Meet our current Junior Professional Consultants
Lina Hassan, from Mississauga, Ontario, is a recent graduate from the University of Toronto. She received her Bachelor of Arts in 2018 with a Specialist in International Relations, a Major in Economics, and a Minor in French. Throughout her undergraduate career, she has been active in her student union and various on-campus societies. Lina has interned for the Canadian International Council (CIC), a foreign policy think tank, as well as Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (CBSR), a sustainability consultancy social enterprise; both based in Toronto. Since graduating, she has worked for the Cabinet Office with the Ontario provincial government. Lina has taken a special interest in environmental management and has completed a graduate course on Building Clean and Just Economies from the Ryerson Chang School of Continuing Studies. She has also dedicated her time to learning new languages like French and Spanish.
Paul has been destined for results-based management since birth. Raised by a liberal and a conservative, he has always been instinctively driven to help the world in a meaningful way, and equally driven to ask what ‘help’ should mean. Working with the RBM unit in Cambodia, monitoring and evaluating UNDP projects, will allow him to serve his instincts. Paul obtained an Honours Bachelor of Commerce from Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, and has been privileged to work and study in several nations including Uganda, Uruguay, and Guatemala. He is the founder of three companies and has a passion for solving problems. Paul’s movement to UNDP is driven by his desire to gain deeper knowledge of how economies evolve and to join the collaborative effort to create a world without poverty.
Andrea is a passionate storyteller, motivated by human rights issues. Her work in marketing is focused on nonprofits that emphasize inclusion and equality of people with disabilities, immigrants & refugees, and women. Andrea graduated with distinction from a specialized Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies with a concentration in Intermedia Design and Marketing from Concordia University in Montreal. She also holds a diploma in International Relations from a Spanish Perspective from Comillas Pointifical University in Madrid. Most recently, she redeveloped and facilitated inclusion workshops with students in high schools on Vancouver’s North Shore. On the weekends, she can often be found hiking in Vancouver’s lush forests with a camera in hand. Andrea is currently aiming to become involved with the Youth Climate Lab in Vancouver, and to one day pursue a Master’s Degree in Immigration Policies with an emphasis on support for women.
Juan Patino Otalvaro
Juan Patiño Otálvaro is a motivated and hardworking Colombian-Canadian student from London, Ontario. He is a recent graduate from Western University, holding a Bachelor of Science Degree with Honors Specialization in Geography. His interests include sustainability, global climate change, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and environmental impacts on human health. In 2017, Juan was a trainee at a United Nations workshop for the advocacy and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and he is passionate about exploring and exemplifying the UN’s values. This year, Juan was a member of the Indigenous Health Lab at Western University, completing his honors thesis which incorporated the mapping of chemical environmental hazards surrounding First Nations communities in Ontario. He presented his research findings at Western’s Student Research Conference this past March. He is currently starting a position at the Oil, Gas, and Salt Resources Library as a GIS and Database assistant.
Donna Ng is a born-and-raised Calgarian with a passion for local and global community development. She holds a BA in Communication and Media Studies and a drama minor from the University of Calgary; a multidisciplinary combination that has developed her capacity for critical thinking, analysis, cross-cultural competence and research. Last year, she interned in Tanzania with Mama na Mtoto, an MNCH partnership, as a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarship. Working with local field teams, she developed and implemented communication strategies and edited project reports. Additionally, she interned at a local homeless shelter, assisting in improving employment and computer skills of low-income individuals. Throughout her degree she has been heavily involved on campus, promoting environmental awareness, organizing fundraising initiatives, and performing in the women-empowering play The Vagina Monologues. Donna hopes to pursue a career in realizing the SDGs, reconciling her interests in international development, theatre, and communications.
Liam is a motivated, creative individual interested in development and international affairs. As a recent graduate from McGill University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and International Development, he aspires to contribute to humanitarian efforts throughout his career. After completing high school in Ottawa, Ontario, he travelled to Kenya where he taught English in a rural community. This experience inspired his decision to study international affairs, and motivated his desire to work in the field of development. At McGill, he enriched his experience by writing for student publications, working with a professor as a research assistant, and leading alongside his peers within student organizations. Since his graduation he has applied his academic training to researching public policy and creating communications strategies for two Canadian Cabinet Ministers. He hopes to apply these skills as an UNODC intern to gain practical experience working in the UN.
Lateisha Ugwuegbula is a graduate student residing in Waterloo, Ontario. She holds an undergraduate degree in international relations and is currently completing a Master of Development Practice at the University of Waterloo, in the School of Environment, Entrepreneurship, and Development. Lateisha is passionate about the environment, education, gender equality, and reducing inequalities for disadvantaged and marginalized communities nationally and internationally. Her experience has consisted of working with development organizations to recommend policy for the improvement of housing rights for slum residents in India, conducting needs assessment studies for new immigrants to Canada, promoting gender equality on university campuses, and teaching English in South Korea. Lateisha is currently working on a project researching the advancement of the UN SDGs through Canada's First Nations Treaties. In her spare time, Lateisha enjoys spending time outdoors, reading, cooking, and listening to podcasts.
