The Centre for Human Rights will host its seventh annual Inclusion Day Conference on Wednesday, Jan. 27, at York University’s Keele campus. The event features a variety of presenters who will explore the interface between human rights and the university.
About the theme: Human Rights & the University – Progressive? Constrained? Connected?
Academic institutions have long been sites of advancement, progression and social change. Historically, universities have been sites for the emergence of many rights movements throughout North America, from the organizing of protests to the critical production of academic literature on social justice issues.
Conference presenters will ask and debate questions relating to where the university is now, for example:
- Has the reputation of universities shifted from sites of change to sites of oppression?
- What is the current relationship between human rights and universities?
- Are universities serving as progressive engines in the area of social justice or are universities a constraint in the fight for human rights?
- Are universities as connected with communities as they should be to drive social change?
- Can universities apply academic and administrative knowledge towards social justice?
About the program
Conference participants will have the option to choose from concurrent sessions throughout the day, as well as attend a luncheon keynote address by Renu Mandhane, the new chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. A special panel presentation is also on the agenda, on the Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the role of postsecondary institutions in implementing a socially just public education.
- Lunch keynote – The Underground Restaurant, 1:15 to 2pm: Renu Mandhane is the former executive director of the International Human Rights Program at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law. She has an LLM in international human rights law from New York University, and is a recognized expert. She sits on the Canada Committee of Human Rights Watch, and has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada and the United Nations. She was appointed chief commissioner of the OHRC in October 2015.
Panel presentation – 280N York Lanes, 11am to 12:15pm: When Justice Murray Sinclair was asked about the one message that non-Aboriginal Canadians can take from the work of the TRC, he said, “Put the relationship back into balance.” Sinclair stressed that to achieve reconciliation and balance in the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, we need to change the way non-Aboriginal people are educated about Aboriginal Peoples. Initiating dialogue on the implications of the TRC’s recommendations for public education in Canada will be indigenous women Kerry Potts, faculty from the Humber College of Applied Arts & Technology; York’s own Ruth Koleszar-Green, associate professor in the School of Social Work; and Deborah McGregor, associate professor from Osgoode Hall Law School.
The Centre for Human Rights will also be presenting the 2015 REDI Award – its first student award that recognizes students who are committed to building a respectful, equitable, diverse and inclusive (REDI) community and to advancing, promoting and upholding human rights at York. Irena Djukic will receive the inaugural award at 1pm during the conference lunch program in the Underground Restaurant.
Come out and join the dialogue. Participation is free. To register or view the conference program and presenter bios, visit rights.info.yorku.ca.