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COP 17 Delegation and Organizing Committee


Nanisiniq: Arviat History Project

Amy Owingayak

Amy recently graduated from high school and is presently attending Nunavut Sivuniksavut in Ottawa, where she is in the college program for Inuit youth from Nunavut who want to prepare to work for the new Government of Nunavut. For two years, she has also been active as a youth reseacher for the Nanisiniq: Arviat History Project. Through her work on the project, Amy has gained greater insight into her background and is eager to keep the culture alive by teaching others.


Curtis Konek

Curtis is currently completing high school in Arviat, Nunavut. While being part of Canadian Rangers in Arviat, Curtis has also participated in Nanisiniq: Arviat History Project. This project has taught Curtis the significance of passing on the Inuit language to younger generations, the Rankin Inlet Nickel Mine and traditional Inuit survival skills. His hopes are to present the potentials of Nanisiniq: Arviat History Project to all youth.



Jordan Konek

Jordan has been working on the Nanisiniq: Arviat History Project as an editor and has found the challenges of the project a great way to learn about Inuit History as well as how to build connections within communitites. His other interests include carpentry and working on technical equipment. The concept of building extends into all aspects of Jordan’s life and he looks forward to developing his skills with other youth.



April Dutheil

As a resident of Haida Gwaii, social advocate, and researcher on Northern issues, April has a deep commitment of the social development of Canada’s North. She has been part of Nanisiniq: Arviat History Project for two years now and from this experience she has gained understanding of how tradition and western knowledge must combine to meet the rapid pace of climate change and resource development in the Arctic. April has been working along side other members of the Arviat History Project to create culturally relevant educational resources for Nunavut’s Department of Education through filmmaking as well as blogging and she hopes to enlighten all youth on the concept of Piliriqatigiinniq (working together), which the youth from Nanisiniq: Arviat History Project have demonstrated so well.

Khomani San

Anna Festus

Anna is part of the Khomani San Delegation and was involved in the land negotiations and resettlement of the Khomani people back into Kalahari, where Anna herself was born. Her work for the Kalahari region extends into the water resources and biodiversity of the area. She also volunteers in mobilising and organising San Youth, which involved initiating the crèches on the San farms. Through this work and involvement with COP-17, Anna hopes to continue all other youth of the importance of embracing their heritage and culture.


From left to right: Izak Kruiper and Toppies Kruiper

Andries Orogab Kruiper (Toppies)

Toppies co-founded the Uruke Tracking Project to educate youth about the tracks, sounds and behaviour of the diverse range of animal and plant species within Kalahari. He comes from a spiritual and creative background, being that he is the eldest son of the traditional spiritual leader of the Khomani San people and he is eager to spread his traditional knowledge with fellow youth.

Izak Kruiper

Izak works along side his wife as custodians of the Montessori and Veld school, which are operating within Kalahari Park. Izak and his family have directly felt the land management and resettlement of the Khomani San people; he and his family stayed for many years in Kagga-Kamma in the Western Cape before their resettlement to their homeland in Kalahari. Izak has developed great insight in spiritual healing and he would like to spread traditional knowledge to deal with the challenges of climate change.


York University

Alex Todd

Alex is an MA candidate in the Department of Geography at York University. His research investigates resident responses to water insecurity in Durban, South Africa. As a member of the Institute of Research and Innovation in Sustainability, he is working on the project: “Strengthening the role of civil society in water sector governance towards climate change adaptation in African cities- Durban, Maputo and Nairobi”; this project is headed by Dr.Patricia Perkins. Alex is a graduate researcher with the York Centre for International and Security Studies. His hopes for COP-17 involve allowing civil society to make its presence felt in an powerful way and thereby educating as well as empowering a wide range of groups and individuals from around the world.


Ewa Modlinska

Ewa is a 2nd year Masters student in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. Her focus has been on understanding the carbon market and how sustainable development projects can be financially supported by the Clean Development Mechanism, which is a program administered by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Ewa has been involved with the Toronto People’s Assembly on Climate Justice and has offered her research skills to the organization of COP-17 through involvement with the Institute of Research and Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS). Her participation with COP-17 has been focused on observing the structure of COP in regards to climate change through governmental and non-governmental initiatives and how the public, such as IRIS, can play a role in the process for greater climate/social justice


Chris Bisson

Chris is a member of the Climate Justice and Policy working group and is also a youth delegate for the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition. He has be active throughout COP-17 in organizing civil society on action for climate justice; in support of this motive, Chris has organized a presentation at the side events in the civil society section of the conference. His work for COP-17 demonstrates the youth movement on climate change and his participation is an initiative for all youth to become active in resolution to climate change concerns.



Frederik Vroom

Frederik works for Brinkman & Associates and is presenting at COP-17 on behalf on Dirk Brinkman to bring awareness for sustainable business actions. Brinkman & Associates started 40 years ago as a silvicultural contractor (mostly tree planting) and has since then expanded its horizon into sustainable forest management, ecological and urban restoration, tropical hard wood plantations and management. Frederik graduated with a master degree from Wageningen University in the Netherlands in Forest Ecology and Management; he has broad experience in implementing projects that include carbon crediting and has been very active in carbon accounting method development. His goals for COP-17 is to create awareness of business methods that will help to include the social values and community priorities in the management planning.


Organization Committee

Rachel Hirsch

Rachel Hirsch came to the Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) at York University from the University of Western Ontario where she completed her PhD in Geography; she has a Postdoctoral Fellow in Arctic Climate Change Policy, Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. Her current research interests are to support the national, regional and local climate change adaptation policy and program interests of Canadian Inuit. Rachel’s involvement with COP-17 has concerned the various ways of understanding and encouraging environmental sustainability with direct implications for health policy developments.

Annette Dubreuil

Annette Dubreuil is a Master of Business Administration graduate from the Schulich School of Business at York University, where she specialized in Business and Sustainability, as well as strategy and nonprofits. She also holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Waterloo, specializing in environmental science and business. Annette is currently the IRIS Coordinator and IPY Project Manager for the GAPS project, which is administered by the Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS) at York University. Annette is also involved in an initiative with the Barnes Management Group and the North-South Partnership to bring sustainable economic development via a community owned plan to Northern Ontario aboriginal communities. Her hopes for COP-17 include improved representation of civil society on climate change initiatives and also for the collaboration between nations to have a permanent impact through agreement on feasible action.

Xin Yuan

Xin Yuan is involved in research for tree growth patterns regarding the Yukon white spruce at the subarctic timberline. His research and analysis of tree samples from the past and present have shown how the Yukon white spruce reflect changes in their climate through changes in the growth distribution as well as in their own anatomic features such as tree height. His research is a significant example of the need for greater research and awareness of how climate change is dramatically affecting all species; COP-17 can bring awareness and create support for further similar research.

Patricia E. (Ellie) Perkins

Ellie Perkins is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University and holds a Ph.D in Economics from the University of Toronto. Her educational background and experience as an Environmental Policy Advisor with the Ontario government makes Ellie an influential supporter of the climate justice expected of COP-17. She has focused her research on Ecological Economics, Environmental Economics and Community Economic Development; her participation with COP-17 can bring about greater awareness of the need for further development of sustainable business.

Ingrid Gruen

Ingrid Gruen is a Board member of one of our biggest State Psychiatric institutions, named Tara, in Johannesburg and has done extensive networking locally and internationally especially relating to indigenous peoples. She is also a supporter of the Khomani San community. One of her interests in COP17, aside from the indigenous focus, is to investigate the effects, if any, of climate change on mentally ill persons.