EDI Week 2016

Valuing Diversity - Advancing Equity - Achieving Inclusion

March 14 to 18, 2016

Equity at its heart strives for social justice, access, and collaboration to further opportunities for success of students, faculty, and staff in the academy. Diversity of identity, thought, and scholarship advances institutional excellence. Inclusion actively engages the community in change to achieve equity and diversity. The principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion support the University of Alberta's commitment to create work and learning communities that inspire and enable people to reach their full potential. The sessions offered during EDI Week create opportunities for faculty, staff, students, and guests to come together to raise awareness, foster passion, fuel commitment, and enhance knowledge and skills. See below for the program, additional information and sessions will be updated on a regular basis. Do not hesitate to email EDI.Week@ualberta.ca with any questions you might have about this initiative or any other equity-related programming.

Program at a Glance

Monday, March 14

  • Why is language a TRC Call to Action? (10:00 to 11:30)
  • Courage and Social Justice in Our Time (14:00 to 15:30)
  • Visiting Lectureship in Human Rights - Kwame Anthony Appiah (19:00)

Tuesday, March 15

  • The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal on First Nations child welfare (08:30 to 10:00)
  • Embodiment: Respectful Workplace Training (12:00 to 12:55)

Wednesday, March 16 and Thursday, March 17

  • Human Library: A Place for All of Us (14:00 to 18:45 both days)

Friday, March 18

  • Keynote Presentation: A Culture of Sexism, Racism and Homophobia on our Campuses (12:00 to 14:00)


Detailed Program

Monday, March 14

Why is language a TRC Call to Action?
10:00 - 11:30
Heritage Lounge, Athabasca Hall

Cultural Guide: Heather Poitras

Conversation Hosts:
Dr. D'Arcy Vermette, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Native Studies
Ms. Dorothy Thunder, Cree Instructor, Faculty of Native Studies
Dr. Jordan Lachlar, Assistant Professor, Linguistics, Faculty of Arts & Director, Canadian Indigenous Languages and Literacy Development Institute (CILLDI)
Dr. Marlene McKay, Assistant Professor, Educational Policy Studies, Faculty of Education

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action seek to redress the legacy of the 150 year residential school system which was designed to eradicate indigenous languages and cultures from 150,000 children removed from their families and communities. The TRC calls for the preservation, revitalization, and strengthening of Indigenous languages and cultures as critical elements of the reconciliation process. Join University of Alberta colleagues as they engage in conversation about a number of critical questions: Why are Indigenous languages important? To what extent are they under threat? Are there strategies for using Indigenous languages in institutions? What are some ways that universities and policy-makers can help facilitate productive spaces for language education, use, and retention? This session will begin with a prayer and smudging ceremony and it will be an opportunity for sharing individual stories and visions for the future of indigenous language learning, teaching, and living. Knowledge of an Indigenous language is not necessary to join in the conversation, all are welcome!

For more information on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the legacy of residential schools, visit:

Courage and Social Justice in Our Time
14:00 - 15:30
Room 134, Telus Centre

Dr. Isabel Altamirano-Jimenez, Associate Professor, Dept. of Political Science
Dr. Catherine Clune-Taylor, Instructor, Dept. of Philosophy
Joshua St. Pierre, PhD student, Dept. of Philosophy
Dr. Kim TallBear, Associate Professor, Faculty of Native Studies
with special guest
Dr. Kwame Anthony Appiah, Professor of Philosophy and Law, New York University

Moderated by Dr. Malinda Smith, Professor, Dept. of Political Science

Join our panelists for a discussion of the importance of courage in addressing the local and global social justice issues of our time. Our panelists are on the front lines of advocacy and engaged research to advance justice for persons with disabilities, women, sexual minorities, racialized and indigenous peoples and the environment. Hear their views on courage and engage in a discussion with Dr. Kwame Anthony Appiah, who will be providing the University of Alberta's Visiting Lectureship in Human Rights.

Visiting Lectureship in Human Rights - Kwame Anthony Appiah 19:00
1-430 Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science

EDI week coincides with the 2016 Visiting Lectureship in Human Rights at the University of Alberta. The Lecture will be delivered by Dr. Kwame Anthony Appiah (Professor of Philosophy and Law at New York University). To learn more about Dr. Appiah, visit appiah.net.
Information & Registration: globaled.ualberta.ca/vlhr.

