(Page is being updated. More information is coming)
Learn how George began his fight for children’s rights at 14 from a student activist in Canada helping voiceless children (which he calls “a heavenly cause”) to UNICEF’s Global #FightUnfair Children’s Rights Champion Gold Medal Winner — to an Entrepreneur building startups to help make a positive impact in the world and how he continues to advocate for children’s rights.
“This page is in honour of my Mother (Ermioni Kalentzi Stamatis), my Dad (Nick Stamatis), my Sister (Victoria Stamatis) and all my mentors Robert W Hatton, Bruno Mital (Kids Help Phone), Stratton D. Stevens, Senator Marcel Prud’homme, Edgar M Bronfman (Seagram), Tony Hsieh (Zappos), Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Iakovos of America whom all helped me and gave me priceless advice over the course of my life. Thank You from the bottom of my heart ❤️” – George Stamatis
“Becoming a billionaire is not to make billions of dollars, but to affect the lives of a billion people. That’s my goal!”–
At 14 (1996) George’s teacher Linda asked everyone in his English class to read a newspaper. He choose Montreal’s newspaper “The Gazette” and an article that caught his eye (“Panel to probe locked doors at youth rehabilitation centre” (November 07, 1996 page A.7) which stated that a unit “Chapel” at Shawbridge managed by Batshaw Youth and Family Centres, an entirely Quebec government-funded organization that is devoted for vulnerable children (abused and neglected) felt more like a jail than a center for children to get the help they needed. In that article, the name of a “Robert Hatton” was mentioned.
Eager to take action to help children from such abuse, George picked up the phone book, found Mr. Hatton and called him to learn more about the matter. Robert then became his mentor and a close friend. Together, they stood up, complained and advocated at several government institutions, including the United Nations, to improve conditions for children living in these types of centres.
On May 8, 1997, following an investigation on this matter, the Quebec Human Rights Commission denounced the use of “Chapel” Unit and “concluded that the situation at that unit “constitutes a violation of the rights of the youths for whom the Centre is responsible.” and demanded the complete closure of this unit within 60 days. The “Chapel” unit was permanently closed a few days after the order.
From the Commission:
“The conclusion conducted showed that the physical layout of the La Chapelle unit had a determining effect on the living conditions of young people by forcing educators to favour safety at the expense of rehabilitation. Thus, the layout of the premises did not allow for easy supervision of the young people by the educators, so much so that during certain activities, they confined teenagers to their rooms for an extended period. The teenagers’ rooms were dilapidated, austere and poorly lit. The screened windows let in little light. In addition, the operating permit determining the number of places in the unit was not respected.” “Confinement to the room, as practiced in this unit as a disciplinary measure, was equivalent to a measure of isolation.”
“The investigation showed that in several respects, the means of intervention put in place by the unit relied more on control and the application of disciplinary measures than on rehabilitation services centered, in a spirit preventive therapy, towards the reintegration of young people. Finally, it emerged that the problems and practices in the unit created psychological pressure on the young people, which was reflected in particular by the fear of reprisals and the inability to challenge disciplinary measures.”
“Following this investigation, the Commission asked for the complete closure of this unit, the end of the application of the program to stop acting for all living units, an in-depth revision of the rules interns listed in the code of life and the disciplinary measures applied by the rehabilitation centre. The unit is now closed, and the establishment has changed the rules for applying the cessation program.”
Read the Commission’s 1996 annual report in French (page 38) mentioning the investigation
At 14 (1996) George was invited to take part in a meeting to encourage politicians to get more young people at the United Nations General Assembly, and its committees, including the Security Council. At that meeting, he advocated and convinced various United Nations member states of the importance of having and including more youth representatives in its delegation to the UN General Assembly. Today, over 30 countries have included youth delegates as part of their official delegation to the UN General Assembly, with numbers gradually increasing.
At 15, (1997 til 2003) George was hired as an “independent contractor” by his late mentor Robert Hatton to do research for him, specifically find abuse cases of children’s rights in Quebec.
In February 2000, George submitted a report to Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard and Health Minister Pauline Marois about children’s rights violations in Quebec.
Read George’s report (in English) and (in French)
At 16 (1998), George founded le “Conseil politique en aide de la jeunesse du Canada” (Political Council to Help Canadian Youth), a movement to stand up for the rights of children in Canada. The movement was later dissolved in 2000 after merging it with the Canadian Youth Rights Association (CYRA) led by George’s late friend Joshua Gilbert in Nepean, Ontario. The CYRA was later closed following the death of Joshua in 2001.
At 16 (January 1998) During the 1998 North American Ice Storm which ravaged parts of Quebec, George was asked to help and he organized a group of people at the Complex Claude Robillard to help facilitate the needs of families and their children to help cope with the high-stress situation that was being endured.
At 16 (1998) George began advocating for the USA to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child to the US government under President Bill Clinton.
He also advocated to several senior government officials for the proper implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in Canada by incorporating the Convention within the Canadian Constitution.
He also strongly advocated for the establishment of a Children’s Commissioner for Canada through Senator Landon Pearson, Senator Marcel Prud’homme, Senator Lucie Pépin, Minister Allan Rock and Prime Minister Jean Chretien.
Read the letter Canadian Minister of Health Allan Rock wrote to George in March 2000, following his request to establish an independent federal Commissioner for Canada’s Children..
At 17 (July 1999) George was selected by the One Day Foundation to attend as a youth representative from Canada at the “United Youth Conference” in Sedona, Arizona, which convened 20 leading youth activists from 12 countries to help give youth a voice.
Together they co-founded a working structure “Global Youth Assembly and Network” which then became “Global Youth Action Network (GYAN)” a clearinghouse for youth movements and opened a New York City Headquarters Office in January 2000, right near the United Nations.
In 2000, they nominated George as Canadian Youth Ambassador for GYAN to lead the organizing, outreach and development of GYAN in Canada until 2005.
GYAN became the largest network of youth organizations ever created to empower young people to be engaged, encourage collaboration in solving critical issues and take part in global decision-making processes at the United Nations. They believed that critical issues facing the planet demand every generation’s attention and action, and that youth are instrumental in movements for positive social change.
GYAN grew to connect over 10,000 affiliated youth groups around the world in 190 countries, facilitating global collaborations and working closely with the UN to increase youth participation.
In 2001, GYAN merged its online community and databases with TakingITGlobal, which has become the most active site on the Internet for young social leaders. Today, TakingITGlobal contains the most comprehensive database of youth organizations, events and much more, with over 200,000 members in 200+ countries and territories. GYAN also helped launch and coordinate Global Youth Service Day with Youth Service America, which became the largest celebration of young volunteers, and has brought together over 40 million people in thousands of communities worldwide, in over 100 countries in every region of the world. Learn more about GYAN here: https://gyan.tigweb.org/
At 21 (Sept 2003), George was chosen as “Youth Affairs Representative” and “Public Relations Director” of the International Bureau for Children’s Rights (IBCR), a United Nations Status INGO and on 25 (Nov 2007) appointed Vice-President becoming the youngest person to hold that position at the IBCR.
While at the IBCR, he fundraised, worked with government officials and promoted the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) to governments around the world and lobbied the US Government for its ratification and in 2009 took part in a historic international meeting in Egypt at the invitation of Moushira Khattab (Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (2002–2010 & Minister of Family & Population of Egypt), where Muslim countries adopted human rights approaches within the Organization of Islamic States in Islamic Sharia Law, for women and the rights of the Child.
FYI: The USA is the only United Nations country that hasn’t ratified the CRC which is the most rapidly and widely ratified human rights treaty in history adopted by the UN in 1989 and now ratified by 193 countries.). Learn more about this issue here & here
At 23 (May-June 2005) After two and half years of conversations with the City of Montreal officials, George successfully convinced Peter B Yeomans (Chairman, Public Security Commission) to get Montreal’s Police Department ()Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal) & Montreal’s Fire Department (Service de sécurité incendie de Montréal) to translate its websites into English as well which was only available in French. They fully translated the websites into English in 2006.
Read Peter B Yeomans letter to George confirming his request.
At 24 (Oct-2005 to Feb 2006) In October 2005 the median began covering reported cases of child abuse occurring in Quebec’s youth protection centres.
