Alumni Biographies

Prime Minister's Youth Council Alumni

Sara Abdessamie

Photo: Sara Abdessamie

Sara Abdessamie is currently in her 3rd year studying Medical Sciences as a Loran Scholar at Dalhousie University. From Fredericton, New Brunswick, she has been a strong advocate for bilingualism, inclusion, accessibility and youth rights. She has notably worked with organizations such as Best Buddies to help teens with disabilities and has worked with the Office for Disability Issues to help implement the first National Accessibility Legislation in Canada. She has spoken at We Day Canada and the Walrus Talks tour to promote inclusion and youth involvement.

Contact Sara:
Twitter: @Sara_Abdess
Instagram: Sara_Abdess

Mustafa Ahmed

Photo: Mustafa Ahmed

Mustafa Ahmed was born and raised in Canada’s largest social housing project, Regent Park, in Toronto, Ontario. He sought to make a difference in his community by founding programs to get youth involved in arts and literature. He is also deeply involved in helping immigrants to Canada feel at home in their new country.

Hani Al Moulia

Photo: Hani Al Moulia

Hani Al Moulia resides in Toronto, Ontario, where he is enrolled in his second year of Computer Engineering at Ryerson University. Through his experience as a person with poor vision, he has embraced photography and been recognized for his artistic style and talent as a photographer. Prior to coming to Canada as a refugee from Syria, Hani helped fellow refugees while living in camps in Lebanon and working for UNICEF. Upon arrival to Canada, Hani settled with his family in Regina, Saskatchewan, where he was involved locally to help other newcomers adapt to their new context. Hani is passionate about employment and immigration. He would like to find ways to help more Canadians with disabilities to get equal opportunities working or studying. Hani is currently helping building Canada’s first youth policy by engaging and encouraging youth in Toronto to do so.

Contact Hani:
Twitter: @hanialmoulia

Alex Bouchard

Photo: Alex Bouchard

Alex Bouchard is from Haines Junction, Yukon, and is a proud francophone who was involved with the Fédération de la Jeunesse Canadienne Française. She also founded the University of British Columbia Parks Canada Club while attending university and inspired youth to get outdoors and live an active lifestyle.

Joseph Darcel

Photo: Joseph Darcel

Joseph leads by empowerment. A medical student at the University of Manitoba, Joseph has spent time at home and abroad examining the issues facing society today. By engaging with community groups, youth parliaments, and government agencies, Joseph has made it his focus to be a part of the dialogue that is shaping Canada’s future. At home in Winnipeg Joseph is a community leader and collaborator, a TEDx speaker and mentor with Winnipeg Child and Family Services. As a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, Joseph now instructs the cadet program which he belonged to as a teenager. Joseph takes a multilateral approach to problem solving, drawing on years of experience as a Rotary exchange student and member of ΔKE fraternity. In his free time Joseph enjoys flying as a private pilot, and running.

Contact Joseph:
Twitter: @JoeDarcel_PMYC

Gregory Francis

Photo: Gregory Francis

Gregory Francis is from Kingsclear First Nation, New Brunswick. Recently becoming a new elected councillor in his community this past Feburary, and studying engineering, a role model for his younger community members to strive for what they seek. He continues his work for Indigenous rights, participating with organizations such as 4R's Youth and CCUNESCO.

Contact Gregory:
Twitter: @GregFrancisKFN

Sylvia Pascua Matte

Photo: Sylvia Pascua Matte




Hailing from the remote community of Fort Simpson in the Northwest Territories, Sylvia Pascua Matte has worked to provide activities to youth and children. She has volunteered for the Fort Simpson Historical Society, offering activities for all ages. She has also led fundraising efforts in her community. Sylvia is passionate about education and employent for youth living in northern Canada.

Rachel Smale

Photo: Rachel Smale

Rachel Smale is a resident of Pond Inlet, Nunavut. She mentors children and youth in her community. She created an after-school sports program for elementary school children and wants to develop a greater number of activities for them to be happy in their community. Rachel recently graduated top of her high school class and won the Governor General’s Award for her achievements.

