Aga Khan Foundation to built at former war museum site
DANI-ELLE DUBE, Ottawa Sun
First posted: Wednesday, November 19, 2014 01:44 PM EST | Updated: Wednesday, November 19, 2014 04:40 PM EST
The building that once housed the Canadian war museum will be turned into a new international diversity research and educational centre.
The NCC approved the site plan and design at its Board of Directors meeting Wednesday, a project that comes to no cost of the NCC in its development stages.
The centre is a part of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada, a registered Canadian charity and group of agencies that address social, economic and cultural aspects of development.
"The Global Centre for Pluralism will not only be a great addition to National Capital and making use of an empty heritage building at a prime location," said Russ Mills, chairman of the NCC, "But it's also an honour for Canada because the Aga Khan Foundation operates in many parts of the world and could have built this in many countries. But the Aga Khan are impressed with aspects of Canadian society, especially with how with people with different backgrounds and religions live peacefully together."
Although the NCC isn't shelling out cash for the Aga Khan centre, public money could be used for related projects on adjacent land. However, the Government of Canada did contribute $30 million as an endowment to the institution.
The building is located in between the Royal Canadian Mint and the National Gallery of Canada. That means any future funding from the NCC, or possibly the City of Ottawa, could be used for projects such as improving connectivity between buildings on Lady Grey Drive.
Construction for the centre is to begin in April 2015 and end in Oct. 2016
Remarks introducing The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada, The Global Centre for Pluralism’s Fourth Annual Lecturer (Toronto, Canada)
Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim.
Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin,
Madame Adrienne Clarkson,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Chers amis, permettezmoi de vous souhaiter la bienvenue à la quatrième Conférence annuelle sur le pluralisme que nous avons le plaisir d’organiser pour la première fois au Musée Aga Khan de Toronto. Ces conférences offrent une plateforme unique pour le dialogue international et soulignent le leadership de ceux et celles qui font une différence concrète en faveur du pluralisme et de la citoyenneté inclusive. Nous avons l’immense honneur d’accueillir aujourd’hui, la juge en chef du Canada, qui partagera ses réflexions sur les défis et les perspectives du pluralisme au 21 e siècle.
Google translation] Dear friends, permit me to welcome you to the Fourth Annual Conference on pluralism we have the pleasure to organise for the first time in the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto. These conferences provide a unique platform for international dialogue and emphasise the leadership of those who make a real difference in favour of pluralism and inclusive citizenship. We have the great honour today to welcome the Chief Justice of Canada, who will share her thoughts on the challenges and prospects for pluralism in the 21st century.
I am delighted to welcome the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin to deliver the Global Centre’s fourth Annual Pluralism Lecture and to welcome you all to the Aga Khan Museum. The Chief Justice is a great champion of pluralism, with a wide range of judgements that demonstrate a profound respect for inclusion and accommodation.
As you may know, she also made history in the year 2000, when she was the first woman to be appointed Chief Justice in Canada — you understand the hint about gender issues — and in 2013, when she became the longest serving Chief Justice of the Canadian Supreme Court.
Through her thoughtful, articulate leadership, she has reinforced respect for the Supreme Court, while also fostering greater public understanding about the justice system.
When the Chief Justice first came to the Supreme Court in 1989, The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms had recently come into force. The justices were hearing numerous controversial human rights cases and often rendering divided decisions. But the Chief Justice’s appointment ushered in an era of consensus building among her colleagues. Through her thoughtful, articulate leadership, she has reinforced respect for the Supreme Court, while also fostering greater public understanding about the justice system.
By working to uphold the rights of all Canadian citizens, the Chief Justice has contributed in a major way to Canada’s robust pluralism. Certainly, Canadians will insist that there is still work to be done. But on the world stage, there is a great need for experiences of pluralism that work and Canada is providing a powerful example.
