Our Shared Experiences over 150 years

a one-day conference taking place taking place on December 3rd 2017 in Toronto, Montreal & Vancouver.

CLICK HERE to download the full program.

What can you expect from participating

As organizations representing the interests of communities that have been subjected to various socio-political injustices, we strongly believe that intercultural dialogue that respects the rights and responsibilities of all and promotes a shared understanding that outlines our obligation towards the future is a key determinant for a more harmonious and peaceful world tomorrow.
“Canadian Stories: Our Shared Experiences over 150 years” is a “MUST ATTEND” conference.
It provides a cross-Canada platform to share, learn and understand our experiences and to further our commitment to human rights by empowering those who want to make a difference, strengthen, and enhance Human Rights, Fundamental Freedoms and Canadian multiculturalism. Information sharing, question-and-answers and networking are a vital part of the conference experience. It will provide a learning environment for key human rights issues and reinforce the importance of commitment to Canadian multiculturalism and human rights legislation.

Why attend?

Learn firsthand from leaders in the field of human rights and multiculturalism
Keep up-to-date on new and emerging theme
Take the opportunity to expand your advocacy network
Learn how others survived and rebuild their communities across Canada
Register to attend “Canadian Stories: Our Shared Experiences over 150 years” now, space is limited.

The Conference


Welcome –Ukrainian Canadian Congress
Paul Grod
Ukrainian Canadian Congress President

10:30 – 10:45
Live from Toronto, broadcasted to Montreal and Vancouver

Setting the Context – Indigenous People
Jessica Labranche
Principal at Black Feather Law Professional Corporation

10:45 – 11:00
Live from Toronto, broadcasted to Montreal and Vancouver

Panel 1 Canada’s response to genocide

11:00 – 12:30
Live from Toronto, broadcasted to Montreal and Vancouver

Through the expert insight of our panelists, the first panel will take an in-depth look into the history, motives, aftermath and international attention of the various accounts of genocide that occurred throughout the 20th Century. The panelists will also discuss Canada’s response to these atrocities and the lessons we can learn moving forward – so that Never Again can truly mean Never Again.

Moderator: Raffi Sarkissian
Past Chair, Sara Corning Centre for Genocide Education

Panel speakers:

  • Professor Isabel Kaprielian-Churchill
  • Professor Frank Sysyn
    Holodomor Research and Education Consortium
  • Garnett Genuis
    Member Of Parliament for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan

Keynote address: Jonathan Kay
Canadian Journalist

1:00 – 2:00
Live from Toronto, broadcasted to Montreal and Vancouver

Panel 2: The Evolution of Canadian Multiculturalism

2:00 – 3:30Live from Toronto, broadcasted to Montreal and Vancouver

The second panel will discuss the evolution of Canada’s policy of multiculturalism, the bedrock of our coherent and exemplary society. The panelists will discuss how certain policies came into effect, how they impacted communities and individual Canadians and what obstacles we encountered as we strived to create a mosaic of cultures, committed to upholding our peaceful co-existence. The panel will also explore the challenges facing our policies today, and how we can address them in order to strengthen our collective identity as Canadians.

Moderator: CIJA
Panel speakers:

  • Dr. John Young
    President and Chief Executive Officer Canadian Museum for Human Rights
  • Arif Virani
    Member of Parliament for Parkdale—High Park
  • Jagmeet Singh
    Leader of the Federal NDP

Panel 3: Canada’s Role as an International Human Rights Leader

4:00 – 5:30
Live from Montreal, broadcasted to Toronto and Vancouver

Canada has long been regarded as a champion of international human rights. Through this panel, the conference will discuss Canada’s enhanced role in international human rights through a contemporary lens and how we can do more to promote our shared values within the international community now and in the future.

Moderator: Lalai Manjikian, PhD
Panel speakers:

  • The Hon. Irwin Cotler, P.C., O.C.,
    Founder and Chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights
  • Anthony Housefather
    Member of Parliament for Mount Royal
  • Kyle Matthews
    Executive Director Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies

Closing Remarks: Shahen Mirakian, President, Armenian National Committee Canada

5:30 – 5:45

Dr. Isabelle Kaprielian-Churchill

Professor of History at California State University, Fresno

Dr. Kaprielian-Churchill is the author of Like Our Mountains: A History of Armenians in Canada, published last year by McGill-Queen's University Press. This is the first comprehensive history of the Armenian Diaspora in Canada spanning a period of 100 years from the founding settlements in the late 19th century to the devastating earthquake in Armenia in 1988. Like Our Mountains examines the economic, social, religious, political, and cultural life of Armenian settlers focusing on different cities during different waves of immigration.
Having received a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 1984, Kaprielian-Churchill taught at the University of Toronto and at Ryerson and York Universities before moving to Fresno. In 2001 she was promoted to full professor. She has published extensively on immigration and ethnic history, emphasizing issues related to refugee survival and settlement as well as to family and social networks of immigrants in Canada. Her writings are rooted in vivid personal accounts and the quest for retaining identities in times of upheaval and change.

