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Thanks to a donor's generosity, a number of Master of Human Rights students were able to attend the CMHR's 5th Anniversary Gala.

Donors’ gifts offer unusual opportunity to law and human rights students

November 30, 2019 — 

Philanthropy comes in different forms besides scholarships and bursaries, as a number of Juris Doctor and Master of Human Rights students recently experienced. A number of generous donors had graciously offered the opportunity for J.D. and M.H.R. students to attend the Future of Human Rights in Canada Gala that celebrated the Canadian Museum for Human Rights’ Fifth Anniversary, held Sunday, November 3, 2019.  Students were most interested in hearing the very special guest speaker for the evening, The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.

Amber Harms was one of 40 JD students who attended the CMHR Gala, thanks to the generosity of donors.

Amber Harms was one of 40 JD students who attended the CMHR Gala, thanks to the generosity of donors.

Dr. Bruce Curran, Associate Dean of the J.D. program, recognized the impact the donors’ gift had on the students. “The gala was an incredible experience for our students,” he said. “It underscored for them the importance of human rights law, and the prominent role the Canadian Museum for Human Rights plays in promoting it.  The highlight of the night for many was undoubtedly the speech by The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, who has done so much to advance human rights law in Canada, and who serves as a role model for our students. The event provided inspiration to our students that will last throughout their tenure at law school and for their entire legal careers.” 

The director of the M.H.R. program, Dr. Kjell Anderson, reported that the students found it to be an enriching and exciting experience. “Our program is new this year,” he said, “so our students are trailblazers. Much of the energy for our new program comes from the students, who are diverse and highly motivated.”

The current roster of M.H.R. students, he explained, include, for example, a farmer from Canada’s East Coast, committed to ensuring the right to food for Indigenous Canadians living in poverty, Nigerians seeking to end forced marriage, and Americans working to safeguard the rights of refugees, to identify just a few and their areas of study. “The dinner, and particularly the contribution of The Right Honourable Beverly McLachlin, served to remind them once again of the possibilities that their futures hold to make significant contribution to advancing human rights,” said Anderson, adding that the students expressed deepest gratitude for the opportunity.

The 40 J.D. students and 18 M.H.R. students who attended, shared with the Dean’s Office, some of their experiences attending the Gala and having the wonderful opportunity to meet the former Chief Justice. They especially wanted to convey thanks to the Donors for making the experience possible. Below are some of the students’ reactions, comments, and expressions of thanks:

From M.H.R. Students

I am deeply grateful to have had the chance to attend the 5th anniversary gala of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, as the event would not have been accessible to me without the support of generous donors. The evening provided an opportunity to meet people at the forefront of human rights advocacy, and hearing former Chief Justice Beverly McLaughlin speak about her experience and perspective, particularly the hope she espoused about the future of human rights, was immensely impactful. It is my great hope that future Master of Human Rights students can continue to access events of this nature, and that perhaps one day it will be a graduate of our program speaking at such a prestigious event and inspiring the next generation.

Danielle Milln
M.H.R. Candidate

As a woman, attending the Future of Human Rights in Canada Gala with The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, was very inspiring. What resonated with me the most were her comments on giving women a seat at the table. She noted that once women gained meaningful representation and opportunity to contribute in public spaces, the discourse around topics changed completely. This speaks to the importance of listening to not only women, but all groups and individuals whose voices have traditionally been silenced. 

Thank you kindly,
Ashley Haller
M.H.R. Candidate

First of all, I want to extend my deepest gratitude to the donor. I normally would never have been able to attend such a distinguished function…. Getting to listen to former Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin’s speech was incredibly meaningful to me. I followed her career as the first female Chief Justice, and consider her to be an inspiration. To hear her speak of her struggles as a woman in a “man’s” field really spoke to me. I am currently working in a male-dominated field, and I hope that distinction goes away in my lifetime. When I graduate with the Master’s degree in Human Rights, I intend to work in the field of women’s rights.

Shelley Smith
M.H.R. Candidate

The dinner was such a phenomenal opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals for the advancement of human rights. In addition, we were able to meet a Canadian icon, former Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin. Throughout my undergrad studies, I had quoted her numerous times, and it was incredible to meet the phenomenal person that embodies the Canadian dream. 

Without your gracious donation, none of this would have been possible. We, the Master of Human Rights students thank you for your generosity and I personally thank you for allowing me the opportunity to meet my Canadian icon.

Patricia Nosal
M.H.R. Candidate

From J.D. Students

Thank you so much for your generosity in sponsoring law student tickets to the CMHR Gala. I feel very fortunate to have been able to attend and witness a human rights icon, former Chief Justice McLachlin, deliver her speech and inspire so many people. I left the Gala feeling privileged to be entering the legal profession shortly. Once again, I thank you for supporting law students at Robson Hall and for giving us the opportunity to attend the Gala.

