Supported by a generous grant from the Priscilla and Stanford Reid Trust.
All of the keynote speakers and plenary panelists not only are well recognized within their own disciplines or professions but also have public stature that goes beyond their professional peers. Dr. Nicholas Wolterstorff, for example, is well known among philosophers for his work in epistemology, ontology, and philosophy of religion, but he is also an accomplished public speaker highly regarded by social change agents and religious leaders. Similarly, the work of political science professor Dr. Melissa Williams as founding Director of the Centre for Ethics at U of T was marked by its success at bringing academics, professionals, and a wider public into dialogue. Plenary panelists The Very Rev. Hon. Lois M. Wilson, C.C., O.C., was a former moderator of the United Church of Canada, a former Senator in the Canadian Parliament and is a prominent spokesperson on human rights, interfaith, and women’s issues; Dr. Abdulaziz A. Sachedina, Frances Myers Ball Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia, is an expert in Islamic law, ethics, and theology who is currently Distinguished Visiting Professor of Islamic Studies at Emmanuel College; and Rabbi Michael S. Stroh is Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Har Zion (Thornhill, Ont.), a past President of the Toronto Board of Rabbis and of Arza Canada (Reform Zionist organization) and was a chair of the Reform Round Table dealing with questions concerning Reform Judaism. The moderator for the first plenary panel is Rev. Dr. Karen Hamilton, General Secretary of Canadian Council of Churches and a prominent spokesperson for human rights in the context of global governance. The moderator for the second plenary panel is Ms. Henriette Thompson, Coordinator of Ecumenical, Interfaith, and Government Relations for the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada and coordinator of Anglican participation in Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
A similar combination of recognized expertise and public stature characterize presenters of the concurrent workshop sessions. For example, Mr. John Olthuis, LLB (panel on “Aboriginal Rights in Canada”) was recognized by the Canadian Bar Association as one of the leading aboriginal rights lawyers in Canada, having served as legal counsel to the Chiefs of Ontario and table negotiator at the Aboriginal Government table for the Assembly of First Nations in the Charlottetown Accord constitutional negotiations. Dr. James Christie (panel on “Tensions between Justice and Other Norms”), Director of The Ridd Institute for Religion and Global Policy at the University of Winnipeg, participated in the first Canadian Church Leaders’ Study Mission on HIV/AIDS to East Africa and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for leadership in the International Criminal Court Treaty. Dr. Deborah Stienstra (panel on “Disability and Human Rights”), Professor in Disability Studies at the University of Manitoba, is a leading expert in this area, having served on research teams funded both by SSHRC and by Canadian Institutes for Health Research. At the same time, we have also secured a number of younger and mid-career leaders who bring new perspectives to these topics and potentially attract a different range of conference participants.