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Announcing the 2009 Know Goa Programme Participants

Wednesday, 28 October 2009 00:00
It is with great excitement that we congratulate the following six young Goans from Toronto for being selected by the Non-Resident (NRI) Indian Affairs Office in Goa to participate in the 2009 Know Goa Program (KGP): Mr. Ryan De Souza, Ms Michelle Dias, Ms Alicia DíSouza, Ms Vanessa Lobo, Ms Sandrina Rodrigues and Mr. Matthew Slaman.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to the Honourable Eduardo Faleiro, High Commissioner for Goa, the Non-Resident Indian Affairs Office in Goa and the Government of Goa for providing young Goans in Toronto and around the world with this once in a lifetime opportunity to learn about Goaís cultural heritage.

The 2009 participants will begin their two week sponsored journey on November 29th in Goa where they will visit many educational, historical and cultural places of interest before travelling to the National Capital Territory of Delhi and the World Heritage monuments at Agra.

We are delighted to share the following details with you about the selected participants from Toronto.

Mr. Ryan De Souza
Ryan De Souza is Canadian born, whose ancestry traces back to Goa, the birthplace of his grandparents. Ryan is 28 years old and is a University of Toronto graduate, with a Bachelor of Commerce degree. In 2008 he also earned his Certified Associate in Project Management designation. As an active member of the Goan Soccer League, Ryan is captain of Colva FC, and has led numerous charity fundraising events for the club. He is honored to be selected into the 2009 KGP. He is looking forward to this experience and hopes to learn more about the social, economic, and environmental issues that face Goa. Ryan would like to share these learnings with his fellow peers so he may enhance their knowledge and inspire efforts to combat the challenges that are present in Goa today.

Ms. Michelle Dias
Michelle Dias is a 23-year-old Mississauga native who is an active member of the G.O.A. As a selected delegate for the KGP 2009 she is excited to experience first-hand the Goan culture and heritage she is so proud of. Michelle moved to Canada from Kenya at the age of two with her family. After graduating from the University of Western Ontario in 2008 with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Communications, she went onto Sheridan College to pursue a post-graduate certificate in Corporate Communications and achieved High Honors. Michelle is currently starting off her career in the exciting sector of public relations. She hopes to continue traveling the world, as she has already been to 13 countries and dreams to publish a novel in the near future. When she is not socializing with friends, Michelle devotes much of her time to volunteering with Girl Guides of Canada and Epilepsy Halton Peel.

Ms. Alicia DíSouza
Alicia DíSouza is a fourth year student in The Heidelberg School of Graphic Communications Management (GCM) Program at Ryerson University. She completed a summer internship this year at Fujifilm Canada where she worked on a large marketing campaign that will debut at the Graphic Canadaís tradeshow in November 2009. Alicia also took on the role of Project Manager for GCMís Colloquium 2009 event on Globalization. When Alicia is not immersed in the print industry, her hobbies include: painting, dancing and swimming. She was a participant in the 2007 Miss India Canada Worldwide Pageant and won the title for ďMiss Best SkinĒ. Alicia lives in Toronto with her parents Remy & Juliet DíSouza and her younger sister Jenna DíSouza. It is her goal to travel, learn and make a difference everywhere she goes.

Ms. Vanessa Lobo
Vanessa Lobo is 23 years old and currently working on her Masters of Science degree in Nursing at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. She is a graduate fellow in the Nursing Health Services Research Unit/Office of International Health on campus and has obtained certification as a Registered Nurse (RN). Vanessa is the eldest of three girls in her family, a talented singer-songwriter, is very involved with the youth at her parish and has a brown belt in Chito Ryu Karate. She loves to travel and is so excited to visit her homeland this winter!

Ms. Sandrina Rodrigues
Sandrina Rodrigues came to Canada over 20 years ago and has made a few visits to India since then, mostly spent visiting family and friends of her parents. She loves to travel and has visited Australia and Brazil and spent a few months travelling and living in Europe. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D in Civil Engineering where she researches groundwater contamination. Her interests include third-world development, languages, reading, tennis, and swimming. Sandrina is especially grateful to have been chosen for the Know Goa Program and is looking forward all the new things she's going to learn and see because of it!

Mr. Matthew Slaman
Matthew Slaman is a 21 year old student at the University of Ottawa. He is in his third year pursuing an Honours Bachelor of Social Science where he is focused on international studies and modern languages. Matthew is an Honours student and President of two Spanish Clubs at the University of Ottawa. He enjoys rowing and was recently a finalist at the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta. Matthew is currently in Paris, France on a student exchange program. He was born to a Goan Mother and a Dutch father who are both from immigrant families that arrived in Canada in the 1950's. He is proud of his Goan and Dutch heritage. There is so much that Matthew wishes to learn about Goa. He looks forward to this once in a lifetime journey to get to know his Goan roots and the magnificent culture.

The Non Resident Indian (NRI) Affairs Office in Goa received applications from a number of exceptional young Goans across the Greater Toronto Area. We want to thank all of them for taking the time to submit their application for consideration. The names of the selected candidates from the other participating countries are in the process of being released by the NRI Affairs Office in Goa.