In her LaFontaine-Baldwin lecture in Toronto, in 2003, the Chief Justice said and I quote, “One problem, more than any other, dominates human history — the problem of how we deal with those who are different than us.” Those words have sharp, continuing relevance as we move further into the 21st century. Whether the challenge involves new waves of migrants moving into European societies, or political participation for the indigenous peoples of Latin America, or working towards democratic change in the Middle East and North Africa, there is a profound need to focus on the values and hopes that unite all human beings.
As the Chief Justice has stated and I quote again, “The creation of a harmonious society where every individual feels not only accepted but truly welcome is the responsibility of all citizens.” This responsibility is why the Global Centre for Pluralism exists to help us learn from one another about the challenges of diversity. And on evenings like this, we are fortunate to realise the Centre’s mission to convene change leaders and inspire dialogue about the benefits of inclusion and respect.
Ladies and Gentlemen, together with you, I eagerly look forward to hearing from the Centre’s honoured lecturer for 2015, the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin.
Address by MHI at the Inaugural Pluralism Lecture, Global Centre for Pluralism (Ottawa, Canada)
Canada is one of the best examples of a country that has embraced its diversity and cultivated a vision of nationhood based on shared and democratic citizenship. It should therefore come as no surprise that the Global Centre for Pluralism is headquartered in Ottawa. The Centre is founded on a strong and vital partnership with the Government of Canada, rooted in our common belief in respect for diversity and the importance of building inclusive societies. Excellency, as a former Kyrgyz Ambassador to Canada, you are no stranger to this country’s commitment to participatory democracy. And you have, through your own example, shown that an enlightened leadership recognises that, nothing less than this, is acceptable for any society.
Below is an article vindicating MHI's statement above.
Punjabi language is now the third most common in the House of Commons after English and French
By ABBAS RANA |
Published: Monday, 11/02/2015 12:00 am EST
With the election of 20 Punjabi-speaking MPs on Oct. 19, the Punjabi language is now the third most common in the House of Commons after English and French.
In total, 23 MPs of South Asian origin were elected to the House last month. Three of them—Liberal MP Chandra Arya (Nepean, Ont.) who was born and raised in India, Gary Anandasangaree (Scarborough-Rouge Park, Ont.) who is Tamil, and Maryam Monsef (Peterborough-Kwartha, Ont.) who is of Afghan origin—do not speak Punjabi.
Of the 20 who do speak Punjabi, 18 are Liberals and two are Conservatives.
The NDP does not have any Punjabi-speaking MPs in caucus after B.C. MPs Jinny Sims and Jasbir Sandhu both lost on Oct. 19.
Among the newly-elected Punjabi-speaking MPs, 14 are males and six are females. Ontario elected 12, British Columbia four, Alberta three and one is from Quebec.
Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau (Papineau, Que.) is scheduled to unveil his Cabinet this week and some of these Liberal MPs are expected to be included in the front bench.
According to Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey, 430,705 Canadians identified Punjabi as their mother tongue, making it the third most common language after English and French.
About 100 million people in the world are native speakers of Punjabi, most of them based in Pakistan and India. In the Indian state of Punjab, Punjabi is the official language. In Pakistan, despite being the single largest linguistic group, Punjabi does not have official language status in the province of Punjab. Instead, Urdu and English are used in schools and offices.
In an interview with The Hill Times, Navdeep Bains, a Liberal elected in Mississauga-Malton, Ont., said that although 20 Punjabi-speaking MPs have been elected, these MPs represent all constituents regardless of their party affiliation or ethnic origin.
“It speaks to our commitment to diversity and allowing individual [MPs] to play an important role in our political institutions,” said Mr. Bains.
“The main issue to understand is that we have a very clear mandate to execute our platform and we also have a responsibility to represent our constituents, which are very diverse.”
Iqra Khalid, the Liberal now representing Mississauga-Erin Mills, Ont. who was born in Pakistan but moved to Canada with her parents at a very young age, said that the diversity of the newly-elected House reflects the true make-up of Canada.
“Our Parliament is finally starting to look like the people of Canada. It’s a very positive step forward,” said Ms. Khalid, a lawyer by training.
The 430,705 native Punjabi speakers make up about 1.3 per cent of Canada’s population. The 20 Punjabi-speaking MPs represent almost six per cent of the House of Commons.
Deepak Obhrai, first elected in 1997, won his Calgary seat for the seventh time in a row. He will chair the national caucus meeting this week to elect the interim Conservative Party leader. He said that his focus, now, is the next election when his constituents will judge him not on his ethnicity but his record in the party and how effectively he represents his constituents.
“The voice of the Indo-Canadian community will now be very well represented in the Parliament. In the overall aspect of it, the South Asian community won,” said Mr. Obhrai.
“We must also recognize we represent all communities. How active you play your role in the party and how active you play your role in the Parliament, you will be judged by your record, as I was.”
In the 2011 election, nine MPs of South Asian origin were elected and eight spoke Punjabi. Former NDP MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan has Tamil roots and did not speak Punjabi. She lost her seat on Oct. 19.
Conservatives elected six of them in 2011, while the NDP elected two and Liberals did not elect any MPs who spoke Punjabi.
Mr. Obhrai is the only MP of South Asian origin from 2011 to have survived in 2015. The Conservatives who lost include Bal Gosal, Parm Gill, Devinder Shory, Tim Uppal and Nina Grewal. The two NDP MPs who lost are Mr. Sandhu and Ms. Sims.
Mr. Obhrai said the key reason other MPs of South Asian origin lost their seats was the Liberal momentum.
“There’s nothing more to read into it except to say that it was a red wave,” said Mr. Obhrai.
Salma Zahid, a former Liberal Queen’s Park ministerial staffer elected in Scarborough Centre, Ont., said voters wanted a change from the Stephen Harper Conservative government.
“People wanted change and I’m very proud of our platform, which we took to the people and it is because the Canadians believed in the change we were proposing,” she said.
Former Liberal Cabinet minister Herb Dhaliwal, who was one of the first Sikh MPs elected to the House in 1993 along with Gurbax Malhi, said the newly-elected MPs from ethnic communities have an opportunity to play a key role in Canada’s national and international policies.
“It reflects how open our political system is, that new immigrants can get elected and they can contribute to Canadian life and determining future policy. It also shows our Parliament is reflecting the diversity of our nation. That’s always a good thing,” said Mr. Dhaliwal, who was Canada’s first full Cabinet minister with Asian roots.
During his political career from 1993 to 2004, he held the National Revenue, Fisheries and Oceans, and Natural Resources portfolios, and was the political minister responsible for B.C.
New Crop of Immigrants in Parliament Is Seen as Reflection of Canada
OTTAWA — He was a teenage refugee, fleeing civil war in Somalia, when he came to Canada 22 years ago. Now, after completing high school and earning degrees in history and law, Ahmed Hussen is about to be sworn in as a member of Parliament — one of 46 nonwhite candidates elected to the House of Commons on Oct. 19, most of them immigrants.
“Even as recently as two years ago, if you asked, ‘Would you ever become an M.P. in Canada?’ I would say, ‘Impossible,’ ” said Mr. Hussen, 39, a Liberal who will represent a Toronto constituency. “It speaks well of Canadians that they’re willing to vote for a person based on his views and his platform, not where they come from.”
Many factors contributed to the sweeping victory last month by the Liberals, whose leader, Justin Trudeau, will take office as prime minister on Wednesday. But several analysts said that one of the most important factors was the immigration and refugee policies of the losing Conservative government.
In a country that generally prizes immigrants as a source of economic growth and officially encourages newcomers to maintain their ethnic identities, the Conservatives and Prime Minister Stephen Harper were widely seen as anti-Muslim, especially after they made an issue of the face coverings worn by some Muslim women.
formerly of the Constitutional Court of South Africa
The Battle for the South African Constitution: Protecting Minorities through Power-Sharing or a Bill of Rights?
With introductory remarks by His Highness the Aga Khan and an audience dialogue moderated by David Walmsley, Editor-in-Chief of the Globe and Mail.
