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Young Women in Public Affairs Award

The goal of the Zonta International Young Women in Public Affairs (YWPA) Award Program is to honor young women of age 16 to 19 who demonstrate a commitment to leadership in public policy, government, and volunteer organizations.

The competition begins at the local level with each Zonta Club eligible to nominate one candidate for the District award by submitting the application to the District Governor by April 1st. In District 4, the District winner receives $1,000 US, and the opportunity to compete for one of ten Zonta International awards of $4,000 US. Young women interested in this award programme should contact their local Zonta Club for instructions on how to apply.

The form may be downloaded and printed from the Zonta International web site: www.Zonta.org

Contact your nearest Zonta Club or the Awards Office of your college or university for more information.

Meet Our 2016 District 4 YWPA Winner
Karen Hakim


Karen Hakim has become more aware of issues in society and appreciates those who stand up for the rights of others. “I believe each individual should have the right to be represented in public decision making, regardless of any perceived differences. To pursue these interests, I plan to attend the University of Toronto, completing a double major in the areas of Political Science and Criminology and Socio-Legal Studies. I also plan to attend law school; specializing in international law, with hopes of working for the International Court of Justice. I aspire to be a professor of law and share my experiences with hopes of inspiring others.”

She has participated in several activities that have directly benefitted her community. As a Student Trustee of WCDSB the past two years she has represented over 45,000 students while working directly with the Director of Education, bringing a student voice to the board table. As a part of the Ontario Student Trustees Association she sat on the Policy Committee during labor negotiations, contributing towards position papers and amendments presented at a press conference on Parliament Hill, expressing student voices and concerns on current issues. She was elected as the representative for Southwestern Ontario which allowed her to contribute to the advancement of student causes in over 20 other school boards.

Karen writes that “Women are severely impacted by government funding cuts in areas of education and healthcare, hindering access to health, education and resources necessary to enable women to be contributing members of society. This reality exists for women in Southern Africa, Tanzania and rural Nepal. In Canada, women are being paid unequally while performing the same work as men. These injustices may be tackled by supporting female independence through funding education and accessible healthcare. By educating women in jobs and skilled vocations and providing them with the necessary resources, women will be able to self-sustain, increase their confidence and take an active role in society.”


Winners of the Young Women in Public Affairs Award and sponsoring Zonta Club

2016 Karen Hakim, Zonta Club of Kitchener-Waterloo
2015 Alexandria Iwanenko, Zonta Club of Hamburg-Orchard Park, NY
2014 Christina Weber, Zonta Club of St. Catharines, ON
2013 Soumitri Barua, Zonta Club of Olean, NY (also an International winner)
2012 Wendy Liao, Zonta Club of Toronto, ON (also an  International winner)
2011 Hannah Nicholls-Harrison, Zonta Club of Owen Sound, ON
2010 Bethany Saul, Zonta Club of Hamburg-Orchard-Park, NY (also an International winner)
2009 Jillian Meyers, Zonta Clubs of Hamilton 1 and 2, ON
2008 Katrin Sawatzky, Zonta Club of Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
2007 Kathleen Simon, Zonta Club of Olean, NY
2006 Lyndsay Crump, Zonta Club of St. Catharines, ON  (also an International winner)
2005 Gillian S Hawley, Zonta Club of Batavia, NY
2004 Sara Mojtehedzadeh, Zonta Club of Guelph, ON
2003 Jennifer Hustwit, Zonta Club of Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
2002 Katherine Hui, Zonta Clubs of Hamilton 1 and 2, ON (also an International winner)
2001 Jennifer Sloane, Zonta Club of Kitchener-Waterloo,ON
2000 Phoebe Smith, Zonta Club of St. Catharines, ON
1999 Teresa Chan, Zonta Club of Niagara Falls, ON
1998 Beata Moninca Gomulak, Zonta Club of Erie, PA
1997 Praseedha Janakarim, Zonta Club of Guelph, ON
1996 Emily Suzanne Hanlin, Zonta Club of Jamestown, NY
1995 Laura Zilney, Zonta Club of Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
1994 Jill Carter, Zonta Club of Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
1993 Judith Syme Parker, Zonta Club of Niagara Falls, ON (also an International winner)
1992 Laurie Anne Halfpenny, Zonta Club of Guelph, ON

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