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New youth city councillor welcomed

ALI Fatehzadah is Vaughan's new youth councillor. (Philip Alves/Vaughan Today)

Ali Fatehzadah has taken on his post as Vaughan’s fifth youth city councillor with some lofty goals and the knowledge that he’s now a role model.

“I’m of Afghan descent, my parents are from Afghanistan,” the 17-year-old Maple High School student said recently. “I’m a proud Canadian.”

Though Fatehzadah said he knows other Afghan moms will compare their kids to him, just like his mom used to do, that hasn’t kept him from developing a full slate of aims he plans to achieve during his four-month term.

“For one, I will try to act as a liaison between high school students and organizations that accept student volunteers for community service,” he said last month after being sworn in at city hall. “I would also like to improve the relationship between the York Regional Police and the youth in Vaughan.

“Finally, I would like to implement a political awareness campaign to increase the voter turnout within the youth community in Vaughan, for we are the future.”

Fatehzadah said he has long been interested in helping others. That, and his passion for politics made his decision to apply for the youth councillor’s job an easy one.

“I’m happy to say that I can help out the thousands of youth in the city,” he said.

His ambitions now lie in the arena of public service. Fatehzadah said after he graduates from Maple HS, he plans to study politics and law at the University of Toronto. Beyond that, maybe a role with the United Nations fighting for human rights, he said.

“With being our youth councillor, Ali, I know that this will give you a good training ground for that future in politics,” Mayor Linda Jackson said as she welcomed Fatehzadah.

His future in politics might have turned out differently, though, if he’d stuck with his childhood dream, Fatehzadah admitted.

“When I was a child, I dreamt of being in a boy band,” he said.

Fatehzadah follows in the footsteps of Mark Anthony Frisoli, Steven Xu, Michael Radov and Sabrina Bruno, Vaughan’s first four youth councillors.

“It’s wonderful to have young people like Ali, who’s prepared to invest his own time in helping to bring forward the issues that are facing young people today,” Regional Councillor Mario Ferri said.

As the youth councillor, Fatehzadah will earn credit toward his high school diploma.

When Vaughan created the youth city councillor position in 2005, it was the first Canadian municipality to do so.

Vaughan Today
In print: October 23, 2009, page 13
Online: October 25, 2009 [link]