In February 2006, George presented a brief before the National Assembly of Quebec and proposed modifications to amend Quebec’s Youth Protection Act (Bill 125) to ensure young people’s rights be respected and have strict control on the use of “secure custody” in youth protection centre. Today it’s the law.
Read the Brief (in french)
At 24 (September 2006), Merely hours following a tragic shooting tragedy, which occurred at Dawson College in Montreal on September 13, 2006, the Dawson student community requested the help of George because of his previous experiences dealing with youth, community and government officials to coordinate an emergency Crisis Centre on behalf of the Dawson Student Union and Concordia Student Union.
George led and coordinated a spontaneous 26-person team effort, from Dawson College and Concordia University, to coordinate relief efforts following the tragic shooting that occurred at Dawson College in Montreal. Together as a team, they established a temporary crisis center at Concordia University (5 minutes from Dawson College) merely 30 minutes after the events to offer food, blankets, and transport for students to their homes via taxis and special buses. The team established a unique telephone line the same night of the tragedy in collaboration with Kids Help Phone (A BIG Thanks to his late friend & mentor Bruno Mital) to provide students and young people directly affected counselling from specialists. They also established a counselling service (psychologist and psychiatrist on-site) for 3 weeks, serving traumatized students, staff, families, and individuals directly affected by the tragedy. George also arranged transportation through the STM for everyone to attend the funeral of beautiful Anastasia DeSousa, the shooting victim who lost her life at 18.
(In honour of his work, George was honoured by the City of Montreal, Public Security President Claude Dauphin, Montreal’s Chief of Police Yvan Delorme and Dawson College Director-General Richard Fillion and the Dawson Community).
In English, the certificate says:
“On behalf of municipal authorities and on behalf of all citizens of Montreal, we sincerely thank you and acknowledge your exceptional contribution during the events at Dawson College on September 13, 2006.
“Thanks to the courage, tenacity, the insight and to the altruism that you have proved during your intervention to the citizens affected by the events, you have confirmed that our city included first responders unusual and that inspires confidence.”
“The public safety commission recognizes your professionalism and your rigour that make you a dominant player and well known throughout the territory and City of Montreal.”
George led a movement within (the Dawson community, Montreal city officials, police federations, student provincial & national federations etc) to ensure federal opposition parties reject Bill C-301 (which would have helped dismantle gun control in Canada).
Thankfully, Bill C-301 did not become law.
Read the letter to federal opposition parties (co-signed by many) (in french)
Read letters from NDP Leader Jack Layton, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff and also from the Bloc Quebecois.
At 25 (March 2007), George was honoured to be named Grand-Marshal by the Hellenic Community of Montreal and led the Greek independence Parade. They recognized him for children’s rights work, his work in the community at large and his work in coordinating counselling services for Dawson College students affected by the shooting in September 2006. George was the youngest person to ever be the Grand Marshal and lead that parade.
The Greek Independence Day is an important celebration of the Greek Revolution against the Ottomans, which led to the creation of Greece as we know it.
At 27 (June/July 2009) George collaborated in the drafting of BILL C-418 in the House of Commons presented by Member of Parliament Marc Garneau, to establish a Children’s Commissioner for Canada, an independent official to ensure government accountability regarding the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Mr. Garneau invited George to witness the bill’s tabling in Parliament, especially because since 1998, George helped Senator Landon Pearson voice strong support to establish a Children’s Commissioner in Canada.
Press Release: (in English)
At 29 (October 16, 2011) George walked on the final stretch in Montreal with Jean Béliveau who over 11 years walked 75,000 km through five continents in 65 countries to promote peace and raise awareness about children facing violence”.
Learn more about Jean here: https://wwwalk.org
15 Years Anniversary for Children’s Rights Activism & Advocacy
George and two others organized a vigil the next day through social media to pay homage to the man shot and killed. George delivered a speech to bring the tension down between the French and English communities and bring people together following the division in regards to the province’s language debate. Many hundreds of people showed up at the event in front of the Metropolis (performing arts centre) in Montreal.
At 30 (Dec 2012) George and his business partner we’re on a mission to improve the way professionals work together and communicate with each other by bringing back the power of personal human touch with face-to-face meetings/conversations using technology and social media in a crazy digital world because “we sacrifice conversation for mere connection”.
