140050_IOB_alumni-mag_A4_20140429_final.pdf - Page 6

Firas Arafat | Toronto, Canada Diana Méndez Ardila | Bogotá, Colombia Master of globalisation and economic development | 2003 If ever you pass through Toronto… You should definitely visit the Distillery district, with the highest concentration of Victorian-era industrial architecture in North America and many beautiful boutique shops & cafés. If you still have time, check out Queen St. West, recognized worldwide as a hallmark of hipness! In that hood, the city’s creative artists and fashion conscious dwellers hang out. Make sure to drop me an email at [email protected] if you plan to visit and I’ll be happy to recommend many more exciting places to visit in Toronto. Where do you work? Strategic Planning Consultant at Toronto Hydro Electric System Corporation. I lead the Strategic and Business planning processes and set performance targets for the organization I work for. Recently, I have also joined Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME), an NGO with a mission to empower Canadians of all backgrounds to promote justice, development and peace in the Middle East, and at home in Canada. CJPME organizes public talks and communities’ to raise awareness of issues related to advancing democracy and human rights in the Middle East. Some world-renowned speakers such as writer and journalist Robert Fisk and Dr. Norman Finkelstein have participated in talks and debates organized by CJPME. You can watch many of those discussions on YouTube under CJPME uploads . Passionate about … I’m passionate about the Palestinian aspiration for justice and peace in their homeland. I’m a true believer that ending the (internationally 6 recognized as illegal) occupation and settlement activities can lead to a more prosperous life for the inhabitants of the wholly land. I also believe that violence leads to more violence and killing civilians can never be justified or allowed. In the latest hostilities between Israel and Gaza, almost 2,000 Palestinians were killed, of whom 459 were children and 239 were women, and some 10,000 Palestinians injured. Sixty-four Israeli soldiers, two Israeli civilians, and one foreign national were killed, with a few dozen Israelis injured by rockets or shrapnel according to the UN statement. I also have family living in Gaza who experienced unprecedented fear for their lives in the latest attack. Our house in Gaza was shelled with tank shells, our belongings destroyed, and my parents’ only fault was to live on the “wrong” side of the border. René Claude Niyonkuru | Bujumbura, Burundi Master of Governance and Development | 2013 If ever you pass through Bogotá… You should go to Monserrate, where you can find the biggest cathedral of Bogotá, and have a beautiful sight of the whole city, from above. Then, go to the Chorro de Quevedo, where the city was born, you can see there street teller stories and artists, also you find nice restaurants and bars; you must go to the main square, where the president’s house is, the mayor’s house and court of justice, and walk around to discover the culture life of Bogotá, because there are a lot of theaters, cultural activities and so on. The night life in Bogotá is the best. Go to a bar called Quiebracanto, which is a really nice bar where you can hear the best salsa music, hear live music, and see the best dancers, and of course, dance salsa! document of the government, which is the route the government should follow during its four years. Passionate about … I am passionate about the current Colombian reality. Given that Colombia is now passing through a peace process with the oldest rebel group in the world, FARC, it generates a lot of expectations about the future. The possibility of a post-conflict situation in Colombia makes me dream about a better place to live. A lot of opportunities could come through to work for peace building after the agreements of the peace process are signed. If ever you pass through Bujumbura... ... do not leave out a stop at Café Gourmand for bakery and ice cream. For those who want to enjoy the beauty of nature and fresh air in the capital city, go to the“Jardin Public”, the most green and relaxing place in the capital city, or to the beach of