Meet the members of the 2020-2021 Board of Directors
Amnesty International Canada's Board of Directors is made up of 10 elected members who volunteer their time to oversee our strategic direction and financial management, maintain strong links with the international movement of Amnesty International, and provide leadership and guidance in advancing our human rights work.
Members of the Board are happy to respond to questions about the governance of Amnesty Canada. Please contact us here.
Lana Verran, Chair
Based in Vancouver BC, Lana has been a volunteer with Amnesty International Canada (English) for over 15 years. Having served in a variety of capacities ranging from film festival organizing to AI Canada’s highest ranking volunteer position in her current role as President of the Board. Lana sits on numerous committees and participates in working groups aimed at strengthening AI’s policies worldwide.
Lana began her involvement with Amnesty International in 2003 while living in Halifax. She first served as a Director of the Board from 2009-2013 and was subsequently elected as the member delegate to Amnesty’s 2015 International Council Meeting before rejoining the Board in 2015.
Having led national delegations at both the 2017 and 2018 international assembly meetings of 60 plus sections and structures has allowed for close, collaborative work alongside Amnesty volunteers and staff from across the Globe. This had led to a deeper understanding of the challenges facing rights holders and the larger human rights movement.
Lana brings over 25 years of professional experience in the areas of organizational development, Human Resources, delegation, problem solving communication and leadership.
Lana remains committed to increasing the awareness of social injustice, wherever it occurs
Sarah Damberger, Vice Chair
Sarah has been involved with Amnesty in Calgary, Alberta since 2009 in a number of different roles. After reviving and leading the University of Calgary chapter for four years, she was hired by Amnesty Canada to the position of Southern Alberta Organizer, where she assessed activism in the area and identified opportunities for improving communication and engagement. Sarah then moved into the role of Local Organizer and joined the Fieldworker program before being elected to the board in 2016. During her time on the board, Sarah has been involved in a number of different initiatives, including the 2017 Calgary AGM Planning Committee and AGM Evaluation working group.
Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Communications Studies from the University of Calgary. Her honours research focused on online activism campaigns and their effectiveness in supporting activist movements. While she is interested in a wide variety of human rights issues, she is most passionate about women's rights and indigenous rights in Canada.
Tara Vicckies, Treasurer
As a CPA CGA, I’ve worked as an Accountant for over 20 years in various sectors and industries in the Ottawa area. Through this varied work experience, I’ve come to understand ‘best practices’ and how successful organizations are run. I’m currently employed full-time as an Accounting Manager at a non-profit in the health sector promoting safe medical care, a volunteer Board member of 6 years for a local not-for-profit organization supporting holistic health, and am on the Executive for my community association where we work to bring together a more integrated and cohesive neighborhood. My work experience has provided me with the knowledge of what makes organizations great – it’s really about taking care of the fundamentals like policy, procedures, processes, solid financials, and effective communication -- so that the ‘real’ work can be achieved with as few impediments possible. As a long-time supporter of Amnesty, I was involved in organizing the first local Yoga-thon and continued to be involved until it eventually became a national event. It was a great experience to work with the staff in Ottawa and it would be my sincere pleasure to support Amnesty’s work further through the Treasurer role.
Lee Seymour, Director
Lee lives in Halifax with her husband and dog, a black lab. She has worked with charitable organizations all her life, primarily as a fundraiser, first with Oxfam Canada and, most recently, as Co-Director of Development with Amnesty International in Ottawa, until 2010. After six years of fundraising consulting, Lee is now finally retired and enjoying being a grandmother, gardening and volunteering. She has served on many Board as both Director and Chairperson. She was most recently Chairperson of the Halifax Refugee Welcome group, which brought five Syrians to Canada over a year ago.
Lee has also served on the Board of the Halifax based environmental group, The Ecology Action Centre and was Chairperson of the Nova Scotia Citizens Health Coalition for five years. She is looking forward to working again with Amnesty International Canada, in the capacity of Board Chair.
Mante Molepo, Director
Mante Molepo is a lawyer and human rights advocate, and has worked on issues around immigration and refugee protection, women’s rights, and anti-racism. For several years, Mante practiced international trade law, including the negotiations of free trade agreements. She has worked on international issues related to public health, environmental protection, forced labour, business and human rights, and food security.
