May 8-9, 2017
Saint Paul University, Ottawa

Facebook Twitter

Keynote Speakers and Panelists

Keynote Speakers

Dr. John Borrows

John Borrows B.A., M.A., J.D., LL.M., Ph.D., LL.D., F.R.S.C., is the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law at the University of Victoria. His publications include, Recovering Canada; The Resurgence of Indigenous Law (Donald Smiley Award for the best book in Canadian Political Science, 2002), Canada's Indigenous Constitution (Canadian Law and Society Best Book Award 2011), from the University of Toronto Press.  John is Anishinaabe/Ojibway and a member of the Chippewa of the Nawash First Nation in Ontario, Canada.

Dr. John Ralston Saul

John Ralston Saul, C.C., O.Ont is an award winning essayist and novelist. His fourteen works have been translated into 28 languages in 37 countries. His latest work, The Comeback (Le Grand Retour) is an examinations of the remarkable resurgence to power of Indigenous peoples in Canada. His recent writings on immigration and citizenship are increasingly positioning him as one of the leading voices on the subject worldwide. Saul is the former President of PEN International and co-Chair of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship and 6 Degrees Citizen Space. 



Session One: Solidarity in Diversity

Palbinder Kaur Shergill

Palbinder is a lawyer and mediator, practicing with her law firm, Shergill & Company, Trial Lawyers, in Surrey, BC. Palbinder was appointed Queens Counsel in 2012.  Palbinder is a leading human rights advocate, and has argued landmark cases before the Supreme Court of Canada in her capacity as the General Legal Counsel for the World Sikh Organization of Canada. Palbinder’s private practice focusses on complex commercial, general, and personal injury cases, as well as class actions.

Prof. Ingrid Mattson

Ingrid Mattson, PhD, is a scholar of Islamic Studies, an expert in interfaith relations and a Muslim religious leader. In 2012 she became the inaugural Chair of Islamic Studies at Huron University College; previously she taught in the US and was president of the largest Muslim organization in the country.

Dr. Andrew Bennett

Dr. Andrew P.W. Bennett is Senior Fellow at Cardus, Canada’s leading faith-based think-tank. He also serves as Senior Fellow at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and as a Commissioner on the newly-established Commonwealth Initiative on Freedom of Religion or Belief. Dr. Bennett previously served as Canada's Ambassador for Religious Freedom and Head of the Office of Religious Freedom from 2013 to 2016.

Session Two: Reconciliation

Karen Joseph

Karen Joseph is the CEO of Reconciliation Canada. She is a proud member of the Kwakwaka’wakw people and brings more than 18 years experience inspiring diverse partners to collaborate towards achieving effective, positive change. In 2017, Reconciliation Canada will be hosting two Walks for Reconciliation in Toronto and Vancouver on September 24th. 

Prof. Douglas Sanderson

Douglas Sanderson was managing editor of the inaugural edition of the Indigenous Law Journal in 2002 while a student in the JD program. He later earned his LL.M from Columbia University as a Fulbright scholar. Prof. Sanderson is a member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. From 2004-2007 he was a Senior Advisor to the Government of Ontario, first in the Office of the Minister Responsible for Aboriginal Affairs, and later, to the Attorney General. From 2007 to 2009, he was a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.  Prof. Sanderson's research areas include Aboriginal and Indigenous law and legal theory, as well as private law and public and private legal theory. 

Bishop Mark MacDonald

Mark MacDonald became the Anglican Church of Canada`s first National Indigenous Bishop in 2007, after having served as the Bishop of Alaska for 10 years.  He is the North American President of the World Council of Churches.

Session Three: Immigration and Refugees

Dr. Martin Mark

Dr. Mark has served in increasing capacities with numerous voluntary organizations with mandates of promoting international social justice and refugee-related issues over the past 30 years.  He has visited and worked in over 60 countries on refugee, migration and social justice related work.  Dr. Mark has frequently participated on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Annual Meetings in Geneva. Since 2001, he has coordinated the refugee resettlement efforts of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto.

Rita Chahal

Rita Chahal is the Executive Director of Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council (MIIC). Prior to joining MIIC in 2013, Rita served as General Manager of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce.  She also served as Executive Director of Women in Media Foundation, and Employment Projects of Winnipeg. Her commitment to community service includes providing leadership on a number of boards and advisory groups particularly in the arts and cultural sector.  In 2007 she was appointed by the Minister of Culture and Heritage to serve on the board of Manitoba Centennial Centre Corporation. 


Prof. Howard Adelman

Howard Adelman, currently a Professor Emeritus at York University, was previously a Professor of Philosophy at York University from 1966-2003 where he founded and was the first Director of the Centre for Refugee Studies and Editor of Refuge until the end of 1993.  Howard Adelman has written, co-authored, edited or co-edited 26 books. He writes a daily blog on such topics as Israel, American politics, ethics, Judaism and assorted book, theatre and movie reviews. The blog is found at