New human rights & conflict management advisor aims for equity, justice
As a child Ilaneet Goren saw the impact of oppression in the Soviet Union and witnessed conflict in Israel leading her to join a movement for change and become a human rights advocate.
Goren is the new human rights and conflict management advisor for the Bannatyne campus and her past informs her work today. She is the first contact point for anyone on Bannatyne with concerns or questions about the Respectful Work and Learning Environment Policy and Sexual Assault Policy.
As a member of the University of Manitoba Office of Human Rights and Conflict Management, Goren provides information and support when students, faculty and staff have concerns relating to discrimination, harassment or sexual violence. She assists in resolving concerns through informal conflict resolution options, such as mediation, and also guides people through the formal complaint process.
“When differences arise by way of conflict or when people’s rights are infringed upon, it’s important that people know their rights and what resources are available,” she said. “Being in a position where I can help people understand their rights and responsibilities as part of a diverse campus community is incredibly meaningful to me personally.”
When Goren was 10 years old, her family immigrated from Ukraine to Israel after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The political climate, conflict and fragility of peace while living in Israel led her to develop an interest in human rights and peaceful dialogue.
As a youth, Goren joined a leadership program that brought Jewish and Arab youth together to share stories and learn from each other. “This was one of the most powerful experiences as a youth – seeing conflict resolution in action,” she said.
When Goren was 20, she immigrated to Canada with her parents and two siblings, and settled in Hamilton.
With an eye toward creating social change and a more just society, Goren pursued a bachelor of social work at Ryerson University. She then worked as a social worker in the mental health sector with people impacted by trauma and oppression, while also engaging in human rights work as an advocate and workshop facilitator.
After seven years as a social worker, Goren pursued her master of social work at the University of Toronto, where she focused on social justice and community development. After graduating, she began working in the area of equity and inclusion as a consultant, advisor and trainer.
In Canada, Goren said she felt a sense of freedom to be herself and explore other parts of her identity. She said she was able to find a sense of belonging within the LGBTQ+ community and was part of the fight to legalize same-sex marriage.
“As a queer woman and a two-time immigrant, finding a sense of identity and belonging has been a common thread throughout my early life,” she said. “I have both witnessed and experienced conflict and injustice. And so I feel it has encouraged me to want to help others connect to justice, community and belonging.”
Before joining the University of Manitoba in July, Goren worked as a director for Harmony Movement, a diversity education organization based in Toronto. The job took her across the country, including Winnipeg, to lead training programs. When she came across the opportunity at the U of M, she jumped at the chance.
“I love Winnipeg,” Goren said. “I see Winnipeg as a place where important human rights work is happening, with organizations like the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. For me it’s very exciting to be part of that.”
Goren said she is looking forward to contributing to U of M’s efforts to build an inclusive and equitable campus community.
Members of the Bannatyne campus can contact Goren directly at 204-789-3210 or by email at Ilaneet [dot] goren [at] umanitoba [dot] ca. The Office of Human Rights and Conflict Management has a confidential intake line where people can leave a message outside of office hours, or talk to the Confidential Intake Office during business hours to book an appointment with Goren. That number is 204-474-6348.