Eugenea Couture (representing the field of child custody) is a mother of four, an author, mentor and advocate for child custody law reform. Her new book is a powerful memoir that takes the reader through a cycle of four generations, beginning with her great grandmother, a Metis woman, who endured the pain of witnessing her daughter losing custodial rights of her children. After losing her mother at the age of 4, Eugenea faced a fractured existence in foster care as she became a target to multiple strangers that she was supposed to trust. Today she is an inspiration to those who are struggling with the loss of their children and their parents. Eugenea is the recipient of the 2014 YMCA Power of Peace Medal and the 2014 Foster Children’s Day Award.
Kit Krieger began his teaching career in 1974 in West Vancouver. He is a former president of the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation and Registrar of the BC College of Teachers, and is currently the Executive Director of the BC Prinipals’ and Vice-Principals’ Association. For forty years he has been active in Holocaust Education and is an Honorary Life Fellow of the Vancouver Holocaust Centre. He has written extensively on educational issues, such as professional regulation, media literacy, and social justice.
Cecelia Reekie (representing the field of child protection) is aboriginal and an adoptee, and member of the Haisla First Nation. She is Past President of Forget Me Not Family Society, and in that capacity was instrumental in changing BC’s adoption laws and the implementation of open records. She is also past president of the Lower Fraser Valley Aboriginal Society, and for many years was involved in the Langley Aboriginal Programme Committee. She is also a member of t ya:yestel (as the Aboriginal Advisory Board for the School District), and is well-known as an advocate for public education, having served as a school trustee for the Langley School District. In the field of child protection, her expertise lies in the area of aboriginal culture and truth and reconciliation.
Beverly Smith (representing the field of child care) is a long time women’s and children’s rights activist from Calgary. She is a graduate of the University of Calgary, has taught at the elementary and high school levels, and is the mother of four. She was president of the Kids First Parent Association of Canada, and is editor of a popular online blog, “Recent Research About Caregiving.” She has presented to government on caregiving issues and lodged complaints to the human rights commission and the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in regard to unequal funding for child care. She was named Calgarian of the Year by Calgary Business magazine, has spoken to the UN on child care issues, and received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Award and the International Women’s Day Award for her activism in the field of child care.
Dr. Ziba Vaghri is an Assistant Professor at the University of Victoria. She has over 2 decades of diverse international experience on children’s health and development as well as a strong track record with various UN agencies (WHO, UNICEF, UNESCO and CRC). She is currently Co-Chair of the Global Reference Group on Accountability to Children.
In 2008 Ziba and late Professor Hertzman (OC), co-founded the International Program of HELP at UBC where she served as the Program Director until 2014. This program served as the secretariat of a large international project and, under the auspices of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, developed the indicators of General Comment 7. Under her initiative and leadership, these child rights monitoring indicators were digitized and Early Childhood Rights Indicators (ECRI) was created. Since then, she has spearheaded the pilot of ECRI in different countries.
Ziba’s current interest is in taking a rights-based approach to children’s health through facilitating compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child. She is the recent recipient of the Scholar Award from Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research and intends to use this award and continue her work with UN Committee to create GlobalChild; a global child rights monitoring tool.
Head of the Division of Adolescent Health and Medicine of the Department of Paediatrics of BC Children’s Hospital and UBC
Dr. Curren Warf is a Clinical Professor of Paediatrics and Head of the Division of Adolescent Health and Medicine (DAHM) of the Department of Paediatrics at BC Children’s Hospital and the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine. He graduated medical school from the Drew/UCLA School of Medicine, completed paediatric residency and adolescent medicine Fellowship at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). Prior to relocating to Vancouver in 2009, at CHLA Dr. Warf was the medical director of the High Risk Youth Program focusing on homeless and runaway youth in Los Angeles communities. He has a long standing involvement in the care of adolescents, working collaboratively with community agencies, and has conducted research and published on vulnerable adolescents, systematic discrimination against minority youth in American urban centers, violence and adolescents, and academic text chapters.
Executive Director for the Federation of BC Youth in Care Networks
Jules Wilson is presently the Executive Director for the Federation of BC Youth in Care Networks, a provincial organization whose mandate is to improve the lives of youth in and from care between the ages of 14 and 24. Jules believes in the value of advocacy, the process of youth engagement and the importance of accessing youth voice and youth wisdom. He is a strong promoter of rights education and the actualization of youth rights. Jules has over 17 years of experience in various leadership and management roles in the child welfare sector. Trained by the School of Social Work, he obtained his Bachelor Degree at UBC. Jules looks forward to the insights that the Janusz Korczak Lecture series conversations will bring and to share the what’s been passed along to him from youth in and from care in BC.