The Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights’ Senior Fellows: Payam Akhavan, Rona Ambrose, Maziar Bahari, Susan Benesch, Cindy Blackstock, David Crane, Alan Dershowitz, Adam Dodek, Javier El-Hage, Pearl Eliadis, Karen Eltis, Jared Genser, Carl Gershman, Terry Glavin, Aleksandra Gliszczynska-Grabias, Michael Ignatieff, Yang Jianli, Vladimir Kara-Murza, David Kilgour, Fannie Lafontaine, Ron Levi, Anastasia Lin, Kathleen Mahoney, David Matas, Errol Mendes, Kim Motley, Marina Nemat, Michael Petrou, Bob Rae, Kent Roach, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Alvin Rosenfeld, Ahmed Shaheed, Murray Sinclair, Charles Taylor, Sherman Teichman, Gil Troy, and Michael Žantovsky
The Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights welcomes the leading thinkers and advocates of our day in Canada and beyond - chosen for their singular contributions to the struggle for peace and justice in our time. Working in common cause, we seek to mobilize a constituency of conscience in defence of our shared values of democracy, human rights, and the protection of the most vulnerable.
We can ensure that justice will prevail.
2017 CBC Massey Lecturer, Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague, and Professor at McGill University Faculty of Law. He has served as a Fellow at Yale and Oxford, as a former UN prosecutor at The Hague, and as legal counsel in cases before the International Criminal Court, International Court of Justice, European Court of Human Rights, and the Supreme Courts of Canada and the United States.
Marguerite “Maggy” Barankitse
A Burundian humanitarian activist devoted to improving the welfare and restoring the dignity of children targeted by conflict and ethnic discrimination. She is the founder of Maison Shalom (“Peace House”), which provides psychosocial support, shelter, healthcare, education and vocational training and income-generation programs to children in need. Maison Shalom helped over 20,000 children in Burundi before Maggy was forced to flee her country and seek refuge in Rwanda in 2015. Since, Maison Shalom opened its doors to Burundian refugees in Rwanda and is now spreading to the Congo, with the same mission of nurturing love, peace, and reconciliation. She is a recipient of various awards, including the 2016 Aurora Prize.
Faculty Associate of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, Director of the Dangerous Speech Project, and Professor at American University. She was the 2012-3 Edith Everett Genocide Prevention Fellow at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and has worked at the Center for Justice and Accountability, Amnesty International, Human Rights First, and at the war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
Cindy Blackstock, OC
A member of the Gitxsan First Nation, Cindy is the Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and Professor at the McGill University School of Social Work. Her work in Indigenous children’s rights and reconciliation has been recognized by the Nobel Women’s Initiative, the Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, Frontline Defenders and many others
David Michael Crane
Principal in the consulting firm Justice Consultancy International, LLC, former professor of practice at Syracuse University College of Law, and founding Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (2002-2005). He leads the Syrian Accountability Project, founded Impunity Watch, a law review and public service blog, and has served over thirty years in the federal government of the United States. In 2018, Professor Crane was appointed Chair of the Commission of Inquiry into the clashes in Gaza and East Jerusalem where he will serve through 2019.
Emeritus Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard University, and one of the most celebrated lawyers in America. Known as "one of the most distinguished defenders of individual rights," he is the author of over 1000 articles and many bestselling books, and is a highly sought after speaker and media commentator.
Professor at the University of Ottawa, and leading expert in public law, the judiciary, and ethics. He is a Founding Member of the Faculty’s Public Law Group and of the Canadian Association for Legal Ethics (CALE). A recipient of various awards, he has been recognized as a top educator and one of the most influential lawyers in Canada.
Chief Legal Officer of the Human Rights Foundation and head of the Centre for Law and Democracy. El-Hage is an attorney admitted to practice in the state of New York. He has been adjunct faculty on comparative constitutional law and international law in universities in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Guatemala. He is a frequent expert commentator on democracy and human rights issues in English and Spanish-language news and TV media.
International human rights lawyer, full member of McGill’s Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism and adjunct professor of law, Pearl has advised leading domestic, international, and multilateral institutions, including the UN and the European Commission in Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Sudan, Tajikistan and Timor Leste. She has written extensively on human rights and public policy, is Chair of the Canadian Centre for International Justice, and is President of the Quebec Bar Association’s Human Rights Committee. She has won several awards for her work, including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Professor at the University of Ottawa and Princeton University. She is a former Professor at Columbia Law School, and past Director of the Human Rights Centre, the Centre for Law, Society, and Technology, and a former Senior Advisor to the National Judicial Institute. She is a leading expert on the impact of new technologies on constitutional rights, and has published in the areas of Internet law and policy (privacy and data security), comparative law, and democratic governance.
