We welcome the new YPARD Canada Country Representative, Michael Olufemi!
Michael has been a YPARD member since 2019 and is currently studying a MSc degree in Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Alberta. His current research interest is the economics of food safety, specifically, he is examining Canadian consumers' perceptions of trade-offs between beef raised without antimicrobials and animal health and welfare. Michael holds an MSc in Environment & Development from the London School of Economics & Political Science, UK. He had his Bachelor's degree in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria.
Michael has a strong interest and experience in food systems issues. He completed an internship with the United Nations Food Systems Summit Secretariat under The World Food Programme. He supported the UN Secretary-General's call for a Food Systems Summit to transform the food systems. As a digital communication intern supporting actions to transform how the world produces and consumes food, Michael provided valuable support to many public awareness and engagement projects and cross-sector partnerships. He also demonstrated that he had the thematic knowledge and expertise in communicating development, humanitarian and political topics with a perspective that was global, regional, and local.
Michael is also a social entrepreneur and a changemaker. He serves in an administrative capacity with the NGO Eden World Initiative, founded by his colleagues during the final year of his undergraduate studies in a bid to foster ecosystem restoration in Africa through food security advocacy, climate-smart agriculture, and climate change education. He also self-founded an initiative – The Scholars Network – to help African youths access scholarship and leadership opportunities needed to fulfill their dreams.
According to him, his motivation is grounded in the possibility that this role will afford him to contribute significantly towards youth involvement in policy and capacity-building initiatives, especially those related to agricultural development. In addition, he is sure that his previous experience with international development organizations will help him advance YPARD's vision in his role as the Canada representative. In this volunteering position, Michael will seek to represent and be an ambassador for YPARD and make connections with youths and food systems organizations in his region.