UN International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination

is observed annually on 21 March. On that day, in 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid pass laws

niemoller silence 5 x 3 5 JPEG

UN International Day for the

Elimination of Racial Discrimination

annual commemoration organized by Cross Cultures magazine

for the Waterloo Region

Free Public event

at Kitchener City Hall

March 21 has been declared the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

and in the 1990s it was being commemorated by the ‘then’ Race Relations Committee of Kitchener Waterloo, of which Cross Cultures magazine was a member. When that committee was de-funded, we took it upon ourselves to continue that important work and Cross Cultures has been commemorating this international day annually

March 21 is also the first day of Spring and renewal, and for some, like myself, it used to be Mothers’ Day
it is also Eid Nawrooz for many others ….

The following demonstrate the wide range of topics and issues that were discussed over the years:

an interactive day of community bridging, education, art and fun!

with something for everyone -with THREE entirely different but equally thrilling segments
9:00 am – 1:30 pm
2:00 pm – 6:00 pm
6:00 pm – 11:00 pm

panel discussions, speakers, presentations (multimedia etc), information booths, displays, noon and …

this annual general arts and culture extravaganza encompasses the broader sense of the word culture !
song, dance, instrument, drama, poetry, visual art & photography display, CD & DVD etc

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Thursday March 21 2002


10:45 am
Official Opening Ceremonies –

FLAG SONG singing and drumming

MC Gehan Sabry introducing Aboriginal Elder Millie Falconer

a thanksgiving prayer in the Mohawk language

followed by
O’ Canada
Cross Cultures signature format where youth from different cultures each say one line in their language,
then everyone sings joins in the English and French O’Canada
(symbolism: no matter what our origins, we come together for Canada)

11:00 am
welcome and introduction by co-host City of Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr
dignitary greetings –
* The Lieutenant Governor of Ontario His Honour James K Bartleman
* The Ontario Human Rights Chief Commissioner Keith Norton
* Ken Seiling – Regional Chair
* Lynne Woolstencroft – Mayor of Waterloo
* Doug Craig – Mayor of Cambridge
* Michael Mann – Deputy Chief of Police

11:30 am
Aboriginal Drumming and Dancing

11:45 am
Youth presentations

Lunch and free browsing of community information booths

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~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

1:00 pm
Panel Discussion and Public Dialogue, moderated by Gehan Sabry with panelists:

* His Honour James K Bartleman, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
* Keith Norton – Chief Commissioner, The Ontario Human Rights
* Augie Fleras – Professor, Race Relations, Sociology, University of Waterloo
* Barbara Pressman – President, Holocaust Education Committee
* Rachel Wilson – Aboriginal Youth
* Sarah Lawendy – Canadian Muslim Youth
* Narina Nagra – Chair WPIRG

1:00 pm
Racism Workshop
* Shaku Ahluwalia discussing the film “For Angela” and other video documentaries
* Tori Machado – exploring suggestions for combatting racism in the community

special editor’s note:
I was greatly humbled when my fifteen page presentation of past events and about Cross Cultures persuaded His Honour The Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Mr James K Bartleman, to make the City of Kitchener his choice (out of eight other cities) as his first official visit, and even ecstatic when His Honour expressed a wish to actively participate as one of the panelists

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Friday March 21 2003


9:00 am
Native Elder Opening Prayer – Jean Becker

9:10 am

opening remarks:
Cross Cultures editor: Gehan Sabry

welcome by co-host City of Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr
dignitary greetings

9:30 am
panel discussion

Darrol Bryant – Professor, UW
How I discovered my own racism, and dealt with it
The American Civil Rights (late 60’s early 70’s) Vietnam War

Augie Fleras – Professor, UW
Racial Profiling

Rob Davis – WRPS Const
How Should the Police deal with the increasing diversity in our community

Narina Nagra –
Identity and fostering anti-racism education and awareness through grassroots organizations and activism

Edwin Laryea –
Harnessing the Rainbow of Diversity, embrace it and make it work for you,
Strategies for Youth Empowerment

Barbara Pressman –
activism in anti-racism and anti-oppression and especially violence against women and children

Abhi Ahluwalia –
Can One Person Make a Difference?

followed by Town Hall discussion

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Tuesday March 23 2004

9:00 am
Native Elder Opening Prayer – Jean Becker

9:10 am

opening remarks:
Cross Cultures editor: Gehan Sabry

welcome by co-host City of Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr
dignitary greetings

9:30 am
“Meditation and Yoga” and Sari demonstrations session
Professor Raj Dubey & Mrs Shanta Dubey

10:00 am
Mania Kay – shares her story of Holocaust Survival

11:00 am
“They lied to you in school”
film & discussion with Sparrow Rose & Jean Becker

“Piece of the Rock” & “Stand by Me”
Professor Carol Ann Weaver

“O’Siem” (Susan Aglucark) presented by students of Sunnyside School

Mandippal & Friends band – Jacob Hespeler Secondary School

browsing the booths and lunch

1:00 pm
Racial Profiling
Panel and Presentation

– Augie Fleras – Professor, Race Relations, University of Waterloo
– Rob Davis- Const. Community Relations, Waterloo Regional Police Services
– Ted Shaw and Kevin Carr – Ontario Human Rights Commission
– Shafiq Hudda – Imam, Islamic Humanitarian Services

3:00 pm
* Islam on Hijab – Sara Lawendy
* Racism & Human Values – Laila Bigelli
* Interfaith – Alaa el Sayed
* Women Equality and Gender – Professor Alicja Muszynski

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

4:00 pm
panel and public dialogue moderated by Edwin W D Laryea

* Randa Farah – Assistant Professor, Anthropology, University of Western Ontario
* John English – Professor & Executive Director of Centre for International Governance & Innovation (CIGI)
* Michael Lynk – Professor, UWO, formerly with UN Refugee & Human Rights in the Middle East
* Simon Adler – “What Should be the Canadian Perspective”
* Barry Kay – Professor, Political Science, Wilfrid Laurier University

4:00 pm
Falungong – Zhenhua He

4:45 pm
“Racism” a Steel Band workshop
Joe Lovell

5:30 pm
Race, Scientific Racism & Racial anti Semitism – Professor Jack Pasternak, University of Waterloo

7:00 pm
“Together Not Each Alone”
Equality of Employment Opportunity

* Professor Ken Westhues, Sociology, University of Waterloo
* Neil Murray – Human Resources and Labour Relations, University of Waterloo
* Marlene Kramer – New Canadian Program, a new Canadian job search experience
* David Vickery – The Working Centre

8:00 pm
“Is Elimination of Racial Discrimination Inevitable” a Baha’i perspective – Karen Ransom
“Baha’i Youth Perspective on Racial Unity” – Ken Lum

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Monday March 21 2005


9:00 am
Native Elder Prayer

9:10 am

opening remarks:
Cross Cultures editor: Gehan Sabry

welcome by co-host City of Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr
dignitary greetings

9:30 am
Students Interact with dignitaries, Browse Booths & Mingle

10:00 am
Armenian Genocide
Aris Babikian
National President – Armenian National Committee of Canada

11:00 am
Video re: Armenian Genocide
Genocides, Wars, Atrocities – St. Mary’s High School Students:
“There will be more Peace, Fairness and Freedom” – Sunnyside Public School

Rap song: “The Reason” Afshin Jafari, BrandonNorris-Lue, Michael Odhiambo
Poem: “The Same Inside” Kimberly Luu
Mandippal Jandu Jacob Hespeler Secondary School

1:00 pm
Waterloo Regional Police Services
Recruitment by Kelly Gibson & Sgt Greg Fiss
Police & Public by Const. Rob Davis, Community Relations, Waterloo Regional Police

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

3:00 pm
Reverse Job Fair – New Canadian Program

3:00 pm
Holocaust Survivor Story – Mania Kay

5:00 pm
Early Canada Days
Judy Greenwood_Speers

5:15 pm
Zonta’s Global Efforts
Joan Westcott

5:30 pm
Eid Norooz – Baha’is on Racism – Badi Woldemariam
Flowers of One Garden
flowers: Shilan Woldemariam, Sama Allah_Karam, Hanan Jaberi, Anna Jaberi, Sanam Rezaei, Sarina Sabet * gardeners: Soran Sabet, Aaron Morgulis
short story: How Easily we can compromise Unita Ahdifard
Poem on racism – Shilan Woldemeriam
songs on Tsunami – video presentations

6:30 pm
Gender & Sexuality Across the Cultures
Prof Harriett Lyons & Barbara Pressman

7:30 pm
Immigrant Women Empowerment
Saadiya Gassim & Fartun Kanyare

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Tuesday March 21 2006


8:30 am
Official Opening – Elder Native Prayer

8:40 am

opening remarks:
Cross Cultures editor: Gehan Sabry

welcome by co-host City of Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr
dignitary greetings

