The John Humphrey Centre is proud to have a staff that is versatile, dynamic and visionary.


Ms. Renée Vaugeois originates from Wildwood Alberta. She is currently the Executive Director of the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights having served the organization for over eleven years. In 2016, she was elected Presidentof the Alberta Hate Crimes Committee; a coalition of law enforcement and organizations working to address hate in the province.

Renée is the founder and current Treasurer of Ainembabazi Children’s Project, an organization committed to strengthening children’s rights in East Africa through building self reliant families and communities. She also is part of a national comittee of the Catherine Donnelly Foundation working towards Righting Relations; building critical learning hubs of adult educators for radical social change at local and national levels.   Since 2015, Renée also serves as a Director for Women in International Security Canada, a professional network of women in the peace and security field.

Renée’s commitment to the work of advancing understanding of peace and human rights in Edmonton and the world has lead her to be invited to be part of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and won her the inaugural Top 40 under 40 in Edmonton with Avenue Magazine.  In 2016, she was featured in the Canadian Human Rights Commission’s Annual General Report. In 2014, she was Recipient of the Inaugural University of Alberta Advocacy Award recognizing a commitment to bridge the community and university. She was also recognized by the Aboriginal Commission for Human Rights and Justice and Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women with the Good Relations Award as well as was awarded Daughter of the Year in its first year of 2012. 

MAIGAN VAN DER GIESSEN, Creative lead & education coordinator

Maigan van der Giessen has a BA from the University of Alberta in Political Science and Middle Eastern and African Studies and has a passion for art therapy, ethnomusicology and activism. She has worked on and off at the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights since 2009, developing and delivering unique programming that explores social justice and human rights issues through artistic expression.  Maigan is the Creative Lead for JHC which allows her to envision (and put into practice) how art and dialogue can be used to support and collaborate with vulnerable individuals and communities. Maigan is a mother, emcee (Tzadeka), musician, visual/installation artist, facilitator, 



Having grown up in East Vancouver, Chelsea has been steeped in a quintessentially Canadian multicultural, multiple perspective environment. She has an Education degree from the University of Alberta with a minor in Social Studies.

She strives to be collaborative, kind and creative in life and in work. Chelsea's focus in education is based on discovery and inquiry and in connecting to the many innovations in art,science,media, and technology to facilitate a sense of agency and connection to our communities.

She values grassroots action that comes from a sense of personal passion and commitment to help work through the myriad of issues facing humanity today and is honoured to work with an organization like The John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights that has been doing this so passionately for many years.


Ramona Fernando is originally from Sri Lanka moved to Edmonton in August 2000. In Sri Lanka she worked in the financial industry and has a degree in Banking and Credit Management. In Edmonton she worked in the hospitality industry as an event planner. She also worked in sales, customer service and accounting. She successfully completed the NAIT Accounting Bridging Programme in 2009. Currently she is a pursuing her CPA designation and the NAIT Accounting Degree Programme. When Ramona is not working she volunteers her time in the community, she enjoys reading, cooking authentic food,mentoring youth and working towards better living conditions for temporary workers, seniors and youth.


Tisha Raj was born and raised in tropical Malaysia before she migrated to Edmonton in 2008. She recently graduated with a Bachelor of Sociology (specializing in youth, family & diversity) with a minor in political science from MacEwan University. She also holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Western Australia.

Growing up in Malaysia, it was common for her to witness trafficked sex workers being ushered discreetly in the back alleys of Kuala Lumpur.
While in Perth seeing an Aboriginal pregnant teenager resisting arrest and getting cuffed by local law enforcers because she did not purchase a train ticket, was a disturbing scene for her to witness.

Tisha's first experience of dealing with children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) was six years and half years ago in Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories. Whereas in Guayaquil, Ecuador, she had the opportunity to witness single mothers being empowered to start up their own aquaculture micro businesses.
Each of these places, gave her a snippet of challenges and successes that people around the globe face. These examples are just a portion of her passion of pursuing a lifelong career in community and international development. 

She is a keener on the issues of sustainability and a passionate advocate for social justice and human rights. Tisha is on a lifelong journey in learning and understanding more of the sociological perspectives centered around gender and race.Tisha is thrilled to use JHC as a platform to advocate and learn more about numerous issues of human rights and peace. 



David Newton Opoku-otoo is a director, producer, editor and writer based out of Edmonton, Alberta. When it comes to working on projects, David is very versatile creating documentaries, web series and videography work. Mentoring future filmakers is also one of David's passions. A graduate from Grant MacEwan University's Motion Image and Design program (diploma), witha certificate in Design Studies (2011). David is always creative challenging himself as an artist, and pushing boundaries when it comes to visual storytelling. 




Ana-Laura Pauchulo was born in Argentina, raised in Toronto and has called Edmonton home since 2011. She completed her Ph.D in Sociology and Equity Studies at the University of Toronto with a focus on human rights and public remembrance of historical trauma in Argentina.  Since moving to Edmonton with her family, Ana-Laura has been involved in many remembrance initiatives including the National Day of Healing and Reconciliation Committee of Edmonton and the Memoria Viva Society of Edmonton.  She is very excited to be working with the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights on project development and, in particular, on projects focused on addressing the Calls to Action put forth by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.