Donovan Taplin

Photo: Donovan Taplin

Donovan served for four years (2013-2017) as the youngest person elected to municipal government in Newfoundland and Labrador in his hometown of Wabana, Bell Island. Concurrently, he held advisory roles with the 12th Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador (2014-2015) and the 23rd Prime Minister of Canada (2016-2018). Donovan served as an ambassador with the Atlantic Council for International Cooperation, a delegate with the Young Diplomats of Canada for the Y7 Summit in Tokyo, Japan, and put his storytelling skills to work at events for Jack.Org, RESULTS Canada, Students on Ice, TEDx, and Choices for Youth. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications Studies from Memorial University and a Master of Professional Communication from Ryerson University. Donovan has worked to build capacity and advance the safety and visibility of 2SLGBTQI+ people, those living in rural and remote Canada, and persons with mental illnesses.

Contact Donovan:
Twitter: @donovantaplin

Aaron Taylor

Photo: Aaron Taylor

Aaron Taylor is from Debert in rural Nova Scotia. He recently finished his Master’s of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at Carleton University. Passionate about serving Canada, Aaron is a Federal Public Servant and an Officer in Primary Reserves of the Canadian Forces. Aaron speaks seven languages and believes strongly in the power of people-to-people connections as networks to foster inclusive change.

Contact Aaron:
Twitter: @Aaron_PMYC

Macgregor Tebbutt

Photo: Macgregor Tebbutt



Macgregor ‘Mac’ Tebbutt is from Penticton, British Columbia. He has been actively involved in the 4-H Club for 11 years, holding many executive positions. He has completed two years of Junior Leadership, has been 4-H BC Youth Ambassador for two years and has designd and implemented a Safety Checklist for 4-H Horse members. Mac has travelled across the province to promote agriculture and farm safety. He has organized yearly lesson plans, camp-outs, and clinics. He has taught public speaking and started a new 4-H club for rural youth in southern BC. Mac is a competitive rodeo athlete and a third-year engineering student at UBC-Okanagan.

Élyse Tremblay-Longchamps

Photo: Élyse Tremblay-Longchamps

Élyse Tremblay-Longchamps is from Montréal, Québec. She has worked as a volunteer for Lanaudière’s Regional Committee on Education for International Development, where she had a chance to work with people from her region and abroad in projects to promote the French language, as well as integration and sponsorship initiatives for newcomer families. She is Vice President of the Quebec Federation of College Students and hopes to continue being active in the development of a values and principles-based society.

Nmesomachukwu Umenwofor-Nweze

Photo: Nmesomachukwu Umenwofor-Nweze



Nmesoma Nweze, originally from Nigeria, grew up in Iqaluit Nunavut where she learned and developed her passions for holistic mental health, environmental stewardship, and cross-cultural reconciliation. She’s has been involved in planning activities focused on arts and active living for youth in her community as well as spearheading free mental wellness sessions and volunteering regularly. In 2017 she graduated from Pearson College UWC in Victoria BC, where she learned to look at her passions in a global way. Nmesoma was a Schulich Leadership Award nominee in STEM in 2017. She’s currently a student at the University of Toronto where she is studying psychology and neuroscience. She hopes to pursue clinical psychology and make a difference in her communities through both practice and research.

Contact Nmesoma:

Ashley Whiteman

Photo: Ashley Whiteman


Ashley Whiteman is from Edmonton, Alberta. Her activism passions included youth engagement, Canadian Indigenous rights and mental health advocacy. Ashley works to ensure that the voices of young people are heard in the decision-making process. She organises and attends community events, panels and consultations at schools, youth groups and organisations to profile issues important to young people or impacts youth in her province Alberta and throughout Canada. Ashley’s goal is not only to talk to youth and help provide a platform in which their voices is heard but also assist and encourage youth to find their passion and to be actively engaged citizens. She consults non- profit organizations on how to develop their own youth council. Ashley is a volunteer mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada and is a councillor on their National Youth Advisory Council. Ashley also visits a local hospital once a week to talk to patients. She has also worked with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to help to decrease the stigma and improve the quality of life the Indigenous community as a student facilitator and a panellist. Ashley is a runner up for the 2018 Queen’s Young leaders award.

Chris Zhou

Photo: Chris Zhou

Born in China and raised in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Chris is passionate about enhancing Canada’s role in the world. As part of Junior Team Canada and Young Diplomats of Canada, Chris has achieved and contributed to successful results in international trade missions, summits, and negotiations. He is also an avid advocate for international education. Through the Canadian Education Policy Working Group, Chris has led several advocacy initiatives that contributed to the historic $3.8 billion investment in Charlevoix for girls in crises. Chris always welcomes the opportunity to connect with young people around the country.

Contact Chris:
Twitter: @ChrisSZhou
WeChat : Chris-S-Zhou

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