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Meet Avesta Alani – recipient of the 2021 CNIB National Youth Council Leadership Award!

By Emilee Schevers
CNIB National Youth Council Member

The National Youth Council believes in recognizing youth with sight loss. That's why it created the Leadership Award to celebrate people going above and beyond to make a difference in their community.

Avesta Alani is passionate about advocating for people with disabilities and creating diversity within the legal field. Avesta poses for a professional headshot. She is wearing a black blazer and a white dress shirt.

Diagnosed with Cone Rod Dystrophy as a child, Avesta graduated from the University of Ottawa in 2017 with an Honours in International Development and Globalization and a Minor in Philosophy. In 2020, she received her J.D. from Osgoode Hall Law School and is now a practicing lawyer.

To Avesta, leadership means being approachable, collaborative, community-orientated, courageous, taking action on issues you are passionate about, and recognizing that you can’t do everything alone. 

Avesta leads through passion, sharing her voice and being true to her values. She believes that both successes and failures are crucial to being a good leader.

Avesta envisions a world where people with disabilities feel empowered in their communities and can reach their full potential. Every day, she works toward making this dream a reality and even wrote a book called “Diffability: The LIberation of Potential.” Diffability book cover. Text: Diffability. The Liberation of Potential. Avesta Alani

The book speaks to the philosophical and linguistic barriers and challenges in the conception of today's idea of disability and how we can change it. She hopes her book will open the door to more meaningful conversations and a better understanding of the differences in our communities. 

Avesta also volunteers much of her time with CNIB, NEADS and Osgoode Hall Law School (the first Dean's Fellow for Access and Inclusion) to enact change. She’s played a role in leading mentorship programs with a focus on diversity, inclusion, and accessibility and being mentored by developed professionals. 

Avesta’s mentors refer to her as a “trailblazer,” “natural-born leader,” and “fierce advocate.” The CNIB National Youth Council has no doubt that Avesta will continue to achieve her goals and proudly represent the vision loss community. Congratulations, Avesta!