September 28, 2005 10:26 ET

CIDA: John Godfrey Congratulates Don Valley West Youth on Winning a Trip to Africa

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Sept. 28, 2005) - The Honourable John Godfrey, Minister of State (Infrastructure and Communities) and Member of Parliament for Don Valley West, congratulated Kourosh Totonchian, a youth from the Riding of Don Valley West, for winning first place in the group art and multimedia category of the 2005 butterfly 208 contest for young Canadians. This year marks the fourth edition of the Canadian International Development Agency's (CIDA) contest.

"Congratulations to Kourosh Totonchian and his team-mates for composing and performing a song that took them all the way to the top of this year's butterfly 208 contest," Minister Godfrey said. "This remarkable entry shows that Canadian youth not only care about what is happening in their immediate environment but about issues that touch the lives of people in far away places."

"Once again, the remarkable entries received show that Canadian youth are moved by the challenges faced by the developing world," said Aileen Carroll, Minister of International Cooperation. "By participating in this contest, Canadian youth have taken a first step in getting involved in the fight against poverty and inequality around the world."

Mr. Totonchian and the other grand prize winners travelled to Tanzania in August. As special butterfly ambassadors, they visited development projects and experienced the rich culture and unique challenges of life in a developing country. They also received a hand held digital camcorder as a prize.

CIDA's annual youth contest - butterfly 208 - is an art, writing and multimedia contest for Canadian youth between the ages of 14 and 18 designed to interest youth in international development and engage them in global issues. It takes its name from the theory that a butterfly flapping its wings in one part of the world can have a huge impact on the other side of the globe. It also celebrates the connection shared by youth in all 208 or so countries around the world.

This year's grand prize winners are:

- Individual writing category: Marie Abbott of Whitehorse, Yukon,
for Le Papillon, which puts a human face to the AIDS orphan
crisis in a gripping powerful call to action.

- Group art and multimedia category: Andrew Metrick, Chaminda
Gunawardene and Kourosh Totonchian of Toronto, Ontario, for their
provocative song The Awareness Trio both composed and performed.

- Individual art category: Melissa Power of Stoney Creek, Ontario,
for her untitled submission on canvas, covered with newspaper and
oil paint, awakening us to the challenges innocent African
children face on a daily basis.

- Teacher category: Joseph Vincent Skuce of Colonel By High School
in Ottawa, Ontario, who encouraged and inspired the highest
number of students to participate in the contest.

To view all of the prize-winning entries, visit the "Winning Flaps"
section of the butterfly 208 website:

Funding for this initiative was provided for in the February 2005 federal budget and is therefore built into the existing fiscal framework.

Contact Information

  • Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
    Media Relations Office
    (819) 953-6534 (electronic version of document)
    Office of the Honourable John Godfrey
    Mark Rus
    (613) 948-2688