Cynthia Saxena lives in Toronto and holds a French Certificate along with a degree in Political Science and Equity Studies from the University of Toronto. She served as CoPresident of the Equity Student Union and visited the EU Parliament in Brussels for a Germany-Belgium study-abroad program. Cynthia has interned at an NGO in Delhi, working on their anti-terrorism and girl/women empowerment project. Based in Kashmir, the project equipped youth and women with education to deter them from joining rebel forces. She also interned with a City Councilor and MPP candidate. Additionally, she aided in organizing events at the Ontario Legislative Building where she built relationships with Ministers and MPPs. She has also been introduced at the Legislature during Question Period. Currently, Cynthia is working on educational workshops to be held in Dhaka and Delhi in May to equip high school students with the communication skills needed to successfully uplift of their future.
Lavan is an aspiring humanitarian living in Toronto, Canada, originally from Bergen, Norway. He has his M.Sc. in Capacity Development and Extension from the University of Guelph, and has over seven years of collective experience supporting refugee claims cases, refugee advocacy programs and project launches relating to migration and mental health. He has published analytical papers on refugee mental health practices, European refugee policy and cultural sensitivity, and how these concepts influence refugees’ transition and resettlement into host countries. He is currently working with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Canada’s Programs Unit, providing user support to MSF’s Telemedicine field users, and assisting in MSF’s transition to a new Telemedicine platform. Lavan is an avid sport enthusiast, and enjoys training in various martial arts, paddling sports and long-distance bicycling.
Michelle is from Victoria, BC. Currently, she lives a short ferry ride away in Vancouver. She graduated with distinction from Concordia University in November 2016; earning a specialization in communication studies bachelor’s degree. After graduating, Michelle began working as a professional copywriter at a marketing and technology company called Enrollment Resources. In this role, Michelle does front-end website design, writes landing pages for AdWords campaigns, creates multimedia content for websites, and makes social media and blog posts. Before commencing her degree, Michelle gained experience working for a non-profit organization called Kiwanis House, which is a goal-oriented housing program for young mothers and their children, which is when she developed her interest in human rights. Michelle was accepted to graduate journalism programs for September 2019, but she would defer them so that she could participate in the IDDIP. For fun, Michelle takes both Spanish and dance classes.
Hannah Barry is from St. John’s, Newfoundland and a recent graduate of Memorial University, where she was one of the first students to complete the school’s new International Bachelor of Arts, Honours (iBA, Hons.) degree. Hannah double-majored in Political Science and Communication Studies and holds a course concentration in Global Politics. Most recently, she completed her honours thesis on the use of “man-made” famine as a weapon during cases of intrastate conflict. To date, Hannah has largely focused her studies on African affairs; having completed field work in both Ghana and Tanzania. During the latter, she participated in a group research project on the role of youth and women in agriculture as part of Uniterra’s 70th International Seminar. Hannah hopes to use her skills, passion, and knowledge of food security to further the mandate of the WFP in Zimbabwe. She is thrilled to have been selected as a candidate for the IDDIP.
Riley is from Kingston, Ontario. She graduated from McGill University with an Honours Degree in International Development during which time she completed a field study in Eastern Africa. She is pursuing her Advanced Master’s Degree in International Children’s Rights Law at Leiden University. Riley volunteered with university chapters of UNICEF where she acquired extensive knowledge on its work to eradicate violence against children. She received numerous academic awards including the Labs Without Borders Award and the Mobility Undergraduate Award. Notably, she was a Congress Coordinator at the International Academy of Law where she organized a conference that addressed legal challenges facing children. She also worked at the National Youth Rights Association where she created a youth-friendly guide to navigating children’s rights in the foster care system. This July, she will submit her thesis on preventative policies to end the sexual exploitation of children in refugee settlements.
Liam was raised in Toronto, Ontario. He is graduating from the University of Western Ontario in June 2019, with a BSc in Biological Science. While attending University of Western Ontario, Liam completed research on the etiology of diabetes and the impact of the disease within Canada’s Indigenous communities. Liam recently completed a year internship as a Policy Advisor with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. As a Policy Advisor, he worked closely with Health Canada to evaluate the economic impact of automotive vehicle emissions on the Ontario health care system. It is in this role that Liam developed an understanding of the process relating to policy and the interrelationships of various levels of government. Liam is excited to continue to use his scientific prowess and research skills to create a healthier Ukraine by implementing a transparent medical procurement system with the UNDP. Liam loves to play hockey and is a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs; he is excited to connect with hockey fans around the globe.
