Top 30 Under 30 2020
Alina is a student at the University of Alberta advocating for mental health and global citizenship. Alina has a strong interest in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and has worked to spread awareness of the SDGs in her community through the Alberta Citizens’ Panel on Sustainable Development. She has also put her words into action through her work abroad.
Hometown: Guangzhou, China & Calgary, Alberta
Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta
Projects and Organizations
2018–19: United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Coalition, University of Alberta – Vice-President Projects
In the 2018-2019 academic year, I was the vice-president (projects) of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Coalition and managed a project called the Alberta Citizens’ Panel on Sustainable Development. The project consisted of the following: the production of a public consultation document, public outreach and political advocacy, and enhanced and informed public engagement discourse regarding the compatibility of political parties’ platforms with the SDGs before the provincial election. Through this project, I was able to spark a much-needed conversation about the SDGs in a political climate that needed it.
2018: Engineers Without Borders – Junior Fellow
In 2018, I participated in a four-month internship program in sub-Saharan Africa through Engineers Without Borders that combines practical leadership with an opportunity to address the root causes of poverty. For my internship, I was the West Africa Project Manager for the Kumvana Fellowship, focusing on increasing accessibility for female applicants to the fellowship by reducing barriers and helping to empower them. My work in this position resulted in more than a 20% increase of women in the program. We worked closely with feminist foreign policy and to ensure that we effectively advertised the program in a culturally acceptable manner that minimized barriers for female applicants.
Which of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals resonates most with you?
When I first heard about the SDGs, I was intrigued. I started imagining a world where all 17 SDGs were fully implemented and achieved. Since then, I’ve worked primarily toward SDG 17: Partnerships for the goals, whether by working on individual SDGs or by promoting and increasing awareness about all the SDGs.
Rising inequality, be it income inequality or opportunity inequality, is driving populism and divisiveness within and among countries. A community, nation, and all of humankind in general can only be as strong as its most vulnerable and marginalized members. For this reason, I see SDG 5: Gender equality and SDG 10: Reduced inequalities as the most pressing goals. When we are able to reduce inequalities among nations and within our own communities, we will achieve real, exponential progress.
What change would you like to see in the world by 2030?
By 2030, I am eager to see my friends and peers, the changemakers and the leaders of today, be instituted in positions of power through which they can implement impactful policy and invoke positive social change on a global scale. I hope to see the fruition of today’s conversations and consultations, and see the full implementation of the SDGs by 2030.
What advice do you have for other young adults looking to get involved in sustainable development?
- Discover what makes you excited in your community and our world.
- Volunteer for organizations or causes that are dear to your heart.
- Have meaningful discussions with your friends and peers about prevalent and complex issues, and rather than despairing about the seemingly endless problems, focus on the infinite opportunities to create positive systemic change. Ideas don’t change the world—people do.
“Our community, be it local or global, becomes a little bit closer and more united when we observe the humanity in every individual.”