Join the Centre on May 19, 2016 at 6:30 EST for the live stream presentation via the Globe and Mail.
ABOUT JUSTICE SACHS:
After the first democratic elections in South Africa, Justice Sachs was appointed by President Nelson Mandela to serve on the newly established Constitutional Court, the country’s highest court. A renowned defender of human rights, he helped draft South Africa’s post-apartheid constitution. Justice Sachs is the author of many books, including The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs (1966) about the 168 days spent in solitary confinement without trial and The Strange Alchemy of Life and Law (2009), a first-hand account of his judicial philosophy through the landmark cases he has heard.
ABOUT THE ANNUAL PLURALISM LECTURE:
The Centre’s flagship event, the Annual Lecture provides an opportunity to meet and learn from compelling individuals whose work has made a practical difference in the world. These change leaders reflect on how to build and strengthen pluralist societies.
Click here for more information about the Annual Pluralism Lecture series and our past lecturers.
The Lecture is presented in partnership with the Globe and Mail, which will livestream the Lecture. Although attendance at the Lecture in Toronto is by invitation only, we hope you will join us for the live stream.
In keeping with the image and character of Canada as a model for multiculturaliism and pluralism and hence the situation of the centre in Canada.
Bhangra classes offered for high school credit in B.C.
B.C. high school students can earn credits by taking a course in the Indian dance of bhangra
B.C. high school students can trade in their gym classes for instruction in bhangra, a traditional dance that originated in the Punjab region of India.
The B.C. Ministry of Education now allows students to take bhangra classes for credit at the South Asian Arts Academy in Surrey.
"Students love it. A lot of kids have danced and played music throughout their lives, but now they can actually get credits for it — towards their graduation," said Gurpreet Sian, an instructor at the academy.
It took Sian and fellow instructor Rayman Bhullar over five years to work out the details with the Ministry of Education and get the program running.
At no cost, students can learn how to play the dhol drum and get lessons in the vibrant dance of bhangra.
Students register through the Ministry-approved iLearn DL, and once signed up, attend practices at the South Asian Arts Academy.
Tests and assignments
The only catch, they say, is that students must complete a couple of assignments and tests before a letter grade and credits are assigned.
Bhangra has its roots in the Punjab region of India where it was originally performed as a way to celebrate the harvest season.
Since then, the lively dance driven by the beat of the dhol has made it's away across the globe.
In Vancouver, festivals like the 'City of Bhangra' attract thousands of people yearly to celebrate and bridge cultures through music and dance.
"I like to compare bhangra to hip hop," Sian said. "It's this big underground subculture with competitions that happen all across North America, teams all over the place. Vancouver is sort of a hub you could say for bhangra dance, bhangra music," .
In the video above, Our Vancouver host Gloria Macarenko learns more about the dance and gets schooled in bhangra.
The new Global Pluralism Award recognizes pluralism in action. It celebrates the extraordinary achievements of organizations, individuals and governments who are tackling the challenge of living peacefully and productively with diversity.
What is Pluralism?
Pluralism, founded on respect for diversity, requires that human differences are protected and valued. Read more.
The international jury for the 2017 Award is made up of seven distinguished members from a range of disciplines and backgrounds. Stay tuned for the Jury announcement. Read more.
Through a multi-stage process, the jury will select awardees that have demonstrated exceptional and sustained achievement for pluralism. Read more.
Learn more about the award
Be first to know, follow IsmailiHeritage on Twitter.com
While fully federated with the U of T , St Michael’s is a university in its own right. Its graduate Faculty of Theology is one of the largest theology schools in North America. St Michael’s is also home to the renowned Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies.
Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies
59 Queen’s Park Crescent East
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 2C4
Toronto, 20 May 2016 — The story of how the South African constitution was created, was the subject of the this year’s Annual Pluralism Lecture. And it was all the more remarkable for the formidable storyteller who recounted it.
» GCP: 2016 Annual Pluralism Lecture by Justice Albie Sachs
» Visit Diary: Mawlana Hazar Imam visits Canada
Justice Albie Sachs — heroic activist, freedom fighter and a former judge on the Constitutional Court of South Africa — delivered the talk, a yearly fixture of the Global Centre for Pluralism. Mawlana Hazar Imam introduced him as “a chief architect of South Africa’s new post-apartheid constitution, one of the most admired constitutions in the world.”
“In the pursuit of an effective pluralism,” said Hazar Imam, “we can learn a great deal from studying the South African constitution.”
In their struggle to define their post-apartheid nation, explained Justice Sachs, South Africans faced a fundamental choice between constructing a power sharing structure along the dividing lines of race, or striving for equality on the basis of a shared humanity.
Oliver Tambo, then president of the African National Congress was firmly against “power sharing between racial and ethnic groups,” recalled Justice Sachs. Tambo argued persuasively for “a common society of citizens, where rights are protected through a bill of rights — not because you are white or black or a member of a majority or minority, but because you are a human being.”
“That was his profound vision and approach,” said Sachs. “Not to institutionalise race, ethnicity in the structures of government,” but rather to “recognise pluralism through political pluralism.”
At the culmination of his talk, Justice Sachs descended the stage to present Mawlana Hazar Imam with a copy of South Africa’s Bill of Rights, which is now enshrined in the country’s constitution. It was a heartfelt gesture that capped his emotional story.
"We are so proud of this document," he said. "Your Highness, please accept South Africa's most precious gift to the world."
The Global Centre for Pluralism’s Annual Pluralism Lecture invites international leaders who have made a difference in the world to share their insights on pluralism. Past lecturers include Canada's Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres, and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Held in the auditorium of the Aga Khan Museum yesterday evening, the event drew an eminent gathering, which included Princess Zahra and Prince Aly Muhammad, as well as former Canadian Governor General Adrienne Clarkson — who gave the closing remarks — and other prominent Canadian and international leaders.
Mawlana Hazar Imam has been on a visit to Canada since Monday to attend various meetings and events in Ottawa and Toronto. Earlier in the day, Hazar Imam chaired a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Global Centre for Pluralism. Later today, he is due to receive an honorary degree from the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies — in recognition of his efforts to strengthen civil society through the promotion of pluralism.
Justice Albie Sachs
Madame Adrienne Clarkson
Ladies and Gentlemen
What a great pleasure it is for me to welcome you, most warmly, to the Aga Khan Museum and to this Lecture. I am particularly pleased to extend this welcome on behalf of the Global Centre for Pluralism and the members of the Board of Directors.
This is the Fifth time that the Centre has sponsored this annual event - we call it the Pluralism Lecture. It is one of the highlights of the Centre’s activities each year. It is something we look forward to, beforehand, with great anticipation - and something we remember, afterward, with great appreciation.
And this year, it is our special honour to welcome as our Pluralism Lecturer - Justice Albie Sachs.
Au nom du Conseil d’administration du Centre mondial du du pluralisme, permettez-moi de vous souhaiter la bienvenue à la cinquième Conférence annuelle sur le pluralisme que nous avons le plaisir d’organiser pour la deuxième fois au Musée Aga Khan à Toronto. Ces conférences offrent une plateforme unique pour le dialogue international et soulignent le leadership de ceux et celles qui font une différence concrète en faveur du pluralisme et d'une citoyenneté basés sur le respect mutuel. Aujourd’hui, nous avons l’immense honneur de recevoir le juge Albie Sachs.
Justice Sachs’ career has been a truly inspiring one.
He has been a heroic freedom fighter, an insightful legal scholar, a compelling author and for fifteen years a member of South Africa’s Constitutional Court. And, as most of you undoubtedly know, he was a chief architect of South Africa’s new, post apartheid Constitution - one of the most admired Constitutions in the world.
The creation of that Constitution is a story with continuing relevance as nations across the world look for better ways of governing themselves. And it is about that Constitution - and how it was created - that Justice Sachs will speak to us tonight.
