Akaash Maharaj, Chief Executive Officer (Ext 620)
Akaash has a lifelong passion for peacemaking, and for building mutual understanding between peoples and nations. He has addressed the United Nations on international prosecution of Crimes Against Humanity, and his articles have been published by newspapers in every populated continent. He has also been a broadcast essayist with TVOntario’s “The Agenda”.
Outside of his professional life, he is an active athlete. He was a triple gold medalist at the International Championships of Equestrian Skill‑at‑Arms, and subsequently led the Canadian Equestrian team and federation as CEO, to the team’s most successful Olympics and Paralympics of all time.
He earned his Master of Arts from Oxford University, in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, and he was the first overseas student elected President of the student government in Oxford’s history. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, of the Royal Asiatic Society, and of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
Akaash has been decorated twice in Canada’s national honours, for his work on peace in the Middle East and for services to integrity in international sport. He was also commissioned a Kentucky Colonel, the state’s highest honour, for his contributions to global affairs.
Wendy Sung-Aad, Vice President (Ext 610)
Wendy has dedicated her professional life to advancing peace and justice, from a feminist, anti-oppression lens. She brings with her a wealth of experience in helping both international and community-based charitable organizations establish successful development and partnership practices. Wendy is a consummate relationship-builder, who is dedicated to smashing injustice in all its forms.
Outside of work, Wendy will travel long distances for a great cup of coffee or tea. She enjoys learning about ancient cultures, re-reading classics, and following developments in science and technology. In addition to her family and friends, Wendy dotes on her two sea-turtles affectionately nicknamed ‘Tutu’ and ‘Gala’.
Rachel Mansell, Vice President, Operations (Ext 680)
Rachel is a detail oriented, people-focused strategist, with a passion for conflict resolution practised through the lenses of human rights, diversity, and inclusion.
She completed her education at Western University (2006) and the University of Toronto (2013). Since inaugurating Mosaic’s Master of Global Affairs internship in 2012, Rachel has held a number of positions at Mosaic including Project Coordinator, Executive Assistant/Project Officer, Operations Manager, and Volunteer. In between, she has applied her skills: in the UK, at the University of Oxford’s Linacre College Development and College Office; in Toronto, at York University’s Centre for Human Rights, Equity, and Inclusion; and in Montréal, at Testfire Labs.
Rachel speaks English, French, and Spanish. She is thrilled to be back home in Toronto. When she isn’t at Mosaic, Rachel enjoys experimenting in her kitchen, raising her puppy, and spending time with family and friends.
Erica Altomare, Program Coordinator, Next Generation (Ext 650)
Erica is an educator who is passionate about re-thinking the education system through an anti-colonial lens. She earned a Master of Social Justice Education with a specialization in environmental studies at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) and a Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University with a specialization in outdoor and experiential learning.
As a History and English teacher in the York Region District School Board (YRDSB), Erica is constantly inspired and challenged by youth. She is always looking for creative ways to engage young people and strengthen learning connected to social justice and social change. Outside of the classroom, Erica has a vast amount of experience working with youth as an international facilitator, swimming instructor, camp coordinator, conference leader, and non-profit director.
Outside of work, Erica enjoys practicing yoga and spending time outdoors. She loves nothing more than getting lost in a good book or sharing a good meal with friends and family.
Olga Osmushina, Program Coordinator, UofMosaic (Ext 670)
Olga has a passion for driving positive social change. She holds a Master’s Degree in Conflict Studies from the University of Ottawa and has extensive experience working with youth and delivering youth-oriented programs. Olga draws her expertise in stakeholder relations, fundraising, and project management from her time with nonprofit and NGO leaders. In her free time, she is actively seeking opportunities to help to make the world better every day by volunteering for different charities, but can also be found skateboarding on the Toronto Islands.
Alexis Cochrane, Communications Coordinator
Alexis holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto with a focus in Communication, Culture, Information and Technology and a Certificate of Digital Communications from Sheridan College. As a writer and throughout her academic work, she focuses on topics of intersectional feminist theory. In Alexis’ free time, she enjoys live music, story writing and reading feminist news sources. Her goal is to make the digital space more inclusive for everyone.
Winter 2020 Interns
Our internships are in partnership with various university programs. All our interns receive credit(s) from their course(s) in return for their placement with The Mosaic Institute. Read more about our fantastic team, below!
For more information on interning with The Mosaic Institute, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teslin Augustine, Graduate Intern, University of Erfurt
Teslin is pursuing her Master’s in Public Policy at the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy, University of Erfurt in Germany. She holds a dual Bachelors degree in Arts and Law (B.A., LL.B. (Hons)) from the National University of Juridical Sciences, India. Teslin is a lawyer licensed to practice in India and has over 6 years of professional experience. She has worked as a Legislative Assistant to a senior Member of the Indian Parliament and has, as a Public Affairs Consultant, advised several Fortune 500 companies on advocacy strategy and government relations. At the Willy Brandt School, Teslin is the sole Indian awardee of the DAAD Helmut Schmidt (Public Policy & Good Governance) Scholarship 2018-2020. She is also the Research Assistant to Prof. Patrick Mello, who is a known expert in conflict and international relations. She assists him with his research on the effectiveness of UN sanctions as well as humanitarian aid disbursement. Teslin is passionate about climate change and racial justice. Outside of work, she enjoys hiking and live music.
Rachel Bannerman, Community Research Partnerships in Ethics Program, University of Toronto
Rachel is a fourth year student at the University of Toronto studying Ethics, Society, and Law, Drama and Performance Art, and Indigenous Studies. She is grateful and excited to be joining the Mosaic Institute team, one which embodies so many of her passions: change through dialogue and making aspirations of equity and justice actionable. Rachel is deeply invested in the development and support of sustainable, community-owned solutions, and has gotten the chance to study these areas across Europe and Australia. When she’s not studying or researching, Rachel enjoys poetry, performance, and hiking. Rachel is from land described in Treaty 3 and Treaty 381, the traditional and perpetual territory of the Haudenosaunee, Attiwonderonk (Neutral Confederacy), and Anishinaabe nations.
Neil Kohlmann, Community Research Partnerships in Ethics Program, University of Toronto
Neil is a fourth-year student at the University of Toronto studying Ethics, Society & Law, with a minor in Middle Eastern politics. He is particularly interested in global paths to decolonization and transformative justice, with a focus on Canada. Neil is also passionate about community-based advocacy and activism. Neil is the volunteer relations director at Caffiends, a fair-trade student-run café on campus, powered by more than 160 volunteers. For the past three years, Neil has been a member of the varsity fencing team for U of T. Outside of school, Neil loves reading, cycling, and camping.