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Helen Tewolde
Helen Tewolde. Photo by Daniel Ehrenworth

Helen Tewolde

“My deepest ambition is to focus on learning and practising leadership in new and challenging contexts”

Fave U of T moment
In 2007, I attended a lecture by Seodi White, a lawyer and writer who advocates for women’s rights. She was the Dame Nita Barrow Distinguished Visitor that year. White has helped develop and strengthen women’s legal rights in Malawi and throughout southern Africa. She was real, refreshingly honest and courageous. Her lecture inspired me! Recent experiences I am a community grants developer at the Youth Challenge Fund. The program brings together government and private matching funds to improve opportunities for Toronto’s young people, particularly in poorly served suburban neighbourhoods.

A meaningful event
I presented my research at an education conference in Sarajevo in September 2007. As an Eritrean-Canadian, I found it uplifting to see that post-conflict educational development can happen in places like Sarajevo, which recently suffered the effects of a devastating war. Peacebuilding and development are central to my research and community work. This experience demonstrated how they are relevant and being adapted internationally.

Your dream?
To have a real impact in research and public policy. I don’t know what form this will take, but my deepest ambition is to focus on learning and practising leadership in new and challenging contexts.

What has winning the Gordon Cressy Award meant to you?
I was nominated by people whom I respect and admire. I felt so encouraged by their nomination that winning was a bonus.

See full list of Cressy Award winner interviews

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