Lyndsay Hayhurst 2000

Lyndsay Hayhurst is an inspirational and exemplary young alumna who embodies the leadership, initiative, unique vision and excellence that Havergal endeavours to cultivate. As a competitive athlete, Lyndsay has been able to integrate her passions for sport and social justice, translating these into a large body of work that has helped to make a difference in the lives of others, on both national and global scales.

Upon completing her honours bachelor of arts at Queen’s University, Lyndsay went on to complete a master of arts degree at UBC, studying the socio-cultural dimensions of physical activity and health. Driven by a desire to harness and expand the capacity of sport to positively impact the lives of vulnerable youth across the globe, Lyndsay demonstrated extraordinary enterprise by becoming the president and founder of the first ever Right To Play chapter at UBC. This world-renowned humanitarian organization uses sport and play programs to improve child development and health, and to foster peace for children. Lyndsay even developed a template to support the effective implementation of Right to Play university clubs worldwide in order to facilitate this organization in engaging the university student population, thereby expanding its impact.

Before embarking on the path to obtaining her PhD at the University of Toronto in international development, corporate social responsibility and sociology of gender, sport and health, Lyndsay was a policy and communications consultant at the United Nations Development Programme. There, she conducted analyses of key sub-Saharan African policies in the areas captured by the Millennium Development Goals. She also delivered lectures on these goals to United Nations associations, and represented the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Campaign at the UN Global Youth Leadership Summit.

The uniquely transformative quality of her community service activities can also be found in her scholarly work, aimed at advancing the use of sport and gender for promoting human rights, international development and corporate social responsibility. Her passion for this area stems from a keen awareness that the educational and athletic opportunities which she was afforded are notably absent from the lives of young girls and women in the developing world. As her goals are to “change policy and direct the attention of governments, international organizations and donors towards these pertinent issues,” she has conducted extensive research that demonstrates the way in which structural inequalities and barriers to participation in sport ultimately damage the lives of young women and girls.

Currently, Lyndsay is building her research on genderfocused sport for development programs in Uganda. The goal is to help young girls defend themselves against physical and sexual abuse, as well as to challenge gender norms, improve the well-being of girls and facilitate social change. She is investigating similar programs in Canada and Australia that are focused on Aboriginal youth, and Lyndsay is particularly interested in the growing involvement of the private sector and international non-governmental organizations in supporting the development of such programs. To further promote effective, reformative awareness, Lyndsay was recently involved in drafting a position paper on some of these issues for the Commonwealth Secretariat, which was discussed by representatives from the Commonwealth Advisory Body on Sport at a meeting in April 2012.

More recently, Lyndsay has been awarded a highly coveted Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Ottawa. Next year, she will be a visiting research fellow at the Gender Institute at the London School of Economics. Lyndsay’s future career goals are to become a “tenure-track professor in sociology, physical education or international development, work at UN Women, a think-tank or work in the public service.” In keeping with Lyndsay’s notoriously humble disposition, she wishes to emphasize that, while she is extremely honoured to be receiving this award, she would like to recognize and laud all of her fellow Havergal peers for their personal accomplishments.

Written by Jackie Chin 2001