Mante also consults with companies and organizations to address diversity, equity and inclusion, with a focus on unconscious bias.
Mante is a founding member of Parents for Diversity, an organization committed to promoting equitable and inclusive education for students. She addresses issues related to anti-racism, intersectionality, gender and sexual rights.
Mante holds a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) and a Bachelor of Civil Law (B.C.L) from McGill University.
Mohamed Huque, Director
Mohamed is a Toronto-based consultant working globally with foundations and nonprofit funders to catalyze high-impact philanthropy. He advises some of the world’s leading private foundations and public agencies on their grantmaking strategy and digital transformation.
Throughout his career, Mohamed has always been in the pursuit of creating social impact and serving mission-driven organizations. A former nonprofit executive, he has led an advocacy organization to develop Canada’s first national reading strategy and a social service agency that supports low-income communities and newcomers. In his work, he has led campaigns on a range of issues from increased funding for libraries on First Nations reserves to affordable housing for refugees. At the heart of all his work has been a commitment to equity and ensuring that any solution to a problem centres those most directly affected.
In 2015, he was selected to be an Ariane de Rothschild Fellow at Cambridge University, specializing in social entrepreneurship.
Sarah Koch-Schulte, Director
Based in Toronto, Sarah began her involvement with Amnesty in New York City in 2007. She has served in a variety of capacities from a staff role as Senior Major Gift Officer participating on the team leading campaigns focused on prisoners of conscience, to her current volunteer role as a Board Director. Sarah has collaborated with Amnesty leaders and activists from 20 sections around the globe and organized Amnesty projects involving CNN, Kerry Kennedy, Stephen King, Lincoln Center, Politico, Sotheby’s, Gloria Steinem, Sting, and Cornel West. Sarah sits on numerous committees aimed at strengthening Amnesty’s policies and strategies in Canada (English). She believes that Amnesty’s 400,000 activists, members and supporters in Canada are key.
Sarah has two decades of experience in human rights research and fundraising. She co-authored the book "Can Anyone Hear Us? Voices from 47 Countries" (Oxford University Press). Raised on a family farm on Treaty 1 territory in Manitoba, Sarah strives to be a friend to the Indigenous community on Turtle Island. Sarah has designated Amnesty for a planned gift in her estate and encourages others to consider a current or planned gift.
Ketty Nivyabandi, Secretary General
Ketty Nivyabandi joined Amnesty International Canada (English Section) as Secretary General in October 2020. She is the primary spokesperson for the Branch, is responsible for the development and delivery of the Branch’s human rights work and shares senior leadership with the Executive Director. A global human rights activist and advocate, Ketty holds in-depth and lived expertise on refugee issues and the intersections of gender, race, democracy, and human rights. Prior to seeking asylum in Canada in 2015, she faced police violence as a leading organizer of women’s peaceful protests for democratic change in her country, Burundi.
In her previous roles, Ketty has led research and advocacy to support global women peace activists in several conflict and post conflict countries, including Syria, Yemen, South Sudan, Myanmar and Guatemala. As a communications strategist, she has worked with activists extensively to amplify their voices and shape public policy through international media. Her work is rooted in people power, public accountability, and a feminist, decolonial approach to human rights.
Ketty studied International Relations, is a former journalist and a published poet.
Gordon Mair, Director of Finance and Administration
Gordon Mair has been the Branch’s Director of Finance and Administration since March 2008 after holding similar positions with Sierra Club Canada, CARE International in Zambia, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community in New Caledonia, and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture in Costa Rica. Previously he had worked for Forestry Canada and for the Office of the Auditor General.
Gordon has overall responsibility for the financial management of the Branch, including the preparation of financial statements, monitoring of revenue and expenses, risk management, health and safety, and liaison with auditors. He and his team carry out all of the financial functions for the Branch and the administrative functions related to the National Office.
He has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Carleton University and a CMA designation.
Rosemary Oliver, Director of Fundraising
Rosemary Oliver joined Amnesty International Canada as Director of Fundraising in August 1999, after seven years as the Fundraising Director for Greenpeace Canada and five years on fundraising staff at Oxfam. She manages Amnesty Canada’s Fundraising Team whose members carry out programs in monthly giving, legacy gifts, major donors, direct mail, digital, telemarketing and face-to-face fundraising.
