Friday, October 17, 2008

Welcome to the GSSB!

Thank You to all of our GSSB speakers, community partners, friends and family who attended our end-of-year celebration: "Celebrating Internationalization at Home", Saturday, April 4th, 2009, 10:45 am - 2:00 pm, Location TB Vets Building, 4050 Gravely Street, Burnaby BC.

This event marked a wonderful wrap-up to this past school year's speaking sessions, activities and community placements. 7 speakers presented their experiences to community members, interspersed with great food and musical entertainment by drummer Fana Soro from Cote d'Ivoire. The day was fun as well as meaningful, and everyone's eyes were opened a little more towards the ideals of global citizenship, international learning and community service through these animated and touching presentations. Thank you to all for attending!

Also thanks to our speakers from the C.A.R.E. Program (Michelle Kwapis) and Stepping Bridge (Jax Liu), whose presence allowed the GSSB to connect with other meaningful organizations who work towards similar goals.


10:45 am - Registration and Breakfast
11:00 am - Introductions
11:15 am - Concurrent Presentations
12:15 pm - Lunch and Entertainment by Fana Soro
1:00 pm - Concurrent Presentations
1:45 pm - Closing Remarks

Featured Speakers:

Lisa Brownlow - "For Those Who Dare and Care: The Abandoned Children of Brasov, Romania"
Tarik Chelali - "Me and Barack: The Story of a Canadian-French-Algerian"
Farnaz Pournia - "Persian Women, Globally Known"
Kristi Kenyon - "
A Personal Experience of Internationalization: Human rights & HIV/Aids in Botswana"
Emeka Nzekwu - "Consequences of Pseudo-Division and the Model Global Citizen"
Michelle Kwapis (C.A.R.E.) - "From Canada to Mozambique: The Challenges and Blessings of Cross-Cultural Connections"
Jax Liu (Stepping Bridge) - "Hope in China through Steppingbridge"

Thanks to our speakers who presented at the March 7th session:

Marjorie Ratel and Emeka Nzekwu gave a wonderful and creative joint presentation on improving presentation delivery as well as an introduction to the Korle-Bu Neuroscience Project in Ghana, which was started in 2000 to support the development of neurosurgical sciences in West Africa. Marjorie is a GSSB mentor and has received several distinguished awards for her efforts in providing supplies and training to ensure quality healthcare in developing countries, including the Ghanaian-Canadian Achievement Award and the UBC Global Citizenship Award.
For a copy of Marjorie's communication/public speaking tips, please click here.

Priya Bala spent her early years in India and the UAE. She completed her high school and university in Canada, after which she spent six months in France interning at the United Nations Environment Program and then took up employment with an international NGO in the UK. Her talk is titled "Ethical Consumerism: The Ultimate Oxymoron?", where she addresses global sustainability challenges, specifically our function as consumers in a global economy and questions what our responsibilities as consumers are, depending on where we live in the world.

Tarik Chelali is Algerian, was born in France, and has spent most of his life in Canada. His talk, titled "Me and Barack: The Story of a Canadian-French-Algerian", is based on his recent experience campaigning for Barack Obama and his travels around the world. Based on his experiences, Tarik addresses the question of what it means to be a global citizen, if and how one man can change the world, and the implications this has for us.

Thanks to all our speakers from the February 7th Knowledge-Exchange Session:

Mentors Hayne Wai and Chin Sun delivered a brief presentation on powerpoint presentation skills called "How (Not) to Use Powerpoint" - very useful for new and old speakers alike!

Pete Pitiporntapin's presentation is titled "The Role of Science Education Towards the Wildlife Extinction Issue in Thailand". In his talk, Pete addresses the dilemmas connected with the harvesting of natural resources in his native country of Thailand, which leads to high rates of wildlife extinction. Pete maintains that the reason these problems continue is due to a widespread lack of basic awareness on wildlife and wildlife extinction, and that education on these issues starting at the elementary school level is vital in order to increase Thai people's understanding of how to properly and sustainably manage their natural resources. The quality of future citizens ultimately depends upon teachers.

Qianlin Wang's talk is titled "From Nian to Santa Claus". Qianlin discusses her experiences living in Canada as an international student from China, particularly in light of her experiences of two widely celebrated holidays: her first Christmas in a western country, and her first Chinese New Year outside of China. She focuses on the cultural differences and similarities between these two festivals and her thoughts on how they are continually crossing boundaries and becoming more and more global celebrations.

Thanks to all of our speakers at our January 17th Knowledge-Exchange session:

Elisha Yoon's presentation is titled, "What Do We Really Know About Our Country?". Through her talk, Elisha questions how much we really know about our own homes, first by discussing her native country of Korea, where she has lived for more than 10 years, and focusing particularly on North Korea. Second, she will draw parallels with her experience traveling across Canada for nine months and living in small communities.

Farnaz Pournia's presentation is titled, "Persian Women, Globally Known". She will address the problem of stereotypes towards Iranian women and will break free of these stereotypes by introducing three Iranian women who have achieved international recognition for their accomplishments.

Lisa Brownlow's presentation is titled, "To Those Who Dare and Care: The Abandoned Children of Brasov, Romania", and deals with the issue of abandoned children in Romania and her experience as a volunteer on The Hospital Project in Brasov, Romania, through Hope for the Nations.

Lynne Cruz, a GSSB mentor, will present a talk titled "Monkeys, Mangoes and MaƱana," where she will focus on the year she spent in Costa Rica as a volunteer English teacher and her experience of living in a culture quite different from that of her home country. She was one of 45 volunteers that volunteered with WorldTeach, a non-profit organization that is based at Harvard in Massachusetts. For more information, visit

What is the GSSB?

The Global Student Speakers' Bureau (GSSB) is a UBC community of students, staff, and faculty that, through the "Internationalization at Home" project, develops and coordinates a roster of student speakers who are eager to share their international experiences with audiences from the UBC as well as Greater Vancouver community.

Undergraduate and graduate UBC students who have lived, studied, worked and/or volunteered outside Canada and are committed to intercultural dialogue and community building

  • Contribute to the on and off-campus community by sharing insights from your international experiences
  • Enhance a sense of global citizenship through meaningful dialogue
  • Connect with other students and mentors, as well as on and off-campus groups
  • Develop public-speaking skills through activities at the knowledge-exchange sessions
  • Gain confidence in presenting to small and large audiences through speaking engagements
  • Receive a recognition certificate upon completion
Apply to be a speaker on the GSSB!
Download the GSSB application form by clicking here. Completed applications can be emailed to Megan at

Special thanks to: