Professor of Law, Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism
Professor Payam Akhavan was the first Legal Advisor to the Prosecutor Office of the International Criminal Tribunals for Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and played a key role in the development of its foundational jurisprudence. He also has considerable experience in post-conflict peace-building and international dispute settlement, having advised the UN on transitional justice, appearing as counsel before international courts and tribunals on behalf of sovereigns, and serving on the board of directors of human rights NGOs, including the Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre in New Haven, of which he is also the president and co-founder. His work has been featured in the New York Times and, in recognition of his contributions to promoting accountability for human rights violations, he was selected by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader in 2005.
Professor of Law and Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism
Professor René Provost is the author of International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (Cambridge University Press, 2002), the leading text on the interaction between these two fields. He is also editor of State Responsibility in International Law (Ashgate/Darthmout, 2002) and co-editor of Public International Law Chiefly as Applied and Interpreted in Canada (Emond Montgomery, 2000). He has acted as a consultant for DFAIT and CIDA on numerous occasions, and currently serves as the president of the Société québécoise de droit international.
Executive Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism.
Nandini Ramanujam has over 10 years involvement in systemic reform of higher education in the former communist Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. She was Director of the Higher Education Support Program of the Open Society Institute in Budapest, prior to which she was the Regional Director of Baltic and Eurasian Programs of Civic Education Project. She worked as a consultant with a focus on education and civil society. She was a Special Advisor to the President of Bard College in New York State and a Fellow of the Levy Economics Institute. She holds a D.Phil Economics (Oxford), an MA and an M.Phil, Economics. Dr. Ramanujam has been the President of the Board of Directors of Equitas since 2002.
Professor of Law and Canada Research Chair in Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, McGill Faculty of Law.
Professor Frédéric Mégret has worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross, the defense of one of the accused before the ICTR, and was a member of the French delegation to the Rome conference on the creation of the International Criminal Court. He served with the French army as a blue helmet in UNPROFOR in 1995. He is the author of Le Tribunal pénal international pour le Rwanda (Pedone, 2002) and a co-editor with Professor Philip Alston of the second edition of The United Nations and Human Rights: A Critical Appraisal (Oxford University Press, 2004).
Professor of Political Science, McGill University.
Professor Catherine Lu is the author of Just and Unjust Interventions in World Politics: Public and Private (UK: Palgrave Macmilland 2006) as well as numerous other articles on justice, cosmopolitanism, moral regeneration after war, and the role of human rights in contexts of transitional justice.
Professor Frank Chalk
Director, Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, and Professor of History, Concordia University
Professor Frank Chalk (Ph.D., History, University of Wisconsin) has published widely on the subject of genocide, and is the co-author, with Prof. Kurt Jonassohn, of The History and Sociology of Genocide: Analyses and Case Studies (Yale University Press, 1990).
Charmaine Lyn has been Assistant Dean, External Affairs at McGill’s Faculty of Law since 2004. She serves, inter alia, on the Faculty’s Educational Equity Committee, and the University’s Aborignal Affairs Work Group. From 1997-2001, Charmaine was Coordinator of InterAmicus, the International Human Rights Advocacy Centre at McGill’s Faculty of Law; she is now a board member of InterAmicus. As a law student, Charmaine interned with the Cambodian League for the Defense and Protection of Human Rights (LICADHO), assisted the Special Representative to the UN Secretary General for Human Rights in Cambodia on two missions and was the Student Coordinator of the International Human Rights Internship Programme. She holds a joint B.C.L./LL.B. (McGill) and a B.A. (McGill). She is a member of the Bar of Quebec.
Penny, a native of Ottawa, moved to Montreal at the age of 21, and shortly thereafter started her own business which she ran successfully for 15 years. Her interest in social issues led her to participate in a variety of causes. She remains active with the Canadian Cancer Society, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and feeding the hungry of Montreal. Penny also served as a Board member of The Jerusalem Foundation of Canada, and established a Research Fellowship at the Ottawa Heart Institute. Both she and her husband Gordon are profoundly concerned with the advancement of human rights. Together they conceived and founded this series of conferences; however, it was Penny’s desire to reach out and involve tomorrow’s leaders that culminated in the creation of the Young Leaders Forum.
Ian Hamilton is the Executive Director of Equitas - International Centre for Human Rights Education, a position he has held since 2004. In this role, he is responsible for providing leadership in the development and implementation of Equitas’ strategic directions and in management of its day-to-day operations. For five years prior to this appointment, Ian was Equitas’ Director of Programs, helping to shape the organization’s programming during this period. He joined Equitas in 1997 as Director of the National Institutions Program, responsible for capacity-building projects with national human rights commissions, particularly in Asia. Prior to this, Ian worked for the Coordinating Committee of Human Rights Organizations of Thailand in Bangkok, assisting their campaign for the establishment of a National Human Rights Commission. From 1992-1995, he worked in a number of positions, including Asia Program Officer, at the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development (Rights & Democracy) in Montreal. He graduated from the University of Toronto in 1990 with a Bachelor’s Degree in History.
Kirk Shannon is a fourth year student at the faculty of law. He recently participated in the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism's International Internships Program where he worked in the Chambers of ICTR in Arusha, Tanzania. He has worked as a researcher for the Special Court for Sierra Leone Legal Clinic and will begin a clerkship at the Supreme Court of Canada in 2008.