In addition to her fundraising efforts for Amnesty Canada, Rosemary was an active member of Amnesty’s global Fundraising Management Team for six years until 2015 and worked briefly as the monthly giving coordinator for Amnesty USA.
Rosemary enjoys sharing her passion for fundraising with others in the sector, and has spoken frequently at the Association of Fundraising Professionals Congress and Fundraising Day in Toronto, the International AFP Conference in the US (most recently in Boston, 2016), and at the International Fundraising Congress in the Netherlands.
Rosemary graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor of Arts, holds a Certificate in Fund Raising Management from Humber College, and earned her professional CFRE designation (Certified Fundraising Executive) in 1991.
Ihsaan Gardee joined as the Director of Programs and Communications in November 2019. Prior to this, Ihsaan served for ten years as Executive Director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), an Ottawa-based national non-profit human rights and civil liberties advocacy organization. During his time there he worked on a number of high profile cases and files including in coalitions with partners such as Amnesty. Ihsaan has regularly appeared on local and national news media & programs on issues related to Canadian Muslims, Islam, and civil liberties and his writings have appeared in major Canadian dailies as well as international publications. He has also spoken at numerous Canadian and global forums and conferences on public policy matters. In his professional capacity, Ihsaan has provided expert testimony to several Parliamentary and Senate committees on how proposed legislation, including national security laws, could adversely impact civil liberties and diverse communities. Ihsaan has addressed diverse audiences including youth and the young-at-heart on topics such as tackling Islamophobia, media engagement & advocacy.
A graduate of the University of Windsor and the University of Western Ontario, Ihsaan currently serves as the Director of Programs & Communications Amnesty International Canada - English section (AICES). In this role, he works with both the Communications and Programs team to help set priorities, develop long-terms strategic goals, annual plans, and budgets for campaigning by the organization on a variety of international and domestic human rights issues. In addition to this, he leads on the organization’s strategies for growing its base of members and supporters.
Meet the members of the 2020-2022 National Youth Action and Advisory Committee
The National Youth Action and Advisory Committee (NYAAC) is a national youth body that takes action on youth mobilization in addition to advising Amnesty International Canada English-Speaking (AICES)’s members, leaders and staff on youth participation in various aspects of human rights work including governance, campaigns and activism.
Roshni Khemraj (she/her), Co-Chair
Roshni is a third year student at Osgoode Hall Law School and co-chair of the NYAAC. She currently lives in the traditional territories of the Haudenosauneega, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and Anishinabewaki peoples, colonially known as Markham. Through her 6 years of involvement with Amnesty, along with being employed by the federal government to develop an initiative that investigates behaviours and attitudes perpetuating gender inequality and supports action for system change, Roshni has developed a strong passion for migrant justice, law reform work and developing strategies to further youth, gender and racial inclusion. In her last year on the NYAAC, she excited to see the Youth Portal grow and to plant the seed for further inclusive and accessible opportunities for youth in campaigns, activism and leadership.
Cassandra DeFreitas (she/her), Co-Chair
Cass is a final year Social Work and Human Rights & Equity Studies student at York University and is completing her social work placement with Oxfam Canada in the Policy and Campaigns department. Cass has been involved with Amnesty International Canada for over 4 years, serving in multiple positions, and has had the honour of working and learning alongside other organizations, including, Plan International Canada, Experiences Canada, the Canadian Centre for Global Health Security and Diplomacy, and the Canadian Council for Refugees. Within her activism, research, and practice, Cass is exceptionally passionate about critically analyzing systematic issues through a trauma-informed, anti-oppressive, and feminist lens. Cassandra has a particular interest in identifying barriers to access, especially within a globalized health context. She is currently completing a research inquiry on gender-based violence, gender inequality and COVID-19. Fun fact: Cass has an irrational fear of seashells and her favourite TV show character is the one and only: Leslie Knope.
