Presented by

Canadians For A Civil Society Logo




Canadians for a Civil Society, in partnership with MacEwan University and NAIT, invite you to a symposium on “Building Empathy and Conquering Apathy” that will bring together educators, policy makers, human-rights advocates, academics, non-profit and front-line service workers. We will collaborate to prevent human-rights violations in Canada through exploring promising approaches such as empathy-based human-rights education.


Our goal is to raise awareness and examine solutions to human-rights violations with two days of engagements led by Human Rights activist Leslee Udwin, the acclaimed director of “India’s Daughter.”

We will stress the importance of empathy-based human-rights education and encourage individuals to see themselves as stakeholders in leading change.


The symposium “Building Empathy, Conquering Apathy” is the second event in a three-year plan to raise awareness of the intersections between human-rights violations, such as gender-based violence, discrimination, harassment, and bullying and the intersections of gender-identity, race, sexual orientation, and poverty.


1. Facilitate dialogue, networking and understanding of human-rights violations, such as gender-based violence, discrimination, bullying, harassment, and the intersections between gender identity, sexual orientation, race and poverty.

2. Encourage innovation and collaboration by facilitating the flow of information between NGOs, decision-makers, and volunteers.

3. Build community capacity to respond to and prevent human rights violations.

4. Encourage public participation in a growing dialogue about human-rights violations such as gender-based violence, discrimination, bullying, and harassment.

5. Build momentum for deeper collaboration over the next two years.


  1. 8:00am - Registration
  2. 9:00am - Introduction• Master of Ceremonies: Mark Connolly, Host ,CBC Edmonton AM • Opening prayer: Indigenous Elder Ruth Cardinal de Ubiera • Welcome: Grand Chief Tony Alexis, Treaty Six • Opening remarks: Sarah Chan
  3. 9:30am - Think Equal: Introducing Leslee Udwin•Speaker: Leslee Udwin, Director of “India’s Daughter” and Founder “Think Equal”
  4. 10:00am - Truth and Reconciliation from an Empathetic Perspective• Speaker: Dr. Marie Wilson, Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner
  5. 10:30am - Break
  6. 10:45am - Panel Discussion – Human Rights Violations in Our Own Back Yard: Defining and Understanding Gender-Based Violence• Speakers: Jill Green, Registered Psychologist, MacEwan University; Amber Dion, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Social Work, MacEwan University; Dr. Amrita Mishra, Working in Partnership to End Honour-based Violence, Indo-Canadian Women’s Association ; Mary Jane James, Executive Director, Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton (SACE)
  7. 11:30am - Lunch• Speaker: Honourable Stephanie McLean, Minister of Alberta Status of Women
  8. 1:00pm - Panel Discussion - Balancing Rights: Sexual Assault and the Law •Speakers: Dr. Lise Gotell, Professor and Acting Dean, University of Alberta ; Jacqueline Foord, C.E.O. YWCA Edmonton; Allison Downey-Damato, Assistant Chief Crown Prosecutor, Family Protection Section
  9. 1:45pm - Presentation:•Speaker: Honourable Richard Feehan, Alberta Indigenous Relations Minister
  10. 2:00pm - Working in Partnership to End Honour-Based Violence• Speaker: Dr. Amrita Mishra, Project Director, Indo-Canadian Women’s Association
  11. 2:30pm - Break
  12. 2:45pm - Time For Change: The Case for Uprooting Gender-Based Violence • Speakers: April Eve Wiberg, Founder, Stolen Sisters and Brothers Awareness Movement; Dr. Lauren Johnson and Dr. Elaine Greidanus, Perceptions of Indigenous Women, Danielle Boudreau, Founder, Valentine’s Day Edmonton Memorial March
  13. 3:30pm - Alberta Victim Services Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Initiative; Final Report “What You Told Us” • Speaker:Tracey Makokis, Report Lead, Program Liaison, Aboriginal and Isolated Communities, Victim Services, Justice and Solicitor General, Alberta Justice
  14. 3:45pm - Katherine Whitbread, CEO, Secure Peace• Her personal story of compassion for the man who stalked her for decades.
  15. 4:15pm - Inspirational Stories of Survival
  16. 4:45pm - Wrap-up• Speaker: Leslee Udwin Reflections on Day One of “Building Empathy and Conquering Apathy
  1. 9:00am - Welcome• Master of Ceremonies: Portia Clark, Host, CBC Radio Active • Opening Prayer :Indigenous Elder Ruth Cardinal de Ubiera • Welcome: Audrey Poitras, President, Metis Nation of Alberta
  2. 9:30am - Panel Discussion: No Place For The State in the Bedrooms of the Nation: 47 Years Later• Moderator: Margo Goodhand • Speakers: Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities; Dr. Kristopher Wells, Faculty Director, Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services, University of Alberta; Debra Tomlinson, CEO, Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services
  3. 10:15am - Break
  4. 10:30am - Panel Discussion - Prevention and Intervention: What Do We Do Next? • Speaker: City Councilor Scott McKeen Ward 6; Derek Warwick,Violence Prevention Educator; Dr. Liza Lorenzette, University of Calgary
  5. 11:15am - Audience Activity: Bystander Intervention Training •JR LaRose, 2011 Grey Cup Champion, One Arrow First Nation
  6. 12:00pm - Lunch
  7. 12:30pm - Screening of “India’s Daughter”
  8. 1:30pm - Panel Discussion - Building Empathy, Conquering Apathy•Speakers: Leslee Udwin CEO and Founder, Think Equal; Mary Gordon, C.E.O. & Founder, Roots of Empathy
  9. 2:30pm - Break
  10. 2:45pm - Panel Discussion: Looking To The Future: Edmonton as a Leader of Human Rights• Moderator: Satya Das, Chair Edmonton Heritage Council • Speakers: Robert Philp, Chief of Alberta Human Rights commission and Tribunals; Edmonton Centre MP Randy Boissonnault; Anglican Bishop Jane Alexander, co-chair Edmonton Poverty Reduction Strategy; Dr. Allen Benson, Native Counselling Services of Alberta
  11. 4:00pm - Wrap-up Comments / Call to Action• Summary comments to group; discussion of next steps; issuance of communique • Closing prayer
  12. 5:00pm - Closing Reception (separate tickets required)


