RAFFI Cavoukian is the founder of Child Honouring, a children-first paradigm for global restoration.
He is a renaissance man known to millions simply as Raffi: a renowned Canadian troubadour, record producer, systems thinker, author, entrepreneur and ecology advocate, once called "the most popular children's entertainer in the western world" (Washington Post). President of Troubadour Music, among the most successful independent record labels, Raffi was a pioneer in music for children and families: his CDs, tapes, videos, and DVDs have sold over 14 million copies in Canada and the US, and his books, more than 3 million copies. A generation saw him in concert and grew up singing Down by the Bay and Raffi's signature song Baby Beluga. "Beluga "grads" often tell him they're now raising their own kids with his songs.
A recipient of the Order of Canada and the United Nations' Earth Achievement Award, Raffi has recently been awarded two honourary degrees: Dr of Music, from the University of Victoria, and Dr of Letters, from the University of British Columbia. He is associated with many NGOs, including the Council of Human Development, the Darwin Project Council, the Center for Partnership Studies, the Center for Children's Health and the Environment, and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.
In his 3 decade career, Raffi has refused all commercial endorsement offers, and his triple-bottom-line company has never directly advertised or marketed to children. He is a passionate advocate for a child's right to live free of commercial exploitation. Recently, he sent an open letter to Rogers Wireless urging they stop marketing cellphones to kids, and turned down a Baby Beluga film proposal laden with exploitative advertising and merchandising.
Raffi has become a "global troubadour", lecturing and networking to help create a viable future: a restorative, child-friendly world for ourselves and for those to come. His original philosophy, Child Honouring, is gaining support among eminent thinkers as a systemic remedy for addressing the major issues of our time. His Covenant for Honouring Children is widely circulated among child development, education, ecological economics and environmental health circles (available for download at Raffinews.com).
Here is a brief sample of Raffi's recent advocacy:
His November 2001 keynote address (in both word and song) in Anaheim, CA, before 7,000 teachers at the National Association for the Education of Young Children conference was a resounding success.
In 2002 in New York, Raffi sang Turn This World Around, his musical tribute to former South African president Nelson Mandela. "We must turn this world around—for the children", Mandela had said, at the launch of his 2000 campaign Say Yes for Children (with Graça Machel and UNICEF).
In October 2003, he wrote and recorded Where We All Belong, in support of the Earth Charter, a declaration of interdependence born at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio (which he attended).
Twice he traveled to Dharamsala, India, where he sang at the Tibetan Children's Village and met with the Dalai Lama. During the Dalai Lama's visit to Vancouver in the spring of 2004, Raffi performed "Song for the Dalai Lama," his original composition based on a Tibetan sutra, accompanied by a 90-voice children's choir and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
In 2005 Raffi presented Child Honouring in word and song at Toronto's IdeaCity conference, Boston's Berklee College of Music, the Rethinking Development conference in Antigonish Nova Scotia, and at Dr Sharna Olfman's Symposium on Children and Society in Pittsburgh. A Colloquium on Child Honouring was held at the University of Victoria where the Covenant for Honouring Children is used in teacher training programs.