Reconciliation Day, September 30, we opened the day with an opportunity to reflect and learn with Jason Carter, Indigenous educator, advisor, Corporate Trainer and Director of Bear Standing Tall Inc., about the diverse perspectives, values and beliefs of Indigenous peoples, what reconciliation means, how it can be achieved, and what roles we can each play in our respective communities.
We then had the opportunity to hear diverse perspectives on our theme, ‘Community, Collaboration & Solidarity’ from guest contributors: Moderator Marlen Mondeca – Vice President of Programs and Partnerships, Canadian Feed the Children; Shirley Estévez – Country Director, Canadian Feed the Children in Bolivia and Jacquelyn Wright – President and CEO, Canadian Feed the Children; Renaud Thomas – Director, Rayjon Share Care Haiti and Heather Smith – Executive Director, Rayjon Share Care; Heather Dicks – PhD candidate, Department of Sociology, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador and Andrea Paras, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Guelph; and Chris Dendys – Executive Director, Results Canada and Ekatha Ann John – Policy and Advocacy Manager – Global Health, Results Canada.
Our afternoon included dialogue tables hosted by sector leaders and partners followed by reports-back from Dialogue Rapporteurs, and remarks from special guests Assistant Deputy Minister Patricia Peña and Felipe Mamani – Mayor, Municipio Poroma (Bolivia), with translation from Vladimir Gomez.
35th Anniversary Celebration
Our evening celebration was an opportunity to enjoy food and drink, live music with Paula Sofía and interactive networking activities and Transformations Stories micro-exhibits in the company of our 35th Anniversary Celebration members, partners and sponsors, special guests from Bolivia and Haiti, and numerous OCIC ‘Super Hosts’. Thank you to everyone who joined us to celebrate 35 years – what an amazing evening!
SPONSORS, PARTNERS & FUNDERS:
This initiative is undertaken with support from many OCIC members and partners including Blumbergs, Canadian Feed the Children, the Inter-Council Network of Provincial and Regional Councils for International Cooperation, Rayjon Share Care, Results Canada, the Social Science and Humanities Research Council and Spur Change program, the University of Guelph, and the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada.
FULL PROGRAM, AGENDA & BIOS
Click on the date tabs below to find full details for events at OCIC’s 35th Anniversary AGM, Symposium & Celebration 2023.
Annual General Meeting – September 26
10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Download the AGM Participant Package
Hosted by OCIC’s Board of Directors and staff, this online gathering included presentations on the governance, finance and operational aspects of our work, election of new Board Directors, ratification of new members, and recognition of key contributors this year.
Voting Member Poll Everywhere and Zoom Platform Sign-In & Tech Support
9:30 – 9:50 AM
Participant Zoom Sign-In and Tech Support
9:50 – 10:00 AM
OCIC Annual General Meeting
10:00 – 2:00 PM
- Land Acknowledgement
- Approval of the Proposed 2022 AGM Agenda
- Approval of the OCIC 2022 AGM Minutes
- President’s Report
- Presentation of Audited Financial Statements
- Approval of 2023-2024 Auditor
- Governance Committee Report
- Ratification of New Members
- Presentation & Election of Candidates to the Board of Directors
- Executive Director & Program Reports
- Fund for Innovation and Transformation (FIT) & Spur Change Program Reports
- Approval of Candidates Elected to the Board of Directors
- Volunteer & Member Recognition
- Business Arising
- Adjournment of Business Meeting
- Overview & Update on the Grants and Contributions Transformation at Global Affairs Canada with Brandon Lee – Director General, Grants and Contributions Transformations Bureau
Candidates to the Board of Directors
Hyang Cho, Good Neighbours Canada
Hyang Cho is a seasoned professional with over 14 years of experience in the humanitarian-development sector, specializing in the successful implementation of community-oriented projects in education and the social economy. As the Executive Director of Good Neighbors Canada, she has consistently empowered individuals and facilitated community transformation, demonstrating her unwavering commitment to making a positive impact on vulnerable populations both locally and globally.
Her educational background includes a master’s degree in Global Political Economy from Sussex University, where she conducted in-depth research on the consequences of economic colonization on social structures in sub-Saharan Africa. This academic foundation has equipped her with a profound understanding of complex global issues, further strengthening her dedication to international development.
