Ottawa Peace Talks 2016

Let’s build peace through diversity

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Organized under the theme “Let’s build peace through diversity”, the Ottawa Peace Talks aimed to inspire reflection and discussion about how respect for diversity can promote more peaceful societies through inclusion, both in Canada and globally.

This event marked the first time the Peace Talks were held in Canada. Speakers coming from diverse backgrounds shared their personal experiences, stories and ideas to highlight the importance of building peace through broad and diverse participation.

The Ottawa Peace Talks also looked at the role of individual Canadians, and Canada as a whole, to support greater inclusion for peace at home and at the global level.

Location: Delegation of Ismaili Imamat
Date: 19/04/2016
Time : 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm


Adrienne Clarkson

Adrienne Clarkson

The Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson came to Canada from Hong Kong as a refugee in 1942 and made the astonishing journey from a penniless child refugee to accomplished broadcaster and distinguished public servant in a multi-faceted lifetime. She is the bestselling author of the 2014 CBC Massey Lectures, Belonging: The Paradox of Citizenship, Room for All of Us: Surprising Stories of Loss and Transformation, Heart Matters: A Memoir, and a biography of Dr. Norman Bethune, the Canadian hero of the Chinese people. In 2005, she co-founded the Institute for Canadian Citizenship with her husband John Ralston Saul to help new citizens in Canada integrate into Canadian life.

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Alaa Murabit

Alaa was born and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in Canada. When she was fifteen she moved to Zawia, Libya. During her studies in medicine and in the midst of the 2011 Libyan Revolution, Alaa founded the Voice of Libyan Women to focus on challenging societal and cultural norms to make that the case all the time. Many VLW programs, like the Noor Campaign, which uses Islamic teaching to combat violence against women, have been replicated internationally. Alaa was recently appointed as an advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals. Alaa was recently appointed as an advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals and an UN/WHO commissioner for public health and employment.

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Désirée McGraw

Désirée is the President and Head of College of Pearson College UWC which emphasizes education as a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future. Described by national media as “one of Canada’s 10 most influential people on environmental issues,” she is a co-founder of Al Gore's Climate Project and former advisor to then prime minister Paul Martin. From 2008 to 2015 Désirée served as President of the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation, which gathers young leaders from Canada and around the world to address key global challenges.

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Emmanuel Jal

In the war-torn region of Southern Sudan, Emmanuel Jal was born into the life of a child soldier on an unknown date in the early 1980s. Through unbelievable struggles, Emmanuel managed to survive and emerge as a recording artist, achieving worldwide acclaim for his unique style of hip hop with its message of peace and reconciliation born out of his personal experiences. Emmanuel has released four studio albums: Gua, Ceasefire, Warchild and See Me Mama. He was one of the lead characters in 'The Good Lie' alongside Reese Witherspoon following the journey of three 'Lost Boys' from South Sudan to the US.

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Giovanna Mingarelli

Giovanna is a technology entrepreneur and thought leader in the areas of gamification of politics, social engagement and crowdsourcing. She is the CEO and Co-Founder of M&C Consulting Inc. and Mcrowdsourcing Canada (MC2) Inc. which focus on crowdsourcing social action campaigns. She is involved in many youth empowerment initiatives, such as Global Dignity, which she Chairs in Canada. She was recently named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the WXN and a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum.

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Hamoon Ekhtiari

Hamoon is the Director of Strategy for the Executive Vice President at Telus and the Founder of Audacious Futures. He has worked on a number of enterprises that support young social entrepreneurs who are striving to make change in their own lives and their communities. He was the Founding Director of Studio [Y] at MaRS, Canada’s largest innovation hub and the co-founder of CatalystsX. He is a member of the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference, a recipient of University of Waterloo’s Alumni Achievement Award, and a Canada Millennium Scholar.

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Maryam Monsef

Maryam is Canada’s Member of Parliament for Peterborough-Kawartha, and the Minister of Democratic Institutions. She arrived in Canada at the age of 11 as a refugee escaping Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. She is the first Afghan-Canadian MP and first Muslim federal minister. At 31, she is also the youngest member of Prime Minister Trudeau’s cabinet. A dedicated community organizer, former mayoral candidate, and co-recipient of the YMCA’s Peace Medallion, Maryam is an advocate for women’s inclusion and human rights.

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Michele Brandt

Michele Brandt

For over two decades, Michele has led constitutional research, training, policy and technical assistance efforts throughout Africa, Central and East Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. In Afghanistan and East Timor, she served as the full-time constitutional advisor to the United Nation’s missions and the local constitution-making bodies. In Cambodia, Michele founded a women's human rights organization and led a legal aid office. She has authored numerous books, articles and policy reports on constitution-making, gender and peacebuilding -- including Interpeace’s handbook on constitution-making (available in six languages).

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Nisreen Ismail & Erum Hasan

Nisreen is an Immigration and Resettlement specialist whose passion for working with refugees never led her to think she would ever become one herself.  Born and raised in Damascus, Nisreen’s career was shaped while working for the Resettlement Unit of the Canadian Embassy in Syria. The escalating situation in Syria made it impossible for her to stay, so she made the tough decision to flee to Jordan. She landed in Canada as a Privately Sponsored Refugee. She now volunteers with several groups and provides interpretation, consultation, and support to both refugee sponsors and sponsored families.

Erum is a sustainable development professional whose work usually takes her abroad. The Syrian refugee crisis provided an opportunity to work in Canada. Through social media, Erum was able to connect with like-minded strangers, establish a community organization, and begin the private sponsorship of a Syrian family. With the support of friends and family, this organization was able to mobilize funds, develop resettlement plans and support Syrian families in acclimatizing to Canadian life.

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Roberta Jamieson

Roberta is a Mohawk from the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory in Ontario. The first First Nation woman to earn a law degree, the first woman Ombudsman of Ontario and the first woman elected Chief of the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, She is also a member of the Order of Canada. Widely known for her expertise in non-adversarial conflict resolution, she received the Mary Parker Follett award from the International Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution. Roberta is also the Recipient of the Harmony Award from the National Movement for Harmony in Canada. She is currently the President & CEO of Indspire, Canada’s premiere Indigenous-led charity, and Executive Producer of the nationally broadcast Indspire Awards.

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Roméo Dallaire

Roméo is a retired lieutenant-general, former Canadian Senator and humanitarian. In 1993, LGeneral Dallaire was appointed Force Commander for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR), where he witnessed the country descend into chaos and genocide, leading to the deaths of more than 800,000 Rwandans. He has become an advocate for human rights, genocide prevention, mental health and war-affected children. He founded The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, which is committed to ending the use of child soldiers worldwide, and is the author of two best-selling books.

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Ottawa is the capital and political centre of Canada, which is known for its open and inclusive approach to citizenship. Benefiting from its multi-cultural roots, Canada has become a leading light on the world stage, recognized for its tolerant and welcoming society.

The city of Ottawa has traditionally been home to people from different cultures and its diversity is reflected by its multilingual population. Therefore, Ottawa presents a natural choice to host the first-ever Peace Talks in North America, which aims to celebrate the importance of diversity in building peaceful and inclusive societies.