Closing reception tickets

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Event tickets

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Leslee Udwin
Leslee Udwin
Film Maker, UN Advisor, Human-Rights Advocate

Leslee Udwin is the founder of Equality Studies Global Initiative, which “believe(s) in a holistic approach to education to support a new generation of Equality and Human Rights conscious thinkers and Global Citizens in the context of the UN’s post-2015 Sustainable Development goals... Read more

Mary Gordon
Mary Gordon
CEO of Roots of Empathy, Educator, and Human-Rights Advocate

Mary Gordon is recognized internationally as an award-winning social entrepreneur, educator, author, child advocate and parenting expert who has created programs informed by the power of empathy... Read more

Marie Wilson
Marie Wilson
Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

Marie Wilson is a Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, which is part of a holistic and comprehensive response to the charges of abuse and other ill effects for First Nations children... Read more

Dr. Allen Benson, LLD (Hon.)
Dr. Allen Benson, LLD (Hon.)

Dr. Benson has been integral in fostering the development of strong family and community values through his innate understanding of sharing, generosity and compassion for others... Read more

The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi
The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi
MP Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi is the Member of Parliament for Edmonton Mill Woods and the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities... Read more

Randy Boissonnault
Randy Boissonnault
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Prior to his election, Randy Boissonnault was a successful entrepreneur, community leader, and philanthropist. He has a strong record of leadership in business, in public service, and in the not-for-profit sector... Read more

Dr. Amrita Mishra
Dr. Amrita Mishra

Dr. Amrita Mishra is a sociologist by training and public policy analyst by vocation... Read more


Richard Feehan was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, representing the constituency of Edmonton-Rutherford, on May 5, 2015.... Read more

The Honourable Stephanie McLean
The Honourable Stephanie McLean
Minister of Service Alberta | Minister of Status of Women

Stephanie McLean was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta as the Member for the constituency of Calgary-Varsity on May 5, 2015... Read more



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