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Meanwhile, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls is halfway into its two-year mandate and plagued by general inertia.
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As Canada churns out more professionals than ever, some are carving their own path.
Though inspired by a UN initiative, Canada is running the show outside of the international body.
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Food is art. Food is community. Food is joy and cultural identity. Increasingly, food is also statecraft.
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Innovative business approaches, like social enterprise and public-private partnerships, hold the key to solving some of the trickiest global health challenges. Business often gets a bad rap -- especially in the area of high-profit pharmaceuticals. But if there's one thing we've seen time and again, it's that business models can offer the most effective and sustainable solution to global social challenges.
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Of all the developments we have read about in the Syrian tragedy, the rising tide of child labour is one of the more concerning. We've worked on the issue of child labour for two decades, interviewing hundreds of too-young workers and learning about the long-term challenges they will face without an education. These kids want to help ease the burden poverty for their families now, but it will cost the Syrian people even more in poverty in the years to come. If there are no income opportunities for refugee families, we won't break the cycle of child labour.
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"Research shows the earlier and longer youth spend in the system, the worse the outcomes are," says Peter Leone, a professor at the University of Maryland who has studied juvenile justice measures around the world for more than 20 years. It costs approximately $100,000 a year to incarcerate one young person in Canada. If that individual becomes a hardened life-long criminal, the amount will exceed a staggering $2 million, according to a Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada.
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We see an opportunity for the Canadian government to bring colleges and universities together and encourage them to develop aboriginal student support programs on more campuses. Aboriginal students deserve have as many choices for welcoming institutions within a reasonable distance, with programs that interest them, as non-aboriginal students do.
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Well-meaning parents often ask us, how can we help our kids excel, and be their best? While standing out in sports and school is awesome, being kind and socially conscious are qualities we need to celebrate in youth, too. These are no longer merely "nice to have" attributes. They are crucial for future success.
As Canada's streets fill again with yellow buses, we're reminded how fortunate Canadians are in the educational opportunities available to our children -- opportunities that do not exist for millions of others. And while the world has made great progress on education over the last decade, there are alarming signs we're losing some of the gains we've made. When the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to end extreme poverty were launched in 2000, the United Nations recorded more than 196 million children and teens not attending school. The biggest barrier is poverty -- And for many children, schools are far from their homes, requiring much more in boarding costs.
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The lesser known but long-fighting Satyarthi is a trailblazer for children's rights; Malala is the next generation. She is the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, and at 17, the first teen. This is a profound and long-overdue recognition for the role of youth in changing our world for the better.
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The evolution -- we might even say revolution -- taking place in the field of corporate social responsibility has been fascinating to behold. For the best companies, making your employees recycle, and cutting a big cheque once a year to some lucky charity, is no longer good enough. They're making "giving back" an integral part of doing business.
Last year was the first-ever Happiness Day, and we heard plentiful advice on how to make ourselves happy. But if we want to maximize our planet's sum total of happiness, it would seem most efficient to share the fortune we have -- material, emotional and spiritual -- with those who have little.
If the community and the government really want to honour Mandela, they should be investing in schools and children. It is a shame that schools where his descendants and others in his community live are so poorly funded that they can't support educational ambitions.
If there is one person in this world we truly envy, it's Victor Chan. For more than 40 years, Chan has had the incredible opportunity to accompany one of our heroes--His Holiness the Dalai Lama--on his world travels. In a new book, Chan shares stories about the Dalai Lama's encounters with world leaders, children living in poverty, activists, and scientists, among others.
U.S. Army infantryman J.R. Martinez was only 19 when he was deployed to Iraq, in 2003. Less than a month into his tour of duty with the elite 101st Airborne, his Humvee hit a roadside bomb. The vehicle was thrown into the air, ejecting three other soldiers. Martinez, trapped inside, was engulfed in flames. The skin on his face, arms and hands burned away.
Students at Lincoln High, an inner-city school in Tacoma, Washington, banded together to support their peers; but their efforts extended beyond the schoolyard, to global service actions.
They are in the midst of a penny drive to support a local homeless shelter.
