Russ is currently President on the Board of MARL and has served on the board for 5 years. He is a Social Studies and ELA teacher in the Winnipeg School Division. He also coaches the varsity boys basketball team, acts as department head, leads student council and runs the school Ethics Bowl team. Russ became involved with MARL through the Ethics Bowl and MARL school workshops. Passion in human rights, ethics, active citizenship and sustainability, working with MARL has provided Russ an opportunity to show his students how to apply their learning in real world experiences.
Dimitar Tomovski is a Master of Arts student in Philosophy at the University of Manitoba. The focus of his research is the metaphysical justification of rights and the extent to which moral rights can be attributed to non-sentient entities such as coral reefs and works of art. Dimitar has had a fascination with rights and liberties since his undergraduate degree when he began taking courses in moral philosophy, legal philosophy, and normative ethics. He has held positions in the Philosophy Student Association at the University of Manitoba such as Ethics Centre Student Association President, Philosophy Student Association Vice-President, and, most recently, Philosophy Student Association President.
Stephanie has taught for over a decade in local and international schools. Stephanie is pursuing a Master’s in Human Rights degree at the University of Manitoba. Her focus is on experiential learning for human rights education. As a Social Studies teacher by training, she is deeply committed to exploring Reconciliation and working towards fostering a decolonized, inclusive, and brave learning environment. Stephanie is a member of the Global Teacher Inquiry Project, the Manitoba Writing Project, and has facilitated DEI workshops for Professional Development as well as Anti-Semitism education with Manitoba Education and Training.
Karen Velthuys, a dedicated community advocate, serves as the Executive Director of LDAM, bringing her unwavering passion and more than two decades of experience in the nonprofit sector. Firmly believing in the potential for success in every individual, Karen emphasizes the importance of providing the necessary support and resources. With a noteworthy 12-year tenure as a School Trustee in the Fort Garry and Pembina Trails School Divisions, she proudly represented her community. In her present position at the Learning Disabilities Association of Manitoba, Karen’s commitment knows no bounds as she tirelessly strives to promote equal learning opportunities and empower individuals to accomplish their goals.
Kirsten Kruse is a University of Winnipeg Geography & French student; her focus is on human impacts on the environment. She has also studied topics around human rights issues, conflict resolution and non-violent action. Her goals after finishing her four-year Bachelor of Arts include applying for the two-year after-degree program in education at Université de Saint-Boniface to become a high school teacher. She hopes to help youth feel empowered in themselves and develop motivation to learn more about the world and how to create change. During her high school career, she was involved in her school’s Ethics team, and was excited to return to the Manitoba Ethics Bowl in 2023 as a judge. Her main hobbies include bird & wildlife photography and spending time with her loved ones.
Avinash (he/him) is a second-year student at the University of Manitoba intending to pursue a career in medicine. He is a Youth Liaison for the Office of the Honourable Marilou McPhedran. Avinash is passionate about nuclear disarmament activism, human rights, and advocating for youth engagement. He first connected with MARL as a participant at the Provincial Ethics Bowl and Ethics Cafes. Avinash has since been involved in helping plan Ethics Cafes and Ethics Across Our Borders forums. He is eager to learn more about the behind-the-scenes work of MARL and facilitate the profoundly positive impact it has in Manitoba.
Jordyn O’Dunn-Orto is a current Project Administrator for the Career Exploration Program within the Winnipeg School Division; she is responsible for the Career Intern Program, a program which provides the twelve WSD high schools as well as their Adult Education Centre with career advisors who assist students in their career understanding, education and development. She has a degree in Conflict Resolution Studies from the University of Winnipeg in Affiliation with Menno Simmons College and has a passion for youth education and empowerment. She began her involvement with MARL as a judge for the High School Ethics Bowl seven years ago and is eager to begin her work behind the scenes as a new board member.
Rominpreet Kaur is from the Punjab and came to Canada in 2017. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree at the University of Manitoba. She has worked in the childcare industry for the past seven years taking on various roles within the field, which helped her acquire valuable experience in fostering a nurturing a stimulating environment for children. This hands-on experience has enabled her to develop a deep understanding of the needs and rights of children, and she is passionate about advocating for their well-being and growth. Rominpreet is deeply committed to children’s rights and liberties and continuously striving to raise awareness and create positive change in this area. Every child deserves a safe and supportive environment that enables them to develop their full potential.
Anna Le is a fourth-year Science student at the University of Manitoba, looking to pursue a postgraduate career in pharmacy or anthropology. In their daily life, they try to place emphasis on solidarity and community. They are passionate about trying to create safe spaces for people to exist in and have open discussions in. In their free time, Anna enjoys volunteering with elderly folks and youth, as well as engaging with the community around them. They were first affiliated with MARL as a participant in the Provincial and National Ethics Bowls. They look forward to becoming more deeply involved with MARL and helping it facilitate spaces for people to gain perspective and grow.
Larry Paetkau is a retired school teacher whose career took him from Thompson, MB to Chongqing, PRC in the 80s, to College Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau, where he taught English Language Arts, History, and Global Issues for 25 years. During his career he organized social justice clubs and activities, and served as Lead Teacher for the school’s UNESCO project. He was responsible for regular trips to Bolivia, where his Global Issues students met, studied, and worked with national NGOs. He participated in writing the Global Issues: Citizenship and Sustainability curriculum and was an educational consultant for ERIM’s project for countering radicalization to violence in Manitoba schools. He currently volunteers at IRCOM putting his teaching and carpentry skills to use.
Jennifer is a social justice advocate at heart and endeavours to incorporate the values of inclusivity, equity, and authenticity into her life and work. Jenn is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in labour studies with an Indigenous studies minor at the University of Manitoba and has over ten years of human resource and labour relations experience in the private and public sectors. When she isn’t studying or spending time with loved ones, Jenn supports her community through volunteerism. She holds a position on the Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities (MLDP) board, is President of the Labour Studies Students’ Association, and is a refugee resettlement advisor. Additionally, Jenn is a Burns Leadership Institute Fellow and has studied multilateral diplomacy and leadership at the United Nations. She hopes that through her role on MARL’s board, she can learn from and be of service to Manitobans facing human rights barriers.