2019 Community Impact Conference

The Afghan Youth Engagement and Development Initiative (AYEDI) and Ryerson Afghan Students Association Presents

The 1st Ever Afghan-Canadian Youth Community Impact Conference

“Be The Change”


Purpose: Join us for this conference that will explore ways that we can empower Afghan-Canadian youth to collectively engage and be involved with community advocacy and political causes, and discuss barriers that make it difficult for Afghan-Canadian youth to navigate and use such spaces.

Date: Saturday, March 2, 2019

Time: 10:30am-4:00pm 

Ticket price: $5 and include a light breakfast, coffee, refreshments, lunch, and dessert.

Link to purchase: www.ayediconference.eventbrite.ca 

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/2163201853930622/

Please contact us with any food restrictions or accessibility requests: team@ayedi.ca





Light breakfast and introduction


Opening ceremonies


Panel: Getting involved in your community and politics – journeys and insights on becoming Agents of Change

Panel Speakers: Yasmin Rajabi, Frishta Bastan, and Wais Popalyar


Lunch – Afghan Cuisine


Workshop 2: An Interactive Discussion on Cultural & Societal Barriers that Impact Young Afghans’ Ability to Reach Their Full Potential

Facilitated by Zoohra Mirzanabat and Ferozan Nasiri


Workshop 3: In Anticipation of the 2019 Federal Election: What is Civic Literacy and How Do We Address Gaps in the Afghan Youth Community? An Interactive Discussion with Ali Manek from The Canadian-Muslim Vote


Closing Ceremonies

Workshop Descriptions

Workshop 1: Panel – Getting Involved In Your Community and Politics – Journeys and Insights on Becoming Agents of Change

In this panel, we will hear from three Afghans who have been deeply involved in their communities re: their journey and insight on advocacy and engagement, what tangible things young Afghans can do to voice their concerns on issues, barriers to civic engagement, and advice on how young Afghans can become Agents of Change in their communities.

Workshop 2: An Interactive Discussion on Cultural & Societal Barriers that Impact Young Afghans’ Ability to Reach Their Full Potential

In this workshop, we will focus on unique discussions revolving around gendered/cultural interpretations of being and becoming an Afghan-Canadian in the diaspora. We will reinforce the idea that every story is unique and every person’s journey is different but contributes and adds value to the nuances of community building that we are all apart of.

Workshop 3: In Anticipation of the 2019 Federal Election: What is Civic Literacy and Engagement, and How Do We Address Gaps in the Afghan Youth Community?

As the federal election in October 2019 approaches, it’s important to ensure that young Afghans not only vote, but make an informed vote. This is where civic literacy comes in. This interactive discussion with Ali Manek from The Canadian-Muslim Vote will cover what civic literacy is, why it is important, how we can ensure marginalized communities such as the Afghan community are represented in national politics, and how young Afghans can be effective advocates for issues facing the Afghan community.

This workshop will end with an interactive activity where participants will be able to assess ways to advocate for an issue facing the Afghan-Canadian community.

Panel Speaker Bios

Yasmin Rajabi is a community organizer who builds the leadership capacity of young people to mobilize around civic challenges. As City of Toronto Protégée and co-founder of the Young Women’s Leadership Network she designed programs and advocated for young women and girl’s political leadership. While completing her Honours BA in Public Policy and City Studies, Yasmin established a food centre at the University of Toronto Scarborough. She continues to promote youth mobilization on food issues with Food Secure Canada’s Youth Caucus. Yasmin currently works at the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship, and experiments with innovative tools to engage citizens and communities in the development of public sector projects.

Frishta “Fresh” Bastan is an activist and Spoken Word Artist. She has been performing for over 5 years in front of diverse audiences. Inspired by her Afghan background, Frishta uses her poetry to raise awareness about social justice issues from both at home and around the globe. She facilitates workshops called “Poetic Resistance” that teaches and encourages attendees to express themselves safely in poetic form. She has been involved in various forms of activism for over 15 years, proudly serving her community and as an ally for marginalized groups of people. 

Wais Popalyar has worked in Toronto for the Afghan community in different capacities. He previously hosted a youth-focused weekly radio program in Dari through Sabawoon Afghan Family Education and Counselling Centre (SAFEcc) for about five years. Wais also briefly worked with Afghan Association of Ontario and volunteered with the Afghan Women’s Association for ~4 years. He served the Afghan Community working through North York Community House and currently works as a Financial Literacy coach with Catholic Crosscultural Services. Wais previously managed a volunteer-led youth debate platform in Toronto called The Afghan Discourse. The Afghan Discourse received the Toronto Mayor’s Community Safety Award and was covered by the Globe and Mail. Wais worked in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2013 in the Civil Service Management Department and with a World Bank Capacity Building project.

Workshop 3 Speaker Bio

Ali Manek is the Executive Director of The Canadian-Muslim Vote, an organization aimed to build an engaged Muslim Community that is participating in Politics. He is an entrepreneur and business owner, a passionate humanitarian, and driven to make a difference. After briefly teaching high school in TDSB & York Region, Ali started building Thrift Stores across Toronto. He later  successfully launched other businesses in Toronto before a transition to politics. Before becoming a business owner, Ali obtained 3 degrees from 4 Universities (Western, UofT, Hong Kong and Wales). While studying, he was the founder of a natural disaster relief charity called Our Village where he went around the world helping after disasters. Ali travelled to 50+ countries in Asia, Africa, South and Central America and Eastern Europe to help build 5 orphanages, 13 schools and many water wells.


Last updated: February 28, 2019