Managing Director of Perseus Strategies, Founder of Freedom Now, Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, and one of the world's leading defenders of political prisoners. He has represented such pro bono clients as former Czech Republic President Vaclav Havel and Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Aung San Suu Kyi, Liu Xioabo, Desmond Tutu, and Elie Wiesel. He is a regular contributor to the Washington Post,has published several books on human rights, and is the recipient of many awards, including the American Bar Association’s International Human Rights Award.
Founding President of the National Endowment for Democracy, and architect of the Journal of Democracy, International Forum for Democratic Studies, and the World Movement for Democracy. He has served as the U.S. Representative to the Third United Nations Committee on Human Rights, and the UN Security Council. He is a recipient of numerous prestigious global awards, and has lectured extensively and written prolifically for leading publications on issues of foreign policy and democracy.
Terry Glavin is a columnist with the National Post and the Ottawa Citizen and is a regular contributor to Maclean's magazine. His focus is on democratic rights and the struggles of marginalized peoples has taken him on assignments to Afghanistan, Israel, the Russian Far East, the Eastern Himalayas, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Cyprus, Jordan, Geneva, Hong Kong, China and Central America. He is the author of seven books and the co-author of three. His books have been published in Canada, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom. He has won more than a dozen literary and journalism awards, including the Hubert Evans Prize and several National Magazine Awards.
Lawyer, Author, Professor, and Senior Researcher at the Poznań Human Rights Centre of the Institute of Law Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Former Graduate Fellow at Yale University and Bohdan Winiarski Fellow at the Lauterpacht Centre of the University of Cambridge. She is a Recipient of the 2015-2018 Fellowship of the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education, has published many leading articles and books, and counsels Parliaments, Governments, and civil society groups.
Hon. Michael Ignatieff, PC, CM
President and Rector of the Central European University and leading public intellectual. Past Edward R. Murrow Professor at Harvard Kennedy School, Centennial Chair of the Carnegie Council for Ethics and International Affairs, and Former Canadian Parliamentarian and Leader of the Opposition. A prolific author and academic, he has produced many major publications in human rights, policy, and politics. He is a Member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and holds eleven honourary degrees.
Chinese dissident and Pro-Democracy Leader, President of Initiatives for China, Co-founder of the China Human Rights Accountability Center, and Fellow at Harvard University. A former political prisoner and Tiananmen Square activist, he is now living in exile in the United States. Known as "a beacon of hope for democracy," he is an adviser to many leading human rights and democracy NGOs around the world.
Russian dissident and democratic opposition leader, Vice-Chairman of Open Russia, Member of the Federal Council of the People's Freedom Party, and Senior Adviser at the Institute for Modern Russia. Past Russian television and print media editor and journalist, and former adviser to murdered Russian opposition Parliamentarian Boris Nemtsov. He has testified before Parliaments and contributed to newspapers and journals around the world. Targeted by the Russian Government for his human rights leadership, he has survived multiple assassination attempts.
David Kilgour, PC
First elected to the Parliament of Canada in 1979 from Edmonton Alberta, Kilgour was re-elected seven times and served as Deputy Speaker and Chair of the Committees of the Whole House, Secretary of State for Latin America and Africa (1997-2002) and Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific (2002-2003). In 2009, he published with David Matas Bloody Harvest-The Killing of Falun Gong for their Organs. He and Matas were nominated for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. He is one of the founders of the International Coalition to end organ pillaging in China.
Professor at Laval University Faculty of Law, Canada Research Chair on International Criminal Justice and Human Rights, and Founder and Co-Director of the International Criminal and Humanitarian Law Clinic. Former special adviser and human rights officer in the Executive Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva. She has also worked as a human rights officer and special assistant to the President of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur, as a lawyer for the Global Justice Centre in Rio de Janeiro, and Clerk for Canadian Supreme Court Justice Louise Arbour. She has written landmark publications in the area of human rights and mass atrocity law, and is the recipient of many awards recognizing her academic leadership.
Award-winning actress and human rights advocate, who addresses human rights violations through her art and activism. She has appeared in over 20 film and television productions, and testified before Parliaments around the world. A winner of Miss World Canada 2015, she was banned by China from competing in the international Miss World competition due to her work in defence of the vulnerable. Her films have won numerous accolades, and she was recognized by MTV as a "Top 25 under 25."
Professor at the University of Calgary Faculty of Law and Queen’s Counsel. Founder of the Women's Legal Education and Action Fund, former Chief Negotiator for the Assembly of First Nations and the subsequent historic settlement agreement with Canada for reparations, and the principal architect of the Truth and Reconciliation Process. She has held many international fellowships and lectureships, and has organized and participated in collaborative human rights and judicial education projects around the world. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and is a recipient of the Canadian and Alberta Bar Association Distinguished Service Awards and holds Trudeau and Fulbright Fellowships.