Mikhail Gorbachev initiated the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of communism and the end of the Cold War. At the heart of all his actions has been compassion for his fellow human beings. We had a chance recently to sit down with Gorbachev.
Even before she was bullied, before she became a role model for victims of schoolyard tormentors and those struggling with mental illness, songstress Demi Lovato knew she wanted to give back. Now, at 20, as an official Ambassador for We Day and Free The Children, Lovato has been busy making a difference. Watch and find out what helping others means to Demi Lovato.
As Molly Burke went blind, her world shrunk. Her best friends were supposed to walk her to her lunch period, but instead eight girls led her into a wooded area behind the school, snatched her crutches and smashed them against a tree. They laughed, taunted her, then left her in the woods, disoriented and scared.
The Archbishop is a South African social rights activist. He rose to worldwide prominence in the 1980s as a staunch opponent of his country's policy of apartheid. He was also the first black South African Archbishop of Cape Town. His irrepressible spirit is particularly awe-inspiring when you consider the South Africa from which he emerged.
The Grammys are becoming more and more like the high school prom. It wasn't just pointless rebellion and dramatic performances representing the formative years. The 55th Annual Grammy Awards also highlighted the best parts of growing up and learning an acquired skill. The evening was a tribute to teachers.
In 1999, as Médecins Sans Frontières' international president, Dr. Orbinski, accepted the award on behalf of MSF for its pioneering approach to medical humanitarianism, particularly for its approach to witnessing -- making the atrocities they observe known to the public. We got a chance to sit down with Dr. Orbinski.
For one week -- this week, Monday February 4 to Friday February 9 -- those precious discarded coins are worth the world. As part of Free The Children and RBC's We Create Change campaign to provide 100,000 people in the developing world with life-saving access to clean water, the Canadian penny has a renewed lease on life.
Super Bowl XLVII will go down in history not as a football game, but as a family conflict hashed out in the public arena. Head coaches are Harbaugh brothers John and Jim, leading opposing teams. As brothers who co-author columns and co-direct projects, we can relate to the interest generated by siblings working in the same arena.
Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair became Manitoba's first Aboriginal Judge. Later Justice Sinclair was appointed co-commissioner of Manitoba's Aboriginal Justice Inquiry. Today, as Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, he is building a lasting and meaningful legacy for every Canadian.
The trouble with Lance Armstrong's fall from grace is that he wasn't just a sports hero; he was a self-styled symbol of hope. Which is why we're all left wondering: does his doping confession negate his charitable work? Candidly, we're conflicted. Some of the onus for Armstrong's fall lies on our cultural tendency to elevate celebrities and sports idols to too-good-to-be-true status, then crucify them in the court of public opinion at their every transgression.
As the harsh reality of the post-holiday season sets in, we're still daydreaming about our Christmas in Kenya. We rang in the New Year with 170 of our closest friends and family -- our Free The Children staff. We all left our hearts in the Mara, so we thought we'd give you a little taste of our volunteer adventure right here.
Martin Sheen is truly a living Hollywood legend. Yet despite his accomplishments as an artist, acting is not where his true passions lie. As a pacifist, humanitarian and tireless activist for peace and social justice, Martin has been arrested more than 60 times for public protests and acts of civil disobedience. We caught up with him at We Day Alberta.
Robb Nash was hit by a truck the winter he was 17. The collision stripped the roof off of the car he was in and knocked him onto the highway, where he cracked his skull. He remained unconscious until the following spring. Now, 16 years later, he offers this advice: "Don't wait to get hit by a semi" to start living with purpose.
We're two days in -- how many New Year's resolutions have you already snapped in two? At the start of our calendar year there's a lot of pressure to "be a better person," which usually means "look like a better person." We propose an alternative that is scientifically proven to make you better: resolve to make the world a better place. Sound intimidating? It doesn't have to be.
During his 22 years at CityTV, David Onley was an anchor, producer, science and technology specialist and weatherman. He was also Canada's first senior newscaster with a visible disability. Having lived with polio and post-polio syndrome since the age of three, he has broken down many social barriers. He has worked tirelessly to improve accessibility for all.