National Human Rights Conference hosted by Amnesty International and the University of Calgary

Activists, leaders and experts from across Canada will discuss human rights, diversity and reconciliation at a free, all-day event on Saturday, June 3rd, 2017.
Tareq Hadad, Syrian refugee and founder of Peace by Chocolate to deliver Keynote address

The University of Calgary and Amnesty International are pleased to host a national human rights conference in Calgary on June 3rd, 2017. Prominent speakers, leaders and activists will address the conference theme of “Living Together: Understanding Human Rights and Diversity and Working Towards Reconciliation.” Admission is free and open to the public.
“Whether it is the unprecedented global refugee crisis, the urgent need for reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in Canada, or the fight for equality of LGBTI communities in Canada and abroad, it is abundantly clear that Canada must champion a vision for human rights and inclusion in all aspects of public policy and international diplomacy,” says Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. “We are thrilled for the opportunity to open a solution-oriented conversation with esteemed leaders, activists and experts on these and other critical human rights issues of our time in partnership with the University of Calgary.”
“As a faculty that places great emphasis on the humanities and social sciences the issues at the heart of this conference speak to matters we address every day, both as teachers and researchers,” says Richard Sigurdson, dean of the Faculty of Arts. “It was important to the Faculty of Arts to play a key role in hosting this event, which seems more relevant in today’s society than ever before.”
The conference will open with a keynote address by Tareq Hadhad, Syrian refugee and founder of Peace by Chocolate.  After fleeing the brutal conflict in Syria and being resettled in Canada as refugees, the Hadhad family re-opened their chocolate business in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.  Their story garnered headlines across the country. The Hadhad’s passion for community service shone through when, after witnessing the devastation of Fort McMurray’s wildfire in 2015, the family some of the proceeds from their family business to the rebuilding effort in Alberta.
The all-day conference will also feature panel discussions and breakout workshops with acclaimed leaders, activists and experts on pressing contemporary human rights themes. Panel conversations will include Indigenous rights and gender equality in the context of Canadian resource development; national security, narratives of fear and human rights; the global crackdown against human rights defenders and shrinking space for civil society; and the intersection of literature and human rights.  Breakout workshops will cover refugee rights; trans and intersex rights in Canada and globally; reconciliation and Indigenous rights in Canada; building accountability for Canadian extractive companies associated with human rights violations overseas; and an activism workshop to connect with local activists and leaders.
A complete list of presentations and speakers is available in the attached agenda. The conference is open to media and presenters are available for interview on request.
For media inquiries, please contact:

Jacob Kuehn, Press Officer, Amnesty International Canada; / 613-744-7667 ext 236
Heath McCoy, Communications Advisor, Faculty of Arts, University of Calgary; / 403-220-5089

Further information is available at