It was with great pleasure that the United Nations Association of Canada – Vancouver presented Saskia Vaisey with the 2013 John Gibbard Memorial Award today, Sunday November 3rd, at the Vancouver Unitarian Church.
Saskia Vaisey, a first year university student earned the award for her work in promoting environmental awareness on a local and global level. Amongst her many accomplishments was completing an endurance marathon in Botswana while raising awareness of water shortages in developing countries. This past summer, Saskia also cycled 1700 km to Inuvik in order to raise awareness about climate change and promote connections between youth in the North and South of Canada.
In her acceptance speech, Saskia spoke about the need for all of us to take risks in order to make the world a better place. She gave detailed examples of how each of the challenges she has undertaken started out seeming impossible, but were indeed possible with devotion and determination. It was a fine parallel for the immense challenges faced by the United Nations in 2013 and her speech was a beacon of hope for the future. Reverend Steven Epperson picked up on Saskia’s theme and spoke about the need for Canada to use the United Nations as a forum to make a positive difference in the world.
John Gibbard was a member of the Unitarian congregation, and a long-time devotee to promoting the ideals of the United Nations. The John Gibbard Memorial Award is given annually to a young student or group of young people from the Lower Mainland who demonstrate dedication and commitment in working for a better world.