Dr. Frank Sysyn

Dr. Frank Sysyn was born on 27 December 1946 in Passaic, New Jersey. Historian. He graduated from Princeton University (1968), the University of London (1969), and Harvard University (PH D, 1976), taught at Harvard University (1976–85), and was an associate director of the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute (1985–8). In 1989 he was appointed the first director of the Peter Jacyk Centre for Ukrainian Historical Research at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (CIUS), University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Alberta, and has served as editor-in-chief of its Hrushevsky Translation Project, which is preparing and publishing an English-language translation of Mykhailo Hrushevsky’s ten-volume Istoriia Ukraïny-Rusy. He served as an acting director of the CIUS in 1991–93 and currently serves as the head of the Toronto Office of the CIUS. He is also actively engaged with the development of the Ukrainian Studies Program at the Harriman Institute of Columbia University in New York as well as the Ukrainian Free University in Munich. A specialist on 17th-century Ukraine, Sysyn has published Between Poland and the Ukraine: The Dilemma of Adam Kysil, 1600–1653 (1985), Mykhailo Hrushevsky: Historian and National Awakener (2001), and numerous articles about the Bohdan Khmelnytsky and the Khmelnytsky Uprising, early-modern Ukrainian historiography, Ukrainian religious history, and the Holodomor. A Festschrift in his honor, titled Tentorium Honororum, was published in 2010.

Source: International Encyclopedia of Ukraine

Garnett Genuis

MP for Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan

Garnett Genuis is Member of Parliament for the Alberta riding of Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan and the Deputy Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Official Opposition. He previously served as Deputy Critic of Human Rights and Religious Freedom.

Since his election in 2015, Garnett has developed a reputation as one of the most outspoken Members of Parliament. According to rankings developed by Maclean’s, he spoke over 100,000 words in the Chamber in his first year alone which is more than all three major party leaders combined. Speaking on foreign affairs in university classrooms in India, at rallies on Parliament Hill, and everywhere in between, Garnett has proven he is just as vocal outside the Chamber as inside.

Garnett grew up in Strathcona County and got involved in his community at a young age. He volunteered regularly with various organizations, including a local care centre, and began writing a column for the Sherwood Park News at 15 years old. During this time he also developed an interest in human rights issues around the world, influenced by his maternal grandmother, a Holocaust survivor. As the Deputy Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs, he has drawn attention to international human rights violations and called for a return to Canada’s historic principle-based foreign policy.

After studying Public Affairs and Policy Management at Carleton University in Ottawa, Garnett earned a master’s degree in Public Policy and Philosophy at the UK’s prestigious London School of Economics. Before entering politics himself, he worked as a staffer in the Prime Minister’s Office, a writer and editor at a small online news company, a debate coach at an inner-city school in London, and most recently as the vice president of a public opinion research company.

Source: Official Website of MP Garnett Genuis

Dr. John Young,

CEO of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Dr. John Young began his role as President and CEO of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights on August 17, 2015. Prior to accepting his position with the Museum, Dr. Young was an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC), where he excelled as both an educator and administrator. During his time at UNBC, Dr. Young served as Interim Provost and Vice President Academic and prior to that was the Dean of the College of Arts, Social and Health Sciences.

Recognized by UNBC for his teaching excellence, he has been a visiting professor in the United States and Japan and has lived and worked in Germany and Russia. Dr. Young has also worked with the Canadian Parliamentary Centre, as a director of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and on the CMHR Board of Trustees from 2012 to 2015.

Arif Virani

MP for Parkdale-High Park

After a rewarding fourteen-year legal career advocating for human rights and access to justice as a constitutional litigator, former Ugandan Asian refugee Arif Virani, is now proud to serve the community and country he calls home, as the Member of Parliament for Parkdale-High Park, and as Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism. Arif has an Honours B.A. in History and Political Science from McGill University, and completed his LL.B at the University of Toronto.

He has worked as an Analyst with the Canadian Human Rights Commission in Ottawa; an Investigator at la Commission des droits de la personne et droits de la jeunesse in Montreal; and as an Assistant Trial Attorney prosecuting genocide at the United Nation’s International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Arif is a founder of Toronto’s legal aid clinic SALCO, the recipient of the prestigious 2001 Harold G. Fox Scholarship and the 2008 Wilson-Prichard Award in recognition of his contributions to the legal profession and his community.

Arif lives and volunteers in Parkdale – High Park; he is a member of the Redwood Shelter for abused women, regularly helps at the Parkdale Food Bank, is an active volunteer with Roncyworks and has led community efforts to address mental health stigma.

