McLaughlin College launches winter-term talks today

Today at 2pm, immigration and refugee lawyer Lorne Waldman kicks off the McLaughlin College Winter Term Lunch Talks with a discussion about Maher Arar and the Fragility of Human Rights in Canada.

His talk is the first of 10 informal lectures McLaughlin College is presenting between Feb. 20 and March 21. Highlights include Somali novelist and Nobel Prize-nominee Nuruddin Farah on the prospects of peace and security in Africa, Liberal Party organizer Alexis Levine’s inside look at Michael Ignatieff’s run for the federal leadership and York Chancellor Peter Cory’s account of his investigation of six controversial murders during the Irish Troubles.

Open to McLaughlin College students, fellows and friends, the talks take place at noon in the Senior Common Room, 140 McLaughlin, unless otherwise stated. A light lunch will be served at noon, followed by a talk at 12:15, a question-and-answer period and wrap up about 1pm.

Winter-term talks

Feb. 20, Junior Common Room, 014 McLaughlin, 2pm
"Maher Arar and the Fragility of Human Rights in Canada"
by Lorne Waldman
Lorne Waldman graduated from York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School in 1977. An immigration and refugee lawyer with extensive experience in cases related to national security, Waldman was one of the senior counsels representing Maher Arar at the Commission of Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Maher Arar. On Sept. 26, 2002, Arar was detained and interrogated about alleged links to Al-Qaeda then imprisoned and tortured for a year in a Syrian jail. On Sept. 18, 2006, the inquiry commissioner cleared Arar of all terrorism allegations and awards him millions in compensation. This talk is co-sponsored with the Public Policy & Administration Students Association.

Feb. 21
"Local Compliance With Human Rights and International Trade Agreements in Canada, China, and Japan: Selective Adaptation in the Areas of Health, Housing and Labour"
by Lesley Jacobs
Lesley Jacobs is a professor in York’s Law & Society Program and graduate programs in health, law, political science, and social and political thought. This year, he is the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Virtual Scholar in Residence at the Law Commission of Canada in Ottawa. Jacobs will talk about how issues of local legal culture, institutional capacity and economic development lead to the selective adaptation of human rights and international trade norms and regulations in Canada, China and Japan. Jacobs is Chair of the Canada team of researchers on the Asia Pacific Dispute Resolution Project at the Institute of Asian Research at the University of British Columbia and will discuss the policy implications of the APDR findings. This talk is co-sponsored with the McLaughlin Action Research Group.

Feb. 22
"Bowling Alone: Postmodernism, and the Revival of Social Capital"
by Philip MacEwen
York philosophy Prof. Philip MacEwen will discuss Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone, one of the most influential political science and sociology texts of the past decade. The book notes precipitous decline of participation in politics in most Western democracies during the past 40 years and blames it on a prevailing addiction to television, which erodes interpersonal skills and social capital.

Feb. 23
"The Irish Situation: The Collusion Investigation for the British and Irish Governments with Regard to Murders Committed During the Irish Troubles"
by Peter Cory
In 2002, Justice Peter Cory was appointed commissioner by the governments of Britain and Northern Ireland to investigate and report on six high-profile murder cases affecting the peace process in Northern Ireland. In his 2004 report, Cory concluded the military and police intelligence knew of murder plots but failed to intervene. He recommended a public inquiry. Cory, now York University chancellor, will discuss his investigation and developments since his report was released.

Feb. 27
"Judicial Reform in Unjust Regimes"
by Carl Baar
Carl Baar is one of the world’s leading experts on judicial administration. He founded the graduate program in judicial administration at Brock University in the early 1970s and helped establish York’s Graduate Diploma in Justice System Administration several years ago. Co-author of the classic text, Judicial Administration in Canada, he has been at the forefront of reform on courts administration in Canada and many other countries. Baar is an adjunct professor at York in political science. His consulting work takes him to countries considered unjust regimes, and he has wrestled with the question of whether judicial reforms in such regimes could help or hinder the development of democracy. This talk is co-sponsored with the Centre for Practical Ethics.

March 7
"Deliberative Inquiry: A Successful Model for Linking Research and Policy"
by Graham Orpwood
Graham Orpwood is a York education professor who was director of the York/Seneca Institute for Mathematics, Science & Technology Education for seven years. He became interested in the link between research and policy while doing doctoral research 25 years ago and work for the Science Council of Canada, for which he designed the deliberative inquiry model for a nation-wide study of science education in schools. His 1984 deliberative inquiry model is being used in the College Mathematics Project, a collaborative project with Seneca tracking student academic records from high school to college. The project could lead to a better understanding of success and failure at the college level. This talk is co-sponsored with the McLaughlin Action Research Group.

March 8
"The Prospects for Peace and Security in Africa"
by Nuruddin Farah
Nuruddin Farah is a Somali author who has been nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature. A central theme of his work is women’s liberation in postcolonial Somaliland, which he sees as a prerequisite for freedom and democracy. His newest novel, Knots, published by Penguin, will be available at the talk.

March 14
"Inside A Leadership Campaign — The Mechanics of Leadership Politics"
by Alexis Levine
Alexis Levine is senior policy adviser to Ontario’s Attorney General and a 2004 graduate of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School. He recently served as director of organization and chief agent for Ontario for Michael Ignatieff’s Liberal leadership campaign. This talk is co-sponsored by the Undergraduate Political Science Council.

March 19
"The Human Rights Approach to Poverty Eradication"
by Bhausaheb Ubale
Bhausaheb Ubale, a former human rights commissioner for Ontario and Canada, is one of Canada’s best-known authorities on human rights. He believes human rights cannot be realized without the eradication of poverty and has developed micro-credit initiatives in Canada and abroad. He is in the process of establishing a poverty eradication program at McLaughlin College.

March 21
"Liberal Toleration, Human Rights and Rawls’s
The Law of Peoples"
by David Gordon
David Gordon is a master’s student in political science whose research focuses on The Law of Peoples by the late John Rawls, arguably the most influential political philosopher of liberalism in the 20th century. In his early work, Rawls advanced a liberal-egalitarian theory of justice for a domestic society. He later argued in The Law of Peoples that liberal societies should tolerate non-liberal states which respect a minimal list of human rights. Gordon asks whether Rawls has betrayed liberalism’s central premises. Gordon is also a research assistant in the Centre for Practical Ethics, which is co-sponsoring this talk.

Other talks have also been scheduled. For a complete list, check the McLaughlin College Web site.