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Global citizen

Humanities and Social Sciences storyteller brings voice to world stage

Student Life

By Janet Harron

Donovan Taplin, a fourth-year student in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences studying communications studies and folklore, is proving himself once again to be a truly outstanding global citizen.

Mr. Taplin, who is from Bell Island,  is the only Atlantic Canadian chosen to participate in the Young Diplomats of Canada’s delegation travelling to Tokyo, Japan, to represent youth and influence world leaders at the upcoming G7 Summit to be held May 26-27.

One of five

“This is an historic global opportunity to build on international co-operation in the area of sustainability development, to diminish economic, racial and gender inequalities, to strength international security and to harness the untapped potential of our planet’s young people,” said Mr. Taplin, who is also completing a certificate in public policy. “It’s an incredible honour to be one of five young Canadians chosen by the YDC and it is a role I undertake with the utmost sense of dedication and purpose.”

Mr. Taplin’s career as a young leader began as a guest speaker at the age of 16 after travelling to the Arctic and Antarctica with Students on Ice. In 2012 he was offered both of Canada’s largest merit scholarship, the National TD Scholarship for Community Leadership and the National Loran Award. In the same year he travelled to Brazil as a delegate for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development and was named one of 12 Young Leaders Changing Canada by CBC Gen Why Magazine.

“I feel I am earning a degree in storytelling.” — Donovan Taplin

Elected at the age of 19, Mr. Taplin is Newfoundland and Labrador’s youngest municipal councillor. He has served on the Wabana Town Council, the Public Relations Committee of Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador, and was appointed to the Premier’s Youth Advisory Committee. Recently he has focused particularly on mental health and LGBTQ2S issues as an advocate for stigma reduction and was a delegate for the 2016 Jack.Org Summit in Toronto, Ont.

‘Building a narrative’

For Mr. Taplin, his degree program is a fundamental part of his game plan for the future.

“When I tell people I’m doing a double major in communication studies and folklore I often get one of two responses: ‘What are you going to do with that?’ or ‘What is that?’ To put it more simply, I feel I am earning a degree in storytelling. Effective storytelling is the cornerstone of making change.

“As I head for Tokyo to meet with 40 other young people from the G7 nations, I will be a part of building a narrative for the Canadian delegation. We will be telling the stories which embody our values and demonstrate the causes we believe in. Being effective storytellers emboldens the viability of bringing about meaningful progress.”

Those who would like to support Mr. Taplin to attend the YDC’s delegation can contribute here.

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