Office of the Senior Executive
Lives of Leadership and Purpose speaker series celebrates Laurier's centennial
To celebrate 100 years inspiring lives of leadership and purpose, hosted a speaker series featuring speakers with experience promoting human rights, social justice, and peace – topics that support the civic engagement, justice and internationalization elements of Laurier’s academic plan.
The “Lives of Leadership and Purpose” speaker series included: Debi Goodwin, author of Citizens of Nowhere; Anas Aremeyaw Anas, an undercover Ghanaian journalist who produced award-winning undercover documentaries on human trafficking, corruption in an African orphanage and human rights abuses of patients in a mental health institution; and Cathy Crowe, homeless activist and co-founder of the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee (TRDC).
Goodwin, who was on campus in November shared stories from her latest book, Citizens of Nowhere, which was inspired by an award-winning news documentary she produced for CBC Television’s The National. The book tells the stories of 11 Somali refugees, from their beginnings in an overcrowded refugee camp in Kenya through their journey to Canada to their eventual enrolment in Canadian universities.
“In Debi's writing we witness the challenges these individuals face during their first year in their new home,” said Andrew Robinson, associate professor of Human Rights and Human Diversity at Laurier Brantford. “Further, in Debi's effort to illustrate the human side of global migration, we see one example of the kind of life of purpose that Laurier seeks to inspire.”
The students featured in Citizens of Nowhere were sponsored by World University Service Canada (WUSC). Laurier Brantford hosts a WUSC chapter on campus, and will host a WUSC student for the first time in September 2011.
During a visit to campus in January, Anas shared his experiences using hidden video cameras as an investigative journalist. He has produced award-winning undercover documentaries on issues such as human trafficking, corruption in an African orphanage and mistreatment and human rights abuses of patients in a mental health institution.
“The investigative reporting that Anas does to expose the abuse and corruption is dangerous, but it seems to be getting results,” said Andrew Robinson, associate professor of Human Rights and Human Diversity at Laurier Brantford. “He risks his personal well-being and his life for his work, and his story is inspiring.”
Recently, Anas spoke at the United Nations at the invitation of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women International, he received the Global Health Council Excellence in Journalism Award, and was among 25 finalists for the 2009 CNN/Multichoice African Journalists of the Year Award.
Finally, Crowe was on campus in March to discuss her experiences working as an activist for the homeless for over two decades. In 1998, she co-founded the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee, which declared homelessness a national disaster. She also serves as the committee’s voluntary executive director. The TRDC campaigns for all three levels of government to commit an additional one per cent of their budgets to affordable housing.
“Cathy Crowe is an example of what Laurier means by a life of leadership and purpose,” said Andrew Robinson, associate professor of Human Rights and Human Diversity at Laurier Brantford. “Her singular passion for raising awareness and campaigning for support for homeless initiatives is making a difference in our society.”
Crowe has received a number of honours, including an International Human Rights Award from the International Centre for Nursing Ethics, and the Atkinson Charitable Foundation’s Economic Justice Award. In addition, she has received honorary degrees from the University of Victoria, McMaster University, University of Ottawa and York University.
Upon receiving the award from the Atkinson Charitable Foundation, Crowe said: “I want to inspire and engage Canadians from all walks of life, to empathize and respond to the injustice of homelessness in their community and motivate them to become involved in calling for the solution – a national housing program.”
The speaker series celebrated Laurier’s centennial by drawing connections between Laurier’s 100 years inspiring lives of leadership and purpose, the speakers’ careers as examples of this philosophy and the strength of Laurier Brantford’s Human Rights & Human Diversity, Journalism and Criminology programs as examples of Laurier’s ongoing commitment to its vision.