A University of New Brunswick student is receiving provincial recognition for his efforts to promote the integration of newcomers to Canada, bilingualism and gender equality.

Austin Henderson, a 20 year old of Salisbury, was named the recipient of the 2018 NB Young Humanitarian Award by the Canadian Red Cross in early July. The prize will be presented on Nov. 14 at the Power of Humanity Awards fundraiser dinner in Saint John.

Henderson is a Lord Beaverbrook scholar pursuing a leadership degree at UNB’s Renaissance College. He will soon be conducting research on the attraction, retention and integration of young newcomers to New Brunswick.

Henderson said in an interview with The Brunswickan that a summer internship with Alaina Lockhart, the Liberal MP for Fundy Royal, prompted his interest in immigration integration. Lockhart [proposed a motion] in the fall of 2016 to conduct a study on immigration to Atlantic Canada.

“Working on Parliament Hill for the start of the study gave me insight into how critical immigration is to our region, but also showcased the numerous gaps that must be addressed to ensure that our area [Atlantic Canada, but New Brunswick specifically as well] is effectively attracting, retaining, and integrating newcomers.” Henderson said.

Following his internship, Henderson continued to work on immigration issues through Imagine NB, a leadership development program for newcomer youth, and his senior research project at Renaissance College.

The third-year student credits his extensive international travels for his interest in global development. Henderson has visited 14 countries and hosted exchange students with his family. He views global issues as problems that must be addressed both domestically and abroad.

“Throughout these travels, I’ve come to learn and see a lot, and understand the importance of advocating for countries such as Canada to fulfill their responsibility [my term and opinion] on the world-stage,” Henderson said.

The young political guru actively promotes bilingualism through the organization Canadian Parents for French. Henderson is the vice-president of the New Brunswick division.

He said he would like to see the creation of opportunities for immersion program graduates to practice and use French outside of classes and courses.