Past Events

April 20th, 2016: Canada’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security: How Far Have We Come, and Where are We Going?

In collaboration with WPSN-C and the University of Ottawa, this event brought together contributing members of the WPSN-C to feature our latest publication “Looking Back, Looking Forward: Reflections on Canada’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security”. Students, members of academia, civil society, and the Canadian government were welcomed, and took part in discussions focused on understanding past practices and finding new ways forward for Canada’s NAP.


November 28th, 2014: Film Screening & Panel Discussion of The Invisible War

As part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, the WPSN-C and University of Ottawa’s School of International Development and Global Studies co-hosted a screening and panel discussion of The Invisible War. The Invisible War explores the widespread issue of sexual violence within the US military and tells the stories of several survivors as they seek justice and healing.

Following the screening, a panel including Noémi Mercier, author of a recent exposé on sexual violence within the Canadian military published by L’actualité and Maclean’s  magazines, Julie S. Lalonde, founder of Hollaback! Ottawa and bystander intervention project Draw the Line, and moderater Caitlin Maxwell, feminist lawyer and researcher of sexual violence in the Canadian military, discussed issues of sexual violence in Canada’s military and communities, and participated in a Q&A. The event’s opening remarks were made by Colonel (Ret’d) Michel W. Drapeau, lawyer, professor and former Director, National Defence Headquarters Secretariat and Secretary, Armed Forces Council.


November 26th, 2014: Panel Discussion “From Peace in the World to Peace in the Home”

As part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, the Institute for International Women’s Rights – Manitoba and Institute for International Women’s Rights Global College hosted a panel discussion titled “From Peace in the World to Peace in the Home.”

This event examined the principles of universal justice and respect, and explored ways of engaging and inspiring people to make our communities kinder, safer and more just places to live.

The conversation featured Darcia Senft, of The Charter of Compassion and the Compassion Games, Ellen Judd, professor of Anthropology at the University of Manitoba, Roxana Obasi, human rights defender from Mozambique, and Gertrude Hambira, former union leader from Zimbabwe, and was moderated by Marilou McPhedran, Director of the Institute for International Women’s Rights Global College.


July 10th, 2014: Speaker and Discussion: Mainstreaming Gender in the African Union Mission in Somalia

The University of Ottawa Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies and Canada Research Chair in Gender, Migration and Health hosted a discussion with Mané Ahmed, Gender Officer of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), at the University of Ottawa on July 10. Ahmed spoke about the role of civilians in the African Union mission in Somalia and the use of UNSCR 1325 to underscore gender mainstreaming strategies in all areas of the operations.

Somalia has witnessed decades of turmoil, violence and instability. The ongoing conflict has forced a many from their homes, many of whom are women and children. Female peace-builders in the African Union Mission in Somalia are playing a key role in the state, particularly in the implementation of the United Nation Security Council Resolution 1325 through the inclusion of women in the reconciliation and peace building process.

Since 2012, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) Gender Unit is responsible for carrying out the African Union’s commitment to gender equality in the continent by addressing gender-related issues in the implementation of the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa and the AU Gender Policy of 2009. In order to do so, the unit is involved in policy development, trainings sessions; awareness raising and advocacy initiatives within the AU mission, as well as assisting the federal government of Somalia to advance gender equality by providing technical expertise and guidance.


May 28th, 2014: “Seeds of Hope” Film Screening & Panel Discussion

In this feature-length documentary, award-winning BBC/Al Jazeera filmmaker Fiona Lloyd-Davies explores how one woman shines a beacon of hope for survivors of rape in the war-torn eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Masika Katsuva, herself a survivor, has built a centre providing medical, practical, and psychological support which has helped over 6,000 women and children. Together, they cultivate crops of maize and beans, and share their experiences, to heal and rebuild their lives and to plant their seeds of hope.

The film screening was followed by a panel discussion with filmmaker Fiona Lloyd-Davies, Senator Mobina Jaffer, and Nobel Women’s Initiative Executive Director Liz Bernstein, and moderated by CBC’s Lucy van Oldenbarneveld.

The evening was presented by the British High Commission in Ottawa and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict ahead of the UK’s Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict from June 10-13, 2014.


May 8th, 2014: Brown bag lunch with Yasmin Sooka on sexual violence in Sri Lanka

On May 8, the public was invited to attend a brown bag lunch with South African human rights lawyer and activist Yasmin Sooka.

Yasmin is the Executive Director of the Foundation for Human Rights in South Africa and also served on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. She is known internationally due to her assistance in writing two significant reports concerning human rights in Sri Lanka.

This was an opportunity to stand with Sri Lankan women as they assert their rights and to learn more about women’s rights issues in Sri Lanka.

The brown bag lunch was held from noon-1pm on Thursday May 8 at Amnesty House at 312 Laurier Avenue East in Ottawa. It was co-hosted by Amnesty International, Nobel Women’s Initiative and the WPSN-C.


May 2nd, 2014: Workshop on National Actions Plans

This 1-day workshop on Women, Peace and Security National Action Plans: Challenges and Opportunities for Canadian Civil Society took place at Carleton University in Ottawa on May 2. It brought together Canadian activists, NGOs and researchers to explore the possibilities and challenges presented by Canada’s NAP on women, peace and security.

The morning’s sessions focussed on the global context and included a presentation on global perspectives and progress on UNSCR 1325, a presentation comparing NAPs in the global North, and a video conference with civil society actors in Northern Ireland. Speakers included Mavic Cabrera-Balleza, International Coordinator, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders;  Catherine O’Rourke, University of Ulster; Rebecca Tiessen, School of International Development and Global Studies, University of Ottawa; Aisling Swaine, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University; and  Marilou McPhedran, Global College, University of Winnipeg

The afternoon’s sessions focussed on Canada’s NAP and the two progress reports, a panel raised issues that were not included the C-NAP, and the day closed with a discussion on strategies and next steps.


April 7th, 2014: Film Premiere & Panel Discussion

Defensora, a new documentary by Canadian filmmaker Rachel Schmidt, premiered at the Bytowne Cinema in Ottawa on April 7, 2014. The film tells the story of members of a Guatemalan Mayan community who take the unprecedented step of seeking justice in the Canadian court system for alleged abuses on the part of a Canadian mining company that include murder, rape and forced evictions. A short film, Women Crossing the Line: Defensoras in Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala, was also screened.

The films were followed by a stimulating panel discussion with filmmaker Rachel Schmidt; actress & activist Tantoo Cardinal; Rachel Warden of KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives; and Cory Wanless of Klippensteins, Barristers and Solicitors in Toronto.

This event was presented by One World Arts as a fundraiser for the 2014 One World Film Festival and was sponsored by MiningWatch Canada, Inter Pares, the Public Service Alliance of Canada’s Social Justice Fund, KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, the Americas Policy Group of the CCIC, Education in Action and the Nobel Women’s Initiative.


March 18th, 2014: Women’s Rights Policy Group meeting

The first Women’s Rights Policy Group meeting of 2014 was held on March 18. At this meeting the WRPG discussed its accomplishments and challenges thus far, and made plans for 2014 and 2015.


March 5th, 2014: Mix ‘N MATCH Fundraising & Networking event

To celebrate International Women’s Day, WPSN-C member MATCH International Women’s Fund held Mix N’MATCH, a fundraising and networking event, from 5-7pm at the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre in Ottawa. Throughout the evening, MATCH introduced one of their new grantee partners, Boxgirls Kenya; premiered a new video on MATCH’s work; and facilitated networking between individuals who are passionate about women’s rights.

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