Trendr was the Official Networking App for many worldwide events, including (Formula 1 Grand Prix, International Just for Laughs Festival/Comedy Pro, Real-Time Marketing, and much more.
In 2012, Forbes featured Trendr “Trendr the new sweetheart of business networking opportunities”. In 2013, Virgin/Richard Branson featured Trendr. In 2015, the Intelligence Community (Intelligence & National Security professionals worldwide) selected Trendr as 1 of the Top 100 Most Innovative Companies in the World.
At 30 (February 2013) George was humbled to be awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, a prestigious award for his selfless devotion, his significant contribution to the citizens of Canada, and his 15 years of children’s rights work. Lieutenant Governor of Quebec Honourable Pierre Duchesne presented the award to him, by Command of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
A certificate accompanying the medal signed by the Governor-General of Canada, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Lloyd Johnston said the following:
“By Command of her Majesty The Queen, the Diamond Jubilee Medal is presented to you in commemoration of the sixtieth anniversary of Her Majesty’s Accession to the Throne and in recognition of your contributions to Canada.”
At 31 (August 21, 2013) George saved a 15-year-old rape survivor who was sentenced by the Maldives Court to be whipped 100 times in public for “sex outside marriage” by bringing this case to the world’s attention through social media and an online petition campaign on March 25, 2013, which was shared (87,000 times) and the petition itself signed by 2.1 million people. This led the court to overturn and quash the flogging sentence.
At 33 (August 2015) George was invited to join a host committee that comprises some of Montreal’s top new leaders to help support the application from cities across North America to host the 2017 Vanguard Conference – the same year which marked Montreal’s 375th and Canada’s 150th anniversaries.
On January 5, 2016, they selected Montreal as the 2017 host for the Next City Vanguard conference. From May 31 to June 3, 2017, 45 young urban thought leaders (the best and brightest young urban leaders) came to Montreal as part of that conference–a first for the city and Canada to address urban challenges and experience the great city of Montreal. The conference brought over $1,000,000 worth of expertise and knowledge that has been shared with local, citizen-led organizations in Montreal.
The “highlight” of the VanguardMTL Conference for 2017 was the Big Idea Challenge which George was invited to be a Judge. 6 Vanguard teams competed for a $7000 grant for one of our local community partners. At the last moment, a private donor stepped up and gave $5000 more to support a 2nd and 3rd prize – the presentations were just too good. Press Release in PDF (in english)
At 33 (Dec 2015) – George was humbled to win UNICEF’’s Global #FightUnfair Champion Gold Medal given to him by UNICEF for his activism and leadership since the age of 14 fighting for the rights of children and advocating for the most vulnerable, voiceless and disempowered children (“a heavenly cause” he calls it) and spreading awareness to hold governments accountable for ensuring a better future for every child and promoting children’s rights as guaranteed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
“This award is not just for me. It goes to all the children out there that we all activists and humanitarians fight for. It goes to all activists and humanitarians that have dedicated their lives to a heavenly cause to fight for the rights of the children. You are all here with me today. It is for those vulnerable and voiceless children who want change. To the children of the world: I will continue speaking and defend you until my last breath on this planet.“ – George Stamatis.
At 35 (April 2017), George was humbled & honoured to be invited by the Canadian Government to sit along with Canada’s Members of Parliament and listen to his Children’s Rights Activist fellow & Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai deliver her impassioned speech to the Parliament of Canada.
George’s statement in response to Malala’s speech: “Malala is a brave, inspiring woman and powerful voice for justice. She’s proof that no one is never too young to lead. She reminds us that when our leaders fail to lead, people must. Malala is such a beautiful soul, an inspiration for all humanity” “Thank YOU PM Justin Trudeau for awarding honorary Canadian citizenship to Malala. One of the Most Inspiring Moments in Canada” & “Malala, Thank You for using your strong voice for girls all over the world!! As you said: “The world needs leadership based on serving humanity”
at 37 (September 20, 2019) George was invited to take part and speak at the High-Level Commemorative Event of the “30th Anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child” at the United Nations General Assembly.