About six years ago, an anti-genocide advocate gave a presentation at my high school explaining the Darfur genocide that was occurring at the time. I was overcome with emotions: first, shock for not knowing about such a horrendous atrocity, next anger for how the world would let this happen, and then finally a drive to make a change. I started a chapter at my high school that year and knew that, although I was only one person, I would be able to make a difference.

Throughout the years, we, at STAND Canada, have adjusted our mandate and vision to align with the current political climate, domestically and abroad. We are currently the largest youth-led anti-genocide advocacy organization in Canada. Although the fight towards peace in the Sudans and the Democratic Republic of the Congo often seems like an uphill battle, it is the strength and the dedication of our volunteers that push us forward. Violence and outbreak in the conflict regions are continuous and, as a result, it is pertinent that we show Canada we care.

As I step down from my role as Principal Director, it is my upmost pleasure to introduce you to my long term colleague and successor: Scott Fenwick. Scott has been involved with STAND since 2007. He was the President of the University of Alberta chapter and, for the past three years, has been has been serving as the National Advocacy Director. Scott brings years of experience, political knowledge and, more importantly, the passion for change.

I have no doubt that STAND’s dedicated volunteers will continue to raise awareness and engage with our political leaders to make peace in the Sudans and the DRC a priority. It has been my pleasure to work with all of you these past six years. I’m excited to see what the future holds for STAND Canada!

Monica Chakravarty was Principal Director of STAND Canada.