Cynthia Gervais is a human rights and development specialist. She works as the Director of the Geneva office of Rights & Democracy. Prior to that she was the Coordinator of Rights & Democracy University Network from its creation in 2003 to July 2007. The R&D Network is an initiativewhich encourages the creation of spaces for university students to learn more about human rights and democratic development, to share ideas and to carry out activities that promote human rights. She has an LL.B. (1996) and a B.A. in Political Science (1992) from the Université Laval (Quebec). From 1997 to 2003 she worked as consultant with both governmental and non-governmental institutions. She notably acted for four years (1999-2002) as policy advisor within the Human Rights Division of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)’s Policy Branch.
Professor Nicholas Kasirer is the Dean of the McGill Faculty of Law. He was appointed to this position in 2003, prior to which he was the James McGill Professor of the Faculty of Law, and the Director of the Quebec Research Centre for Private and Comparative Law. A specialist in language & law and family property law, Professor Kasirer’s research focuses on comparative law and Quebec legal culture. Professor Kasirer has received the American Society of Comparative Law's Hessel Yntema Award in Comparative Law, the Prix de la Fondation du Barreau, the Law Students’ Association's John W. Durnford Teaching Excellence Award, and the McGill Alumni Association David Johnston Medal.
Gordon Echenberg, a graduate of the McGill Faculty of Law, actively practiced his profession for close to 30 years. During his student years, he served as President of the Student's Society and was one of the founding Directors of La League des Droits de L'homme. His close affiliation with McGill continued during his 15 years as a member of Board of Governors during which time he also lectured in the Faculty of Law and became one of the founding directors of InterAmicus, the McGill based international Human Rights Advocacy Centre. He also served as a vice-chairman of the Board of Governor's of Ben Gurion University of the Negev and was a member of its executive committee. In addition to conceiving and founding the Echenberg Family Conferences with his wife Penny, they also sponsor the Wallenberg Forums, a lecture series established in honor of the Honorable Irwin Cotler, hosted by the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism.
Professor Irwin Cotler, currently on leave from the Faculty of Law, was appointed Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada in 2003. His work on genocide prevention and has received international attention. He was chair InterAmicus, the International Human Rights Advocacy Centre based at McGill Law Faculty; and Co-Chair of the Canadian Helsinki Watch Group. He has defended political prisoners in Peru, Tunisia, China (KunLun Zhang), Nigeria (Wole Soyinka), Indonesia, South Africa (Nelson Mandela) and Russia (Andrei Sakharov, Aleksandr Nikitin) and he has addressed major academic gatherings in Washington, Moscow and Jerusalem. He has argued before the Supreme Courts of both Canada and Israel and he has testified before parliamentary committees in Canada, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Russia, Israel and various Latin American countries. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a member of the Académie universelle des cultures, and was awarded the Justice Walter Tarnopolsky Memorial Medal, the Medal of the Bar of Montréal, and the Martin Luther King Jr Humanitarian Award.
Raymond Chrétien is Strategic Counsel at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP. He has had a long and very distinguished career in federal public service, having served as the former Canadian ambassador to France, the United States, Belgium, Mexico and the Congo. In 1996, while mandated to Washington, he was appointed as the Secretary General of the United Nations' Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa to undertake an assessment of the crisis in the Great Lakes Region and to make recommendations to the Security Council. He is President of the Board of Directors of the Centre d’études et de recherches internationales de l’Université de Montréal (CÉRIUM); President of the Comité des gouverneurs des corridors de commerce Québec-Canada-États-Unis of the Fédération des chambers de commerce du Québec (FCCQ); and member of the Board of Directors of the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM).
Jennifer Stoddart was appointed Canada's Privacy Commissioner by the Governor in Council, effective December 1, 2003, on unanimous resolutions adopted by both the House of Commons and the Senate, for a seven-year term. Since her arrival, she has led the Office's institutional renewal, and has also reoriented it toward its multi-disciplinary approach to preventing privacy breaches in the public and private sectors, and to protecting and promoting the privacy rights of Canadians. Ms. Stoddart was previously President of the Commission d'accès à l'information du Québec, an organization responsible for both access to information and the protection of personal information. She has held several senior positions in public administration for the Governments of Québec and Canada, including at the Canadian and the Quebec Human Rights Commissions. Ms. Stoddart has been active in the Canadian Bar Association, the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice, and has also lectured on history and legal sciences at the Université du Québec à Montréal and McGill University.
Tony Comper is President and Chief Executive Officer of BMO Financial Group, and is an active member of civil society, serving on the Board of Directors of Bank of Montreal, the Board of Directors of the International Monetary Conference, as Chair of the Corporate Advisory Board of The Learning Partnership, and as a member of the Women in Capital Markets Advisory Council. He has served as Chair of the Campaign for the University of Toronto, is past Chairman of the University's Governing Council, former Vice-Chair of St. Michael's Hospital, and a Member of the University of New Brunswick’s Forging Our Futures Campaign. He is a Member of the International Business Leaders Advisory Council of the Mayor of Beijing and the Board of Governors of the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews. In 1998, Mr. Comper received the Human Relations Award from the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews.