Class XII (2014-2015)

5. Melanie Lindayen

Sponsor Club: Rotary Club of Alliston, Ontario, Canada, District 7070

Host Club: Sunnybank Hills, District 9630

Melanie is a Canadian-Filipina artist, community development practitioner and Big Dreamer, with a colourful background in program management and education. While learning International Studies in the classroom, Melanie supported rights-based education programs with sex-workers in Thailand and developed creative curricula for   women’s education programs in Bangladesh.

In her adventures with faith-based organizations like Canadian-Jewish NGO, Ve’ahavta, she has mobilized a community arts and sports project with Guyanese youth, facilitated dental health programs with internally displaced communities in Kenya, and supported a network of multi-faith partnerships for health, education, disaster response and interfaith cooperation. Meditating on her experiences in community and faith-based models of humanitarian action, Melanie is excited about gender-aware and interfaith approaches to collaborative development as pathways to Peace!

Learnings come from her fieldwork with the UN Development Programme’s Regional Hub for Eastern Europe and Central Asia in Istanbul. There Melanie worked in capacity development, gathering best practices throughout a new cycle of UN Development Assistance Frameworks, across government/partner relations with UN Country Teams, and for aligning regional country programming with the next generation of sustainable development goals. Set loose in the Balkans, she collected narratives of peace, layered with recent conflict, ethnicity, faith, as well as hope about the processes and rituals, the dialogue and dances which disrupt the way we see our Selves - and our Others. Melanie is also energized by large rooms of people painting messy pictures of peace (and other shapes of change) together.