Surrey, Canada


Photographer: Jen Osborne

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

Obi Canuel is a philosopher and religious minister of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a church that emphasises the teaching of tolerance and open mindedness. A religious philosophy major, Obi often wanders the streets of Surrey, a city in western Canada’s British Columbia province, wearing religious robes and a colander. “What’s important is that people take a moment to think about what’s important in life,” he says. Obi draws his inspiration from Socrates, encouraging everyone around him to have fun, challenge conventional wisdom and think about the meaning of life. “Why does religion have to be so serious?” he says. As well as being a religious minister, Obi is a youth mentor, piano teacher and political activist. In 2014, he ran for Surrey’s city council on a platform that included raising awareness of the income gap between ordinary citizens and their political representatives, promising that if elected he would donate two-thirds of his salary to charity. He finished second last out of 35 candidates.