Amnesty International is a democratic organization dedicated to effective use of financial and people resources to meet our human rights goals.
At the international level, the members of the Board of Directors – known as the International Board (IB) – provide guidance and leadership for the Amnesty International movement worldwide.
Every year, a Global Assembly is convened, where representatives of each section come together to discuss strategies, policies, vote on IB members, and share ideas and knowledge to guide the international movement.
There are over 80 Amnesty International offices worldwide. In Canada, we have two branches – the English-Speaking one with its main office in Ottawa, and the Francophone Branch located in Montreal.
The English-Speaking Branch is guided by our Board. The Board is made up of 10 people elected by our national membership. The work of the Board ranges from setting policies to approving the operational plans and the budget for Amnesty Canada’s work each year and ensuring that international decisions are implemented at the national level. Board members are a dynamic group of people committed to human rights for all and driven to make Amnesty an ever-stronger voice, both within Canada and within an international context.
In Canada, Amnesty members participate in our Annual General Meeting where they are able to bring forward and vote on resolutions that give direction to the Branch’s work and shape policies, vote for members of our Board, and vote for the ICM delegates.
Meet the 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. Click here to contact the Board of Directors.
Mohamed Huque, Chair
Mohamed has spent his entire career advancing social change, from grassroots organizations to global charities. He is presently the Director, Community Impact at Toronto Foundation where he mobilizes the organization’s vast philanthropic resources towards equity-driven priorities.
Previously, he was a strategy consultant advising some of the world’s leading NGOs on projects ranging from supporting LGBTQ+ groups in the Global South to establishing women-led co-operatives in rural Sudan. As a former nonprofit executive, he’s also led an advocacy organization to develop Canada’s first national reading strategy and a frontline social service agency that supports low-income communities. At the heart of all his work has been a commitment to justice and equity to ensure those closest to any social problem are centred when designing solutions.
In 2015, he was selected to be an Ariane de Rothschild Fellow at the University of Cambridge, specializing in social entrepreneurship. Beyond Amnesty, he serves on the board of the Inspirit Foundation dedicated to promote pluralism in Canada.
Dastageer Sakhizai, Director
Dastageer works as a Senior Policy Analyst at the Government of Saskatchewan in Canada. His career in public policy started in early 2006 after graduation from the School of Policy Studies at Queens University. Prior to transitioning to his new career in public policy, Dastageer worked in conflict resolution area as a mediator in Saskatoon Community Mediation Services for five years.
In his previous career, Dastageer worked as a researcher in academies of sciences of Afghanistan, Hungary, Uzbekistan, and Bulgaria as well as at the University of Saskatchewan where he was recruited for a research project and subsequently settled in Canada.
Dastageer’s work with Amnesty started with a local group in Saskatoon in 2000 that was expanded to some activities at a national level as well. Besides defending human rights, Dastageer’s work in promoting social justice in other areas included advocacy for electoral reform/proportional representation, workforce integration of professional immigrants, and raising awareness about Canadian citizenship (through community-based citizenship ceremonies). His work in voluntary sector led to founding three advocacy organizations/networks where he served as the founding president/chairman.
Dastageer holds a Bachelor of Science in plant sciences, a Master of Science in genetics, and a Master of Public Administration.
Greg Zatulovsky, Treasurer
Greg has committed the last decade as a change leader focused on modernizing nonprofit financial and operational systems so that more resources could be allocated to serving our communities. In 2021, he decided to commit his energy to the grassroots social purpose sector and founded a new nonprofit, Purpose Forward. As the CEO, he leads a growing team with a mission of advancing operational expertise across the Canadian charitable sector while scaling a new organization and establishing robust governance practices.
As an accountant (CPA, CMA), Greg started his career with globally recognized brands before pivoting to the charitable sector and working with the Canadian Mental Health Association and Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, among others. In 2021, he was a recipient of the CPA Ontario Emerging Leaders Award to recognize his contributions and commitment to the social purpose sector. Along with being honoured to join Amnesty as the new Treasurer, Greg is also the Treasurer at Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation, a national housing advocacy charity.
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.
Agapi Gessesse, Director
Agapi Gessesse is an Award-winning change maker who was named a 2020 top Black woman to watch in Canada. Born and raised in Toronto to a refugee mother, Agapi’s commitment to mentoring marginalized youth stems from her lived experience, and belief in community development.