9:00 am
Aboriginal Students Association University of Waterloo – panel
“Stereotyping … Identity … Diversity”
Dialogue with all attendees

11:00 am
2 x 30 min Video(s) titles such as: “They Lied To You In School”

Entertainment & Browsing booths & Filling In Passports

2:00 pm
International Skills Fair +++++ Network +++++
Businesses meet extraordinary New Canadian professionals
Explore International opportunities
Speakers and Discussions addressing topics such as:
Employers satisfied with hiring New Canadian Professionals
Obstacles and Barriers faced by Foreign Educated / Trained Professionals
Issues around Diversity, Racism, Equity in Employment
Self Made Successful Business Immigrants

5:00 pm
Cultural Component

6:00 pm
Keeping You In Mind – Marcela Elizondo
photography exhibit / meet the artist Reception

6:30 pm
Silent Auction

7:00 pm
Peace Concert dedicated to Tibet

Guest Speakers:
* Lama Karma Phuntsok
* Professor Darol Bryant of Renison College
* Jean Becker, Aboriginal Services Coordinator at St Paul’s College

Musicians and Singers:
* Good Hearted Woman Singers
* John McKinley’s Band de Jour
* Sarah Gropp
* Organic Groove Collective
* Frets & Ivories (Special Guests)
* Lisbeth Haddad
* The Opportunities
* Sandy Jrup
* Keith Thom

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Wednesday March 21 2007



9:00 am
Native Elder Opening Prayer – Jean Becker

9:10 am

opening remarks:
Cross Cultures editor: Gehan Sabry

welcome by co-host City of Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr
dignitary greetings

9:30 am
“Racism is a learned behaviour”
Florence Juma

“Being the change”
Me Magic- Satyam & Freedom Malhotra

Nancy Bernhardt – Amnesty International

all dealing with youth issues and social justice:

the festival will run two hours then repeat itself
Mela’s Lunch – 10 min
A young girl is mistreated in a new school just because she looks different
It’s in Everyone of Us – 5 min
Song and still photos about belonging
The Silent Shout – 10 min
Animation about landmines
New Moves – 20 min
Orientation video for newcomers to Canada
Inuit Games – 23 min
A teenager from southern Canada finds his athletic ability tested when participating in traditional Inuit games
A Simple Water Pump – 12 min
Canadian schoolchildren fundraise to purchase water pumps for villages in India
Plus there will be a lot of 2-5 minute surprise “shorts”

Sr & Jr ABLE Class Students
A R Kaufman Public School
Music from
Women of the World International-Dalom Kids and Splash – Ndincdeni

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Friday March 28, 2008

since the actual day (March 21) coincides to be Good Friday, we have re-scheduled to the following Friday to allow for schools to settle back after Easter and March Break


8:30 am
arrival, registration and free mingling “casual reception with light refreshments”

9:00 am
we ALWAYS start the day with a Native Elder prayer – Jean Becker

followed by
O Canada
(Cross Cultures’ signature format is to invite students to say a line
in one of the languages, then we all sing O Canada together in English)

opening remarks:
Cross Cultures editor: Gehan Sabry

welcome by co-host City of Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr
dignitary greetings

Chief of Police Matthew Torigian
will speak to the students and everyone present about this year’s theme
– this will be an interactive session

10 am
Wanda Cakebread – a retired World Relgions Catholic Board teacher
will provide experiences and insights into the reality of “Mutual Respect” in our daily lives
be prepared to interact with others present

11 am
St Gregory’s Guitar Club students will delight us
while we browse the information booths

11:30 am
Rukhsana Khan
This presentation features her book “The Roses in my Carpet”
based on the story of her Afghan refugee foster child.
The story illustrates the life of a young boy living with loss and terror-filled
memories where time is measured by the next bucket of water,
the next portion of bread, and the next call to prayer. Despite overwhelming
obstacles, the young boy longs for freedom, independence and safety.
It’s when life is at its most fragile that the strength to endure grows
out of need but the strength to dream comes from within
Rukhsana uses humour to deal with such serious subjects as child
sponsorship and poverty. The presentation includes a visual tour of the
refugee camp she visited in Peshawar, Pakistan.

12:30 pm
Noon Hour concert

2:00 pm
Gebrehiwot (Gebre) Berihun – Intercultural Health Worker
will present a workshop showing a 20 minute video
about the history of the social construction of race
and have a discussion about
how white and colour people can work towards the elimination of racism

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

3:00 pm
Freedom of Speech
discussions in the Council Chambers

will include :
Macleans article by Mark Steyn – Prophet Mohamed Cartoons, CBC’s Cross Country by Rex Murphy etc
and the important role and mandate of the Human Rights Commissions


Barbara Hall was appointed Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human
Rights Commission in November 2005, after 40 years as a community
worker, lawyer and municipal politician. She served three terms as a
city councillor, and as Toronto’s mayor from 1994 to 1997. From 1998 to
2002 she headed the federal government’s National Strategy on Community
Safety and Crime Prevention. Ms. Hall also practised criminal and
family law, was a member of the Ontario Health Ministry’s Health
Results Team, and lectured nationally and internationally on urban and
social issues. She has a strong record of bringing diverse groups
together to build healthy communities.

Hesham has university degrees in mechanical engineering, psychology and
anthropology, with thesis on anti-Semitism. Hesham writes about the
complex issues that face Muslims and Islam in
the west, as well as about political issues involving Muslim and Arab
nations in the world. He also co-hosts the radio show Islam Faith &
Cultures on Faith FM 94.3. Hesham has long been an advocate of peace
and harmony among religions and peoples.
Many of Hesham’s writings are published as letters or opinions
in various newspapers and magazines in Canada, and around the world.
Hesham is also a public speaker on the topic of Muslims and Islam in
the west and is proficient in Arabic, English, and French, and gets by
in German. Hesham was fortunate enough to be born into a multi-faith,
multi-cultural, multi-national community in a suburb of Cairo, Egypt,
that brought together people from different faiths, races and nations.
During his extensive travels, he made a point of visiting a Nazi
concentration camp in Germany, near Munich – Dachau – where large
numbers of the six million Jews killed by the Nazis were deliberately
exterminated. Hesham served for two years on the Readers’ Advisory
Board of a mainstream Canadian newspaper

Current Pen Canada President- One of the largest Canadian and
International organizations on Freedom of Expression.
Actively works for promotion of literature, culture, freedom of
expression, and pluralism
The summary of his position is that Racial Discrimination leads to
curtailment of Free Expression and vice versa.
Affiliations: Board member and Chair of Writers in Exile committee –
Pen Canada, President – Rasikarts, a group dedicated to the excellence
in South Asian theater in Canada, Secretary – Writers Forum,
a literary group of South Asian Canadians , and past secretary
of Mulsim Canadian congress

Khurrum is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School
and the University of Waterloo. While at law school he represented
the interests of the Canadian Muslim community before various
legislative committees including the Senate Committee on the
Anti-Terrorism Legislation, and the Parliamentary Committee
on Citizenship and Immigration. He also worked as a law student
at the Parkdale Community Legal Clinic (PCLC),
assisting low-income residents of the Parkdale community
in the labour and employment law area.
He is one of four law-students who filed human rights complaints
against Maclean’s Magazine for its refusal to publish a response
to its article “The Future Belongs to Islam”

3:00 pm
in the upper level Rotunda

where employers seeking the exquisite and unique skills and languages
of new Canadians and foreign trained professionals could network

6:00 pm
Bridging the Gap productions
“WE give out a ‘magic formula’ for healthy relationships
to all those who attend. It’s fun filled, with live songs”
(Enlightenment Through Entertainment)
about promoting healthy marital relationships
why do people fall in and out of love

As the afternoon and evening unfold, we enjoy more culture and art, wrapping up with a

7:00 pm

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Friday March 27th 2009

we ALWAYS start the day with an Elder Aboriginal prayer – Jean Becker

followed by

opening remarks:
Cross Cultures editor: Gehan Sabry

welcome by co-host City of Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr
dignitary greetings

* Chief of Police MATT TORIGIAN speaks to the youth

* Personal experience of discrimination
Rowan Sohbi
Aruba Khurshid
2 students from Sunnyside School

* Racial Discrimination issues
Chloe Calendar & Lisbeth Haddad of Skylark
(empowering motivational speakers, singers, performers)
Chloe Callender and Lisbeth Haddad are motivational educational facilitators.
As Skylark they provide interactive presentations and workshops, engaging
participants in activities aimed at freeing them from cultural and racial bias.

It is frightening to think of more of us growing up to continue negative
stereotyping and hatred of “others”. Guided by a spirit of unity and mutual
respect and utilizing innovative creative methods, Skylark is energised and
filled with new hope each time we share our knowledge, experience and

then we will open the floor for discussion

Eastwood Collegiate Institute
Islamic School of Cambridge
St Michael’s Secondary School
Mrs King’s School

browsing the booths
brown bag lunch (lunch is not provided)

4 pm
in the Council Chambers

* Defining and understanding HATE CRIME:
and the responsibility of the entire community to strive to eliminate it

Sgt Gerald Nugent – Hate Crime Extremist Investigative Team

also sharing a few words on the Francis Pitia case will be
Detective Roy Felder, and the president of the South Sudanese community

This is beneficial for professional development and awareness around cultural issues,
contributing to the well-being of our youth and the community in general
“Certificate of Completion” available upon request

short break
interactive discussion

7:00 pm
back in the Rotunda


* Grand Philharmonic Children’s Choir

* Waterloo Regional Police Band

* Starlight Steel Band

* Malachi & the Music

* Mrs King’s School
Vanessa Witt
Taylor Jasztrab
Maya Deutschlander
Crystal Dorscht
Pareesa Bina
Sam Martinello

* Barry Shainbaum
singer, guitarist, photographer

* Mandippal
acoustic, pop rock

* Mark Evans
guitar accompanied songs

* Michelle & Sam
easy feeling songs

Derek Sabry


2yLite The Titan

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Friday March 26 2010

Native Elder Opening Prayer – Jean Becker

followed by

opening remarks:
Cross Cultures editor: Gehan Sabry

welcome by co-host City of Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr
dignitary greetings

9:00 am
Youth Empowerment
Matthew Torigian, Chief of Police

9:30 am
Barbara Pressman

10:30 am
AFRICAN storyteller
Rev Florence A Juma

11:00 am
Social Awareness of Human Trafficking of Women & Children
St Michael’s School

11:45 am
Amnesty International
presentation by Anita and Larry Nickerson

TALENTS from various schools

bring your own lunch & browse the booths

1:00 pm
in the council chambers

discussion led by Graham Baechler – Sunnyside Public School

1:40 pm
‘The Story of Human Rights’ video presentation

1:50 pm
a group of WAYVE students are initiating this … all welcome!!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

3:00 pm
* Democracy
Anti-Racism, Dignity & RESPECT
can we be honest about how well we are doing?
an interactive dialogue … Twn Hall …

3:00 pm
* REACH an open GLOBE
a mini Trade Fare
in the Upper Level Rotunda

6:00 pm

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Wednesday March 23 2011

the theme does not exclude addressing other issues and current concerns

Native Elder Opening Prayer – Jean Becker
since we all live on Native / Aboriginal / First Nations … land we start with an elder prayer then . . .

followed by
– O’CANADA – a signature activity of Cross Cultures’ is to have a male and female – of several ethnic and linguistic backgrounds – say or sing a line in another language (must be coordinated with me to avoid duplication) and then EVERYONE joins in English – symbolism: whatever ancestry … we all pledge allegiance to Canada

opening remarks:
Cross Cultures editor: Gehan Sabry

welcome by co-host City of Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr
dignitary greetings

9:00 am
“The Stages of Genocide”
Natanael Mateus Ruiz

10:00 am
“Race vs the Human Genetic Tree”
Rev Dr Clifford Blake
guest speaker

The biggest stumbling to the elimination of racial discrimination is lack of knowledge about races. Hear some startling scientific facts that will push back the veils and create better understanding of each other.

1. Are humans divided by races. Is the term race a psychological and social construct – does it have any scientific basis?

2. Modern DNA research reconstructed where human populations originated and traced the path by which they spread throughout the world.

3. DNA?

4. Learn about a human genetic tree which researchers have constructed and its root and branches.

5. So what about skin colour and other differences in human appearance and traits?

6. Which ethnic group is at the root of the human genetic tree? The results of the research reveal this information.

7. How close are the root and branches of the human tree?

8. Some important questions for us:
a. What personal adjustments to our belief systems have to be made in order to absorb these findings?
b. How do these findings affect our understanding and respect for each other?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
student and other presentations

slide show of several visits to Africa
by Cathy MacLellan

Fair Vote Canada
by Anita Nicherson

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
… we prefer to unwind after a serious morning .. so we ask schools to contribute with artistic talents – song, music (individual and group), drama skits, monologues … dance expressions, ….. etc
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

afternoon feature . . .

“How can we create a fair and just society?

this discussion will be led by Graham Baechler
(Sunnyside School)

The Story of Human Rights
presented by Angela Ilasi
The purpose of Youth for Human Rights International is to teach youth about human rights, specifically the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and inspire them to become advocates for tolerance and peace. Their most recent resource for this objective is a short documentary called “The Story of Human Rights”. This compelling documentary is currently being used by educators, police, human rights organizations and groups all across Canada and the world to educate children and adults on the Universal Declaration on Human Rights”

The day continues
… and students and teachers are welcome to stay or return with family and friends

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
that would have been the rest of the program, but unfortunately it was a heavy storm day and we had to conclude at that point .. rescheduling for April 8th .. see further below ..
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

interactive DIALOGUE
3:00 pm . . . community sharing

5:00 pm
* Hon Karen Redman
* Cathy MacLellan
* Prof Debra Chapman
* Prof Peter Eglin
* Peter Thurley

discussion topics:

…. as viewed by the west
(is the European and North American model satisfactory),
and in places such as Egypt and other countries of the Middle East for example where people are ready to sacrifice everything for their freedom to vote and speak and think


within a democracy and under dictatorships

their value, wisdom and how we should nurture them

~ ~ ~ ~
Egypt’s fifth Nobel for the youth of Tahrir Square

Barack Obama:
We must educate our children to become like young Egyptian people

Britain’s Prime Minister:
We must consider teaching the Egyptian revolution in schools

For the first time, we see people make a revolution and then clean the streets afterwards

Prime Minister of Italy:
There is nothing new in Egypt. Egyptians are making history as usual

Stoltenberg, Prime Minister of Norway:
Today we are all Egyptians

Austrian President Heinz Fischer:
The people of Egypt, are the greatest people of earth; and they deserve a Nobel Prize for Peace


6:00 pm

KW Children’s Drama Workshop
Improv Performance Troupe
Kenneth Lefebvre – instructor
Payton LeConte
Tess Hudson
Eric Ellis
Kyle Claeys
Carter Heer
Audrey White
Rachel Loewen
Kassandra Loewen

6:30 pm
Andy Griffith
acoustic folk rock singer / songwriter who writes from gut feeling and personal experiences

6:50 pm
“El Sombrero Azul, Danzas y Cultura”
in English
“The Blue Hut, dance and culture”
dance to Folklore music as well as Modern music from El Salvador,
with 10 dancers and 4 support staff
and a group of teenage dancers for Merengue and Cumbia

EL SOMBRERO AZUL started their performances in July 2010
and have already been to Ottawa, Stratford Festival, Brantford, in additoin to numerous presentations in K-W

Eliseo Martell
Mayte Wiebe
Jocelyn Henriquez
Shannalee Brown
Vilma Guzman
Juona Paunoiu
Sonia Navas – Instructor
Amely Henriquez – Assistant

7:00 pm
Al Carter band
Al Carter is a KW Blues performer, he plays unique versions of old favourites we’re sure you’ll enjoy – a three piece band

7:30 pm
KW Children’s Drama Workshop
a Registered Non-Profit Charitable teaching theatre school for children and youth 3-16 years of age, that provides opportunities for today’s youth to grow healthy self esteems & confidence while learning and performing in theatre arts through acting & improv classes, workshops in stage fighting, dance and how to audition and full scale productions of plays, musicals, pantomimes, comedies etc. solely for children & youth in the region
At KWCDW the children and youth truly take the lead! Believe…. Belong……BECOME!
Belle (5:07)
Capri (3:00)
Human Again (2:58)
Flames of Paris (2:30)
Be Our Guest (3:24)

Renaissance School of the Arts
Melanie April Fries & Deanne Bingleman – instructors / choreographers
Katie Borths
Lily Villenvue
Savannah Brewer
Sophia Gracan

Joy Garofalo, Deanne Bingleman, Chelan Fuller – Instructor team for this presentation
Mikaila Beach
Sarah Hughes
Franny Moser
Rachel Parent
Payton LeConte
Marley Sullivan

Anjuli Dutta
Joya Dutta
Taylor Ottmann
Amber Owens Hughes
Olivia Schaefer
Daniel Protedger
Gabrielle Feldmann
Rosy Qubrosi
Ruby Qubrosi
Mary Adams
Charlie Brohman

8:00 pm

Humanitarian pop / rock singer songwriter
and her 5 piece band

8:20 pm
Down Hips “Bellydonnas”
bellydance performance
Down Hips is the largest bellydance studio in the K-W area, and a welcoming place for women of all ages, shapes & sizes! Classes are fun and accepting, with attention to proper technique to provide a strong foundation for ambitious students who want to challenge themselves, and for those who want to dance for pure recreation. The studio is home of the dance troupe the Down Hips “Bellydonnas”, which is usually a group of 10 women, brought together by their love of bellydance, friendship and their excitement for performance. The Bellydonnas dance to share their joy with both the bellydance community and beyond

8:40 pm
Mike Neeb
Lonliest Monks
4 original songs
5 piece roots reggae band, combining local talent with Zimbabwean influences

9:00 pm
El Sombrero Azul second – dance

9:10 pm
Anjael & Friends or ….”Anjael-the man with the blue face”
his style of playing guitar is most unusual. An exponent of an esoteric spiritual school termed ‘Rooh-Ani’ Anjael plays Neo Flamenco Sambra style, fusing traditional Mid Eastern with Spanish Flamenco and western Jazz Rock with powerful vocals

10:15 pm
Mark Evans
Mark is a singer, songwriter and enjoys playing different instruments in different genres to entertain. He loves all the arts and hopes that the world will see how music and art are a communication medium that crosses all boundries to touch people in a positive way and can be shared to build a global community

Far From Rich
Richard Garvey solo

Teodor Rosca
composer, guitar player and singer about peace

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

April 8 2011

3:00 pm

* Debra Chapman
Professor of Political Science, Global Studies, WLU

* Peter Eglin
Professor of Sociology, WLU

discussion topics:
…. as viewed by the west
(is the European and North American model satisfactory),
and in places such as Egypt and other countries of the Middle East for example where people are ready to sacrifice everything for their freedom to vote and speak and think

5:00 pm
interactive DIALOGUE . . . community sharing

6:50 pm
“El Sombrero Azul, Danzas y Cultura”
in English
“The Blue Hut, dance and culture”
dance to Folklore music as well as Modern music from El Salvador,
with 10 dancers and 4 support staff
and a group of teenage dancers for Merengue and Cumbia
EL SOMBRERO AZUL started their performances in July 2010
and have already been to Ottawa, Stratford Festival, Brantford, in additoin to numerous presentations in K-W

7:00 pm
Al Carter band
Al Carter is a KW Blues performer, he plays unique versions of old favourites we’re sure you’ll enjoy – a three piece band

9:00 pm
El Sombrero Azul second – dance

9:10 pm
Anjael & Friends or ….”Anjael-the man with the blue face”
His style of playing guitar is most unusual. An exponent of an esoteric spiritual school termed ‘Rooh-Ani’ Anjael plays Neo Flamenco Sambra style, fusing traditional Mid Eastern with Spanish Flamenco and western Jazz Rock with powerful vocals

10:15 pm
Mark Evans
Mark is a singer, songwriter and enjoys playing different instruments in different genres to entertain. He loves all the arts and hopes that the world will see how music and art are a communication medium that crosses all boundries to touch people in a positive way and can be shared to build a global community

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Wednesday March 21 2012

8:30 am
Jean Becker
First Nations Elder – opening prayer

followed by
* O’Canada
* dignitary greetings

* words to the students from
Mayor Brenda Halloran
Chief of Police Matt Torigian

9:00 am
Jean Becker
First Nations Elder
speaking about Aboriginal issues

9:30 am
WLU Aboriginal Students Association
presentation and ongoing workshop on craft making

10:00 am
Graham Baechler from Sunnyside PS
conducts a very vibrant interactive dialogue focusing on the question
“How do we create a fair and just society?”
issues concerning human rights, social justice, and valuing our diversity
will be at the heart of the discussion.
Participants will be encouraged to think about how individuals can effect large scale, positive change in our world

12 noon CONCERT
Aboriginal Drumming
and numerous talents from Cambridge Islamic School

1:00 pm
documentary and discussion
a documentary film that will change the way you think about race,
it follows motivational speaker Anthony McLean into the ethnically explosive city of Brampton, Ontario – where he is forced to critically examine his own identity while mentoring six youth grappling with theirs

3:00 pm
Citizenship & Immigration
Hon Jim Karygiannis
Liberal Critic – Multiculturalism & Citizenship
Citizenship & Immigration Standing Committee member
Byron Williston
GPC candidate for Kitchener-Centre

community interactive dialogue followed by a panel discussion
all points of view are welcome,
let’s open the dialogue, hear each other
hopefully reach a better understanding
and recognize that the common ground that binds us is:
CANADA and being Canadian (wherever we once came from!)

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Thursday March 21 2013


we are starting later than every year … and hope the weather holds ….

9:30 elder prayer
by Jean Becker

followed by O Canada & dignitary greetings

10 am
Paper Wars:
Oral History vs Colonial Records when determining Algonquin Identity

by Heather Majaury – is mixed blood Algonquin Omamawinini Anishinaabekwe who grew up in the Ottawa Valley part of the traditional territory of the Original Omamawinini Anishinaabeg now known as Algonquin

11 am
several short presentations by:
*students of the Islamic School of Cambridge
*Sayed Alam on Racism against Native Rohingya
* Nick Shrubsole – Indigenous Spirituality
and open interactive discussions

NOON free browse etc

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Friday March 21 2014

theme this year is APARTHEID…
the history of the day originated in South Africa, and with the passing of Madiba
discussing his struggle, the kind of man he was and his leadership

presentations on racial issues
local and global human rights of refugees
women & children in troubled areas around the world

a Noon Concert and an evening Peace Concert

a panel discussion on APARTHEID

Elder Jean Becker – indigenous prayer
O’ Canada
dignitary greetings

9:30 am
Heather Majaury
(Algonquin Nation) is a singer actor, playwright, theatre director, workshop facilitator, and public educator who specializes in theatre for social change that encourages intercultural dialogue and personal reflection on issues of current and public concern. She is currently developing a one woman show called “This is My Drum” which she hopes to present and tour in 2015. She believes one way to take action toward liberation is to reclaim the art of play. Something that younger people are already experts at. So all she really does is copy the experts

10:30 am
Eney Oyual
will be speaking about her story coming to Canada and the difficulty of being a newcomer and the struggle of adapting to a new place, about difficulties with language barriers, ignorance, and racism, then she will shed some light on the genocide in South Sudan, and the challenges in the UN Camps and Compounds from her experience as a refugee, and her project around raising funds to support the children in the UN Camps in South Sudan. Eney is in her fifth year at Monsignor Doyle catholic Secondary School she is18 years old and feels that she contributes to her community quite a bit. Eney is of the ethnic Nuer Nation in South Sudan. Her future plans are to become a children’s psychiatrist and work in war torn countries to rehabilitate children who have experienced emotional turmoil at the hands of war and disaster

11:30 am
“Disrupt the World with Dance”
To truly eliminate racism and discrimination we must call people to question and deconstruct their current ways of thinking. Therefore, we have created a piece which films the Monsignor Doyle Dance Crew dancing in conventional spaces throughout our school community. This disruption is meant to break patterns and routines of thinking and acting to call attention to issues of racism and discrimination. Furthermore, the dancers are dancing in areas of the community that are important to them. This is meant to remind us of the powerful connection we have with our community and the environment and to connect our First Nations brothers and sisters. One theme of Native Spirituality we discussed as a dance collective and strongly identified with is the connection between the human spirit and the environment / community. Calling attention to this theme reinforces our need to embrace different communities, cultures and environments to view the earth as a whole rather than in parts. Finally, we have chosen our dance choreography and song by Ed Sheeran called “Give Me Love” to interweave the film together. This piece reminds us that healing comes out of love. If we, as human beings, can embrace love then we will move toward reconciliation of body, mind, soul, community and earth. The answer is love…..“Give me Love”
Teacher/Creative Concept: LaureenDamaren

N O O N      C O N C E R T

Mino Ode Kwewak N’gamowak – Good Hearted Women Singers
An Aboriginal Women’s Drum Group

12:30 pm
Youth for Human Rights award winning presentation

1:00 pm
Anwar Arkani
a Rohingya by race and Burmese by birth, at present living in Kitchener and active in awareness campaign for gross human rights violation issues in Burma

2:00 pm
“Subliminal Messages in the Media: Racial Profiling and Stereotyping”
WLU students workshop presentation on race and the media

3:30 pm
Racism and Conflict
ABS Association of Black Students at Laurier workshop
The Association of Black Student students is a continuously growing student run organization that acts as a resource and service center for the community. Its aim is to create a safe environment for students to connect and lean about issues concerning the African diaspora within the Laurier community, and throughout history. Their mission is to share the values of Solidarity, Empowerment, and Progress. Through their actions and events, the Association hopes others will come to embrace these values in their day to day lives. Let me know if you need anything else

the afternoon is an extravaganza of rich culture and art
. . a can’t miss line up of cultural, spiritual, artistic wonder!

6 pm concurrently:

PEACE CONCERT in the Rotunda

6:00 pm
Rhythms of Steel
Carol Taylor, Wendell Claxton, Lisbeth Haddad and Karren Asumang – a newly formed group of 4 musicians with Lisbeth Haddad on tenor pan, guitar and vocals, Wendell Claxton on double seconds, Carol Taylor on guitar pans and Karren Asumang on the djembe. They are all originally from the Caribbean except for Karren who is from Ghana, West Africa

6:45 pm
Samantha Estoesta
two poems of spoken word
Samantha Estoesta is the current Executive Director of Laurier Students Public Interest Group and a future graduate at Royal Roads University of Intercultural Communications! Samantha is a social justice purveyor and an inspiration to many

7:00 pm
Time Continuum
performs music that spans centuries of different types of music from medieval to modern times -including jazz, blues, rock, new age, classical, country, and pop
David Peterson plays lead guitar, fiddle, mandolin and acoustic guitar and has been performing with Suzanne Glaser who sings and plays the Celtic harp and keyboards since the early ’80s.
Recently, David and Suzanne have hooked up with local musicians John Long on keyboards, Dennis Pahanic on drums, Paul Cooper on bass and Boris Pahanic on guitar

8:00 pm
Mark Evans
Canoe Eye View Band

8:30 pm
Chambers Band

also at 6pm in the Council Chambers
i n t e r a c t i v e PANEL DISCUSSION on Apartheid
~ definition
~ historic and global examples
~ impact on women and children
~ Madiba’s personality in unifying and forgiving (i e Nelson Mandela)

each panelist will give a 5-7 minute perspective and then dialogue with the audience and the other panelists .. not Q&A

*David Heap with GazaArk (skyping from London, ON)
David is Associate Professor of French and Linguistics at the University of Western Ontario, and father of two. David has participated in the 2009-2010 Gaza Freedom March. A Steering Committee member withe Canadian Boat to Gaza, since the campaign began in 2010, he was on board the Tahrir when it was stopped by the Greek authorities in July 2011, and again in November 2011 when captured by the Israeli navy. Deported to Canada after six days in Israeli prison, he also joined the Swedish ship Estelle to Gaza for part of its voyage in September 2012, representing the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, and he visited Gaza in October 2012 with a group of linguist colleagues (including Chomsky). He has been speaking about both previous Freedom Flotilla voyages and the current Gaza Ark campaign to challenge the blockade from Palestine in the spring of 2014

* Lisa Yellow-Quill
Blue Thunderbird Woman
bringing the Indigenous perspective
Osha-wiscoe Binehsi-kwe is known as Lisa Yellow-Quill, and her Ndoodem is Pihzew. She is a Nehiyaw-eskwew, Dakota-wiayaa and Nekaway-kwe, registered to Treaty 1 Territory: Long Plain First Nation located in southern Manitoba — She has many years of experience providing advocacy, support and counseling to girls, women and families living with multiple-barriers, oppressions, and experiences of violence both in crisis situations and in complex long-term processes. Her non-violent anti-oppression work in Vancouver, BC gives her a strong foundational understanding and analysis of future, current and historical implications to healthy and wholistic life span development and socioeconomic sustainability for Indigenous people, particularly Turtle Island’s Original Girls and Women living in marginalised colonial circumstances. This foundation has supported her ability to be a noted spokesperson on behalf of Turtle Island’s Murdered and Missing Girls and Women. Lisa contributes her own sustainability in the anti-colonial movement to her understanding of her role as Pipe Carrier, Sundancer, Keeper of several Ceremonies, and Woman. Lisa is a BSW graduate and is currently a Master of Social Work Aboriginal Field of Study student at WLU, graduating in June 2014 as a Wholistic Practitioner

* Alla Darwish, PhD
originally from the city of Nablus in Palestine.
His family in Nablus are current owners of olive and fig farms in the outskirts of the city.
Alla grew up mostly in Port-Rowan, Ontario, Canada. Living on a small apple farm.
He attended the University of Waterloo for his Bachelor degree in Biochemistry and PhD in Medicinal Chemistry.
Alla worked as a post-doctoral fellow at McMaster University in the field of Nuclear Medicine for two years.
Currently, he is a scientist at the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization in the discovery department.
His research involves developing new imaging and therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals for cancer. Alla Darwish’s personal ideology is “equality for all regardless where you live”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Saturday March 21 2015

10:00 am
opening ceremony

followed by

1:00 pm
* i n t e r a c t i v e p a n e l d i s c u s s i o n
(not Q & A)
FREEDOM of speech, thought, religion …

each panelist will give a 5-7 minute perspective and then dialogue with the audience and the other panelists
~ definition of freedom
~ religious cartoons
~ distinction between freedom of speech and hate speech
~ historic and global examples
~ impact on minorities
~ Bill C-51

* Munir Pervaiz
is a writer and activist, he has been the former board member and Chair of Writers in Exile committee at PEN Canada. and is currently the
– secretary of Writers Forum Canada,
– director of Progressive Writers Association Canada, and
– President of Muslim Canadian Congress
He writes a weekly Op-Ed for Urdu Times and also blogs at Huffington Post
and he is also a recipient of Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for service to Canada

* Jay Chagnon
A visible presence in the Waterloo Region Arts community since 2007, Jay was co-host of Rogers “daytime” with Susan Cook-Scheerer for three seasons. Since that time, he has continued to work as a host in residence for
The Idea Exchange’s “Friday Night Art Live, Grand River Shows” and Emcee:
The Total Woman Show
The Food & Drink Show
Jay is a graduate of The Ontario College of Art & Design from the Drawing and Painting program

* Jane Richard
will speak to the freedom theme from the perspective of Personhood for the pre-born and how it relates to historical human rights struggles through race, gender and age. Jane is a former teacher and business woman that has worked with the KW Right to Life organization for over 20 years. Jane is president KW Right to Life – a nonprofit charity for 42 years in the Waterloo Region, an Educational Prolife Resource Center serving the Community in areas of Counseling, Presentations, Exhibits and a Reference Library on all Life issues: Prenatal Development, Abortion, Infanticide, Euthanasia, Reproductive Technology and Chastity please check the table display – that has TV presentations and literature along with someone to discuss these issues

* Anwar Shah Arkani
is a lifelong activist and human rights defender for Rohingya people. He has served in different organizations since 1984. He left his country of origin, Burma, in 1984 when Rohingya lost their citizenship rights in their ancestral land after the 1982 Citizenship Law was enacted. Anwar spent about five years in Bangladesh and later managed to go to Thailand where he spent the next ten years as an illegal immigrant. In 1998 Anwar was resettled in Canada as a government sponsored refugee. Shortly after he was also awarded a scholarship by the United State Information Agency [for Burmese Students] to study at the Indiana University. He graduated with Bachelor of Science in December 2002. He returned to Canada in 2003. In 2006-7 Anwar rescued and helped thousands of stranded Rohingya at the Thai-Burma border, who were caught by Thai authorities while fleeing from Burma to Thailand and Malaysia using fishing boats through the Bay of Bengal. Anwar was invited by NGOs to talk at the United Nations, Geneva, about the Rohingya’s plights; first time in March 2009 at the UNHRC, and the second time in April 2009 at Durban Review Conference, UN Geneva. Anwar is the founder and president of the Rohingya Association of Canada. He has been helping the newly resettled Rohingya in Kitchener since their arrival in 2007. He has been a frequent speaker at Public Schools and Settlement Agencies in K-W area about Rohingya’s background, live in the refugee camps in Bangladesh and their plights in Burma. He has also been working tirelessly in creating awareness among Canadians about Rohingya’s plights, and a frequent speaker at conferences related to Rohingya’s current issue. He works as an IT professional in Waterloo for a living

Norm Klassen
(d.phil. University of Oxford) is Associate Professor and past Chair of English at St Jerome’s University, Waterloo, Ontario. The author of a book on Chaucer and another on incarnational humanism, he recently returned from a sabbatical spent in London, England, where he worked on a book with the provisional title Chaucer’s Tyranny-Resistant Fellowship of the Imagination. He lives in Hamilton with his wife and youngest son. Two other sons are away at university

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Thursday March 31 2016

8:30 am

9:00 am
Opening Ceremonies:
· Elder Jean Becker leads indigenous opening prayer
· followed by O’Canada, in English and in French with Daniel Kelley & two other students
· Dignitaries bringing greetings
student trustees bringing greetings from WCDSB
Karen Hakim
Sebastian Monsalve

9:30 am
Harold Albrecht on Politics and Faith

9:40 am
Catherine Fife, MPP for Kitchener Waterloo

10:00 am
Break: students browse the displays

10:15 am
Musical presentation:
4 min song of peace or a play on peace (Grade 7 or 8 class)

10:30 am
Empowerment Talk
Carla Beharry
a proud Inter-Cultural Canadian, born and raised with a Guyanese Father, and a British Mother. Carla began mentoring women and girls in Guyana and Belize, 13 years ago. Her work abroad encompasses teaching sexual health & HIV education, leading women’s empowerment groups, and encouraging women to have a voice in standing up to end domestic violence. Most recently, Carla started her own mentorship group, Girls in the World, designed for teen girls in Canada to have a space to discuss gender, identity, race, self-confidence and self-worth. The groups are lead with the intention of supporting teens in rising up against discrimination, while cultivating courage, kindness, and compassion.

Carla’s talk will be an interactive forum for teens. All attendees will be given an opportunity to ask anonymous questions about culture, race, identity, and equality. We will work together, as a group to create clarity, and will work within the belief that educating children and teens, holding space for honest questions, and honouring our diverse, multicultural world is the only path to true freedom and liberation for all beings

11:00 am
Student Senate will lead a panel discussion WCDSB

Politics vs Religion, The Challenges to promoting Peace and the need for Equity
(Sebastian is organizing the Student Senate for this, along with Karen Hakim)

Sebastian Monsalve (Student Trustee and Facilitator of the panel discussion)
Justin Temple
Ben Cook
Rajpreet Sidhu
Joshua Vito

11:30 am
students will eat their lunches in the rotunda
· Cultural food sampling from different restaurants available for students. We need student volunteers to call places, and Gehan will help them with how to do this. She is willing to come to the school to meet with students to get them started (and sign volunteer hour forms for those who wish to participate either for the food or for other capacities)

12:00 am
Lincoln Heights students WRDSB
8 students have prepared short speeches of their opinions on this years theme Politics vs religion

12:20 am
Politics vs Religion
panel Resurrection students
PowerPoint on Racism & Peace
Jonathan Stern
is also an Ambassador for Camp Micah, and will also talk about Camp Micah which is a really wonderful Social Justice Camp available for students

Blue scarf campaign for Peace

1:00 am
Greetings from Berry Vrbanovic, Mayor of Kitchener

1:10 am
Islamic School students presentations

1:30 am
morning wrap up activity
Game: Join the Dots, Resurrection lead this activity

2:00 am
Politics vs Religion

* Professor Norman Klassen
The Western Separation of Religion and Politics: A Paradox of Christian Humanism . . . building on his comments from last year’s discussion about the medieval Christian poet Geoffrey Chaucer: that his vision is for the togetherness of a pilgrimaging community. He gives a picture of what it means to recognize endless depths in one another: a responsibility to stay in dialogue with them. This year Professor Klassen builds on that with reference to another Christian writer, the influential novelist Marilynne Robinson. She likewise starts from the idea that “people are images of God” and ends with democracy as “the inevitable consequence of this kind of religious humanism”. Professor Klassen will ponder the effectiveness of these two writers as writers, precisely because they recognize the importance of freedom both for their characters and their readers. So freedom, including political freedom, is paradoxically bound up with a religious vision that has developed in the West as Christian humanism

* Doug Thomas
president – Secular Connexion Séculière
Good without gods ∞ Moral sans dieux
Secular Connexion Séculière, a national organization that acts as a communication nexus for secular humanists, advocates for secular humanist rights in Canada, and speaks out for persecuted atheists around the world
Doug Thomas on the Subject of Politics vs Religion:
He sees the concept of “politics vs religion” as an unfortunate idea that implies that they cannot co-exist and that one must somehow supersede the other. Doug promotes the idea that democratic governments must avoid interference at the systemic level by religions, but that individuals should be able to bring their religious beliefs to the table as long as they do not insist on imposing their religion on other believers or on non-believers. At the same time, laws should avoid impeding the expression of personal belief or non-belief by individuals. The gold standard should be the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the case law developed from it by the Supreme Court of Canada

* Michael Clifton
is a founding partner in the law firm, Clifton Kok LLP, serves in the local lay ministry of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is a member of the Steering Committee of Interfaith Grand River, and has been active in the community as a concert producer and founder of the Strummerfest rock music festival. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in philosophy from UW, is a husband, father and grandfather. Michael will speak on the point that we ought not to seek to muzzle our politicians in regard to their religious convictions, nor expect them to compromise them for the benefit of the secular state; that religion and faith play a crucial role in the character of individuals and can only be either ignored or suppressed to our collective and individual detriment

* Bob Jonkman
co chair
Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter
Bob has been advocating for electoral reform since the 2007 Ontario referendum on Proportional Representation. Bob would like to see a voting system based on Proportional Representation at all levels of government. In today’s panel discussion Bob will focus on how Proportional Representation isn’t only for political parties, but also for ethnic, religious and gender diversity

* Muhammad Afzal Mirza
Missionary, Representing Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Canada
speaker and learned scholar of world religions. Takes keen interest in youth welfare. Regularly hosts a live phone-in radio program explaining contemporary Islamic issues. Graduated from the Ahmadiyya Islamic University in 1976. Worked as an Islamic Missionary in various cities in Pakistan, USA and now in Canada. Former Vice President of the Institute of Islamic Studies in Toronto. Presented at numerous interfaith forums throughout Canada

3:00 pm
WLU Diversity Team presentations
The Diversity and Equity Office at Wilfrid Laurier University will begin by providing an overview of the e(RACE)r Summit held on March 21, 2016. This will be followed by a dialogue session based on key themes discussed during the Summit:
1) Racism and (systemic) spaces
2) Root Causes
3)Limitations to anti-racism work
The presentation will end with some 3 success stories that will demonstrate that we can be the change we seek
We have a PowerPoint Presentation so if we can have a projector ready to use that would be great!

3:30 pm
Brenda Halloran
speaking to a group of students about politics, their responsibilities, answer questions etc

4:00 pm
Hate Crimes Prevention Project
Coalition of Muslim Women
Sarah Shafiq
a unique grass roots project based in the Region of Waterloo, aiming to education Muslim women on how to recognize, respond and resolve a hate crime or incident. Some details on how the goal had to be modified from victim support after an incident to educating the importance of reporting the incident to police and documenting it

4:30 pm
Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter
Bob Jonkman – showing slides and expanding on Proportional Representation

5:00 pm
Colleen Sargeant James
speaking about our conscious / unconscious bias and how that feeds into racism and discrimination, providing some examples, with engagement from the audience

Colleen is the co-founder and CEO of Divonify, She works with businesses to provide holistic solutions that meet global diversity and inclusion benchmarks. Colleen is committed to helping empower businesses to establish diversity and inclusion best practices and creating a corporate culture of authenticity and inclusiveness. Colleen is a dedicated member of the community, she has over ten years experience working in public administration and the not-for-profit sector. She is an active member of Zonta International, a leading global organization of professionals empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy. Colleen acts as an advisor to the University of Waterloo Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity and a mentor to undergraduates at the University of Toronto. Colleen is a Past President of the Board of Directors for Focus for Ethnic women, a local non-profit organization that helps settle new Canadian women into the community. Colleen writes a regular blog that specializes in diversity and inclusion awareness and is a graduate of the University of Toronto

5:30 pm
Jane Richard
KW Right to Life is an educational pro-life non profit charity, one of hundreds of like organizations across Canada. We promote the value of human Life from conception to natural death. Sketch of talk content about 10 minutes followed by discussion from the floor: Following the preamble of the Canadian Bill of Rights, the protection of moral and spiritual values based on the supremacy of God – the dignity and worth of the human person and the position of the family – time honoured – changing to a secular approach where people become their own moral agent – legally allowing abortion and assisted suicide on demand. – the implications on individuals and Canadian society

6:30 pm

* Marhee Clifton
is a graduate of the WLU bachelor of music program and a teacher in the Waterloo Region District School Board. She has been performing in choirs (notably the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, and the Grand Philharmonic Choir and Chamber Choir ) and as a soloist for more than 20 years. She also conducts choirs for children and adults, in the public school system, in connection with the Kodaly music festival, and for her church. Marhee is currently the Stake Music Chair and choir director for the Kitchener Ontario Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Marhee will be joined by Karen McLeod, also a member of the Grand Philharmonic Choir who has performed in various venues as a soloist and ensemble member

* Mark Evans and the band

* 2yLite Tha Titan is a Palestinian-Canadian rapper and producer who stands for social equality and freedom among all people. He has been making music for a total of 16 years and has 4 CDs released with performances in several cities in Canada. He will be performing some of his latest music from his soon to be released album “Evolve Or Dissolve”
p.s. if you are wondering, my name is pronounced Twilight The Titan

there are many hidden talents in each group and we would love to hear from them and invite them

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Tuesday, March 21 2017

“our home ON native land”
8:45 am
opening ceremony
Elder Jean Becker
dignitaries bringing greetings

theme for this year:
“our home ON native land”
* speakers
*multimedia presentations
* interactive discussions
* essays on related topics
* booths

* Inspector Mike Haffner
is the WRPS Executive Officer to the Chief and is there on behalf of the Chief – will give acknowledgement of our indigenous peoples land

* hate crime presentation
Kristin Little is an extremely valuable civilian member of our police service. She is an Open Source Analyst with the Hate Crime and Extremism Investigative Team. She monitors social media for 15 different police services in Ontario. She will be talking about hate crimes and the different types, hate incidents, why people commit hate crimes, types of extremism and the importance of reporting hate crimes

She Smiles
a poem by Madiha Syed

“our home ON native land”

* are indigenous people history and culture being taught in your school ? If so, by whom ?

