The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) is pleased to announce that its Montreal representative, Aleksandra Nasteska, an environmental advocate, has been nominated to be one of Canada’s Top 25 Canadian Immigrants – the first Macedonian to be nominated for this prestigious award. The RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrants people’s choice award recognizes immigrants who have bettered Canadian society.
UMD encourages all Canadian-Macedonians to please click HERE to vote for Aleksandra: http://canadianimmigrant.ca/news-and-views/voting-is-now-open-for-the-rbc-top-25-canadian-immigrant-awards
“I am very honoured and excited to have made it in the 75 finalists, who all seem to be exceptional immigrants. As a Macedonian, I hope I can give visibility to our nation and ensure the Canadian community continues to learn about our country and culture. It is very important to bring attention to the issues and challenges our people are facing in Macedonia and as immigrants, but also to show the world the unique contributions we can bring as a nation and as individual Macedonians. I hope that if I win this award I can indirectly create opportunities for other Macedonians in Canada and inspire Macedonian immigrants around the world to reach for their dreams and their desired place in society,” said Nasteska.
From 600 nominations across Canada this year, the selection committee chose Aleksandra Nasteska as one of the 75 finalists. Past winners of this award include Member of Parliament Olivia Chow, Oscar-nominated Deepa Mehta and Governor Generals Adrienne Clarkson and Michaëlle Jean. Laureates represent immigrants that have embraced their community and paid forward the support and help they received upon arrival.
Aleksandra Nasteska was born and raised in Skopje, the Republic of Macedonia, where she first became outspoken in the women’s rights movement as a 14 year old, participating in UN-organized public panels on the status of women and girls in Macedonia and the Balkan region. She has lived in Canada for 8 years and has worked in the public service sector and non-profit organizations since immigrating to Canada. At 29, Nasteska co-founded and led the We Canada campaign for Canadian leadership and expanded it to an internationally recognized mobilization effort for the United Nations Rio+20 conference. She was also the communications director of the campaign, where she managed more than 40 volunteers across the country, and developed and executed sophisticated engagement strategies.
Nasteska led and facilitated the cross-Canada Dialogues and Action for Earth Summit 2012 tour. She was the opening speaker for prominent Canadians such as Dr. David Suzuki and Désirée McGraw, executive director of the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation. The tour included visits to 16 Canadian cities and towns (23 universities and 30 elementary / high schools), and consulted with approximately 8,000 Canadian youth about their priorities and ideas for a sustainable Canada.
Through the nationwide series of workshops and presentations, Nasteska dynamized thousands of young Canadians from coast to coast to achieve their full potential as citizens aware of sustainability and environmental change. These ideas were presented in a final report, The Future Canadians Want, at the Rio+20 conference. Her optimism, hard work and creative approach placed her at the forefront of this volunteer-led initiative for one of the most important global meetings in United Nations history.
In addition to co-chairing the national consultation, she was able to build a strong network of supporting organizations, high-level individuals from the United Nations and civil society and public figures. Some of the high-profile organizations and individuals that partnered with We Canada for Rio+20 under her leadership are: The David Suzuki Foundation, Greenpeace Canada, the Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy, and Severn Cullis-Suzuki (international activist and author), Sara Canning (leading actress in the Vampire Diaries), Amber Mac (best-selling technology author).
Nasteska has highlighted the role of the Canadian citizen in tracking and influencing negotiations on the international stage. She is determined to develop the abilities of youth to attain higher levels of education and professional achievement, and has proven herself as an engaged individual who is eager to contribute positively to Canada.