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Human Rights Conference

    LIVING TOGETHER: Understanding human rights, appreciating diversity and working towards reconciliation

    June 3, 2017

    Science Theatres Building

    University of Calgary

    Calgary Alberta

    Join Amnesty International (English Section), in partnership with the University of Calgary Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Law, Faculty of Social Work, and the Werklund School of Education, for a free one-day public conference on human rights. The focus is to foster greater understanding of human rights, stimulate debate about current and emerging issues, and foster greater respect and inclusion for all Canadians. 

    For a detailed agenda please click here


    Keynote Address

    Tareq Hadhad, the founder of Peace by Chocolate, moved to Canada in Dec 2015 as a Syrian newcomer. He studied medicine at Damascus university and proceeded to join the medical relief efforts for the Syrian refugees with UNHCR and WHO through a local organisation when he arrived to Lebanon in 2013 as a refugee himself. Passionate about the peace and youth entrepreneurship and just after arriving in Cananda, he and his family started their company “Peace by chocolate” in Antigonish, NS, to sponsor peace building projects and support the local economy by offering jobs. The company later turned into a phenomenon that inspired so many people around the world and was mentioned at the UN summit in Sep 2016 in New York as a remarkable example for the contributions of the newcomers in their communities.

    Tareq is also challenging being physician in Canada, he is getting BSc degree at StFX university and then he will head back to medicine.

    As the winner of Good News Award2016 in its first version and TEDx speaker, he is so grateful for the encouragement and support from his new community, he is now also more involved in public speeches and media campaigns and interviews to support youth entrepreneurial skills as well as linking the Syrian youth and helping the Syrian refugees all around the world.

    Concurrent workshops

    • Transgender rights now!
    • Refugee Rights
    • Being an ally/Indigenous rights
    • BHR – corporate accountability
    • Activism Skills


    Resource development & Indigenous rights and gender

    The federal government and the province of Alberta have both committed to uphold the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which recognizes the right of Indigenous peoples to make their own decisions about development of their traditional territories. What is the reality on the ground and what difference would it make if the rights of Indigenous peoples, and their own norms around resource development, were genuinely recognized and respected?

    Reimagining how we respond to security threats and radicalization

    #PrayFor______. We see this common sentiment on social media after some attacks, but not others. What shapes our understanding of, and reaction to, terror threats and attacks? How have governments including Canada responded in the name of security? Is any of this making the world safer? This panel will explore the rhetoric of fear, which voices dominate the discussion while others remain unheard, and what a human rights based approach could look like if we embrace genuine security for everyone.

    Literature and Human Rights

    Literature, specifically fiction, has a unique capacity to touch the hearts and minds of people and engage them in a way that is distinctly different from political or academic texts. It has the potential to lead to personal or social change. Literature can be an important tool to educate people about and promote human rights. The panel will explore the role of the author in human rights work, including such questions as: Should literature be politically and socially engaged? Should authors take political or social stands? What consequences does it carry for their art? Can NGOs benefit by using literature in their human rights work?

    Human rights on the frontline: refusing to be silenced

    Imagine peacefully protesting acid attacks on women and being charged with violating national security. Or expressing your views knowing that you will most likely be imprisoned. The rights to peaceful protest and freedom of expression are human rights that we all have. But many governments are enacting laws criminalizing peaceful activism, and launching smear campaigns to discredit activists. In the face of great threats, these activists refuse to be silenced.