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Oluseyi Taiwo Fasoranti first came to Canada in 2012 to attend a conference, but when his political views left him unable to return to his native Nigeria, he decided to head west, to Edmonton, to build a new life for himself.

He started volunteering with his local community league in Boyle Street, and from there Taiwo’s passion for public engagement really took off. In addition to his current role as the league’s membership director, he serves as house administrator for the Nigerian Canadian Association of Edmonton, co-founder of the Immigrant Initiative Network and the local regional coordinator for the United Nations Association in Canada’s Green Corps.

For Taiwo, building a better world starts with building a better community. Of all the projects he’s involved with, he is particularly proud of his work around social housing, which eventually led to the founding of the Edmonton Community Benefits Coalition, a group that advocates for responsible community development within the new arena district. “I am in Canada because it is a good place,” Taiwo says, “and I believe that I can make it a better place.”

Taiwo was first drawn to the work of the Council Initiative on Public Engagement because he didn’t think that the voices of minorities were well represented in municipal decision making. He’s doing his best to change that. “There is no doubt that the government’s decisions affect all citizens,” Taiwo says. “Getting involved in public engagement will help the government in making the right choices, and enables citizens to understand the policies and decisions of the government.”

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