Agapi has captivated audiences on local and national stages as a commentator on anti-black racism, workforce development and youth engagement.
Agapi Gessesse serves as the Executive Director of CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals, and lives in Toronto.
- 2020 TOP BLACK WOMAN IN CANADA
- 2019 DIAL MOVER IN TECH- DIAL MOVERS
- 2019 MAYTREE FELLOW – MAYTREE POLICY SCHOOL
Michael Hayworth, Director
Michael is a practicing lawyer in the Toronto area. He has been involved with Amnesty since 2008 and has worked on staff with Amnesty Australia and lead the section’s campaign team in 2017. He has a deep passion for human rights and Amnesty and is excited to help build our movement.
Bruce McIvor, Director
Dr. Bruce McIvor, lawyer and historian, is a partner at First Peoples Law LLP, a law firm dedicated to defending and advancing Indigenous People’s inherent and constitutionally protected title, rights and treaty rights. His work includes both litigation and negotiation on behalf of Indigenous Peoples. Bruce is recognized nationally and internationally as a leading practitioner of Aboriginal law in Canada.
Bruce is dedicated to public education. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia’s Allard School of Law where he teaches the constitutional law of Aboriginal and Treaty rights. His collection of essays entitled Standoff: Why Reconciliation Fails Indigenous People and How to Fix It will be published in the fall of 2021 by Harbour Publishing.
Bruce holds a law degree, a Ph.D. in environmental history and is a Fulbright Scholar. His great-grandparents took Métis scrip at Red River in Manitoba. He is a member of the Manitoba Métis Federation.
Geneviève Thériault-Lachance, Vice-Chair
Geneviève Thériault-Lachance is a lawyer based in Quebec that specializes in corporate accountability. She is particularly interested in corporate’s ethics and the connection between corruption and human rights violations. She worked for several years in London for an organization that sought to bring justice to victims of corporate abuses in sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to leaving for London, she practiced as a trial lawyer in Montreal. She appeared regularly before the highest provincial and federal courts. She also acted as a legal consultant for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), where she drafted applications on behalf of victims and amicus curiae brief to ensure the protection of the rule of law in impeachment procedures in Latin America.
Geneviève has a Master of Laws (LLM), with distinction, from London University College (UCL), where she was the sole recipient of the Sir Frederick Pollock scholarship. She regularly writes legal blogs for the legal publisher Éditions Yvon Blais of Thomson Reuters, is a founding trustee of Publish What You Pay (PWYP) UK and a board member of the Quebec Human Rights League.
Elaheh Sajadi, Director
Elaheh has been volunteering with Amnesty since 2014, supporting the organization’s growth in many different capacities. She has written countless letters, marched for missing rights defenders, organized activism events, and facilitated conversations about Amnesty’s past, present, and future.
As one of the original members of the National Organizers program and the National Youth Action and Advisory Committee, she has and continues to work with incredible youth across Canada to further Amnesty’s prerogatives and ensure youth can mobilize and advocate on issues that warrant their passion.
In addition to her experiences at Amnesty, she has a background in fundraising and development. She has worked as a Fundraising Leader at Public Outreach, a Special Events Clerk for SickKids Foundation and currently works at Human Rights Watch Canada where she supports the office in its development and outreach efforts.
Elaheh holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree double majoring in Human Rights and Criminology. She is also attending the Lincoln Alexander School of Law, working towards her goal of becoming an international human rights lawyer.
Laurin Liu, Director
Laurin Liu was a Canadian Member of Parliament between 2011-2015 and served as the youngest female Parliamentarian in Canadian history. While in office, she served as deputy critic for Environment, Science and Technology and International Trade and tabled multiple bills, including Bill C-409, for the automatic enrolment in the guaranteed income supplement for low-income seniors and Bill C-620, to expand health and safety protections for interns in federally regulated industries. She also pushed for a responsible and ethical foreign policy on various Parliamentary committees, including action on climate change, stopping the use of cluster munitions and arms exports to repressive governments, and ensuring the inclusion of human rights and environmental protections in trade deals.
For years, she has also worked for international philanthropies and NGOs, where she has played a behind-the-scenes role in strategic communications, supporting activists defending basic rights around the world and campaigns for international justice and accountability.
