Since participating in Canadian Parents for French Chapter meetings in elementary school, Derrek Bentley has been passionate about French language promotion and education in Manitoba and across Canada. After switching to a Francophone high school partially due to a lack of a quality immersion high school option in his area, Derrek has been actively involved in la francophonie. Specifically, he believes that la francophonie needs to be more inclusive of all French-speakers and recognize that our different accents should be seen as a strength instead of a mechanism for exclusion. By bringing together all French-speakers, the opportunities for youth to speak and have fun in French, whether it be their first, second, or fifth language, will only increase exponentially. He believes that youth are the proponents of this change towards inclusion.
In 2011, Derrek became the youngest person to receive the prestigious Prix Riel in Manitoba in the area of community development. Despite being a second language French speaker, receiving this francophone award was a great moment of feeling acceptance in the community. Later that year, he joined CPF Manitoba’s Branch Board as a director until leaving this position in 2016 to become a member of CPF’s National Board. He has organized a variety of youth focused events in French that have always been inclusive of French second-language speakers. Through these events with organizations such as the Conseil jeunesse provincial, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, the Manitoba Association for Right and Liberties, and Canadian Parents for French, Derrek’s network of young change-makers has continued to grow.
Following graduation from the University of Winnipeg with a Bachelor of Arts in Human Rights and International Development, Derrek began working at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in a bilingual position. In all that he does, Derrek works to ensure youth have an equal voice in discussion and decision-making processes. Through school and work, Derrek has become fully bilingual in French and English. He believes in the importance of linguistic duality for all and that through advocacy efforts, both conventional and non-conventional, that empower youth to learn French, the dream of having all Canadians speak both official languages can be achieved.
Youth are full of knowledge and creativity that can be an incredible asset to any team or organization, including Canadian Parents for French. They are not only leaders of tomorrow, but leaders of today and by harnessing that leadership, Derrek has seen the positive change that can come to a community.
- Youth Engagement
- Conflict Resolution
- Social Media and Communications
Email Derrek: email@example.com