Justice Sachs’ commitment to the cause of justice and equality has been the central theme of his life. Even at the age of seventeen, he was a passionate anti-apartheid activist. As an engaged freedom fighter, he was arrested, held in solitary confinement without a trial and forced into exile. And he was not deterred even when a bomb was planted in his car, resulting in the loss of his arm and the sight in one eye.
As a senior member of the African National Congress, he helped to draft the organization’s Code of Conduct - a key document in advancing the ideal of an inclusive South Africa. And then, of course, came his role in creating the post-apartheid Constitution, and later his long career on South Africa’s Constitutional Court.
All of us who try to understand the challenges of pluralism in our modern world also understand that viable constitutions are the sound foundations on which healthy pluralism must rest. They are the vehicle through which the nations can reconcile the quest for national identity with the protection and the bridging of differences. In the pursuit of an effective pluralism we can learn a great deal from studying the South African constitution - and how it works - and how it was created.
Constitution-making requires a strong sense of idealism, married to a practical sense of realism. It requires a willingness to listen as competing priorities are expressed, and a readiness to negotiate as differences are reconciled. As the challenges of governance grow in complex and changing societies, a widely respected Constitution is essential to the preservation of peace and the pursuit of progress.
Canada’s own Charter of Rights and Freedoms has played a central role in making Canada a leading example of a successful pluralist society. And I should also point out that Canada was a helpful contributor to the successful Constitutional transition in South Africa.
That Canadian contribution in South Africa was principally made through the work of the International Development Research Centre - IDRC as most candians know it - a resource created during the Prime Ministership of Pierre Trudeau - whose dedication to effective pluralism was so important in Canadian history, and is, not surprisingly, mirrored in the commitments of the present Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.
The mission of the Global Centre for Pluralism is to convene Global leaders and to learn from their experience how to bring about a more inclusive, pluralistic society. On an evening like this, we see how well that mission can be achieved in practice.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we are grateful that all of you are here to share in that experience, and to join me in welcoming, most warmly, the Centre’s honoured lecturer for 2016, Justice Albie Sachs.
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.
Watch the videos
Speakers from diverse backgrounds shared their personal experiences, stories and ideas highlighting the importance of building peace through broad and diverse participation. You can see all their videos and photos from the event at pluralism.ca, including:
•Canada’s Minister for Democratic Institutions the Hon. Maryam Monsef delivered a personal speech about her community of Peterborough, Ontario coming together after a hate crime.
•The Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson spoke about being welcomed in Canada as a child refugee.
•Indspire’s CEO Roberta Jamieson spoke on the need for justice for missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, and environmental sustainability and respect, as fundamental elements of peace.
Organisées sous le thème Bâtissons la paix par la diversité, les Peace Talks d’Ottawa avaient pour objectif d’inspirer la réflexion et les discussions sur la manière dont le respect de la diversité peut promouvoir la paix dans les sociétés au moyen de l’inclusion, tant au Canada qu’à l’échelle mondiale.
Regardez les vidéos (Veuillez sélectionner les sous-titres en français dans le coin à droite)
Des orateurs de divers milieux ont partagé leurs expériences personnelles, leurs histoires et leurs idées en soulignant l’importance de bâtir la paix au moyen d’une participation vaste et diversifiée. Vous pouvez visionner toutes les vidéos et des photos de l’événement à pluralisme.ca, incluant:
•La ministre des Institutions démocratiques, l’honorable Maryam Monsef, a prononcé un discours personnel sur sa communauté de Peterborough, en Ontario, laquelle s’est regroupée après qu’un crime haineux fut commis.
•La très honorable Adrienne Clarkson a parlé de son expérience d’accueil au Canada en tant qu’enfant réfugiée.
•La PDG d’Indspire, Roberta Jamieson, a parlé du besoin de justice pour les femmes et les filles autochtones portées disparues et assassinées, ainsi que de la durabilité et du respect de l’environnement en tant qu’éléments essentiels de la paix.
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