Thomas R. Berger to give annual John Holmes Memorial Lecture at Glendon

A prominent defender of minority rights and former justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, Thomas R. Berger will deliver the annual John Holmes Memorial Lecture at Glendon, titled “From the Mackenzie Valley to Nunavut: Northern Challenges”.

This public lecture, given in English, will take place Tuesday, March 31 at 7:30pm in 102 Glendon Hall, Glendon campus.

Left: Thomas R. Berger

Now a practising lawyer, Berger fought to establish the rights of Canada’s Aboriginal peoples. He acted as a conciliator between the government of Canada and the government of Nunavut from 2005 to 2006, regarding a series of disputes detailed in his report, “The Nunavut Project”.

During his time as a justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia (1971-1983), he was chair of the Royal Commission on Family and Children’s Law in BC (1973-1974) and commissioner of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry (1974-1977) as well as the Commission on Indian and Inuit Health Consultation (1979-1980) for the Canadian government.

Berger is the author of Northern Frontier, Northern Homeland (1977); Village Journey: The Report of the Alaska Native Review Commision (1985), A Long and Terrible Shadow: White Values, Native Rights in the Americas Since 1492 (1999); Fragile Freedoms: Human Rights and Dissent in Canada (1981) and One Man’s Justice: A Life in the Law (2002).

The annual John Holmes Memorial Lecture at Glendon honours the late John W. Holmes, Canadian diplomat, writer, administrator and professor of international relations at Glendon from 1971 to 1981. Holmes was a tireless promoter of Canada at home and abroad in political, diplomatic and educational circles. He also participated in the founding of the United Nations and attended its first General Assembly in 1945.

Right: John W. Holmes

Shortly after his death in 1988, a memorial fund was set up at Glendon under the leadership of Professor Albert Tucker, principal of Glendon from 1970 to 1975 and chair of the Department of History at the time, to create a series of annual lectures sponsored by Glendon’s International Studies Program in Holmes’ honour.

The first John Holmes Memorial Lecture was delivered by Sir Brian Urquhart, former undersecretary general of the United Nations. Other distinguished speakers have included former prime minister of Canada Kim Campbell; former deputy secretary general of the United Nations Louise Fréchette; Canadian ambassadors Geoffrey Pearson and Anne Leahy; author John Ralston Saul; retired Supreme Court Justice Peter deCarteret Cory; and former deputy secretary general of Amnesty International and Glendon alumnus Vincent del Buono (BA Hons. ’72), among others.

Admission to the lecture is free, but as seating is limited, reservations are recommended. Indicate your attendance by e-mail to or call 416-487-6727.

Submitted to YFile by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny