Poster of the conference with Nurjehan Mawani

Navigating Encounters in a Polarized World: Lessons from a Diplomat and Public Servant

Presented by Dr. Nurjehan Mawani C.M, LL.D. (hon).

Jacques Frémont

Jacques Frémont (welcoming remarks)

President and Vice-Chancellor

Jacques Frémont is the President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ottawa.

Nurjehan Mawani

Dr. Nurjehan Mawani C.M, LL.D. (hon)

Senior Fellow and Inaugural Chair in Global Engagement at Massey College

Dr. Nurjehan Mawani is a lawyer, public servant, diplomat and global Canadian. She is a trailblazer and champion of justice, gender equity, and inclusive development who has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of immigrants and refugees in Canada, and to advance rights and educational opportunities for women and girls internationally.

Under her leadership as the Chairperson and Chief Executive of the Immigration Refugee Board, Canada became the first country internationally to recognize gender-related persecution as a ground for refugee status under the Geneva Convention. As Commissioner of the Public Service Commission of Canada she championed equity, inclusion, and representation in the Public Service. From 2005-2019, she went on to serve as Diplomatic Representative of the Aga Khan Development Network, first to the Kyrgyz Republic and then Afghanistan. In both countries, she partnered with multiple stakeholders to improve quality of life, ensuring that women’s voices were included to advance equitable development as a path to peace, progress, and stability.

Recognition for Dr. Mawani's contributions to public service, international development and the advancement of women include receiving the Order of Canada and the Public Service of Canada Outstanding Achievement Award. In 2007, she received the UNIFEM Canada Award for “an innovative ability to bridge law and policy and for far-reaching effects of the guidelines impacting the lives of thousands of refugee women and girls.” She is the recipient of a number of honorary doctorates and serves on several advisory boards in Canada and internationally including as a founding member of the International Association of Refugee and Migration Judges. She has also received an honorary doctorate from the University of Ottawa.

She is a Senior Fellow at Massey College where she serves on the Anti-Black Racism Advisory Council and is the Inaugural Chair in Global Engagement. In this role, she mentors Junior Fellows – connecting them to changemakers in Canada and around the world to build leadership and foster a deeper understanding of global issues. She also serves as Governor and Vice-Chair of the Board of International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

Huguette Labelle

Huguette Labelle (closing remarks)

Emeritus Governor and former Chancellor of the University of Ottawa

Huguette Labelle holds a PhD (education) degree from the University of Ottawa, has honorary degrees from twelve Canadian universities, and from the University of Notre Dame, United States. She is a Companion of the Order of Canada. In addition, she is a recipient of the Order of Ontario, the Vanier Medal of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada, the Outstanding Achievement Award of the Public Service of Canada, the McGill University Management Achievement Award and the Francophonie’s Ordre de la Pléiade.

Ms. Labelle is Emeritus Governor of the University of Ottawa, and was Chancellor of the University of Ottawa from 1994 to 2012. She is currently Chair of the Independent Advisory Board on Senate Appointment to the Canadian Senate, Vice-Chair of the Rideau Hall Foundation Board, member of the Board of the Global Centre for Pluralism, Board member of Global Financial Integrity, Board member of the Aga Khan Museum, of the Natural Resources and Energy Leadership Council and the Advisory Board of RESOLVE as well as the University of Ottawa Campaign Cabinet.

She was also a former Chair of Transparency International, former Vice-Chair of the International Senior Advisory Board of the International Anti-Corruption Academy, a former member of the Advisory Group to the Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD.) on Integrity and Anti-Corruption as well as a former Board member of the UN Global Compact, Chair of the International Anti-Corruption Conference Council and former Chair of the Selection Committee for Master's Scholarships on Sustainable Energy Development.

Huguette Labelle also served for a period of nineteen years as Deputy Minister of different Canadian Government departments including Secretary of State, Transport Canada, the Public Service Commission and the Canadian International Development Agency.

Gisèle Yasmeen

Gisèle Yasmeen (moderator)

Associate Vice-President, International

Gisèle Yasmeen is the Associate Vice-President, International of the University of Ottawa.

More about Gisèle Yasmeen.


Registration is mandatory to attend and spots are limited. A networking reception will take place after the conference.

For all media inquiries, please contact our media relations team: [email protected].

Date and time
Feb 20, 2024
3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Format and location
In person
Social Sciences Building (FSS), room 4007
General public
Organized by

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