unacto1It is with great pleasure that the United Nations Association in Canada – Vancouver Branch announces the recipient of this year’s John Gibbard Award, Saskia Vaisey.   Saskia is a first year university student at the University of British Columbia whose dedication to promoting awareness of environmental issues both locally and globally is inspiring.

This past summer, Saskia biked 1,700 km from Vancouver to Inuvik with three students to raise awareness about the impact of climate change in the Arctic.   The group held workshops along the way and reached out to youth from summer camps, community centers, and youth centers.  Through blogs, articles and social media, Saskia worked to make North-South connections between youth, inspiring them to think critically about environmental and social issues.

Saskia wasScreen Shot 2013-10-27 at 12.13.01 PM also one of eight fully sponsored North American Youth Ambassadors for i2P’s Botswana Expedition. In Botswana, she ran a 182-km ultra-marathon in four days to raise awareness about the impact of water shortages in developing nations & about defying personal limits.   Saskia’s own story attests to the importance of defying personal limits as she went from battling Lupus five years ago to an ultra-marathoner today.

The selection committee was also impressed with Saskia’s work locally.  She has continued to present to classrooms and speak at community events on issues that she is passionate about.  She also volunteers with the Canadian Parks Society, the Mossom Creek Hatchery and the Catching the Spirit Sociey.

2013 is the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation.  Saskia’s work in promoting discussion around climate change and water shortages highlights the fact that youth are actively involved in attempting to fulfill the ideals of the United Nations and making the world a better place.  The John Gibbard Memorial Award is named after a man who was dedicated to involving youth in the creation of a better world for all.   Saskia Vaisey embodies the ideals of Mr. Gibbard and the UNAC-Vancouver branch is pleased to recognize her inspiring work.

Today we salute Saskia and all the other young people who inspire us to try to make the world a better place. 

The John Gibbard Memorial Award will be presented at the Vancouver Unitarian Church, at 11:00 AM on Sunday, November 3rd.    The Church is located at 949 West 49th Avenue, at 49th and Oak Street in Vancouver and all are welcome.

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