Memorial youth leader joins UN delegation for 'eye-opening experience'


Brittany Tibbo spent several days
recently as an advisor to the Canadian
delegation at a United Nations summit.

April 9, 2014

Local youth leader Brittany Tibbo has recently returned from a stint at the United Nations where she served as an advisor on the Canadian delegation.

Ms. Tibbo, 24, was one of six young women from across the country to serve as Canadian advisors to the 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York, NY, which is attended by representatives of UN-member states, UN entities and non-governmental organizations from all over the world. She participated from March 9-13.

“For me personally, it was a really great learning opportunity just to be at the UN, and actually participating in UN meetings was a lifelong dream of mine,” she says.

Ms. Tibbo is a part-time bachelor of business administration student who is currently completing the final course for her degree. She also holds a bachelor of science in biochemistry and nutrition from Memorial.

She was selected to participate in the commission based on her work with the YWCA in St. John’s, where she currently serves as vice-chair. She also begins her term as a board member on the national YWCA body in June.

“My focus with the YWCA is all about engaging young women and leadership development skills for young women,” she says. “Having young girls recognize they can be whatever they want to be [and] giving them the tools that they need to excel. I really enjoy working with young girls and mentoring them. I feel like I was very privileged having lots of great mentors throughout my life, so I like doing the same for them.”

Ms. Tibbo travelled to the commission with Dr. Kellie Leitch, federal minister responsible for the status of women, her provincial counterparts from Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and other government representatives.

She participated in roundtable discussions and took in sessions focused on engaging men and boys in gender equality, women in politics, and early, forced and child marriage.

She calls the experience eye-opening.

“Meeting people from all over the world and discussing issues facing women puts things in perspective.” she says. “Being a young woman from Canada and having the kinds of opportunities that I’ve been presented [with], or worked for even, is something I've often taken for granted. Listening to a young woman, who was forced into marriage at the age of 10 and unable to continue her education, has made me more appreciative.

“When I think of gender equality here in our province, I focus on working towards more women in leadership roles and pay equity and those sorts of things. When you learn about other issues facing women and girls around the world, it kind of makes you stop and think.”

Ms. Tibbo is an up-and-coming youth leader in the province, recognized as such by 21inc when she was named one of Atlantic Canada’s top 50 emerging leaders under 35 in 2013. She also won the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for her work with women in politics that same year.

Ms. Tibbo spent two years as the provincial youth co-ordinator for Equal Voice, a national organization that works to engage more women at all levels of government across the country, where she organized a campaign shadowing program in the last provincial election that enabled young women to shadow female candidates such as former Premier Kathy Dunderdale, New Democratic Party leader Lorraine Michael, and former Liberal leader Yvonne Jones.

At Memorial, she’s been involved with programs such as LEAP!, Horizons, orientation and other programs offered by Student Affairs & Services.

Ms. Tibbo plans to move into a career focused on public policy. She is originally from Holyrood.

Susan White-MacPherson