Tuesday, March 15

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal on First Nations child welfare
4th Floor Lounge, Education North Building

Presenter: Dr. Cindy Blackstock, Associate Professor, Faculty of Extension; Executive Director, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada; Founder, First Nations Children's Action Research and Education Service

Introduction: Jenna Broomfield, Juris Law Candidate (2017) and co-President of Aboriginal Law Students' Association

Prayer and smudging ceremony: Elder Bob Cardinal

In 2007, Dr. Cindy Blackstock and the Assembly of First Nations filed a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal alleging that Canada discriminates against First Nations children on the basis of race and/or national or ethnic origin by providing inequitable and insufficient funding for child and family services on reserves. In January 2016, the Tribunal ruled in favour of the complainants, ordering the government to cease discriminatory practices against 163,000 affected children and take measures to redress and prevent further discrimination. In this talk, Dr. Blackstock will discuss the Tribunal's findings, the remedies ordered, and what this means for First Nations children's rights in Canada moving forward.

For more information about the case:

To read the ruling:

Embodiment: Respectful Workplace Training
12:00 to 12:55, lunch 'n learn
ECHA L1 - 220
Click HERE for the presentation slides

Presenter: Candy Khan, PhD Candidate (Education); Senior Diversity & Inclusion Consultant, City of Edmonton

You can listen to a manager talk about the importance of having a respectful workplace culture, read the company policy, follow a prescribed procedure to resolve a conflict, seek advice from a senior leader in your organization or take no action. Either way, your body (with all its senses) is going through a process. This process is a foundational piece that conditions the body in the workplace. Participants in this session will examine the role of Respectful Workplace Training in the City and ways in which employees learn workplace culture and norms beyond an in-class structured learning.

Everyone is welcome to bring their lunch with them!

Wednesday, March 16 and Thursday, March 17

Human Library: A Place for All of Us
14:00 to 18:45 both days
Rutherford Library
The 45 minute conversations will begin on the hour.
Conversation Guidelines

The Human Library is sponsored by University of Alberta International (the Global Education Program), Human Resource Services (the Employment Equity Program), University of Alberta Libraries and the United Way.

A Human Library is a space where visitors can speak one-on-one or in very small groups to "people on loan" or human "books". The "books" are individuals from various demographics who have experienced stereotyping or prejudice or who have undergone a life experience that is often mischaracterized or misunderstood. The goal of the Library is to create a place where students, staff and community members can explore diverse perspectives, challenge stereotypes and reaffirm human dignity through respectful conversations with human "books".

We hosted our first Human Library in Rutherford Library during International Week 2015. Here is what some participants had to say:

"It is an extraordinary opportunity to be able to engage people in this way. I loved the interactive nature."
"You cannot help but be changed if you participated"
"I thoroughly enjoyed how engaging and open the conversations were"
Click here to review the 2016 Collection of Human "Books"

Friday, March 18

Keynote Presentation - Dr. Constance Backhouse, Professor of Law, University of Ottawa

A Culture of Sexism, Racism and Homophobia on our Campuses
12:00 to 14:00
SUB 0-51 (Student's Union Building Conference Room)
ASL Interpretation and Realtime Captioning Services will be provided

Welcome and Opening Remarks: Dr. Janice Williamson, Chair, AASUA Equity Committee and Prof., English & Film Studies

Introduction to Constance Backhouse: Dr. Lise Gotell, Acting Dean, Faculty of Arts and Prof., Women's and Gender Studies


Dr. Catherine Clune-Taylor, Instructor, Philosophy, Women & Gender Studies;
Dr. Malinda Smith, Prof., Political Science,
Dr. Janice Williamson

Light lunch will be provided

Alarming events have erupted around Canadian campuses that demonstrate that sexism, racism, and homophobia remain deeply rooted in our culture. Professor Constance Backhouse will explore why this is happening, what provokes such behaviours, and how we can respond more effectively. She will also examine what our universities might do to contribute to the transformation of these dysfunctional cultures. To learn more about Dr. Backhouse, visit: www.constancebackhouse.ca.

Keynote Presentation Transcript (PDF)