Lauren Yusim 
JD Candidate, Class of 2020

Thank you for your generosity in allowing myself and others to attend the Future of Human Rights Gala at the CMHR with former Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin. As an aspiring lawyer, the gala helped open my eyes to the many ways lawyers can assist in the promotion of human rights. Whether through smaller acts of assisting in labour disputes, or larger acts of prosecuting genocide, there is fertile ground where the most basic of human qualities can be defended and upheld. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to witness and learn during the gala.

Braeden Cornick
JD Candidate, Class of 2021

I am so grateful for the opportunity to attend the CMHR’s 5th birthday gala. Meeting the Right Honourable Beverly McLachlin was an invaluable experience, and the speech that she gave and the conversation that I was able to witness was incredibly inspiring. Thank you.

Amber Harms, B.Comm. (Hons.)
J.D. Candidate, Class of 2021

Going to the CMHR Gala was truly an amazing experience. I had the pleasure of meeting many different people, including former Chief Justice McLachlin! I found her humility and speech about the meaning of justice really inspiring. Finally, over the course of a delicious meal, I learned more about the Museum, as well as about the effect it has had, not only on Winnipeggers, but on people throughout Canada and beyond.

Adam Lakusta, MSc (Plant Biotechnology)
J.D. Candidate, Class of 2021

The opportunity to hear from the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and first female Chief Justice of Canada Beverly McLachlin, was an experience that I will cherish for the foreseeable future. I extend my deepest and sincerest thanks that your generosity made this event possible. Your support of Robson Hall and the future of the Manitoba legal community is noted and appreciated. Thank you!

David Barbour
JD Candidate, Class of 2021

I was honoured to be in attendance at “The Future of Human Rights in Canada” Gala on November 3, 2019. Not only did the event have the presence of esteemed citizens in our shared community, but it was also very enlightening, shining a light on a fundamental truth we all need to recognize: that human rights are more fragile than we assume them to be, and that we need to defend them.

In short, it was a great event that much like the institution it recognizes, emphasized and energized the importance of its mission. Thank you again for allowing me to attend. 

Michael Badejo
JD Candidate, Class of 2022

I was very honoured to be in the presence of The Right Honourable Beverly McLachlin, at the Future of Human Rights in Canada Gala. She was very inspirational in her speech and shared some of her personal experiences with noticing discrimination and racism within institutions, primarily against Indigenous peoples. It reminded me that, we as a collective, have a long way to go with truth and reconciliation. We are all treaty people and have an unwavering obligation to do better. 

Nikolai Bola
JD Candidate, Class of 2022

Attending the CMHR Gala reaffirmed my passion for human rights and my desire to work in the field. The Right Honourable Beverly McLachlin spoke at length about the injustices she witnessed growing up and how those experiences shaped her career path and her decisions on the Supreme Court of Canada. She has further inspired me to follow my own goals of working within human rights. Thank you for the opportunity to attend. 

Melina Venuto
JD Candidate, Class of 2022

I’m incredibly grateful that myself and my colleagues were able to attend this awesome event! It was a fantastic opportunity that definitely would have been out of reach had it not been for the donors’ generosity. 

The event was an excellent way to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the CMHR. Hearing The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin speak candidly about the state of human rights in Canada was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I felt incredibly inspired by her speech. Her accomplishments — during her time with the Supreme Court of Canada and beyond — are an inspiration for law students like myself. I left the event feeling passionate about my chosen field and hopeful for the future. 

Janelle Gobin
JD Candidate, Class of 2022

I was really grateful to attend the gala. Being in the museum itself and hearing former Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin speak about the importance and power of human rights reminded me that while we may read in the news about many situations where human rights are not upheld, even in Canada unfortunately, there still is a strong community in the legal profession that is working to ensure human rights are protected. As well, I felt encouraged in my choice to pursue a law degree, as she discussed how the law is a vital tool to uphold and pursue the development and implementation of human rights in Canada. 

Anna Siemens
JD Candidate, Class of 2022

It was such a great opportunity to attend the gala and hear The Right Honourable Beverly McLachlin speak. Her speech was quite impactful and just continued to affirm why I chose to study the law, as I want to help correct the injustices going on in our country and around the world. Hearing her story of being a little girl from a rural community to becoming the first female Chief Justice of Canada, has motivated me and made me realize that nothing is impossible if you are willing to work hard and to not allow the views of society to deter you from your goals.

Jill Klassen
JD Candidate, Class of 2022

This event opened my eyes to the fact that there are still issues present in our current legal system in regards to legal education being accessible and encouraged for all. It showed me that as a society, we need to strive for inclusion every day, and tackle the systemic barriers that may disadvantage certain individuals from achieving their dream career goals in the legal field.

Shira Brand
JD Candidate, Class of 2022

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