* where are you getting your information from?

* what do you need to inform yourself ?

* what is your extent of awareness, your experience, your interaction with indigenous people and in what capacity ?

* Narsiesse
a First Nation writer, director, and filmmaker will open up about THE WINEMAKER film series and discuss some elements of the film’s origins that cover many of his passions, including First Nation mythos. Narsiesse will show phase one of THE WINEMAKER film series, then will share various artwork created by artists from around the world, who were inspired by THE WINEMAKER imagery and many of its First Nation themes and symbols. An interactive discussion and an opportunity to speak with Narsiesse and other members of THE WINEMAKER cast follows

* 2 videos
“Home To Me” & “Outsiders”
two lovely music videos done my First Nations, Metis and Inuit students in Canada
followed by group discussion (led by Marianna Worth & Tammy Webster)

* presentations by
Islamic School of Cambridge
& others

*Unity banner
. . . to include all students signing

* closing remarks

bring your own lunch
schools usually attend from the morning till approximately 2 pm when they need to return to their respective schools
however . . . students are welcome to stay and attend .. but at their own responsibility or accompanied by their own adults

afternoon session
2 – 7 pm
we continue with
more speakers & interactive dialogue

discussions around
discrimination against “other”
the emerging / surfacing biases and fear of unknowns

2 pm
the different labels attached to Muslim women
Fauzia Mazhar

2:15 pm
skypeing with
Wendy Goldsmith
a social worker and mother of three from London Ontario
As a social worker she has worked with many marginalized and traumatized individuals, families and communities and began her work in Palestine after Operation ‘Cast Lead’ and saw through photos and direct accounts of the horror and devastation inflicted by Israel on Gaza. Wendy is a member of the steering committee of Canada Boat to Gaza, a representative at Freedom Flotilla Coalition and on the Media team for the Women’s Boat to Gaza. Wendy recently returned from Barcelona, Spain, Ajaccio, Corsica and Messina, Sicily where she participated in the sailing of the Zaytouna

2:30 pm
The Political Meaning of Teaching Introductory Psychology to Indigenous Students
Dr. Richard Walsh
a retired professor of psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University, where he specialized in community psychology and in the history, philosophy, and ethics of psychology. He is the lead author of the 2014 book, A Critical History and Philosophy of Psychology, published by Cambridge University Press. In 1999 he received Laurier’s outstanding teaching award.
Richard is an active member of a local faith community; he sings in its choir and in Inshallah, the local interfaith choir
Richard was the Green Party candidate for Waterloo in the 2015 federal election. He serves as critic for mental health in the Green Party of Canada Shadow Cabinet. He is also the critic for poverty reduction in the Green Party of Ontario Shadow Cabinet
Locally, he is a founding member of the Alliance Against Poverty

3 pm
Bridges to Belonging
Cameron Dearlove – executive director
& Carmen Sutherland – community relations
“Bridges to Belonging’s vision for “a Waterloo Region where everyone belongs- where we value meaningful relationships, honour choices and dreams, and celebrate the uniqueness of each person”. How do we get there? How does inclusion and belonging interact, and how are they different? How can you build bridges to belonging in your community?”

3:45 pm
Wasai Rahimi
current president of the Afghan Association of Waterloo Region
was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, and for over 22 years has served with numerous non-profit organizations,
here in Canada and overseas and has been living in Kitchener for the past 14 years
~ he is serving at the Safe and Healthy Community Advisory Committee, at the City of Kitchener
~ he is representing Kitchener residence at the Safety-Kleen Public Liaison Committee
~ he is a Board member of Bridges to Belonging Waterloo Region
~ he is founder and Executive Director of iHelp International
~ ~ ~
B A -Kabul University
diploma – Conestoga College in Electrical Engineering Technology where he also studied Civil Engineering and Management

4 pm
The Laurier Friendship Dinners
brought forty Laurier students, fourteen Syrian newcomer families and 40 community members together for a series of celebratory, welcoming dinners in the fall of 2016. Come and listen to a group of students, Syrian newcomers and community members share what they learned about refugee realities and building cross cultural friendships through this initiative in which students and community members collaborated through family visits, menu planning, grocery shopping, cooking Syrian feasts and celebrating together

Syrian refugees – newcomers – integration
. . . the existing homelessness & poverty

the concerns of a community split between prioritizing:
* addressing the existing poverty and homelessness
being sensitive to fellow human suffering
* hospitable
* resentful of the funding allocated to accommodating and integrating refugees
contributions and benefits to the economy of bringing newcomers
and whatever more comes up in the discussions

5:00 pm
“Political Policies for Indigenous Peoples”
resolutions passed by the Green Party at last year’s Special General Meeting
Bob Jonkman

5:15 pm
The Disconnect
Dimitri Lascaris is a lawyer, activist and journalist. He is the former justice critic in the shadow cabinet of the Green Party of Canada. In 2012, he was named by Canadian Lawyer Magazine as one of the 25 most influential lawyers in Canada, and in 2013, Canadian Business Magazine named him one of the 50 most influential persons in Canadian business. He is currently a board member and correspondent of The Real News Network, based in Baltimore, Maryland
Dimitri will discuss the disconnect between Canadian public opinion and the Canadian government’s unqualified support for the government of Israel.
The International Court of Justice has held unanimously that Israel’s settlements constitute a grave breach of international law. Virtually the entire international community, including Canada’s government, agrees with this assessment. Yet the Canadian government continues to support Israel lavishly. A new poll leaves no doubt that Canadians do not agree with its government’s approach to Israel. Why does this disconnect exist?

6:00 pm
Mino Ode Kwewak N’gamowak
(Good Hearted Women Singers)

Mino Ode Kwewak N’gamowak (Good Hearted Women Singers) are an Indigenous and non-Indigenous women’s drum circle following the teachings of Community Elder Jean Becker and led by Songkeeper, Kelly Laurila. Our outreach and singing in public has much to do with building positive relations with Settler peoples. Although Canada is in a process of reconciliation, colonization and assimilation policies still permeate the lives of many Indigenous peoples today. In addition the water, mother earth and our environment need everyone’s help. We believe that building relationships with one another can help us understand one another and work towards the good of all peoples

All My Relations
Kelly Laurila

Songs our drum circle will sing:
Nibe – We ask for respect, gratitude and love for the water. respect you, we thank you, we love you
(Song created by Anishinabe woman, Josephine Mandamim)
Humma (Ulali. A lullabye to comfort in difficult times)
Friendship (Mohawk Friendship song. We extend our welcome and friendship to all of you)
Seven Grandfathers (love, respect, truth, honesty, humility, courage, wisdom). For reconciliation.

Kip Carpenter
~ I am from Ontario and grew up along the mazina’iga-ziibi/Missinihe-ziibi (credit river) and the springs of the Naadaw-zaaga-ziibi (nottawasaga river). As far as I know my ancestors are of Irish and English decent. I have relatives from Pimicikamak Cree Nation, known as Cross Lake, and other connections to the original people of Turtle Island. My given name is Kip Matthew Carpenter ~
“The first time he met Mino Ode Kwewak N’gamowak it was a true honour to offer a poetic blessing to these Good Hearted Women. Having been born on Turtle Island it is deeply humbling for him to be able to express support in anyway possible for the international day to end racism. Much of his time has been spent in what is now known as Ontario and if there is ever a chance such as this to express and pray for more progress or healing, it is with deep gratitude he offers much more than his words. He will and does listen. He hopes semaa will keep him strong as he offers this same blessing again to all today. Acknowledging this land was taken in broken treaties, his support to the best of his ability is freely offered, he currently lives in Guelph and his given name is Kip Carpenter”
G’chi miigewetch, Kip

6:00 pm
and the visual artists extravaganza …

Brenda Lewis
is a professional musician – Jazz Soul & Roots vocalist
publicist and human rights advocate
longtime Guelph resident she was most recently featured in The Jazz Room’s celebrated concert series in Uptown Waterloo
and currently performs with some of Canada’s finest musicians, including Margaret Stowe, Tony Quarrington, Jeff Bird, John Zadro and Gayle Ackroyd in this region, Toronto and across Ontario in acclaimed venues and festivals
Her CDs have been played on CBC, BBC and Jazz.FM and her new jazz release “Far & Near” (her third) is quickly garnering critical praise

