Board of Directors
Maro Adjemian has a B.Sc. in Biology with a minor in International Development Studies and an MA in Geography, both from McGill University. She has lived in Central America and sub-Saharan Africa for both studies and work, and has always been impressed by the resilience and generosity of people she has met in developing countries. She is interested in sustainable development and education, both across the world and at home. Maro currently lives in Montreal with her husband and daughter, and teaches Humanities at Vanier College. Her courses focus on international environmental and social justice issues. She also volunteers for Action Réfugiés Montreal, an organization that provides help and support to newly arrived refugees.
Annie Asmar is originally from Montreal and lives in Sherbrooke. She is presently employed as a psycho-educator by the Eastern Townships School Board. She works with students who have special needs as well as with those experiencing hardships. For three years, she worked with First Nation youths. In doing so, she was involved in project development and implementation. Annie has also volunteered in several healing initiatives led by the Naskapi community. She was recently in Léo, where she had the chance to meet the boys and girls ABC sponsors. She feels like ‘the greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own.’ Benjamin Disraeli
Reid W. F. Cooper is a Commonwealth Scholar pursuing his Ph.D. at the Development Planning Unit, the Bartlett, University College London. His research focuses on networks of people, architecture and infrastructure in sustaining slum communities in Mumbai, India. Reid has a longstanding interest in education, having taught several classes in the Czech Republic, Montréal, and London. He became interested in development work after living in Burkina Faso, Africa, with his wife, during a research expedition in 2006. Before entering the field of development Reid was a Vice President of Igloo Vikski, and CEO of Alico Sports, two outdoor sports distribution and marketing companies.
Marlène Elias is a postdoctoral fellow in Université Laval’s Department of Anthropology. She has worked in the fields of development, agroforestry, gender and sustainable livelihoods, predominantly in sub-Saharan Africa. Her Ph.D. research focused on female shea butter producers and fair trade shea projects in Burkina Faso. Marlène’s multiple travels to Burkina Faso have allowed her to forge close links with the local communities and to familiarize herself with Burkinabè customs. She has travelled extensively in Latin America, Africa, and Europe for work and research purposes, and was recently working in the Division for Gender Equality at UNESCO headquarters, in Paris. She is the co-founder of Karibelle, a fair trade shea butter company that imports butter from an association of underprivileged rural and urban women in Burkina Faso. She presently lives in Montréal with her husband and children.
Nathalie Elias was born and raised in Montreal and now lives there with her husband and children. She completed a Certificate in Arts & Sciences at Concordia University and a Bachelor of Commerce at the John Molson School of Business. She spent several years working as a Management Consultant, specializing in Strategy and Organization for Global Pharmaceutical Companies in the Vaccine industry. Nathalie is co-founder of Karibelle, an importer and retailer of fair trade shea butter, which is purchased from an association of impoverished women in Burkina Faso. Her international experience includes travels to Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, Northern Africa, and Australia.
Katherine Foster holds an honours undergraduate degree from Queen’s University, and began her career in finance as an inventory manager in the food industry. While working in Toronto, she also worked as a buyer in the music industry. Feeling a need for change, Katherine decided to spend a year travelling abroad. Her travels throughout south-east Asia, Egypt, and India introduced her to the educational plight of children around the world and inspired her to help. Upon her return to Canada she moved to Montreal and began a teaching degree at Concordia University. While teaching, she had the chance to work for an inner-city school and came to understand how even a little bit of education can make an enormous difference. She looks forward to providing education to the children of Burkina Faso, while inspiring the children of Montreal to learn more about children in Africa.
Andrea Renaud lives in Montreal and works at Concordia University as a Project Coordinator in the Office of the Vice President, Institutional Relations and Secretary General. She volunteers with homeless women at the Montreal shelter of The Old Brewery Mission. Andrea believes that the opportunity for education is the simplest path to the pursuit of happiness, peace and prosperity.