President's Dialogue to Focus on Human Rights, Wrongs

June 03, 2008 - News Release

The changing nature of human rights - and the wrongs that threaten them - is the topic of the University of Guelph's third annual President's Dialogue June 11. Held in conjunction with summer convocation, the event will bring together leading international activists and political figures for an engaging public discussion.

The "Human Rights and Human Wrongs: Redefining Human Rights in a Time of Crisis" forum begins at 10 a.m. in Rozanski Hall. It is free and open to everyone and can also be viewed live via the Internet. Panellists will take questions from both the live and web audiences.

"Human rights are facing new threats in this increasingly complicated and globalized world," said president Alastair Summerlee, who will moderate the discussion. "Not only are there unfathomable abuses, but those who perpetrate injustice are no longer just governments and nation-states. Definitions are changing, and many human rights are inextricably linked to ‘human wrongs.'"

The forum will feature Roméo Dallaire, a Canadian senator and retired general who commanded the 1994 United Nations peacekeeping mission in Rwanda; Ashraf Ghani, former minister of finance for Afghanistan; Pamela Wallin, a journalist, diplomat and chancellor of U of G; Sheila Watt-Cloutier, an environmental advocate and Inuit activist; and Guelph doctor Anne-Marie Zajdlik, spearhead of a city-wide project to raise $1 million for an AIDS clinic in Lesotho, Africa.

"They each bring diverse expertise and a unique perspective to the dialogue," said Summerlee. He launched the President’s Dialogue in 2006 as a way of bringing leading experts to U of G to discuss important contemporary issues.

"It’s our belief that universities should be active participants in the discussion of pressing social issues and should help ensure ongoing free and open public debate," he said.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982 or

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