Fatima Beydoun (she/her)
Fatima is in her fourth year at Dalhousie University on the un-ceded surrendered Mi’kmaq territory of Halifax (K'jipuktuk), where she also hails from. She is currently pursuing a double major in Sustainability and International Development Studies with a minor in French. Fatima was first introduced to Amnesty International Canada in Grade 11 when she attended a workshop in Halifax and has been actively involved with the organization ever since, starting as a youth organizer and acting currently as the Co-president of the Amnesty Club at Dalhousie. Entering her third year on the NYAAC as the only Maritimer, Fatima is able to incorporate her passions of youth empowerment and human rights while working alongside others to advocate for more equitable systems on the local and global scales. Having had the opportunity to speak in the House of Commons, she is involved with environmental, migrant and racial justice work on campus and in the community. Her active involvement in student leadership is vast, where she currently sits on the Board of Dalhousie University as a student representative and is a founding member of the Black, Indigenous, People of Colour Caucus (BIPOCUS) at Dalhousie. When she is not organizing, she can be found watching aesthetic cafe videos, practicing cello, and spending time with her friends and family.
Aidan Sander (he/him)
Aidan is a first-year student with the QuARMS (Queen’s university Accelerated Route to Medical School) program at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON. Aidan first became involved with Amnesty International through the 2017 Human Rights College for Youth. Since then, Aidan has become more involved within the organization. In addition to being a member of the NYAAC, Aidan also serves as a member of the Strategic Goals Advisory Committee, where he helps to guide the engagement process to develop Global and AICES strategic goals. Aside from Amnesty International, Aidan has served various advisory roles within his greater community. He has served as a member of the City of Lethbridge Youth Council, where he has contributed to the development of a more inclusive community for all. Additionally, as a member the National Youth Advisory Committee for the RCMP, Aidan has helped to guide future policies by the government regarding law enforcement and discussed issues of victimization and discrimination within our justice system.
Anjali Choudhary (she/her)
Anjali Choudhary is a passionate human rights advocate, writer, and student in her first year of her Bachelor of Arts degree in Law and Society at the University of Calgary. Anjali has been involved with Amnesty since the age of 14 at various levels and has tremendously grown her passion for advocacy work. In her third term on the NYAAC, she hopes to grow her work with digital activism and is committed to promoting inclusivity and accessibility within all levels. Outside of Amnesty, she also works to actively support and engage in her community through volunteer, research and written work with provincial and community organizations, university engagement and her newspaper column. Anjali aims to build a career around her passion for human rights advocacy, hoping to empower others and set a positive example for youth engagement in activism and governance.
Anam Rashid (she/her)
Anam Rashid is an activist and student at the University of Toronto studying International Development Studies and Critical Migration Studies, currently living on the traditional territory of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples. She is committed to supporting and engaging in initiatives that promote quality education, healthier communities and gender equality, both locally and globally. Her passion has led her to work with organizations including Yellow Brick House, and more recently, Right To Play and Refugee Girls Worldwide.
Brandon Hayashi (he/him)
Brandon is a graduate from TRU with a Bachelor of Science majoring in Cellular, Molecular, and Microbial Biology. He resides in Kamloops on the traditional and unceded territory of the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc within Secwepemc’ulucw. Having run multiple BC campaigns as a student, including a student refugee program referendum at TRU and banning conversion therapy across the province, he hopes to transfer his expertise to empower youth through the NYAAC.
Hannah Ahamedi (she/her)
Hannah is an activist, researcher and adventurer who currently lives on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples. She attends the University of Toronto and studies Peace, Conflict, and Justice at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. During her spare time, Hannah enjoys reading sci-fi novels and hunting for new coffee shops around the city of Toronto.
Shantel Watson (she/her)
Shantel Watson serves as the Board Strategies Liaison for the 2020-2022 NYAAC cohort. She is also a member of the AI Toronto Business and Human Rights Group, the AI Canada National Organizers Program and served as a youth member of the AI Canada 2020 Global Assembly Delegation. Through my role I will commit myself to the removal of barriers to youth engagement and leadership.
Shriya Shah (she/her)
Shriya Shah is a Grade 12 student at the University of Toronto Schools, currently living on the traditional territory of the Anishinabek, Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), Ojibway/Chippewa peoples. She has a passion for making institutional human rights change in her community, and is a member of AI Canada’s National Youth Action and Advisory Committee (NYAAC). She is currently a student researcher with the Global Labor Justice Institute, and has worked on a documentary that highlights the intersectionality of human rights and fast fashion. She is the founder of the UTS AI Chapter, and is a TEDx speaker on the privilege of movement. She aims to pursue human rights law, while empowering youth to grow as leaders and activists.