About Leilani Farha
Leilani Farha was appointed UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing in June 2014. She is also the Executive Director of Canada Without Poverty, a national anti-poverty charitable organization based in Ottawa. A lawyer by training, for the past 20 years Leilani has worked both internationally and domestically on the implementation of human rights for the most marginalized groups.
In Canada, Leilani worked on housing rights issues as the Executive Director of the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA) for 12 years. In that capacity, she helped to launch a historic legal challenge seeking the implementation of UN recommendations for addressing homelessness as a violation of human rights. Internationally, Leilani has actively participated in a number of missions around the world to examine housing and living conditions of marginalized communities and to assist in developing policy responses for the implementation of human rights. Leilani is known as a dynamic and effective advocate for economic, social and cultural rights and for promoting legal protection and access to justice for these rights. She has researched and published widely on issues related to housing rights, including on forced evictions, and securing land and housing rights for indigenous peoples. As a central dimension in all her activities, she has worked extensively on women’s economic, social and cultural rights.
Leilani has been recognized for her leadership on housing and women’s rights, receiving the 2013 Spirit of Barbra Schlifer Award and an honorary degree from Mount Saint Vincent University in 2015.
About the Lectureship
The University of Alberta Visiting Lectureship in Human Rights is envisioned as one of the preeminent annual events held at the University.
Individuals or organizations that have made an outstanding contribution in the field of human rights and human rights protection are invited to deliver a major public lecture in Edmonton. They also participate in other significant events at the University of Alberta, the City of Edmonton and the Province of Alberta during their visit.
The first Lectureship, held in the fall of 1998, coincided with the 50th anniversary of the proclamation of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.
The University of Alberta Visiting Lectureship in Human Rights aims to:
- Offer the people of the Province of Alberta a significant and educational way of annually celebrating the commitments we undertook as signatories of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights.
- Support and nurture Albertans' continuing interest and illustrious involvement with human rights at home and abroad.
- Demonstrate the University of Alberta's commitment to helping students and Albertans understand complex human rights issues. This is especially important as the University and its graduates pursue economic, social and political alliances with peoples around the world. In creating these linkages, it is important that we are aware of and sensitive to situations involving the exploitation of others.
- Serve as an annual reminder to the people of Alberta of the need to protect human rights within our own province.
- Continue the University of Alberta's tradition of providing a safe environment to discuss controversial and difficult subjects and by doing so, provide students, faculty and staff with the opportunity to learn, question and participate in events shaping the world in which we live.
The University of Alberta invites you to submit nominations for individuals or organizations who would make outstanding lecturers.
We gratefully acknowledge the hard work of the donors and volunteers who help make the Lectureship a success.