Source: Official Website of MP Arif Virani

Dr. Irwin Cotler

Founder and chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights

Irwin Cotler is the Founder and Chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, an Emeritus Professor of Law at McGill University, former Member of Parliament, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and an international human rights lawyer.

A constitutional and comparative law scholar, Professor Cotler intervened in landmark Charter of Rights cases in the areas of free speech, freedom of religion, minority rights, peace law and war crimes justice.

Cotler also made the pursuit of international justice a government priority, including heading the Canadian delegation to the Stockholm Conference on the Prevention and Combatting of Genocide; affirming the Responsibility to Protect Doctrine as a centerpiece of Canadian policy for the prevention and combating of mass atrocity; initiated the first-ever prosecution under the War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity Act; and intervened in the Mugesera case, which established the important principle and precedent that the very incitement to genocide constitutes the crime whether or not acts of genocide follow.

A leading Parliamentarian on the global stage, he has been Chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Group for Human Rights in Iran; Chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Group of Justice for Sergei Magnitsky; Chair of the All-Party Save Darfur Parliamentary Coalition; Chair, Canadian section, of the Parliamentarians for Global Action and Member of its international council; and Chair of the first-ever Parliamentary Assembly for an International Criminal Court.

He is the recipient of eleven honorary doctorates, where he has been recognized as “a scholar and advocate of international stature” (as cited in his various honorary doctorates). He has been named an Officer of the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest civilian award and is the recipient also of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. He has recently been awarded the Canadian Bar Association’s President’s Award; was the first Canadian recipient of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation’s Centennial Medal; the first recipient of

Source: Official Website of the RWCHR

Anthony Housefather

MP for Mount Royal

Anthony Housefather was elected as Member of Parliament for Mount Royal on October 19, 2015. In February 2016, he was elected as Chairman of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, which has the power to examine and to produce reports on the policies, programs and expenses of the Department of Justice.

Moreover, Anthony has two Law Degrees (B.C.L. and LL.B.) from McGill University and an MBA from Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business. Until he was elected an MP, he served as Executive Vice President Corporate Affairs and General Counsel at Dialogic Corporation.

Anthony was first elected to office in 1994. He was initially elected as a municipal councillor in Hampstead, then elected in Côte-Saint-Luc/Hampstead/Montreal West, and served as Mayor of Côte-Saint-Luc between 2005 and 2015.

On a personal level, Anthony participates in numerous activities in his community. He is a member of the drama society and swim team. His performance in swimming earned him seven medals at the 2013 Maccabiah Games, in Israel. He has also been a volunteer for many years within a number of organizations serving the English speaking and Jewish communities.

Source: Official Website of MP Anthony Housefather

Kyle Mathews

Executive Director at Montreal Institute for Genocide Studies

Kyle Matthews is the Executive Director of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS) at Concordia University. He joined MIGS as Lead Researcher of the Will to Intervene Project in 2008 and was appointed Senior Deputy Director in 2011. At Concordia he founded the Raoul Wallenberg Legacy of Leadership project as well as the Digital Mass Atrocity Preventing Lab, which works to counter online extremism and study how social media platforms are being used as a weapon of war.
His work focuses on human rights, international security, the Responsibility to Protect, global threats, and social media and technology, and global cities. He works closely with the Canadian All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Prevention of Genocide and has advised Members of Parliament on issues related to international peace and security. He previously worked for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, where he was posted to the Southern Caucasus (Tbilisi), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa) and Switzerland (Geneva). Prior to that he worked for CARE Canada in Albania and later at its headquarters in Ottawa, where he managed various humanitarian response initiatives and peace-building projects in Afghanistan, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.
In 2011 he joined the New Leaders program at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. He is a member of the Global Diplomacy Lab, a member of the BMW Foundation’s Global Responsible Leaders, and recently joined the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s advisory board on transatlantic cooperation for atrocity prevention. He is active member of the University Club of Montreal, the Montreal Press Club, the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations, the Canadian International Council and the Federal Idea, a think tank devoted to federalism. He is currently a Fellow at the Canadian Institute for Global Affairs and a Research Fellow at the Canadian Research Institute on Humanitarian Crises and Aid.

Source: Official Website of Concordia University

Register to Conference

Space is limited, you must register to participate.

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Conference Locations

Armenian Community Center of Toronto


45 Hallcrown Pl, Toronto, ON M2J 4Y4

L'École Arménienne Sourp Hagop


3400 Rue Nadon, Montréal, QC H4J 1P5

Armenian Community Center of Vancouver


13780 Westminster Hwy, Richmond, BC V6V1A2

Organized by

Humura Association of Canada
Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights
Canadian Hellenic Congress
Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs
Ukrainian Canadian Congress
Holodomor Research and Education Consortium
Armenian National Committee Canada
Armenian Community Center Cambridge