Almost 75 years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the Human Rights Research & Education Centre (HRREC) and the Neuberger-Jesin Professor of International Conflict Resolution (Professor John Packer) were delighted to host the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Volker Türk, for his first and only public address in Canada almost a year to the day since he took up his official functions. The hour-long event – attended by students, university staff, civil society, and governmental and inter-governmental officials – took place October 16th before a full and attentive audience in Tabaret Hall at the University of Ottawa. Read the full article by Paige Holland and Kate De Klerk.
Photo: Jürgen Hoth/ La Rotonde
A CIPS report has now been published in the Canadian Journal of African Studies. The report is written by Rita Abrahamsen & Barbra Chimhandamba.
In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, global powers are not only scrambling for Africa’s abundant resources but also jostling for its political attention. In the midst of this new geopolitical environment of heightened tension, Canada is developing its first ever engagement framework for Africa. In light of this, we argue that the African Union (AU) should be central to Canada’s engagement strategy. Canada’s ability to engage bilaterally with fifty-four countries is inevitably limited. At the same time, the AU is increasingly speaking with a stronger, more unified voice on the international stage, seeking to position Africa as an influential global partner. Many of the AU’s founding principles and guiding norms support a rules-based multilateral order, and Canada and the organisation can find common ground in seeking not only to strengthen but also possibly improve and reform what is commonly known as the rules-based liberal international order.
Alex Trebek Postdoctoral Fellow, Ghuna Bdiwi, presented at 3rd Annual Conference for Syrian Researchers in Social Sciences. The workshop took place from April 29 to May 1st, 2023 in Istanbul, Turkey. You can view the recording of the presentation on YouTube. Ghuna travelled to Istanbul and took the opportunity to discuss her research in multiple platforms during her stay.
In July 2022, Dr. Bdiwi participated in an advanced workshop for policy makers and professionals in Switzerland. The workshop was titled: “Dealing with the past” and she shared her views and vision on the future process of transitional justice in Syria. The conference took place between the 15-22 of June 2022 in Switzerland.
On 4 May 2022, Postdoctoral Fellow Ghuna Bdiwi was interviewed by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights to share her opinion on the political process in Syria. During the interview, she indicated that the current political process is not what the Syrian people imagined or waited for, and that this is due to the absence of actual political will.
Barbra has been recruited as part of the collaborative research project “Changing Orders: Shaping the Future and Securing Rights in a World in Transformation”, funded by the Alex Trebek Forum for Dialogue and awarded to the Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC), the Refugee Hub, the Institute for Science, Society and Policy (ISSP) and the Centre for International Policy Studies (CIPS).
Barbra holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and an M.A. in Political Science, both from Carleton University, as well as a B.A. Honours degree in French from the University of Zimbabwe. In her Ph.D. dissertation, Barbra investigates an issue that pertinent and timely in light of the increasing involvement of celebrities, including pop singers, movie stars and high-profile, high-net worth individuals in humanitarian and philanthropic work, bringing attention to poverty, pandemics and disasters around the world. The dissertation, entitled, Celebrity Humanitarianism and the Politics of Development in Sub-Saharan Africa, seeks to answer the following questions: what are the benefits and limitations of celebrity humanitarian and philanthropic organizations for development and to what extent have celebrity humanitarianism and philanthropy contributed to development in Sub-Saharan Africa? Her research delves into several disciplines including International Relations, Comparative Politics, Global Political Economy, Development Studies and Global Ethics.
During her doctoral studies, Barbra was a grateful recipient of the prestigious Ontario Trillium Scholarship (2017-2022) among other scholarships and internal awards. Barbra has worked as a foreign service officer and has over 25 years’ experience in bilateral and multilateral diplomacy. She has served as a diplomat in various countries and at the United Nations Office in Vienna, Austria.
On 26 March 2022, Dr. Bdiwi was cited by the Middle East News (Asharq Alawsat News) calling on the Syrian Constitutional Committee to work on strengthening the rule of law in the new constitution. She pointed out that the transitional government, if formed, will bear a heavy burden in dealing with violations of huma rights in Syria, returning the displaced people to their homes, and setting policies to enhance the right to housing. She suggested as well that the right to property and housing should be reflected in the new constitution.
On 24 March 2022, Dr. Bdiwi spoke about the Constitutional Guarantees of the Right to Property during the “First Conference on Housing, Land and Property (HLP) Rights in Syria” which took place on the 24-25 March 2022, In Istanbul (Turkey): https://tda-sy.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Winter-Newsletter-2022-2.pdf
Ghuna Bdiwi has been recruited as part of the collaborative research project “Changing Orders: Shaping the Future and Securing Rights in a World in Transformation”, funded by the Alex Trebek Forum for Dialogue and awarded to the Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC), the Refugee Hub, the Institute for Science, Society and Policy (ISSP) and the Centre for International Policy Studies (CIPS).
She will work under the supervision of HRREC Director, Professor John Packer, and Refugee Hub’s Managing Director, Professor Jennifer Bond, to study how to secure fundamental human rights in the face of challenges to the rules-based international order.
Ghuna Bdiwi is a lawyer and a human rights activist, with legal practice experiences in both Syria and Canada. In Syria, her practice focused on cases that involved arbitrary detention and torture of political detainees, while in Canada her legal work focuses on refugee and immigration law. Her legal work and activism are internationally recognised; the United Nations Special Envoy to Syria nominated her to be a member of the Syrian Constitutional Committee that is mandated to draft a new Constitution for Syria. Ghuna has a Ph.D., LL.M. (research), LL.M. (common law) from Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, and a Master’s in International Banking and Finance from Université Montesquieu Bordeaux IV, France.
Dr Rita Abrahamsen and Dr Farai Chipato have been awarded a grant of $17,836 from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council for the project “The African Union at 20: Pan-African Pasts and Futures”. The African Union (AU) will celebrate its 20th anniversary in July 2022, providing an important opportunity to reflect on Africa’s contribution and place in the contemporary world order through a workshop that will combine theoretical analysis of African political thought and ideologies with empirical examination of African contributions to international governance. The workshop will bring together world class scholars on international relations and African politics, based in North America, Europe and the African continent.
Alex Trebek Fellow David Hughes has accepted an Assistant Professor position at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto. David leaves the project Changing Orders: Shaping the Future and Securing Rights in a World in Transformation after having begun postdoctoral work at the University of Ottawa in September 2020.
During this time David published three articles: Of Tactics, Prolonged Occupation, and the Boundaries of Legal Capabilities (European Journal of International Law); Differentiating the Corporation: Accountability and International Humanitarian Law (Michigan Journal of International Law); and Problematizing a New Form of Expansionist Ad Bellum Argument (with Yahli Shershevsky, Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law). David also published a number of shorter articles about his research on leading legal blogs and presented this work at various conferences in Canada and abroad.
He initiated the Forced Displacement Workshop for Junior Scholars which has grown into an interdisciplinary network of 25 early career academics from across the world that meet monthly to present and receive feedback on their forthcoming work. With Neuberger-Jesin Professor John Packer, David co-authored a report regarding the implementation of the United Nation’s Human Rights Due Diligence Policy for the Dallaire Centre of Excellence for Peace and Security. David begins his position with the Canadian Forces College in January 2022.
Dr Farai Chipato will be leaving the Changing Orders project at the end of January 2022 to take up a new post as Lecturer in Black Geography at the University of Glasgow. We thank him for his contributions to the project and wish him the best of luck in his new job.
Rafael Aguirre studies energy regulation and policy (oil, natural gas, hydrogen, electricity) in North America. His doctoral dissertation explores policy change in the natural gas sector in Mexico (University of Ottawa, 2021). Rafael has carried out research on Canada-U.S. energy relations, the politics of pipeline decisions and federalism in Canada, political polarization, and public opinion. During this postdoctoral fellowship Rafael is studying hydrogen policy in North America.
Rafael Aguirre holds a B.A. degree in international relations (El Colegio de México. Mexico City), and an M.A. degree in Political Economy (University of Essex, United Kingdom). His work on energy has been published by the University of Ottawa, Policy Options and Recherches Anthropologiques.
Rafael Aguirre has previous experience in journalism (Los Angeles Times) and public service, as an officer in the federal ministries of public safety, government and foreign relations (Mexico).
European Journal of International Law
CIPS Director Rita Abrahamsen and Alex Trebek Postdoctoral Fellow Farai Chipato have been awarded a research grant to assess how the Canadian Armed Forces can engage with international understandings of human security. Professor Abrahamsen and Dr. Chipato will prepare a paper for the Canadian Defence Academy and the Dallaire Centre of Excellence for Peace and Security that addresses how non-western perspectives on human security differ from Canadian perspectives and how this might impact Canadian forces engaged in peacekeeping operations and complex emergency situations.
HRREC Director and Neuberger-Jesin Professor John Packer and Alex Trebek Postdoctoral Fellow David Hughes have been awarded a research grant to assess how the Canadian Armed Forces can effectively implement the United Nation’s Human Rights Due Diligence Policy. Professor Packer and Dr. Hughes will prepare a paper for the Canadian Defence Academy and the Dallaire Centre of Excellence for Peace and Security that addresses the legal principles that structure the relationship between home and host state security forces in peacekeeping operations and complex emergency situations.
The Right Family: The Personal is Geopolitical By Rita Abrahamsen
Selling Human Rights Due Diligence in Canada By David Hughes
The Rise of African Philanthropy and International Development By Farai Chipato
The project is entitled “Changing Orders: Shaping the Future and Securing Rights in a World in Transformation” and was awarded to the Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC), the Refugee Hub, the Institute for Science, Society and Policy (ISSP) and the Centre for International Policy Studies (CIPS).
CIPS is very happy to announce the hiring of a new postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Farai Chipato. Dr. Chipato will be joining CIPS in October 2020 and will be contributing to the research project under the supervision of CIPS Director, Professor Rita Abrahamsen. Welcome Farai!
Farai Chipato has a PhD in Political Science from Queen Mary University of London. His thesis research investigated the relationship between international development donors and local civil society organisations in Zimbabwe, focusing on the promotion of democracy, good governance and human rights. Farai’s other research interests include citizenship, resilience, and race in International Relations. His future work will explore new African challenges to contemporary global order, working with Afropolitanism to examine trends in African philanthropy and social movements. Farai is also Reviews Editor for Review of African Political Economy.
HRREC and Refugee Hub are very pleased to announce the hiring of a new postdoctoral fellow, Dr. David Hughes. He will work (virtually for now!) under the supervision of HRREC Director, Professor John Packer, and Refugee Hub’s Managing Director, Professor Jennifer Bond, to study how to secure fundamental human rights in the face of challenges to the rules-based international order. Welcome David!
David Hughes holds a Ph.D. from Osgoode Hall Law School. His dissertation explores the ways that states employ international legal argument to achieve non-legal objectives. From 2017-2019, David was a Grotius Research Scholar at the University of Michigan Law School where he wrote about various topics in international law. The resulting publications appear or are forthcoming in several legal journals including the Melbourne Journal of International Law, the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, and the British Yearbook of International Law. Prior to beginning his doctoral work, David earned an LL.M from University College London, an LL.B from the University of Leicester, and a BA from Queen’s University. After law school, David worked at the Council of Europe, in various roles for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and with a coalition of Israeli and Palestinian NGOs in East Jerusalem.