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Standing up for global social improvement
Muaz Hassan reps Fort Simpson at United Nation Economic and Social Council

April Hudson
Northern News Services
Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Although the buzz around youth crime has died down in Fort Simpson over the winter, village councillor and businessman Muaz Hassan is determined to continue working toward a solution both on a local and global stage.

NNSL photo/graphic

Muaz Hassan, a councillor for the Village of Fort Simpson, representative on the Fort Simpson District Education Council and delegate for the UN Social and Economic Forum, is passionate about youth and family issues. - April Hudson/NNSL photo

He will be joining the Global Health Foundation's delegation to the United Nations' 55th Commission for Social Development in New York, which runs from Feb. 1 to 10.

"Kids in this community are very smart. They just need a little guidance," he said.

"They have that youth energy - how are we going to use it? It's about how you motivate the good in a person. That would be my mission."

The foundation is one of the humanitarian organizations Hassan has been heavily involved with works in the field of human rights, Sudanese refugees and women's rights.

Originally from Sudan, Hassan is a familiar face at Unity Convenience Store that he runs. More recently, he was voted in as councillor for the village during the 2015 municipal election, and in 2016 he was appointed to sit on the district education authority for the village.

But his political pursuits are simply an extension of the humanitarian work he has done all his life, working with refugees, internally displaced people and people who had been affected by war in Africa. He has also worked with street children when he lived in Sudan.

"That's how I got to know youth problems, and their challenges, and how we can help them as adults. When I came here, I thought about the youth. And I'm still thinking about them and their problems and challenges," he said.

That experience, he said, will give him an opportunity to discuss the issues facing youth in Northern Canada, specifically in Fort Simpson.

"The humanitarian field became a profession for me, and was even my studies. Wherever I go, it's always the first thing I think about."

Youth helping youth

Hassan isn't the only one who will be visiting the United Nations in New York. After approaching Thomas Simpson Secondary School, he secured the interest of a student to attend the United Nations' Economic and Social Council Youth Forum from Jan. 30 to 31.

Grade 12 student Sylvia Pascua-Matte, who is a member of the Prime Minister's Youth Council and involved in the youth council at the school, will be attending.

The meeting brings together youth from all over the world to discuss their challenges, future plans and to learn from each other.

In seeking a high school student to attend that meeting, Hassan said his plan is to involve youth from the Deh Cho in international events.

"Whatever experience they gain, they can come back and reflect it back to the other kids," he said.

"That will motivate others to go and participate in other activities."

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