Board of Directors

Shahin Hirji looking at camera infront of a bush.

Shahin Hirji

Chair

Shahin has been an active member of Amnesty International for over 20 years. She began as a member of the Urgent Action Network and later became a trained caseworker for the Refugee Network in the early 2000’s. She continues to volunteer with the Urgent Action Network and is currently involved in various campaigns within the Business and Human Rights & Indigenous Rights Team. 

An engineer by training and profession, Shahin brings to the Board her project management skills, her international work experiences, and her passion for problem solving.

She is a strong supporter of Amnesty International’s mission of maintaining human rights and dignity for all, and believes that we are all capable of effecting real change with the decisions we make.

A white man in a black suite and grey tie smiles at the camera.

Duncan Garrow

Vice Chair

Duncan has been a member of Amnesty International for 4 years, and a Director at Large for 2. His involvement with Amnesty began, and continues, as a member of the Church of the Redeemer Action Circle. He holds a B.A. in Theatre from the University of Toronto and an Associates Degree from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. In over 20 years as an actor, he has toured and performed in almost every city and town in North America. During that time he has also organized student workshops, classes, and seminars. His passionate belief in the importance of engaging and inspiring our youth makes The Speaker’s Bureau one of his favourite roles with AI. Duncan has twice emceed events with the Iran Action Circle commemorating Yalda, as well as the sold out “Weaving Hope” event on behalf of Indigenous Peoples in Colombia. He is a member of the committee that worked to update the AITO bylaws, and recently directed and performed in the play “The Last Walk of Adolpho Ich,” at the AITO Regional Meeting. In addition, Duncan has worked with the UNHCR, and for 2 years emceed their World Refugee Day celebration held at Dundas Square.

A young woman wearing a headband smiling.

Lisa Swainston

Secretary

Lisa has been a member and volunteer of Amnesty International for 17 years. She has served as Secretary of AITO since July, 2012. Lisa is currently the Chair of Group 18. She has served on the organizing committees for the past five AITO Regional Meetings (from 2011-2018), and three AICS(ES) AGMs in Toronto (2008, 2010 & 2019). Over the years Lisa has participated in various human rights campaigns and has a particular interest in women’s rights, Indigenous rights, and corporate accountability.

Lisa works at the Ontario Council for International Cooperation (OCIC), a membership-based international development non-profit organization, as the Director of Operations. She has an Honours B.A. with majors in Criminology and Sociology and minors in French and Indigenous Studies (formerly called Aboriginal Studies), from the University of Toronto, and Certificates in Project Management from Humber, Fundraising and Volunteer Management, Practical Management Strategies from George Brown, and has taken several courses in Organizational Management and Human Resources from Ryerson University. In her spare time, Lisa enjoys watching films, listening to music, reading, traveling, crocheting and crafting.

A brunette woman in a bob cut holding a heart-shaped card.

Patricia Grenier

Treasurer

Patricia Grenier joined Amnesty International in 1988. With management and organizational skills from her professional background and employment she brought these skills to the position of Chair, Group 18 in Toronto, and eventually Treasurer of the Group. From 1989-1992 she was a director on the National Board of AICS. Throughout that time always heavily involved in AITO. After stepping down from the Board, she became treasurer of AITO and eventually also assumed the bookkeeping functions. In the nineties and early 2000, AI undertook two international mandate reviews. Patricia chaired both of the Toronto teams. The mandate statement drafted by the Toronto team was adopted by AI Canada and then served as the basis at the international level for a revised Mandate statement. In the ensuing years Patricia took on the role of New Members’ Orientation Coordinator and Volunteer – Merchandise Coordinator.

Saba Abbas looking at camera and smiling

Saba Abbas

Saba has been volunteering for Amnesty international since 2014. She began as a member of the Action Network for Women’s Human Rights (ANWHR) then had the opportunity to serve as one of ANWHR’s co-chairs in 2020. Saba was also part of Amnesty International’s I Welcome Refugees Team and Toronto’s Francophone group; Group 50. She currently co-chairs Amnesty International Canada’s Gender Rights Specialized Team where she advocates for women’s human rights and takes part in Amnesty International’s campaigns against gender-based discrimination and violence.

In her professional life, Saba works as a Counsellor at the Ralph Chiodo Family Immigrant Reception Centre; a part of COSTI Immigrant Services. She provides gender sensitive counselling, crisis intervention, orientations and settlement services to cisgender and gender diverse government assisted refugees. Saba is also a researcher. She holds a Ph.D. in Gender, Feminist and Women’s Studies from York University and has published articles on Muslim fashionable veiling and the embodiment of Muslim femininity. Saba’s other research interests include sexualities in Islam, transnational feminisms and anti-racist feminisms. She brings to the Board her feminist critical analysis skills and a strong commitment to gender-sensitive, anti-oppressive governance.

aubrey harris looking at the camera with the toronto skyline behind him

Aubrey Harris

Aubrey has been volunteering for Amnesty International as the Branch Coordinator for the Campaign to Abolish the Death Penalty since 2007, is a member and one-time chair of the Coordination Council. He has also volunteered with organisations such as AFL Canada and the Canadian Cadet Program (as a cadet and later as an officer in the Canadian Forces Reserve).

As the Death Penalty Abolition Coordinator for AICES, Aubrey has represented the Branch at the World Congress Against the Death Penalty and maintains close connections to the International Secretariat and with the Branch. Aubrey stays in touch with a broad network of human rights and abolitionist contacts and has spoken before other organisations and gatherings, written op-eds in national papers and appeared on radio and TV representing Amnesty International. Each year since 2007 he has been involved in organising the Toronto Cities For Life: Cities Against the Death Penalty event.

As a member living in Toronto Aubrey attends and volunteers even outside of the coordinator role, at Amnesty events and regularly engages with the local membership and staff. Aubrey also continues to support and be a member of several other charities and not-for-profit organisations.

 

Habib Haque is looking at the camera and smiling in front of  book case.

Habibah Haque

A Toronto native, Habibah has been a member of Amnesty International since 2017, serving as a programmer on the Reel Awareness Film Team. Her involvement on the team is one of the many ways she has carried out community-engaged volunteer work in Toronto and the GTA serving members of marginalized communities.

She is currently the Outreach Administrator at the Ontario Arts Council working on equity-based granting programs and organizing outreach activities for artists from equity-seeking groups in the province. A keen photographer and filmmaker herself, Habibah aims to capture and communicate genuine expression through her art. With a professional background in international human rights, Habibah is interested in the intersection between arts and social justice. Her first short film, Rust and Release (2016), tells a story of female independence and violence against women.

Habibah holds a Master’s degree in Human Rights from the University of Sussex and a Continuing Education Certificate in American Sign Language from George Brown College. While completing the former degree, she was working in London, UK doing research and program work on minority rights.

<icah Molina is looking at the camera and smiling.

Micah Molina

Micah Molina has been volunteering with the Amnesty International Toronto branch for the past 5 years. WIth Saba Abbas she currently Co Chairs the AIES Gender Rights Specialized Team, previously ANWHR, the Action Network for Women’s Human Rights. Micah is an active member of the Amnesty community and was previously part of the I Welcome Refugee Committee and volunteered for ANWR, prior to taking on a leadership role in April 2020. She enjoys engaging with Amnesty in many different capacities and levels, and in the past has participated at the local AGM and virtual conferences such as Sparking Connections. Her favourite part of activism is directly engaging and organizing with volunteers, local members, and staff. Micah’s professional experience is rooted in project management. She is an Associate Project Manager with BGIS on the BMO account, and has been with the client for 5 years in various roles. Outside of the BMO account she is a BGIS Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Ambassador. Micah values and ensures work volunteer life balance with her fitness communities; The Villij, a virtual community for women of colour in wellness and health spaces; being an active member in her local community, and gardening. Micah holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Political Studies from Queen’s University. She is passionate about human rights and social justice.

Corey Smith

Corey has been a member and volunteer with Amnesty International since 2010. Her involvement with Amnesty began with the Reel Awareness Film Team, coupling her love of documentary film with her interest in human rights. Today she is the lead of the group, which uses the power of film to shine a light on human rights issues around the world. She has also volunteered as an Activism Support Assistant with AITO. In her professional life, Corey works in development at Second Harvest, a non-profit food rescue organization based in Toronto. Corey holds a certificate in Public Administration & Governance from Ryerson University, and a certificate in Fundraising Management from Seneca College. In her spare time, Corey enjoys collecting and listening to vinyl LPs, cross-stitching, camping, and traveling.