She holds a master’s degree in human rights from the London School of Economics. Raised in Montreal, Quebec, she speaks English and French.
Ketty Nivyabandi, Secretary General
Ketty Nivyabandi is a human rights defender and a passionate advocate for social justice. She was forced to flee her home as a result of her activism in May 2015, after she mobilized and successfully led women peaceful protests in her home country, Burundi.
As a refugee and human rights defender, she has testified before the Canadian House of Commons Sub-Committee on International Human Rights on ongoing human rights violations in her country, particularly against women. She regularly speaks on refugee issues, democracy and human rights –with a particular focus on women human rights defenders– and the effects of conflict on women’s intimate lives. She was a founding member of Burundi’s Women and Girls Movement for Peace and Security, a strong apolitical voice ensuring women have a front seat at the peacemaking table.
Ketty studied International Relations, is a former journalist and a published poet.
Kassandra Churcher, Executive Director
Kassandra has enjoyed a long and significant management career, including supervising the operations and management of all primary and secondary schools throughout the Inuit territory of Nunavik in the north of Quebec as well as being the National Executive Director for the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS). She played a leadership role in developing opportunities for funding and support of the 24 community-based Elizabeth Fry Societies across Canada who are responsible for delivering programs and services to at-risk and criminalized girls and women.
Kassandra is committed to fostering an ARAO intersectional feminist approach in her writing, advocacy, work, and life. She currently lives in Hudson, a small community outside of Montreal where she volunteers as Vice President of Elizabeth Fry Society.
Kassandra graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Ethics, holds a Master of Arts in Education from Concordia University in Montreal, and is completing a PhD in Culture and Values in Education from McGill.
Hawa Y. Mire, Director of Equity, People and Culture
Hawa Y. Mire has joined Amnesty International Canadian Section (English Speaking) as Director of Equity, People and Culture at a time of critical introspection and profound change. She will be supporting senior leadership’s vision to build a more equitable organization rooted in anti-racist, anti-oppressive and feminist values, principles and practices.
Over the last year, Amnesty Canada has been in a process to assess and transform internal culture, overhaul processes and practices, and build innovative approaches to maximize our human rights impact. Reporting to the Interim Executive Director, the Director of Equity, People and Culture is a member of the senior management team and is responsible for ensuring the section’s human resources strategy and practices align with the organization’s core values and strategic direction.
Hawa holds a deep belief that Amnesty International Canada’s mission to ensure justice for those whose rights have been violated must be align with its internal work environment. This commitment requires sustainable structural change as well as an adequate, well-resourced change management process that ensures that the organization is set up for future success.
Hawa Y. Mire has two decades of experience as a proven strategic senior leader focused on high-impact organizational culture change, with 7 years of direct experience developing, implementing and advancing ARAO-DEI strategies including training, coaching and driving talent.
Her work has focused on developing, implementing and advancing anti-racism, anti-oppression, equity, diversity and inclusion strategies, strategic consultation and organizational development, executive administration, HR and financial management. In 2017, she completed a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies from York University where her research examined community storytelling as a place of transformation. She is currently enrolled in the PhD of Social Work Program at York University. She is not only a respected champion for equity and anti-oppression but also brings in-depth knowledge of the Canadian not-for-profit and charitable sector, human rights, innovation and bold strategic leadership.
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.
Marie-Helene Boubane, Director of Fundraising
Marie-Hélène was promoted to Director of Fundraising in July 2022. Marie-Hélène has held many positions in the fundraising department at Amnesty International, first from 2012 to 2015, as the Manager of Fundraising Programs in Ottawa. She came back in July 2020 to manage Major Gifts and Legacy Giving covering a parental leave then moved to manage Annual Giving, Legacy Giving, and Supporter Services.
Marie-Hélène’s professional career started in Insurance but landed in Fundraising by accident. Her Fundraising journey is fueled by a passion for empowering people. She successfully fundraised for international organizations like Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), and CARE Canada in various positions from Direct Marketing to Monthly Giving and Institutional Fundraising.
When not working with her wonderful colleagues at Amnesty, she is a fierce advocate for mental health especially when it comes to neurodivergent populations.
Her next challenge, in this position, is to continue the excellent fundraising work done by her predecessor while bringing an anti-racist and oppressive lens to the Fundraising programs.
