Seventeen-year-old Upper Beach resident Kasha Slavner has been recognized for her commitment to leadership in the areas of peace and global citizenship, and her steadfast and deep engagement for the good of the planet.
Earlier this month, the east-end teen who lives near Kingston Road and Main Street, was awarded the first-ever Kim Phuc Youth Award for Peace by Canadian Voice of Women for Peace (VOW). Canada’s longest-standing feminist peace group, the 2,000-member non-partisan, non-governmental organization (NGO) is comprised of a network of diverse women with consultative status at the United Nations’ Economic and Social Council.
Kim Phuc is a Vietnamese-Canadian woman who at the age of nine appeared in the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph taken during the Vietnam War on June 8, 1972. She is an honorary board member of Canadian Voice of Women for Peace.
Kasha, who attended the 55-year-old NGO’s inaugural summer youth peace camp and is a three-time youth delegate for VOW at the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women, said receiving the award is “a really big deal” to her.
“I was so shocked and really excited about it,” said Kasha, speaking about her reaction to leaning she’d been selected for the honour.
“It’s really nice to be recognized.”
Beach resident Sandra Ruch, VOW’s national coordinator, said Kasha is the perfect candidate for their new award for youth.
“She was the clear front runner and we’re so proud of her,” Ruch said during a recent interview.
“We’ve been watching Kasha grow into an amazing global citizen. She is just a lovely young woman and we will try to support her any way we can.”
In early 2014, Kasha took a semester off from Monarch Park Collegiate to travel abroad (with her mother Marla) and snap photos, write blog posts and shoot video for a documentary about what it means to be a global citizen through the eyes of a teenager.
Affectionately known as The Sunrise Storyteller, Kasha has created a 32-piece travelling exhibition titled Travels in the Heart. She is also currently in the process of writing an e-book, Reflections of the Sunrise Storyteller, about her adventures abroad and is working to finish editing her documentary film, The Global Sunrise Project, which she hopes will be accepted to be screened in film festivals early next year.