Rebecca I Zuk
Rebecca Zuk is from St. Albert, Canada. She is graduating with a BA in International Relations and a minor in French, and Women and Gender Studies from Mount Allison University. An active member of her community, she planned a Feminist Leadership Conference in 2017. She loves to work and travel abroad, and in the fall of 2018 she studied for a semester in France. Previously, in the summer of 2018, she worked on EQWIP HUBs’ Youth Leadership Team in Indonesia, for which she received the Mansbridge Internship Award. Other awards she has received include the Mount Allison Entrance Scholarship, the Ebbutt Memorial Trust Scholarship, and the Université Libre de Bruxelles Summer Course Scholarship to further her French studies. Before attending Mount Allison University, she attended Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific on full scholarship. She is excited for the opportunity to be working with the UNDP going forward.
Weris was born in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire and has been living in Ottawa where she obtained a bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of Ottawa. As a Social Sciences student, she was required to research and write about youth employment in East Africa. She is passionate about working in development and has previously worked on projects to improve youth livelihoods in Indonesia. Weris previously worked for a non-profit health organization in Ottawa, targeting marginalized communities from an operational role. She has held workshops on career building for high school students, both in Canada and Indonesia; including prep for post secondary education, CV and interview workshops to allow youth in her community to gain hands-on experience. In her free time, Weris seeks adventure, from hiking to scuba diving. Weris believes that contributing to global youth employment means being actively engaged and informed on issues that affect all communities.
Rajita is a communications specialist from Vancouver, B.C. She’s a graduate of Simon Fraser University with a major in Communications, Art, & Technology and a minor in International Development, Economic and Environmental Issues. She also studied Broadcast Journalism at British Columbia’s Institute of Technology. Rajita has a passion for journalism and has been published as a freelancer. In order to stay competitive in her industry, Rajita has acquired certifications in all major media management tools including Hootsuite, Google Analytics and Adwords, Hubspot Email Marketing and the Facebook Planning Professional Certificate. She’s been a participant in the YWCA National Young Women’s Leadership program, the Explore French Language program, the Mosaic Institute Fellowship program, and the UBC Summer Institute for Future Legislators. In her free time, Rajita enjoys working in Vancouver’s film industry. She and her team were finalists in the JW Marriott Hotel Chain’s 48 hour film making challenge.
Claire Wählen is a JPC in Kigali, Rwanda, with the UN Populations Fund (UNFPA). Previously she was the Program Director with the NATO Association of Canada and before that was a parliamentary reporter in Ottawa with iPolitics.ca, focused on national security. She has a Bachelor degree (double honours) in Journalism and Political Science, from the Universities of King’s College and Dalhousie respectively.
Muhammad Khan is a writer, photographer, creative and a community organizer from Edmonton, Canada. He is a student of political science and sociology, with a focus on gender and international development, at the University of Alberta, along with completing certificates in Interdisciplinary Leadership, International Learning, and Global Education. Completing his degree with Dean’s Honor Role, Muhammad has also been awarded the 2018 Al-Rashid Education Foundation Political Science award, the 2018 FT Jenner Memorial Prize in Canadian Studies, and the 2018 Japan-Canada Academic Consortium Grant, all of which are given to students who specialize in studying International Relations from an intersectional and critical perspective. Being an avid traveler, he has a lot of international experience, where he has worked with local grassroots organizations that ensure the given community has precedence over the decisions affecting them. Such experience has taken him from Bedouin villages in West Bank to the Himalayas of Pakistan to the busy schools of Tokyo.
Elnaz holds an interdisciplinary Bachelor’s degree in Global Resource Systems from the University of British Columbia, which focuses on the nexus of agricultural and environmental sciences. She is currently completing her interdisciplinary Master’s degree in Environmental Technology from Imperial College London, with a focus on pollution management. Her interdisciplinary background in both natural and social sciences has allowed her to be well versed in many different environmental, agricultural and sustainability topics. She has a strong interest in creating an impact on research and participating in knowledge co-production. Her professional and volunteer experience has allowed her to build a strong skill set in environmental education, child and youth engagement, policy analysis and dissemination, technical report writing, event planning and project management. By being part of the United Nations Development Programme in Indonesia, she believes she will gain new insights on how to approach analytical, complex environmental and sustainability problems.
Noah Eisner is 26 years old and is from the province of Ontario, Canada. Noah attained a B.A. in Anthropology at the University of Guelph, achieving Dean’s List Honours, followed by a Master’s in Marine Management degree from Dalhousie University. Noah has worked with numerous environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGO) in cross cultural settings. For example, he designed and implemented a biophysical monitoring protocol in the Grenadines, coordinating individuals from a variety of disciplines, geographic locations, and partner government agencies and ENGO’s. Noah also has valuable public engagement skills, such as partaking in community consultation sessions to inform monitoring activities in the Grenadines as well as developing a staff video series and managing social media communications across three platforms for the organization Water First. Currently, Noah is embarking on a short-term Research Assistant contract with the Saskatchewan Beekeepers Development Commission in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, investigating the effects of prebiotics and probiotics on colony health.