Sophia Foster completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Conflict Studies and Human Rights at the University of Ottawa in 2018. During her undergraduate degree, Sophia had the opportunity to take part in several fields of research, including human rights, environmentalism, and security. At the Human Rights Research and Education Centre, she aided the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Diego Garcia-Sayan, in drafting and researching for his published reports to the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council. She also completed an International Field research course in which she researched discrimination against women and girls at the 2016 UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland. In her final year of undergraduate studies, she focused her research interests on environmental issues and security and published her paper, “Green Militarization and the Necessity of Local Involvement” in Potentia, Journal of International and Public Affairs.
Sophia displayed her passion for human rights, security, conservation and Indigenous rights in her publication, “Green Militarization and the Necessity of Local Involvement”. This paper argues that Green Militarization, the use of military and paramilitary actors in the pursuit of conservation, is most effective with the involvement of local communities as one instrument in combating environmental issues. The arguments used to demonstrate this emphasize the great dependence humans have on endangered species and their environment, the aid locals can provide to conservation operations, and the risk of human settlements being encroached if conservation is implemented without local involvement. Sophia argues that militarized conservation programs based on the ideas of coexistence and respect of all species not only benefit the region and its non-human species, but also lead to improved human conditions. Sophia further demonstrated her passion for environmental issues through a 3 month volunteer experience in Wondai, Australia in 2018 where she participated in experiential learning related to green building techniques and sustainable agriculture.
After Sophia completed her undergraduate degree, she wanted to gain hands-on skills and completed a certificate in Carpentry from Conestoga College. While working in the construction industry, she gained first-hand insight into male-dominated industries and the importance of women pushing boundaries in these industries. This experience furthered Sophia’s commitment to working on issues related to discrimination against women and girls, as well as human rights more broadly. Sophia also volunteers with the Thorndale Environmental Association, where she engages in local action on environmental issues. Sophia has also volunteered with Harmony House and Shepherds of Good Hope, serving individuals accessing these shelters in Ottawa, Ontario. Sophia looks forward to continuing her work on environmental and human rights issues through her pursuit of a Master of Arts in Global Governance.