View this email in your browser (https://mailchi.mp/02d1bc30e43a/fall-2022-newsletter-of-the-centre-of-human-...) Director's Message
Dr. Juanita De Barros, November 2022
Welcome to the Fall 2022 edition of the Centre for Human Rights and Restorative Justice (CHRRJ) newsletter. In this edition, we will focus on the Centre’s recent activities (notably the recent and upcoming conferences). The Winter 2023 newsletter will focus on the members’ news.
I would first like to thank our former director, Dr. Bonny Ibhawoh, for his vision and hard work in establishing the Centre. His efforts and the commitment of the CHRRJ’s members have helped the Centre become a vital part of McMaster University’s research landscape in only a few short years, and during a period when we faced the challenges posed by COVID-19. Bonny has taken up new responsibilities as the VP International, but he remains a crucial and valued member of the CHRRJ team.
I have been involved with CHRRJ since its inception, and I am thrilled and honoured to be named as the new director. I already know most of the CHRRJ members, but for those of you who do not know me, I would like to briefly introduce myself. I am a professor in the Department of History and the former president of the Canadian Association of Latin American and Caribbean Studies. I am affiliated with two research centres that focus on the Caribbean (my main research area) and the African diaspora: the Centre for Research on Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CERLAC) and the Harriet Tubman Institute for Research in Africa and its Diasporas, both at York University. My current research focuses on the intersection between health and the law, notably in the realms of child incarceration in the 19th and early 20th century British Caribbean and (in a new project) reproductive rights.
As the new director of the CHRRJ, I see my role as helping to sustain, enhance, and expand the Centre’s crucial work in studying human rights and restorative justice and mobilizing the knowledge that emerges from these endeavours. I envision the Centre as continuing to play an important role in supporting members’ research and in mentoring students. I also see CHRRJ as a place that fosters interdisciplinary collaboration; I plan to help sustain current initiatives while actively exploring future collaborative and networking opportunities. Finally, and most significantly, I will also work with CHRRJ members to help us realize our goals of ensuring equity, diversity, and inclusivity.
Over the past year, and despite the challenges presented by COVD-19, the Centre has supported important work that advances our understanding of current human rights’ issues. This includes the recent (and very successful) conference on “Truth Commissions: Issues of Access and Ownership” and the upcoming conference on “Child Protection and the Rights of the Child.” In the next year, we will have many opportunities to continue this excellent work.
The Truth Commissions: Issues of Access and Ownership Conference was held virtually via Zoom on October 24th and 25th, with over 110 registrants. The conference saw scholars, policymakers, and civil society stakeholders from all over the world come together to examine access to and ownership of Truth Commissions’ documentation, as well as to investigate obstacles that prevented the implementation of information infrastructures that should promote access and address issues of ownership of the Truth Commission’s documentation. The conference was organized and convened by McMaster University, The Centre for Human Rights and Restorative Justice, Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, the Social Science Research Council’s African Peacebuilding Network Program, and the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
The two-day conference had 6 panels in total. Each day had three panels, each with its own theme, for a total of 21 papers presented by 28 panellists. The conference accompanied two Keynote Addresses, one for each day, which were open to the public. The first address, titled “Violation of a Truth Commission,” was by Verne Harris, the head of the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s leadership and knowledge development process. The second address, titled “Truth Commission Archives,” was given by Veronica Torras, the Executive Director of Memoria Abierta, and Celina Flores, who coordinates the documentary heritage area of Memoria Abierta. The second address saw the use of two simultaneous Spanish interpreters, as both addresses were from Argentina. Both Keynote Addresses were recorded and published on the Centre for Human Rights and Restorative Justice's YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCino27IgrPwik2d8x7C1mjA/featured) for public viewing.
From January 26-28, 2023, we will be holding a hybrid conference on “Child Protection and the Rights of the Child.” In collaboration with McMaster University’s Centre for Human Rights and Restorative Justice (CHRRJ), this conference brings together an international and interdisciplinary group of senior academics, emerging scholars, and students to explore patterns and changes in discourses, policies, and practices in child saving, child protection, and the rights of the child.
The conference will include six academic sessions, one curriculum workshop, and several public events. The academic sessions will include senior and emerging scholars and will address topics such as the experiences of children in conflict zones; child labour in the past and today in places such as Iran and Ghana; the emergence and evolution of international children’s rights discourse; adoption and child migration; and children’s experiences in state institutions in Kenya, Poland, Jamaica, and Guyana; forced child removal (including to Indian Residential Schools); international children’s rights discourse.
By addressing these topics, the conference promises to advance our understanding of changes and continuities in the treatment of children over time and the impact of international agreements and local policies focusing on children’s rights and the ways in which they interacted.
The conference will also have several events that will be open to the public. This includes a keynote talk by the Indigenous historian Crystal Fraser (Gwichyà Gwich'in/originally from Inuvik and Dachan Choo Gę̀hnjik, Northwest Territories). The conference will also include a community panel featuring Hamilton-based youth activists who are fighting for justice and equality. It will include a session led by McMaster Children and Youth University (MCYU) in which children will interact with the conference attendees and discuss their views about children’s rights. This event will be followed by a workshop sharing the MCYU community-campus model for co-creating knowledge. With the assistance of the Participedia project at CHRRJ (and permission of the participants), these events will be professionally recorded, and the recordings made available to academics and members of the public. Along with CHRRJ, the conference is also being supported by the Office for Community Engagement, the History Department, the Provost’s Office, and the Faculty of Humanities at McMaster University.
For Registration: CHRRJ Conference on childrights2023.com
On June 9-10, 2022, over sixty Participedia community members gathered at McMaster University for the first hybrid Partners Conference of Participedia Phase 2. Student Research Assistants worked alongside experienced academics and practitioners to present and workshop the outcomes of one year of international, multidisciplinary co-design.
As a hybrid event, supported in collaboration with CHRRJ, participants were able to meet in-person – many for the first time – and connect online from Africa, Latin America, North America, Asia, and Europe.
This year’s meeting theme was ‘Democracy in Times of Crises’. We wanted to reflect as a community on the tensions and challenges democracy is facing, as well as the innovations and responding strategies of democratic resurgence. Particpedia Group Photo
In our individual cluster meetings and plenary sessions, generative conversations and research-knowledge mobilization agendas were being shared, developed, and refined. We heard from the Teaching, Training and Mentoring Committee on the early success of the Teaching Café’s, Global Classroom, and upcoming Summer School initiatives. Led by the Research Committee, we also reflected as a group on the importance of pursuing an update of the existing data model to reflect new research domains and innovations on the ground.
Our keynote public event with Dr. Syrus Marcus Ware on Day 1 and a public panel on Day 2, brought together activist-artist scholars, students, researchers and interested community members from the Hamilton community and surrounding areas, to reflect on potential democratic futures and the state of democracy today. Dr. Syrus Marcus Ware's Keynote Address
We further heard from student researchers and leads from research clusters who presented early findings, signature projects, challenges, and successes, as well as upcoming plans to operationalize these objectives.
We also had the opportunity to engage with the student-led Communications, Editing and Podcast Teams throughout the two-day event.
As Participedia Phase 2 enters its second year of co-designing collaborative research projects, our participating members are actively disseminating knowledge about their work. Conferences and events are just one way that the Participedia community is mobilizing knowledge on democratic innovations. Participedia Conference's Opening Remarks Participedia welcomes further collaboration from CHRRJ community members. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org (mailto:email@example.com) if you would like to discuss ways you could participate in Participedia.
Juanita De Barros
Stefan Sciaraffa Associate Members
Jorge Luis Fabra-Zamora
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