David Matas, CM
Human rights lawyer and professor of law. A voice of conscience in Canada and beyond, he has been a leader in the most important international human rights struggles of the era. A Co-Author of the landmark report on Forced Organ Pillaging in China, he has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his tireless and innovative advocacy on organ harvesting targeting Falun Gong practitioners. A recipient of numerous awards, he was named to the Order of Canada, and is a recipient of the Manitoba Bar Association Distinguished Service Award and the International Society for Human Rights Swiss Section Human Rights Prize.
Professor at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, President of the International Commission of Jurists Canada Section, and Commissioner on the Ontario Human Rights Commission. He has served as an advisor to Governments, civil society groups, the United Nations, and the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court. He has published extensively in the areas of human rights, constitutionalism, ethics, and global governance, and is the recipient of many prestigious awards, including the Walter S. Tarnopolsky Human Rights Award, the Order of Ontario and the Law Society Medal of the Law Society of Upper Canada.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair, PC
A lawyer and University of Montreal professor and political commentator, Thomas Mulcair devoted his entire career to public service. After acting as president of the Office des profession du Québec (1987-1993), he served four mandates as a provincial member of the Quebec National Assembly (1994-2007) and acted as Environment Minister for three years (2003-2006), during which time he was responsible for drafting and implementing what was described as the most avant-garde Sustainable Development legislation in North America. Following, he entered federal politics becoming the first New Democrat elected in a general election in his province of Quebec, later becoming and serving as the leader of the New Democratic Party for five years (2012-2017).
Founder of Motley Legal Services and Motley Consulting International. Serves as counsel to political prisoners around the world, and as an International Attorney who also fights for human rights in defence of women's rights and the protection of children and the vulnerable. She is currently the first foreigner to litigate cases in Afghanistan’s Criminal, Civil, and Commercial Courts, and has worked in Afghanistan since 2008. A fight that began in Afghanistan now takes her around the world where she fights for many disenfranchised persons on every continent possible. As a leader in her field, she has travelled the globe to train other legal practitioners and inspire the public to action. In 2014 she gave a Ted Talk entitled, "How I Defend the Rule of Law." Her work is frequently covered in leading outlets. An award winning documentary entitled, Motley's Law showcases her life and work which was released in 2015. Currently, she is penning a book scheduled to be released in 2019.
Dissident, human Rights activist, and international bestselling author. A former political prisoner, she was jailed at the age of 16 in the notorious Evin prison, where she was tortured and raped. Refuging in Canada, she writes and lectures on her experiences and on the human rights crisis in Iran. She is Chair of the Writers in Exile Committee at PEN Canada, Member of the International Council of the Oslo Freedom Forum, Member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture and of female political prisoner advocacy NGO Vigdis. She is a recipient of the inaugural Human Dignity Award from the European Parliament, the Grinzane Prize, and the Morris Abram Human Rights Award from UN Watch.
Award-winning author and journalist who has reported from Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. He has won three National Magazine Awards and the Ottawa Book Award for Non-fiction. He is also the recipient of the 2017 R. James Travers Foreign Corresponding Fellowship, which he used to examine the stories of displaced Syrians — with an emphasis on the millions of refugees who remain in the Middle East. Petrou is the 2018 Martin Wise Goodman Canadian Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.
Hon. Bob Rae, PC, CC, O.Ont, QC
Lawyer, Professor, Writer and Political Leader active on issues pertaining to First Nations, social justice, and international affairs. Mr. Rae was recently named Special Envoy of the Prime Minister of Canada to Myanmar. He has worked at the highest levels of government in Canada - including as Premier of Ontario - and has been elected eleven times to federal and provincial parliaments. He is a Member of Her Majesty’s Privy Council for Canada, the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario, and has received numerous honourary degrees and awards from Canadian and foreign universities, colleges, and organizations.
Kent Roach, CM
Professor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, Prichard-Wilson Chair of Law and Public Policy and Managing Editor of the Criminal Law Quarterly. He has authored many award-winning legal publications, and frequently appears as counsel in landmark criminal and constitutional cases. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a recipient of the Trudeau Fellowship, and a Member of the Order of Canada.
Alvin H. Rosenfeld
Director of the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism, the Irving M. Glazer Chair in Jewish Studies, and Professor of English and Jewish Studies at Indiana University. A widely-published author of books and articles on Holocaust literature, American Jewish Literature, Exile Literature and Contemporary Antisemitism. He was appointed in 2002 by U.S. President George W. Bush to the governing council of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, OBE
A international religious leader, philosopher and award-winning author. He was awarded the 2016 Templeton Prize in recognition of his “exceptional contributions to affirming life’s spiritual dimension.” A frequent and sought-after contributor to radio, television and the press both in Britain and around the world, Rabbi Sacks is the author of over 30 books. His most recent work, Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence, was an international top-ten bestseller and argued the need for a religious response to religious extremism. Knighted by Her Majesty The Queen in 2005 and made a Life Peer, taking his seat in the House of Lords in October 2009, Rabbi Sacks served as the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth between 1991 and 2013. Since then, he has a number of professorships at several academic institutions including New York University, Yeshiva University and King’s College London.
United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion, Lecturer at the University of Essex Faculty of Law and Human Rights Centre, Founding Chair of the Universal Rights Group, and advisor to the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect. Former Foreign Minister of the Maldives and UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran. He is the recipient of many international awards, including the Leo Nevas Human Rights (Global Leadership) Award of the UN Foundation.
A former Iranian political prisoner and a courageous activist in the fight for women’s rights in Iran. A leader of the “Girls of Revolution Street” and White Wednesday civil disobedience movements, she was most recently arrested in late February 2018 for removing her headscarf in defiance of compulsory hijab laws. Sentenced to 20 years in prison, she fled to Canada, after being defended by renown human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, where she now lives in exile. Named by BCC as one of the 100 most inspiring and influential women around the world for 2018, Shaparak has become one of the leading figures in the pursuit of justice, accountability, and equality in Khomenei’s Iran.
Hon. Murray Sinclair, MSC
Canadian Senator and Human Rights Leader. He was the first Aboriginal Judge appointed in Manitoba and second in Canada, was the Former Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry in Manitoba, former Chief Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and past Professor at the University of Manitoba Faculty of Law. He has won numerous awards including the National Aboriginal Achievement Award, the Manitoba Bar Association Equality Award and its Distinguished Service Award, and is the recipient of eight Honourary Doctorates.
A Venezuelan criminal lawyer and a human rights activist. She is the founder of several NGOs, including Fundación Nueva Conciencia Nacional, Damas en Blanco en Venezuela andFundapresos; is the Executive Director of the Centro de Estudios para América Latina(CASLA); and is the International Director of Foro Penal Venezolano, which provides pro bono legal assistance to Venezuelans arbitrarily detained, tortured, assaulted or murdered during protests. A frequent expert witness before international organizations regarding the commission of crimes against humanity in Venezuela, she currently lives in Prague, Czech Republic, where she has been granted political asylum.
Charles Taylor, CC, GOQ, FBA, FRSC
One of the world's foremost public intellectuals. A McGill University Professor Emeritus, he continues to write and lecture extensively around the world. The New York Times has hailed his work as being of "stupendous breadth and erudition," and his former mentor Isaiah Berlin said of him that he "cannot fail to broaden the outlook of anyone who reads his works or listens to his lectures or, indeed, talks to him.” He is a recipient of numerous awards, including the Berggruen Prize, the John W. Kluge Prize, the Kyoto Prize, and the Templeton Prize.
Senior Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School where he is researching the nexus of corruption and human rights; nonresident Research Associate, Department of Politics and International Relations, Centre for International Studies, University of Oxford, where he is concentrating on the nexus of science, technology, ethics and international security; Strategic Adviser for the Human Rights Foundation, concentrating on the expansion of the Oslo Scholars program he founded; Senior Fellow at the Lichtenstein Institute for Strategic Studies; Member of the Strategic Development Advisory Board of the Council for European Studies; Fellows Mentor, Albright Institute, Wellesley College; Strategic Advisor for VII Photo Academy, Refuge Point, and Music for Life International, Founding Director Emeritus Institute for Global Leadership (1985-2016) Tufts University.
Professor at McGill University Department of History, and Visiting Scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington. He is a past Chair of McGill's history Department and lecturer at Harvard University. A prolific and highly-esteemed scholar, he has appeared on most major Canadian and American television networks and has been widely published and quoted in the media. He has been described by Maclean's Magazine as one of Canada's most “Popular Profs” and the History News Network designated him one of its first 12 “Top Young Historians."
Executive Director of Václav Havel Library in Prague, Vice-President of the Aspen Institute Prague, member of the Forum 2000 Foundation Program Council, and former Senator and Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and Security in the Parliament of the Czech Republic. Former ambassador of the Czech Republic to the United Kingdom, the United States and Israel and former spokesman of President Václav Havel. He is a regular contributor to World Affairs Journal and Aspec Review Central Europe and has recently published a biography on his long-time friend, Václav Havel.
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