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Canada and Palestine: Exploring Canada’s Historical and Contemporary Relationship with Palestine and the Palestinian People.

February 22, 2019 @ 8:00 am - 7:00 pm

RSVP to canpal2019@gmail.com. Please include a brief 2-line bio in your RSVP.

 Co-Organizers: Professor Nadia Abu-Zahra, Professor Reem Bahdi, Professor Michael Lynk, Dr Jeremy Wildeman & Omar Burgan

Canada-Palestine Research Symposium 2019

We cordially invite you to join us on 22 February 2019 from 8 am  to

7 pm at the University of Ottawa for the first Canada-Palestine Research Symposium and the launch of a Canada-Palestine research network to facilitate ongoing discussions about the understudied topic of Canada and Palestine.

Palestine looms large in Canadian foreign policy. Canada was intrinsic to the 1948 partition of Palestine and has played a key role in United Nations resolutions concerning Palestinian rights and self- determination. The Pearsonian ‘Golden Age’ of Canadian foreign policy, formative in establishing Canada’s national identity as a state independent of the British Empire, was forged out of Canada’s relationship with the Middle East and conflicts that often centred on Arab support for Palestinians. In 1992, Canada was assigned the role of ‘gavel holder’ for the highly important Refugee Working Group, as part of playing a lead role in the multilateral track of the then Middle East Peace Process. Since, 1993, Canada has also sat on the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee of major bilateral donors overseeing the foreign aid envelope and the state-building programme in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). Canada has further since 1993 dispensed over $US 600 million in aid to Palestinians, making Canada one of the largest donors to Palestine, and making Palestinians one of Canada’s biggest ever aid recipients.

Palestine also looms large on the domestic front in Canada. Palestinian human rights advocacy and criticisms of Israel have divided Canadians in various sites including postsecondary institutions, unions, places of worship and within civil society organizations. Prime Minister Harper carried out a crackdown on Canadian civil society and research institutions working on Palestinian rights, while Prime Minister Trudeau has repeatedly denounced as ‘anti-Canadian’ campaigns to boycott, divest from or sanction Israel in response to its  policies toward the Palestinians. Canadian courts, moreover, have suggested

that a commitment to Palestinian human rights may disqualify legitimate refugee claims in the national security context.

In spite of the importance of this subject to Canada and Canadians, little published work in any scholarly discipline focuses squarely on Canada and Palestine. This symposium will change that.

Over 40 participants from across Canada will discuss original research about Canada’s contemporary and historical relationship with the Palestinians. The symposium will include practitioner plenaries and scholarly panels exploring topics such: as the relationship of the Conservative and Liberal parties with Palestinians, refugee and mobility restrictions, Canadian policy towards the Palestinians and international law, perceptions of the Palestinians and relationships of power, relationships between Canadians and Palestinians outside their governments, the politics of human rights advocacy in Canada, and the significance of Canada’s relationship with Palestinians for Canada’s self-identity.

Our keynote speakers are:

  • Michael Lynk, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, and Professor of Law at the University of Western Ontario
  • Sylvia McAdam, co-founder of the international movement Idle No More, and Professor of Law at the University of Windsor

This symposium represents a unique moment in history and offers an opportunity for reflection and sharing. Ultimately, this collective study of Canada through its relationship to Palestine explores how we can do better and be better, how we can face and present our findings, and how we can keep talking with one another in academia, government, and the public realm.

Please RSVP to canpal2019@gmail.com with a brief 2-line bio.

Symposium Schedule and PDF

Supported By:

  • The CJPME Foundation
  • Canadian Labour Congress (CLC)
  • Canadian Union of Labour Employees (CULE)
  • Canadian Union    of    Postal    Workers (CUPW)
  • Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) National Region
  • Centre for International Policy Studies (CIPS) uOttawa
  • Community Mobilization in Crisis (CMIC) uOttawa
  • Conseil central de la Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN)
  • Confédération des   syndicats   nationaux (CSN)
  • CUPE Local 4600
  • Faculty for Social Sciences (FSS) uOttawa
  • Fellowship for Reconciliation and Peace (FRAP) – Saskatoon
  • Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HHREC) uOttawa
  • Independent Jewish Voices (IJV)
  • Mennonite Central   Committee   (MCC- Canada)
  • National Council    on    Canadian   Arab Relations (NCCAR)
  • Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) National Office
  • Rideau Institute
  • School of International Development and Global Studies (SIDGS) uOttawa
  • UNIFOR 2025
  • Zatoun

Faculty of Social Sciences
School of Internation Development and Global Studies



February 22, 2019
8:00 am - 7:00 pm


Demarais Hall, University of Ottawa
55 Laurier Ave E
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5 Canada
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