After two years of genocide in Darfur, a group of concerned students at the University of Western Ontario got together to raise awareness and advocate for Darfur. Shortly thereafter, STAND was founded when Dr. Alcol Dor, a South Sudanese refugee, gave a stirring speech on Darfur to a national student leadership conference organized by the Canadian Federation of Jewish Students.
These student leaders realized that while there were many fantastic NGO’s doing important work on the ground in Darfur, there was no one mobilizing Canadians to create the political will necessary to make acting against genocide a foreign policy priority. After the conference, Stand launched its first campaign, “10,000 Voices”. A petition containing 12,000 signatures was presented at a press conference on Parliament Hill, which led to Stand members meeting then Prime Minister Paul Martin.
Since its founding, STAND has blossomed into an entirely youth-led organization, with a diverse membership base, and chapters from coast-to-coast. STAND Canada currently has over fifty high-school and university chapters across the country.
In the summer of 2008, STAND’s managing committee made a strategic decision – STAND moved from being a student based Darfur advocacy group, to a youth focused anti-genocide organization fighting towards the goal of a world without genocide. We believe genocide requires an urgent, immediate response. We want to see Canada and the world respond to genocide with urgency. We also do not want to solely make reactive responses, but ensure the proactive preventative measures are in place for future genocides.
Since its founding in 2005, STAND has become the leading organization in Canada for youth led anti-genocide advocacy and activism. STAND has been featured in The National Post, The Toronto Star, The Ottawa Citizen, The Toronto Sun, and various other publications. Stand members have been featured on CTV news, Global News, MTV Canada, Much Music, CBC radio and numerous other radio and television news programs.
STAND’s ability to successfully operate to entirely due to the commitment and devotion of its excellent volunteers.