Two-time volunteer named a 2016 Youth Ambassador by Ontario Council for International Cooperation

TORONTO, February 11, 2016 – Two-time Cuso International volunteer Chris Aiken was named one of seven Global Changemaker Youth Ambassadors by the Ontario Council for International Cooperation (OCIC) at an International Development Week event tonight. 

Aiken was nominated by Cuso International for this honour because of his passion and efforts to serve local and global communities. His work in the areas of project management, community development and disaster and emergency management have shaped his desire to provide development assistance in areas of conflict or work within disaster management.

“Chris contributions toward alleviating suffering among those who are least fortunate and providing development assistance in areas of conflict leave us truly privileged that he is part the Cuso International family,” Says Evelyne Guindon, CEO of Cuso International. “He has a commitment to this work that makes him an asset to the global community. On behalf of Cuso International, its Board of Directors, staff and 12,000-strong alumni, congratulations Chris!”
Chris started his journey with Cuso International in 2012 as a volunteer with the Red Cross in Mozambique where he cultivated resources and training methods for volunteer and staff development. He built a database of the skills and whereabouts of Red Cross volunteers, making it easier to deploy them during an emergency. 

Chris was also instrumental in establishing Cuso International’s office in Myanmar, where he worked in 2014-15. He researched the country’s political situation and prepared a security protocol document that guided the establishment of the organization’s country presence. Chris’s work in Myanmar also included a role as a Parliamentary Capacity Builder.

“Each of the youth the Council recognizes as Global Changemakers have made significant contributions to the world at the community level,” says Kimberly Gibbons, Executive Director of OCIC. “Their contributions are greatly valued by the organizations that they are a part of. By working together as a group of Youth Ambassadors they have the potential to do even more. International cooperation is about working together to understand and address complex global issues here in Canada and around the world, for the long term.” 

Chris’s impact in his local community includes his work as a Disaster Management Volunteer with the Canadian Red Cross, where he has logged over 600 hours providing early recovery support to individuals and families who have been displaced from their homes due to house fires or floods. He works with a team of six volunteer “analysts” to support on-going and potential disaster response operations. This includes assessing the Red Cross’ capacity to respond to Mass Casualty Incidents and providing actionable recommendations.