Christina Harb

Christina Harb
Height: 5’5
Hometown: Montreal, QC
Languages: English, Arabic, French
Occupation: Kinesiologist and Physical and Health Educator

Christina Harb was born and raised in Lebanon. In 2006, she survived the Lebanon war and shortly after travelled with her family to Senegal where she completed a year of study in Al-Zahraa College before immigrating to Canada. She is now a proud Canadian Citizen living in Montreal where she speaks and writes three languages: English, French and Arabic. She is currently learning the American Sign Language as she believes that there is no Canadian community without the Deaf Community.

Being raised in Lebanon, a male-dominated society, Christina knew the importance of education for women to be independent, have a strong voice, reach full equality under all laws, access positions of power and end all policies that disadvantage women. For this reason, she completed two bachelor’s degrees from McGill University. Her first undergraduate degree was in Kinesiology and her second was in Physical and Health Education. Christina managed to be financially independent while excelling in her education. In 2017-2018 school years, she received four awards/Bursaries for her academic proficiency.

Having been a victim of bullying in high school, Christina was determined that her past events and experiences does not define her or her future. After all, she is now a confident, educated and independent candidate for Miss Universe Canada 2020. As a teacher, she makes sure that she applies strict anti-bullying measures. She is greatly involved in her community and is now volunteering for Sun Youth, MEMO-Qc and is completing the training to become a crisis responder for Crisis text line. Through her community involvement and her education, she learned about mental health disorders and was determined to complete the mental health first aid certification. She is convinced that human interactions should not be based on Newton’s Third Law of Action-Reaction. Rather, it’s important to look at the person’s reaction from a holistic perspective, making sure to understand their emotional, psychological, occupational and physiological state.

Through the Miss Universe Canada’s platform, Christina is hoping to inspire girls and women from all ethnic backgrounds to strive for more, to challenge themselves and to be active Canadian citizens involved in positions of power in each province and in our country at large. Pageantry throughout the world offers women a voice and helps reduce the gaps of gender inequality. Miss Universe Canada is an opportunity for her to use her knowledge, life experiences and voice to talk about important social issues and to advocate for gender equality in Canada and throughout the world. As she’s always asked women to challenge themselves, today, competing for Miss Universe Canada is her new challenge which will allow her to grow professionally, socially, and intellectually. Last but not least, as a girl, she grew up learning about the stories of many successful women and it taught her a lot about perseverance and hard work. Today, she looks forward to sharing her own story hoping to inspire more girls to dream big and to look up for personal, professional and academic growth in every experience and opportunity.

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Q&A

What are your interests and what do you enjoy doing the most?

By nature, I am a sociable and outgoing person who always likes to meet new people. For this reason, volunteering to local organizations such as Sun Youth, Memo-Qc and other non-profit organizations have been my favorite activities during my free time where I get to learn about the different challenges that people face on a daily basis. Also, through my education in kinesiology and in physical and health education, I developed a passion for outdoor activities and sports. During the Wintertime, I like to go skiing and ice skating and during the summer period, I enjoy hiking, playing basketball, and tennis.

List any special training you have had (music, art, drama, dance, etc.) 

YouTube has been the greatest reference for all of my talents. Since a very young age, I have been passionate about dancing. However, my life circumstance did not allow for an opportunity to enroll in private dance lessons.

In what sports, if any, have you participated?

Due to many life circumstances, I have never played in varsity teams. However, I have learned to play many sports through my friends and through my enrollment in Physical and Health Education at McGill University. I have been taught and coached by many talented McGill Head coaches and Olympic Athletes. Today, I can proficiently execute, teach and coach skills related to Volleyball, Tennis, Badminton, Tchoukball, Basketball, soccer, swimming, martial arts, Lacrosse and track & field.

Name one person, other than your parents, who has had the most influence on your life. Why?

Being surrounded by great people is the key to success. My best friend Ayah was not only my study buddy, she was also a source of support, motivation and a great example for amazing work ethic. We were always bringing the best out of each other, while also making sure to have fun. Ayah certainly made a great difference in my life and I would certainly advise kids and youth to wisely choose their friends and surroundings.

What is your proudest personal accomplishment (other than participating in this pageant)?

I have completed two Bachelors’ degrees from McGill University. The first one was in Kinesiology, I then decided to complete a second bachelor’s degree in Physical and Health Education. I am certainly proud of having completed these two Bachelor’s degrees. However, my proudest personal accomplishment was that I was able to complete my second full time undergraduate degree while being a full-time employee. Through this busy period of my life, I am proud to say that I still managed to excel in both my work and studies. Here are some awards that I received for my academic achievements at McGill University:

  1. Strathcona Trust Medal (2018): Awarded for four students from the department of kinesiology and physical education based on an outstanding academic performance.
  2. A.S. Lamb Scholarship (2018): Awarded by the Faculty of Education’s Committee on Student Affairs to students in Physical and Health Education on the basis of academic merit and professional promise.
  3. Univ-Qc Tuition Support Bursary (2018) : Awarded to students with exceptional academic performance and who are in financial need.
  4. Elizabeth Millar Cosens Bursary (2017): Awarded to a woman in Physical Education on the basis of academic record, motivation and financial need with the primary concern being given to academic proficiency.

What is the most interesting or unique thing that has ever happened to you and/or what is the most interesting thing about you? 

My academic years in kinesiology at McGill University have been filled with personal, academic and financial challenges. I clearly remember one day back in 2014 when I was eating a subway sandwich at the Promenade Cathedral mall at McGill Metro while thinking about all the challenges that I was facing at that period of time. Surrounded by all the negative thoughts, I couldn’t stop my tears from falling silently. I started hiding my crying face by looking down at the table. A few seconds later, an old homeless man came at me with tissues, gave me a warm hug and set next to me. He was ready to listen to all of my problems and to what I was going through at that moment. He accompanied me through that difficult moment and made me feel empowered and ready to face my challenges. This is the most unique experience that I lived. This man did not have a warm home like I did, he did not have a job like I did, he did not have a family like I did, yet, he was seeing life in a much brighter and optimistic way than me. Since that day, I learned to look at the bright side of every challenging experience and to always be grateful to what I have.

What is your career ambition and what are you doing or plan to do to accomplish that goal? 

I am a woman with a lot of ambitions, I do not have one destination but many. But, If I have to state one career ambition, I can say that with my two bachelors’ degrees in kinesiology and in Physical and Health Education, I dream to work at the Ministry of Education to oversee regulations, provincial curriculum, and educational services for publicly funded schools. For this purpose, I am looking to complete a master’s and a PhD degree in Educational Leadership and Policy while teaching elementary, high school or college students.

What would be your “dream job” in life?

I dream to become the first Miss Universe titleholder to become a Prime Minister. I believe that women are capable in becoming great leaders of our great country and I am determined to lead by example to encourage other women to take the necessary steps to be involved in the highest decisions of our country.

Describe where you were raised and what your childhood was like.

My childhood was very adventurous. I was raised in Lebanon where I attended elementary and half of my high school years. In Lebanon, I learned to speak and write Arabic. I was fortunate to have many friends living next to our house, so I was used to playing outdoors with my friends every day. During the 2006 Lebanon War, we received multiple bombs in proximity to our house and that is one of the scariest experiences that I have lived as a child. Unfortunately, It was heartbreaking for me to know that one of my classroom friends passed away during the war. Few months after the war ended, my parents decided to take us to Senegal to offer us a more peaceful life and a brighter future. We stayed in Senegal for a year during which I was able to make new friends, complete my secondary two and learn the basic Wolof phrases. By late 2007, we arrived at our great Country Canada that offered us the peaceful life and the bright future that every child deserves. I am forever grateful to be Canadian. These early experiences taught me that the past does not determine the future; therefore, if you would like to go forward in life, you must reflect on these early experiences and see how it shaped you, then put it on the side, and keep living your life to the fullest!

List any interesting or unusual jobs you may have had. 

Here is a fun story: During Summer 2009, I was determined to help my parents financially. My friend informed me about this Strawberry Picker Job opportunity that was available for everyone who is looking to work. I thought that this was a great opportunity for me to show to my parents that I can help! So, I convinced my sister to come with us. At 6:00 a.m. the next day, we arrived at the metro station where we would get the farmers bus that takes us to the farm. Once we arrived at the location, we were informed that we were paid 5$ per strawberry bucket. I thought that it was great until I realized that the strawberry grows on the ground and that the weather turned out to be extremely hot on that day. Having to squat for the entire day without having water nor food was a tearful experience. Here is the funny part: We stayed at the farm from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. and we only got about 30$ each for the entire day!! I came back home and gave 15$ off my salary to my parents who acknowledged my efforts and offered me to keep it!!!!

Through this experience, I learned to appreciate the hard work of our local farmers and that is when I decided to buy fruits, vegetables and dairy products from local farms.

List any volunteering you have done.

  • Touch_Volunteers-in-Partnership Program: Reaching individuals in the community requesting social connection during the Covid-19 crisis.
  • Moèlle Épinière et Motricité Québec : Assisting in the supervision and execution of different events and outings organized for people with limited mobility.
  • Sun Youth: Helping in the distribution of Christmas baskets for individuals and families in need.
  • Jewish General hospital: Guiding patients at the emergency unit throughout their waiting time and assisting different staff members by doing basic office work.
  • Train to Help: Fundraiser organized by my best friend and myself in which we trained a group of individual in exchange of items to be donated for homeless people.
  • Terry Fox Run: Cancer has taken two members of my family and I contributed to this event to help advance cancer research and support cancer patients.
  • 30 minutes à fond pour le fonds at Nautilus plus : Fundraiser organized by Nautilus plus for the advancement of Cancer Research.
  • McGill Run for Outreach: Fundraiser to ensure free dental services for people in need as I am aware that dental treatments can be expensive and unaffordable for some Canadians.

What is your most unusual talent?

I have 6 lovely budgie birds at home. With my budgies, I learned to understand their body language and to differentiate their sounds: Happy Chirrups, Unhappy Chirrups, Squawking, Chattering, Singing, Chiding, Beak grinding,

Where is the most interesting place you have been to?

I have been at the Island of Gorée (Île de Gorée) in Dakar, Sénégal known as the location of House of Slaves. Today, it is considered as a reminder of human exploitation and as Dakar tourist trail.

What do you hope to be doing in ten years?

For me, health is the most important aspect. So, I hope in ten years to be in great health and fitness and have my loved ones surround me. When it comes to my occupation, I hope to achieve my current dream job and career ambition. I would certainly like to be able to improve Quebec Education system to offer richer educational resources to students in Public schools hoping to reduce the percentage of high school dropouts. When it comes to my personal life, I hope to have my own small family, to travel to at least 10 destinations and to meet with a few international celebrities such as Queen Rania of Jordan, Shah Rukh Khan and Beyoncé.

Is there anything you would like to add that we haven’t asked?

My life experiences helped me become the resilient, independent and hard worker that I am today. My life was filled with a lot of ups and downs, and with time and experience, I learned to manage my downs to keep progressing towards my ultimate occupational and personal goals. I am fortunate to be Canadian: I was allowed to dream, live in peace, achieve higher education, work and aim to start a family of my own where I would have the same human rights as my future husband. It would be a great honor to become the next Miss Universe Canada and to represent Canada at the Miss Universe Organization. I believe that my life experiences, my education, my community involvement, my work ethics and the beautiful Canadian values instilled in me would certainly make me a suitable candidate for Miss Universe Canada and Miss Universe. As a titleholder, I will be able to use my knowledge and experiences in promoting multiple cause through the Miss Universe Canada’s platform. First, through my mental health first aid certification and my involvement in Crisis text line, I will be able to advocate for mental health education, prevention and treatment. Through my involvement in Moèlle Épinière et Motricité Québec, I am looking forward to highlighting the challenges that people with limited mobility faces in our country. Finally, through my bachelor’s degree in physical and health education, I look forward to emphasizing on how we can improve our public education system to allow for our kids’ higher chances of success in high school.

 

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