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Canadians celebrate International Volunteer Day on Dec. 5, 2008

by NationTalk on November 21, 20084678 Views


Press Release
November 21, 2008

Edmonton – About fifteen years ago, when Dan Kyba volunteered to help a company in Russia, the young expert on institutions knew that he would have little control over his assignment. Russia needed a lot of help in those post-communist days, and a Canadian charity, the Canadian Executive Service Organization (CESO), sent Kyba to Russia to help kickstart a market-research department for a medical-instruments company. But what was “market research” in a country where “market” meant “anti-Marxist”? And, most tellingly, what could he, a Canadian volunteer, contribute?“I loved Russia,” said Kyba, who has completed eight assignments internationally and 30 in aboriginal communities with CESO in Canada. “I love volunteering. I love the challenge, and I love the field of institutional economics. A lot of stuff you don’t have control over when you volunteer, but you still try anyway.”

His attitude embodies that of Canadian volunteers around the world. When he isn’t running his own business, Kyba offers his skills and experience – for free — just as thousands of volunteers do every year in Canada and overseas.

In 1985, the United Nations designated Dec. 5th as International Volunteer Day to thank volunteers around the world and to raise awareness about their contributions. This year, CESO has planned a number of activities to recognize volunteers on Dec. 4th and 5th. The organization has more than 40 years of proven experience with volunteers around the world; each year, it places approximately 350 Canadians overseas.

CESO works in 17 countries, collaborating with community groups and small- and medium-sized enterprises on projects that alleviate poverty, improve economic development and increase people’s capacity to govern themselves.

This year, the non-profit won a “Canadian Award for International Cooperation” from the Canadian International Development Agency and the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters. The prestigious award recognizes achievements in reducing poverty in Africa, Asia and other parts of the globe.

For more information about International Volunteer Day, CESO and Dan Kyba, please contact:

Alex Gillis
Public Engagement Officer | Agent d’engagement du public
416.961.2376, ext. 236
agillis @ (no spaces)

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