National Youth Action and Advisory Committee

Meet the members of the 2018-2019 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.

Members of NYAAC are happy to respond to questions about their work with Amnesty Canada. Please contact us here.

Maha Asad, President

Maha at a protest holding a sign that has the Amnesty International logo on it. 

Maha is a second-year student at McGill University, completing a double-major in International Development Studies and Economics, with a minor in Mathematics. She began working with Amnesty at age 15, volunteering with Amnesty International Toronto’s youth council. Following her recent experience representing AI Canada (ES) at Amnesty’s first International Youth Summit in Nairobi, Kenya, she brought together the new 2018-2020 NYAAC team. Over the years, she has become extremely passionate about meaningful youth engagement and leadership.  

Outside Amnesty, she is interested in journalism, research, and policy surrounding human rights. She has written for the McGill International Review with a broad focus on human rights issues, and is currently a research intern for Women in Cities International, where she is working on the Right to Campus project to improve the adequacy and availability of resources on university campuses in Montréal. Maha is also an executive member of the McGill chapter of Amnesty International, and an editor for The Matchstick, AI Canada’s youth newspaper.

In the future, she hopes to achieve NYAAC’s goals and further her human rights education, but also eat dessert at every single café in the city of Montréal.

Roshni Khemraj 

Roshni has completed her Bachelors of Arts in Political Science from York University and is currently a first year student at Osgoode Hall Law School. In addition to being the former President of her Amnesty International campus group and a member of the NYAAC, she is a member of Plan International Canada’s Youth Advisory Council where she was an inaugural participant in the Girls Belong Here initiative having taken over the role of Plan’s CEO on International Day of the Girl 2016, and she had the unique opportunity to be employed by Plan in 2018 as a Summer Associate of Youth Advocacy. In these roles, she enjoys researching and implementing new and creative ways to engage and work with young people in the areas of campaigning, activism and engagement.

Roshni hopes to channel her passion and experience with youth engagement, human rights, social justice and gender equality to her new chapter in legal advocacy.

When not engrossed in advocacy and leather-bound law books, Roshni can be found taking long walks in nature, pausing to pick up sticks and flourishing them in the hope of discovering that she is in fact a witch and her Hogwarts letter simply got lost in the mail.

Muriam Fancie 

Muriam is in her fourth year at University of Toronto. She is completing her major in Peace, Conflict, and Justice with a double minor in Indigenous studies and Diaspora & Transnational studies. Muriam’s first interaction with Amnesty International was when she was in grade 10 witnessing Amnesty International lawyers working with Indigenous communities to defend their human rights in Canada. Muriam’s work centres around working with minority groups in grassroots environments.

She currently works with Syrian newcomers in coordinating English-Arabic workshop, as well helps to provide education, housing, and social services. Moreover, she works with a UN organization to promote international SDG education projects. Finally, she also worked at a housing centre that promoted eviction prevention based on the Ontario human rights code. Muriam will continue her education to learn more about how to promote human rights through policy and law.

Fatima Beydoun 

Fatima is a second-year student at Dalhousie University on the un-ceded, un-surrendered Mi’kmaq territory of Halifax (K’jipuktuk), Nova Scotia, where she also hails from. She is currently pursuing a double major in Environment, Sustainability and Society and International Development Studies with a minor in French. She was first introduced to Amnesty International Canada in Grade 11 when she attended a workshop hosted in Halifax, where it was her first time learning about murdered and missing Indigenous women in Canada by hearing the story of Loretta Saunders from her sibling Delilah. This experience was a tipping point that fully ignited a passion to learn more about the injustices around her and to use her privileges to make a difference where needed in addition to motivating those around her to get involved in doing so as well. Since that moment, she became a youth organizer and is currently the Co-president of the Amnesty Club at Dalhousie, in addition to being the only member from the Maritimes on NYAAC.

Aside from her involvement with Amnesty, Fatima is active in student politics on her campus, where she currently sits on the student union council as the Arts and Social Sciences Faculty Representative.

Furthermore, Fatima is involved with environmental and racial activism both on and off campus, where she works towards promoting sustainable practices as a steering committee member in the Sustainability Office, and advocates for more support and resources to students of different intersecting marginalized backgrounds as the Chair of Advocacy for the Black, Indigenous, People of Colour Caucus (BIPOCUS) at Dalhousie. When she is not attending meetings or cramming for last minutes assignments, Fatima enjoys watching international films (where her Cancer shines through in her sobbing moments) and eating as many desserts as she can in one sitting.

Cassandra DeFreitas 

Cassandra is in her third year of Honours Critical Social Work with a minor in Human Rights and Equity Studies at York University in Toronto. Originally, however, she is from a small town further north of Toronto called Aurora. Currently, she is the President of Amnesty International’s chapter at York University where she has got to collaborate with the World University Service of Canada, UNICEF, the Redress Project and the Canadian Council for Refugees, to name a few. Cassandra is also the Co- Chair/ President for Amnesty International Toronto’s Action Network on Women’s Human Rights, along with being a member of the NYAAC.

Outside of Amnesty, Cassandra is a Youth Advocate for Women, Newborn, Maternal and Child Health Rights and Access with Plan International Canada, and is also a speaker for their Because I am a Girl campaign. Formerly, Cassandra mentored at risk youth and was a director on her faculty’s student council.  During her summers, Cassandra has been employed with the provincial and municipal government at Ontario Works and Ontario Community Housing, aiding at-risk and marginalized communities by connecting them to services and programs in their area.

Within her activism and practice, Cassandra is extremely passionate about critically analyzing systematic issues through a trauma informed, anti- oppressive, feminist lens. Cassandra works to engage her community in current initiatives and activism as this niche of work was a taboo topic in her hometown. Cassandra hopes to take her skills and front line experience as a social worker and her passion for human rights, equity, and justice to the international scope by pursuing an internationally based Masters program within Social Work and Community Development & Empowerment. When not discussing human rights abuses or attending lectures and conferences, Cassandra can be found running in the trails as she hopes to run half a marathon by the time she is 22, baking, attending concerts, or visiting with friends and family.

Almeera Khalid 

Almeera is a current third-year student pursuing a double major in Criminology and Ethics, Society and Law along with a minor in Political Science.She is interested in how law and policy translates back into society and is passionate about immigration and foreign policy, human rights, and creating/ sharing a space for people of colour to step up into leadership. Almeera is a dedicated activist and has been an organizer and activist with Amnesty for more than 5 years. She has previously held the position of the Student Activist Coordinator for the state of Michigan for AIUSA.  She is currently the vice-president for Amnesty International at the University of Toronto. She looks forward to not only grow as an activist but to support those around her—especially shedding light on the many voices in her community. In her free time, Almeera is an adrenaline junkie who is looking for the next thing to cross off her bucket list.

Aidan Sander 

Aidan Sander is an eleventh-grade student who is currently attending Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific in British Columbia where he has enjoyed meeting many people from diverse cultural and social backgrounds. He joined the council with the hope of gaining more knowledge about Amnesty International and meaningfully contributing to the implementation of the National Youth Strategy. Aside from sitting on the NYAAC, Aidan enjoys reading, playing badminton and volleyball, kayaking, expedition sailing, and canoeing.

Anjali Choudhary 

Anjali is a grade 11 student currently attending school in Calgary. She is excited to explore her passion of human rights and youth advocacy with Amnesty. Anjali strives to build a better community locally, nationally, and internationally. She volunteers with individuals of all ages through running a variety of programs at a senior home and coaching soccer for young kids. Anjali hopes to continue her education and further her knowledge on promoting human rights and social justice through law.

Kamila Graczyk