Global Citizens in Manitoba

Like a chain of paper dolls, we are all connected. We live in one world and our individual actions affect the whole.

When you think about all the people in the world, we really share the same basic needs. We all want to be well fed, to have a comfortable place to call home, to have access to health care when we need it, to live without fear, and to have what is best for our children–to be educated, healthy and happy. We also want an environment that is healthy and will sustain future generations.

Of course at another level people are more diverse, and this is good. We can learn from each other’s experiences, and we can find better ways of doing things.

If we are all connected then it is our responsibility to become active global citizens, working together for a better world for all.

As global citizens, we realize that we are connected to people throughout the world. We understand that our choices here in Manitoba will impact people elsewhere. We try to live our lives everyday choosing acts that will have more positive rather than negative impacts on our community and the world.

This collection is an attempt to showcase a selection of Manitobans who are demonstrating these values and doing what they can to build a better world. There are many more Manitobans with stories like these. Perhaps you are one, and if not, you could be–there is always room for more.

  • Darryl Toews and Meredith Daun

    It all started with a letter.

    Darryl Toews, a Morden, Manitoba, high-school teacher, tells the story about reading a newspaper article about the issue of landmines in January 1996 – two years before the establishment of the international Mine Ban Treaty. The story opened his eyes to the vast international scope of the problem.

    And those thoughts stuck with him, so much that he wanted to take action. He wrote a letter to then Minister of Foreign Affairs Lloyd Axworthy to encourage Canada to take action on banning landmines.

    In ten years, that letter has taken Darryl from an interested but passive observer of international news to an active participant in seeking positive change. “It was the start for me in activism,” he said.

    In 1999-2000, he took on an internship with the Youth Mine Action Ambassador Program, a joint initiative of Mines Action Canada, the Canadian Red Cross and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. He worked in Manitoba to raise awareness in schools and among the general public. His wife Meredith Daun served in the same role in 2000-2001. They each spent part of their internship working with landmine survivors, Darryl in Bosnia and Meredith in Cambodia.

    “Meeting survivors was the best motivation for continuing what we’re doing, for doing simple things here that will make a big difference somewhere else,” he says. “We wanted to make sure that all we had done to raise awareness about landmines wouldn’t evaporate,” he said.

    Those experiences led them to found the Manitoba Campaign to Ban Landmines in 2002. The organization seeks to raise awareness in Manitoba around the problem of landmines and related issues like cluster munitions.

    At the Manitoba Council for Internation Cooperation’s Generating Momentum for Our World conference in November 2007, Darryl told students how he became engaged in global issues and encouraged them to do what they can to work for a better world.

    “Everything you’re going to do today is what we call citizenship in action,” he said. “You’re doing very positive things to improve the world that we live in, and there’s lots more that we all can do.”