What are human rights?

President's Lecture Series

Our President’s Lecture Series brings together distinguished guest speakers in conversation with President and CEO John Young. Each event explores a human rights topic in conversation with the audience.

Two men sitting in front of a black backdrop. One man is speaking into a microphone. Partially obscured.

Photo: CMHR, Krista Anderson

Join our President and CEO John Young and distinguished guest speakers in the second year of our lecture series on human rights. 

Each event will explore a historical or contemporary human rights topic with a keynote presentation, an in‐conversation session, and a moderated dialogue with the audience. 

Upcoming Events

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Photo: Courtesy of Vladimir Kara-Murza

Fighting for a free Russia: President's Lecture Series with Russian dissident Vladimir Kara-Murza

Tuesday, October 30, 2018 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Vladimir Kara‐Murza has been on the front lines of opposition to President Vladimir Putin as one of Russia's most outspoken advocates for democracy and human rights. Twice poisoned in the past three years, Kara‐Murza vows to continue the fight for democracy. He recently acted as pallbearer at the funeral of U.S. Senator John McCain. In this lecture, he will explore how Russians can bring about democratic change and how the West can help. His talk will be followed by a discussion with Museum President and CEO John Young and a public question‐and‐answer session.

Tickets for this event will go on sale in October.

Photo: Courtesy of Vladimir Kara-Murza

Past Events

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Photo: CMHR, Krista Anderson

Religion and Reconciliation: President's Lecture Series with John Borrows

Monday, March 26, 2018 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

John Borrows is Anishinaabe from the Chippewas of the Nawash First Nation on the shores of Georgian Bay in Ontario. He is the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law at the University of Victoria Law School. The Canada Council for the Arts named Borrows the 2017 Killam Prize winner in Social Sciences for his extensive research in Indigenous law. 

In April 2016, John Borrows published Freedom and Indigenous Constitutionalism. His lecture focused on the themes raised in the book, including freedom of religion, Indigenous perspectives and reconciliation. Freedom and Indigenous Constitutionalism is available for purchase at the Boutique.

The evening included a conversation between Young and Borrows, and a question‐and‐answer period with the audience. Dr. Niigaan Sinclair acted as moderator for the Q&A. Dr. Sinclair is Anishinaabe and originally from St. Peter's (Little Peguis) Indian Settlement near Selkirk, Manitoba. He is a professor at the University of Manitoba and teaches courses in Indigenous literature, histories and politics.

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Photo: CMHR, Krista Anderson

ISIS propaganda: President’s Lecture Series with Journalist Michael Petrou

Monday, January 15, 2018 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Award‐winning author and journalist Michael Petrou spoke about the ISIS propaganda strategy and its role in the Yazidi genocide. He argued that‐just as Nazi propaganda was an integral component of the Holocaust, and Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines was a catalyst for the genocide in Rwanda –ISIS propaganda prepared the ground, and ensured support for the mass slaughter and sexual enslavement of Yazidis, whose homeland they overran.

Petrou’s latest book, Is This Your First War? Travels Through the Post‑9/11 Islamic World, won the Ottawa Book Award for non‐fiction and is now available for purchase in the Museum Boutique.

The evening included a conversation between Young and Petrou, and an audience question‐and‐answer period. The event ended with a book signing and meet‐and‐greet with the author. 

Petrou is a historian, author and journalist who has reported from across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. He has a PhD in Modern History from the University of Oxford. He is the 2018 Martin Wise Goodman Canadian Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, and is also a non‐resident fellow at the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies.