Presentation by Robert Fowler: "Lessons Learned From Sleeping with Al Qaeda" - Ottawa, Monday, June 29Written by Administrator
Robert Fowler has had a distinguished career as a Canadian diplomat and public servant. In addition to serving as Canada's ambassador to the United Nations ('95-2000) and to Italy (2000-'06), he has also been foreign policy advisor to three prime ministers. Robert was also the Deputy Minister of National Defence and the Prime Minister's Personal Representative for Africa.
For decades, Robert was a dominant force in Canadian foreign affairs. In one heart-stopping minute, all of that changed. On December 14, 2008, Fowler, acting as the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy to Niger, was kidnapped by Al Qaeda, becoming the highest ranked UN official ever held captive.
Along with his colleague Louis Guay, Fowler lived, slept and ate with his captors for nearly five months, gaining rare first-hand insight into the motivations of the world’s most feared terror group. Fowler’s capture, release and subsequent media appearances have helped shed new light on foreign policy and security issues as we enter the second decade of the “War on Terror.” His book, A Season in Hell, is Fowler’s compelling story of his captivity, told in his own words. It is also a startlingly frank discussion about the state of a world redefined by clashing civilizations.
The presentation and following discussion is organized by Errol Mendes, President of ICJ Canada and law professor at the University of Ottawa in partnership with the University’s Centre for Continuing Education and its Security and Policy Institute of Professional Development.
This event will be held on Monday, June 29, from 5-7pm in Ottawa on the University campus, in Desmarais Hall Room 12102. This event is free to attend, but attendees are requested to register online, as space is limited.
On May 14, 2015 the ICJ in collaboration with the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) presented a program session titled Equity, Inclusion, Poverty Reduction....It's about Justice! Integrating Justice into the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda as part of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) and the Canadian Association of International Development Professionals (CAIDP) annual International Cooperation Days Conference. This year, the Conference had the theme “ Universal Goals Canadian Challenges”. It was held in Gatineau, QC from May 12-14th and brought together 400 of Canada’s leading development professionals from civil society, the private sector, academia and government to focus on the post-2015 global development agenda.
The ICJ/CBA session was chaired by Errol Mendes, President of ICJ Canada. The objective of the session was to consider rule of law and access to justice as a universal goal and as a means to achieve the outcomes of other proposed post-2015 sustainable development goals and, in particular, to ensure equality and inclusivity in their implementation. Panelists included Adrian Di Giovanni, Senior Program Officer, Law and Development, International Development Research Centre (IDRC); Andrea Redway, Director of International Initiatives, CBA; and Petra Andersson, Director of Programs, Parliamentary Centre. To inform the discussion each of the panelists reflected on the collective experiences of Canadian legal institutions and each of their respective organization’s work on rule of law and access to justice issues in Canada and in developing countries. The conference attendees were invited by the chair, the panelists, and the session facilitator, Jennifer Khor, CBA Project Director, to consider how integrating access to justice and rule of law initiatives -including establishing legal frameworks, strengthening institutions and empowering citizen engagement- might meaningfully advance education, health, environmental, and equality development goals.
Response to the ICJ/CBA session was enthusiastic. As one participant noted, “there was a tremendous amount of interest in the room, a good discussion, and I know that I am excited and keen to bring these debates to more of our members”.
A draft policy paper prepared by Robin Sully, Secretary-Treasurer of the ICJ, was provided to the participants as a background document to help inform the discussion.
ICJ Canada is pleased to be participating in the 2015 conference organized jointly by the Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC) and the Canadian Association of International Development Professionals (CAIDP), entitled "Universal Goals, Canadian Challenges".
On Thursday, May 14, 2015, we will be hosting a panel along with the Canadian Bar Association, on "Integrating justice into the post-2015 SDG agenda". Our speakers will be Petra Andersson, Adrian Di Giovanni, Jennifer Khor, Andrea Redway, and Robin Sully.
In a joint letter sent to The Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and The Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development, the ICJ collaborated with the CBA, the Parliamentary Centre, and the International Law Research Programme of the Centre for International Governance Innovation to encourage the Canadian government to prioritize support for rule of law in the post-2015 global sustainable development agenda and within Canada's overseas development assistance program.
On March 5, ICJ Canada Board member Gib van Ert hosted an event at his law firm, Hunter Litigation Chambers, in Vancouver, British Columbia. This successful event served as an occasion to introduce the Canadian section of ICJ and its new project on federal judicial appointments to members of the local bar. Guests included Mr. Justice Voith of the Supreme Court of British Columbia; Bruno De Vita, managing partner of a well-known local firm, Alexander Holburn; John Hunter QC, head of Hunter Litigation Chambers; and Clea Amundsen, who recently spent several months in Kenya on an ICJ project. Event attendees learned about ICJ Canada’s focus on promoting an effective judicial appointments process that reflects international norms, and ensures a respected and independent judiciary that also reflects the diversity of Canada’s population. You can find out more about the project here.
The first part of 2015 has been a busy and exciting time for ICJ Canada. We are engaged in a process of renewal that has involved some significant changes.
Our new office is now housed on the University of Ottawa campus, in the Human Rights Research and Education Centre. This new location is ideal, as it will allow us to take advantage of the resources available in a university setting, and to strengthen partnerships with students and professors at the University of Ottawa Faculty Of Law. This location fits nicely with our intention is to grow a network of student groups across Canada; and to foster a commitment to our core values among young jurists (as well as the legal profession and Canadian society more broadly).
Our new office address and contact information is:
University of Ottawa
Suite 554 - 57 Louis Pasteur
Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5
Tel : 613-562-5199
New members of our team
We have welcomed a new Executive Director to our team: Janine Lespérance. She is a lawyer with a firm commitment to promoting human rights, and shares with the Board of Directors the strong will to advance the work and deepen the impact of ICJ Canada in innovative ways.
We also have several new Board members on our roster, and invite you to view the full list.
Please feel free to get in touch with Janine our any one of our directors to find out how you can be involved in ICJ Canada’s work.
New focus areas
We have chosen to focus our current activities on four substantive theme areas that are galvanizing national and international attention: judicial appointments, business and access to justice, national security and civil liberties, and rule of law in the post-2015 international development agenda. Please visit our issues page to find out more.
To continue with these and other initiatives, we rely on the support of engaged members and donors who share our belief that our country needs a strong legal organization like ICJ Canada; one that aims to ensure that Canadian laws reflect international norms and standards, and which is part of a global network of jurists working to promote the rule of law, human rights, and the independence of the judiciary. Join us or donate today!