Hyang Cho’s professional journey spans various roles and industries, each contributing to her comprehensive skill set:
- She initiated her career at a Korean government Economic Research Institute, where she gained valuable insights into energy economics policies’ implications and co-authored a significant LNG pricing policy paper.
- During her tenure at Good Neighbors International, spanning over a decade, she demonstrated an unwavering commitment to sustainable community development, particularly in the Dominican Republic. Her work placed a strong emphasis on social enterprise and the empowerment of women. Furthermore, she provided consultancy services to Korea International Cooperation Agency, contributing to Korean International Aid practices in Haiti by offering strategic partnership advice.
- Hyang Cho’s transition into the aerospace industry in Canada showcased her financial acumen and strategic planning capabilities as she took on the role of a finance manager. She successfully managed budgets exceeding $100 million, underscoring her ability to efficiently oversee financial matters.
- Hyang Cho’s leadership shone through as she accepted the challenge of expanding Good Neighbors Canada by establishing offices in London, Ontario, and Toronto. Her visionary approach and adept networking skills significantly advanced the organization’s humanitarian mission.
- Eager to contribute her expertise, Hyang Cho is enthusiastic about joining the Ontario Council for International Cooperation (OCIC). Her particular passion lies in supporting new members’ seamless integration into OCIC, ensuring they maximize the benefits of the organization’s resources and network. Her involvement with OCIC has created opportunities for Good Neighbors Canada to secure interns, volunteers, and funding while fostering collaboration with similar organizations.
Hyang Cho’s dedication to creating positive change and her extensive experience in the humanitarian-development sector make her an invaluable addition to OCIC, aligning with the organization’s mission of promoting international development and global education in Ontario.
Kristin Douglas, World Accord
Kristin Douglas is a committed, enthusiastic professional with more than ten years of experience in the non-profit sector and five years of experience in international development. She is currently the Executive Director at World Accord, was the previous Executive Director at Ethiopiaid Canada, and has held management positions at Plan Canada, Cystic Fibrosis Canada, and the Welcome Centre Shelter for Women & Families. She graduated with a BA in Philosophy, Minor in Social Justice, and an MSc in Human Rights & International Politics which has led her down a career path in which she is focused on positions that give back to the local and global communities that are supported by the organizations that she works for. Kristin specializes in fund development, fund diversification, relationship management and community engagement and is currently the President of the OCIC Board of Directors.
Bella Lam, Jane Goodall Institute of Canada
Bella (she/her/elle) has over 20 years of experience in international cooperation and community development, amplifying the work of local partners across regions of Latin America, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. She is currently the CEO at the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) of Canada, leading a team to address the convergence of three crises: climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental inequity. Bella has in-depth experience with community-centred conservation focusing on ecologically sensitive regions across Africa, promoting the “One Health” approach that recognizes the well-being of people, animals and the environment are deeply interconnected. She has helped to build a team at JGI Canada that engages youth across the country, developing young leaders to take actions on sustainability issues, and collaborating with Indigenous-led partners on reconciliation and decolonization. Supporting an anti-racist and anti-oppression framework is one of Bella’s priorities at her own organization, and she hopes to contribute to the broader dialogue in the sector. She is a strong advocate for climate and gender justice, and has been a Board member of OCIC since 2021. Bella fills her cup by connecting with nature, enjoys hiking, camping, canoeing and all things outdoors!
Soofia Mahmood, Raising the Village
With over 20 years of service in the corporate, non-profit, and international development sectors in Pakistan and Canada, Soofia has lived many lives. Her proficiency spans a range of areas, notably strategic communications, stakeholder engagement, policy development, issues management, crisis communications, and complex project management. Her personal passions are photography and writing, and she has an unwavering commitment to lifelong personal growth.
As the Managing Director at Raising The Village (RTV), Soofia serves a team of 150+ staff in Canada and Uganda as a senior leader and oversees the Communications and Marketing, Government Funding Partnerships, and Knowledge Management portfolios in addition to providing oversight to the day-to-day operations in Toronto. She also works closely with the Programs team to advance projects of strategic significance. In this role, she is most proud of envisioning and creating the Knowledge Management unit, which centers on the creation, management, and dissemination of technical knowledge and is playing a significant role across the organization and portfolios. Prior to this role, she held the position of Chief of Staff at RTV, where she was also leading the Human Resources department.
Before joining RTV, Soofia was serving The 519, LGBTQ2S community centre and City of Toronto agency as Director of Strategic Communications and Executive Planning, where she led the Marketing and Communications team with a focus on advocacy, media relations and crisis communications. She was also the Board Secretariat and Privacy Officer for the organization. Her experience at The 519 played a pivotal role in her personal and professional growth as a newcomer in Canada.
Prior to immigration, Soofia had worked in UNICEF Pakistan and several creative agencies leading behaviour change communications and advertising projects for international development clients including USAID and Oxfam. She led complex and high-risk creative and documentary projects during those times that profoundly influenced her understanding of the sector.
Joining the OCIC Board will represent a significant personal milestone for Soofia, especially as an immigrant who has diligently rebuilt her career over the past 8 years in Canada. A Board member position at OCIC would not only elevate her profile as a Senior Leader but also offer her an opportunity to contribute to a sector she is deeply passionate about. She is also eager to build relationships across organizations for meaningful dialogue and shared learning. She brings to the table a wealth of experience in areas like anti-racist and anti-oppressive practices, learning and development, strategic planning, and strategic communications. Having worked as national staff in Pakistan and now as international staff in Canada, Soofia offers a unique perspective and is confident in her ability to meaningfully contribute to OCIC’s mandate.
Aysha Dawood is an advocate for both local and global scale social equality, with a focus on affordable housing and sustainable finance. This ambition stems from her intersectional identities, and the transformative experiences gained while working with populations made vulnerable in the UK, Southern Africa, and Canada. She is fuelled by research, attempting to unravel the root systemic drivers of poverty. Aysha works as an operational and strategic consultant with non-profits. Her current work includes coordinating the management of the Canada Forum for Impact Investment and Development (CAFIID), and researching the nexus of human rights and the financialization of housing in emerging markets. Aysha’s previous positions have been with Oikocredit, the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa, South Liverpool Homes and the City of Toronto. Aysha holds a master’s degree in Local Economic Development, a bachelor’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning, and diplomas in Architectural Technology, and GIS (Geographical Information Systems) and Urban Planning.
Aysha has been a member of the OCIC Board of Directors since 2019, serving on the Finance and Sustainability, Membership and Nominations, Governance, and Executive Committees. She has also been the Board Secretary for two years, helping to maintain OCIC’s governance files. She looks forward to co-hosting OCIC’s 35th Anniversary Celebration this year, as one of the special event planners!
Brian Waters is a dedicated scholar and practitioner with a diverse academic and professional background. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Non-profit Leadership which has strongly influenced his inclusive and communication-based leadership style. He earned Master’s degrees in both Urban Planning and Agricultural Economics from the University of Illinois, where he graduated as a Fulbright scholar. Currently, he is pursuing his PhD in Geography at York University, where he aims to lead the academic field in decentralized water sources (wells, boreholes, packaged water, etc.) throughout the global south and is currently designing a significant research project investigating the impact of water ownership on service, safety, and reliability. At the core of Brian’s work is his passion for participatory action research. He firmly believes in the power of collaboration and leverages research as a tool to benefit all stakeholders involved. Over the years, Brian has led numerous studies and development projects covering a wide spectrum of topics, including urban transportation, energy access, urban agriculture, poverty alleviation, and access to clean drinking water.
Brian’s experience extends beyond academia and includes roles within the municipal government of Freetown, Sierra Leone, as well as positions with non-profits such as the Federation of Urban and Rural Poor (FEDURP) and the Centre for Dialogue on Human Settlement and Poverty Alleviation (CODOSAPA). He has actively partnered with community-based disaster mitigation organizations in West Africa, working to advocate for marginalized populations in informal settlements. Furthermore, Brian has contributed to the design, implementation, and evaluation of projects funded by the UNHCR and World Vision. His commitment to international development is further reflected in his role as a board member for Microfinancing Partners in Africa. Finally, Brian is an active member of several professional associations, including the Agriculture & Applied Economic Association (AAEA), the Ontario Council for International Cooperation (OCIC), the Canadian Association of African Studies (CAAS), and the Canadian Association for the Study of International Development (CASID). These experiences and affiliations showcase his ongoing commitment to staying at the forefront of both international development research and practice.