Rhythms in Steel
“Rhythms in Steel” have been playing for about 3 years as a six piece acoustic Steelband in Waterloo Region. Band members include
Lisbeth Haddad on the tenor pan and vocalist
Murchison Callender on the tenor pan
Wendell Claxton on double seconds
Carol Taylor on the guitar pan
Karen Asumang and Chloe Callender on percussion
The band’s repertoire has a Caribbean flavour of reggae, soca, calypso and folk songs of the Caribbean
They perform at Parties, Churches, Retirement homes, Schools, Community Festivals and Fundraising Events for Charities

Dance Performance
by students from the African UBUNTU kids club

Acoustic Steel
is a six member acoustic steel band. The musicians are
Carol Taylor on first pan (melody)
Cheryl Dietrich on double seconds (harmony)
Rob Hartung on cello (bass)
Sam Ogilvie on electric bass
Dick Smith and Kerren Asumang on djembe
The band started playing together seven years ago and play a diverse selection of songs suited to the unique sound of the Steel drum and rhythms of the Caribbean. Events at which the band has been invited to play include
Community Festivals, Charitable Fundraising Events, Weddings, private parties and Corporate functions

Brenda Hodge
Sylver Dragon
* demo on how to do a memory bracelet . . . they are fun and fairly quick
* poem

Canoes Eye View
Mark Evens has been one of the loyal participants
will be performing as a three piece this year

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Wednesday, March 21 2018

mark your calendars … and check in with us for further details as the schedule of the day develops

we welcome:

* presenters – speakers, panels, artists (for the Peace Concert)

* documentaries followed by discussion

* display booths – for profit, non profit, individuals, ethnic organizations, artists …

* attendees

please contact me at your earliest convenience … we already have some amazing surprises this year!

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Thursday March 21 2019

starting 8:45 am

join us for CROSS CULTURES magazine’s

18th annual

commemoration for the entire Waterloo Region

of the

UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

at Kitchener City Hall

open to everyone

Cambridge FoodBank will be accepting donations

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focus on students from . . . public, Catholic and private schools

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8:30     Arrive

8:45    Indigenous Prayer

elder Jean Becker

followed by
O Canada sung by a First Nations group Asani, a circle of First Nations and Metis singers

9:00     Dignitaries greetings

L G message

9:15    International Students from Resurrection speaking about their experiences coming to Canada as a refugee

10:00    Resurrection students Panel discussion

10:20    Break

10:30    Activity lead by Monsignor Doyle … and others

11:00    Lunch (students bring their own lunches to eat in forum)

11:30    Islamic School of Cambridge – 2 nasheeds, a poem and recitation

11:50    Tawheed Musa -Cameron Heights – presentation and interactive discussion:

“What if the world was born blind? The individuals conceived in the 20th century were the last to be born with eyes. From there on, God created all future generations without the gift of vision. How would we live? How would we eat? It’d be easy to sleep. But how would we enjoy the simplest things like seeing our favourite artist in concert or hitting McDonald’s late at night with our crew? How would we even know exactly what we looked like? With a continuation of this conception, eventually, there’d come a point in time where the last sighted person passes and the world is left to question what to do next. How would survival be possible? Open your eyes. If you “judge” a person by the tone of voice, creative choice in words, manners, personality, and without the extra features we include to our list of standards because of what we see, I wonder who our companions and real friends would be”

12:35    Carla Beharry on Youth Identity

an engaging and interactive storytelling session. We’ll use guided prompts to share our favourite pieces of our own personal cultures, and will get curious about listening and learning about the cultures of our friends and classmates. This session will be guided with the intention of building equity and inclusivity in our schools and communities, and to cultivate a sense of courage and empowerment in all youth

1:20    closing remarks

1:30    On the bus

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. . . in a healthy democracy (which is not the same as having elections) citizens have an obligation to discuss politics and what their politicians are up to and hold them accountable … remember “use it or lose it”?? … in fact, in my humble opinion, the low voter turnout is a direct result of that very idea of not discussing politics … as for religion .. if people learn to listen with respect, a lot of barriers could be transcended by open and frank discussions


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Self – Love and Inclusivity

by Carla Beharry

How do we maintain the special cultural traditions of our birth country, while also embracing a new land, and a new environment? In order to fully feel grounded and balanced in a new community, it is necessary that we first cultivate a deep level of self-love and self-worth, and that we become very aware of the values that we need to hang onto, as we integrate into a new home. It is only from a place of connection to our own values, can we start to reach out, and connect with new friends and new communities. An interactive talk, with Carla Beharry to encourage deep listening, respect and inclusivity across all cultures in our community

Carla Beharry is a proud Inter-Cultural Canadian, born and raised with a Guyanese Father, and a British Mother.  Carla began mentoring women and girls in Guyana, Belize, and Trinidad & Tobago, 16 years ago.   Her work abroad encompasses teaching sexual health & HIV education, as well as leading empowerment and resilience groups for women and girls, focused on encouraging women to share their stories about overcoming trauma, hardship, sexual violence, and loss

Carla is the founder of The WOKE Women’s Movement, and the Stories of Resilience & Challenge in WOKE Women Speaking Events, and the WOKE Girls Empowerment Sessions, designed to give women a space to discuss gender, identity, race, self-confidence and self-worth. The groups are lead with the intention of supporting women in rising up against discrimination, while cultivating courage, kindness, compassion, and resilience. Carla can be found online at:

https://www.infiniteoceans.com or on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/carla.beharry/

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Getting to know each other through our stories & experiences

by Selda Sezen

What is happening now in Turkey: Where is the country heading to just before the Municipal elections on March 31

by Engin Sezen

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open interactive roundtable discussions about a very important topic:

A N T I :

Islam, Judaism, Semitism, Zionism, etc

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Racism & Bigotry

by Majid alSayegh

Our world has seen a significant increase in tensions across boundaries of religion, ethnicity, and politics. What roles do bigotry, prejudice and race play in fueling hatred and violence? What can we do to reduce tensions? What can we do to confront those who promote fear and hatred? Majid Alsayegh will discuss approaches to intercultural and interfaith dialogue that have been proven effective in transforming individuals from all walks of life

Majid Alsayegh was born and raised in Mosul, Iraq, he chairs the Board of Delaware Valley University, and chairs the Board of the Dialogue Institute, a non-profit that teaches the skills of dialogue and critical thinking, empowering leaders from around the world to sustain transformative relationships across lines of religion and culture. Majid also serves on the national Muslim Jewish Advisory Council, a bi-partisan group of business, political and religious leaders who are working to address hate crimes and protect religious freedom. He is a co-founder, and chairman emeritus of Intercultural Journeys. Majid lives on a farm outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he raises Arabian horses.  Majid is the founder of Alta Management, LLC, which oversees design and construction of major capital projects in the public and private sectors such as the Judicial Center in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Penguins arena, and the new Family Court in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Defining anti Semitism, Judaism and Zionism
by Robert Fantina
is an author and activist for peace and international human rights
A U.S. citizen, he moved to Canada following the 2004 presidential election. Mr Fantina resides near Toronto, Ontario
He has written about military desertion from the United States in his book Desertion and the American Soldier, and has also written about the impact that war has on individuals, in his novel, Look Not Unto the Morrow, a Vietnam-era, anti-war story
His writing appears regularly on Counterpunch.orgWarisacrime.org, and other sites
his bookEssays on Palestine‘ can be found on Amazon:

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and there will be other participants connecting electronically from out of town

if you would like to join in … please contact me

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peace concert and arts and culture extravaganza

Ahmadiyya Jamaat children Choir

spoken word:

Husnia Barakzay

singing – solo & choir including:

Manar Naeem
moved recently from Syria. Studying Physics at Wilfrid Laurier university
Manar has been playing the Oud for about 12 years
is currently teaching Oud at the Canadian Arabic Conservatory in Mississauga
and running a program to teach Arabic music for newcomer children at KW area

Omar A Samad
performing Arabic mawwal and songs
Omar migrated from Lebanon in 2005
he is active in the community through performing with the Levant Dabkeh Group
and volunteering with City of Kitchener and other community and political organizations

Levant   DABKEH   group

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artist displays

and more …

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open invitation to all artists

. . . music, drama, spoken word / poetry, dance, visual

… and crafts, fashion show ???

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CROSS CULTURES has been working on a MUTUAL RESPECT campaign

and last year we unveiled the prototype for what we hope will be completed by March 21st for a monument to be placed at the clock tower entrance of Victoria Park ..

this event is always a work in progress, and we would love to hear from you !

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Cambridge Food Bank most needed items Jan 2019 MINE crv 6x4 5 JPEG

Gehan D. Sabry
Editor / Publisher
Cross Cultures magazine (since 1991)
email: crosscultures@bellnet.ca