Marie-Hélène graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Concordia University. She joined the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) in 1999. She holds a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) designation since 2015. She will timidly start presenting at AFP in the fall of 2022.
Ihsaan Gardee, Director of Programs and Communications
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.
Zosa De Sas Kropiwnicki-Gruber, Director of Research, Advocacy and Policy
Zosa De Sas Kropiwnicki-Gruber is the Director of Research, Advocacy and Policy at Amnesty International Canada. Informed by her doctorate in International Development Studies at the University of Oxford (United Kingdom, 2007), Zosa has spent the last two decades leading research, policy analysis and advocacy related to gender-based violence, sexual exploitation, human trafficking, forced migration and child protection for development organizations and multilaterals in South East Europe, Central Asia, West Africa and Southern Africa.
As the former Policy Director and Gender Specialist at the British Columbia Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC), Zosa led research, advocacy and intersectional gender equality programs related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP). Zosa contributes to the prevention of sexual abuse and exploitation on the Advisory Committee of Digna, the Canadian Centre of Expertise on the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA). Zosa also serves on the Executive Board of Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan (CW4WAfghan) and Co-Chairs the Advocacy Team to advocate for the protection and fulfillment of the rights of Afghan girls and women to safe, equitable and quality education.
Zosa has published extensively on topics related to child protection, gender equality and forced migration, including a book published by Palgrave MacMillan on human rights defenders in exile entitled, Exile identity, agency and belonging in South Africa: the Masupatsela generation. Zosa is passionate about anti-oppressive, decolonial approaches to human rights and international development, and through the co-creation of research and advocacy campaigns with rights-holders, she seeks to bring about transformative change.
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.
Members of NYAAC are happy to respond to questions about their work with Amnesty Canada. Please contact us here.
Oya (she/her) is a fourth-year student at the University of Toronto, double majoring in International Relations and Political Science, with a minor in European Studies. She is a researcher in the Munk School of Global Affairs and her current project focuses on COVID-19 vaccine accessibility for refugee populations. She is also an experienced grassroot non-profit organizer in her community – both in Toronto and her hometown, Antalya. She is the president of Amnesty International’s University of Toronto chapter. By combining her academic, professional, and lived experiences, she advocates for health equity, environmental justice, eradicating gender-based violence, and the rights of migrants. In her free time, she creates digital art and works on her graphic design portfolio.
Aidan is a second-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 has served as a member of the National Human Rights Goals Committee, where he helped to guide the engagement process for the gathering of membership feedback to aid in the development of the Global and AICES strategic goals. During his spare time, Aidan may be found running along one of Kingston’s many trails bordering Lake Ontario or enjoying nonfiction books.
When she is not knitting scarves or pumping iron at the gym, Hannah Ahamedi is a student, activist, and speaker that feels passionate about human rights work and global innovation. Currently completing her final year at the University of Toronto, Hannah majors in Peace, Conflict, and Justice Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs. She has been working with Amnesty International since she was 16 and has occupied various leadership positions throughout the organization.
Fatima Beydoun is currently pursuing a JD/BCL from McGill University on the unceded territory of the Kanien’kehá:ka Nation in Tiohtiá:ke (Montreal). Originally from unsurrendered Mi’kmaq territory of K’jipuktuk (Halifax), 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 formerly the Co-president of the Amnesty Club at Dalhousie. Now in her fourth year on the NYAAC as the first 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 recently concluded her two-year term 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.
Hajar Abdessamie is a 4th-year Finance student at the University of Ottawa, currently living on the traditional Territory of the Anishinaabe Algonquin Nation. Ever since she learned about Amnesty International’s work through the 2017 Human Rights College, she has been a committed human rights activist and organizer with Amnesty. As a National Organizer, Hajar was part of facilitating several human rights events in her community, including many Write 4 Rights events. Hajar is currently the VP Events and Finance of Amnesty uOttawa where she’s in charge of the society’s funding and helps lead the facilitation of events.
Hajar is honoured to be part of the National Youth Action and Advisory Committee and aims to further connect and empower Amnesty Canada’s youth to make a bigger impact together. Outside of Amnesty, Hajar works for the federal government as a Junior Financial Analyst and volunteers with other youth organizations.