A World Interfaith Harmony Week and Canada 150 Event for Students(high school and up)
Date and Time:
Sat, 4 February 2017
10:30 AM – 2:00 PM
CRC Regent Park Community Food Centre
40 Oak Street, Toronto, ON
Herbie Kuhn, Public Address Announcer for the Toronto Raptors
You are cordially invited to attend a panel discussion on
Wed, 25 January 2017
12:00 PM – 2:00 PM
St. Michael's College, Charbonnel Hall
81 St. Mary Street, Toronto, ON M5S 1J4
Reid Locklin, Assoc. Professor, University of Toronto
Azeezah Kanji, Director of Programming, Noor Cultural Centre
Joe Mihevc, Councillor, City of Toronto
Mark G. Toulouse, Principal, Emmanuel College
Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl, Anne and Max Tanenbaum Senior Rabbi, Beth Tzedec Congregation
12:00 pm - Introductions and Lunch
12:30 pm - Panel Discussion and Q&A
02:00 pm - Closing
Tickets($15) sold at: Eventbrite
Culture and Religion Intertwined: How do We Stay True to Ourselves?
Tue, 7 February 2017
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
University College, Croft Chapter House
15 King's College Circle, University of Toronto
Toronto, ON M5S 3H7
Public screening of a new NFB documentary Things Arab Men Say was hosted by Intercultural Dialogue Institute GTA on November 30, 2016. The event featured a post-screening conversation with Raja Khouri, President of the Canadian Arab Institute. It was a full-house with over 50 people in attendance.
Worldwide, Arab men are depicted by the mainstream media as terrorists, suicide bombers, or at best, extremists. In Things Arab Men Say, Egyptian-born filmmaker Nisreen Baker paints a very different picture.
Raja Khouri is president of the Canadian Arab Institute, a policy think tank he co-founded in 2011. Raja is co-founder of the Canadian Arab/Jewish Leadership Dialogue Group, and an international consultant in organizational development and capacity building.
Raja formerly served on several government and civil society bodies, such as Ontario’s Hate Crimes Community Working Group (for the Attorney General and Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services), the Minister of Education’s Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy Roundtable, the Pride Toronto Community Advisory Panel, the Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs, and as advocacy co-chair of Human Rights Watch Canada. He served as president of the Canadian Arab Federation in the period following the events of 9/11.
Raja’s earlier career included a senior management position at CIBC and management consulting tenures in Europe and the Middle East. He has designed and chaired conferences, given and moderated lectures, numerous media interviews, and published commentaries in journals and major Canadian dailies. He’s the author of Arabs in Canada: Post 9/11.
On November 28th, 2016, IDI hosted DART (Disaster Assistance Response Team) with Lieutenant-Colonel Ed Izatt, Commanding Officer and Chief Engineer at the 1st Canadian Division, serving as speaker.
Mr. Izatt explained DART’s role as analysis in the first 11 days and used the bridge exampled. They need to find the bridge, assess what is need to fix the bridge, and find a workaround before they even start to fix the bridge as it takes quite a while. One of the secondary roles is giving confidence to the people in the affected area with the presence of official uniforms, which helps to mobilize the local population and push against the effects of shock.
DART comprises 200–500 personnel from medics and engineers, to soldiers and aviators. Lawyers are even included for things such as property laws that people operating in other areas of specialty would not necessarily consider. Mr. Izatt explained the importance of this as DART is part of the Canadian military and is not a neutral organization nor are they operationally independent.
DART’s future role is becoming more complicated, Mr. Izatt explained, with the reality of complex disasters and humanitarian needs that extend beyond things like earthquakes with the rise of extreme climate change disasters. Humanitarian relief in a war zone is also a tricky thing to navigate since DART needs to be invited into a country, and they work with and for ambassadors and local governments, since they come with the full weight of the Canadian military. They operate in overwhelming disaster conditions where the military needs to be called in as a last resort.
Mr. Neuman explained that Muslims were seen as the new “other” and not studied very in depth, though they are an important and growing part of Canadian population. This study functions as a “powerful vehicle to amplify voices” and give compelling imperial data in support of these voices.
Environics had done a survey in 2006, and the survey presented today is the followup. It took six and a half years to raise the funds for the 2016 survey, Mr. Neuman said. This included support from the Olive Tree Foundation, the Tessellate Institute, the Inspirit Foundation, and the Canadian Race Relations Foundations. The study was conducted in english, french, urdu, and arabic.
You are cordially invited to attend a presentation on the
The Environics Institute 2016 Survey of Muslims in Canada
Keith Neuman, Ph.D. Executive Director of the Environics Institute
Anita Bromberg, Executive Director- Canadian Race Relations Foundation
Gwen Joy, Director of Grants and Evaluation - Inspirit Foundation
Mohamed Huque, President - Tessellate Institute
Muneeb Nasir, President - Olive Tree Foundation
Steve Zhou, Journalist
6:00pm - Registration | 6:30pm – Presentation, Responses and Q&A | 8:00pm – Closing
May 24, 2015 - 6:00pm - 8:00pm
481 University Ave, Suite 711, Toronto, ON M5G 2E9
Light refreshments will be served.
On May 17th, 2016, IDI hosted the 7Cs Compass conflict resolution workshop, Resolution—The 7Cs Compass—given by Conciliators Without Borders President and CEO, Shahid Akhtar. His approach to workshops that teach conflict resolution is to rely on the strengths of those present. He asked people to introduce themselves and explain what their expectations of the workshop were. The main thing that he stressed was that you needed to be able to laugh at yourself. “If you can’t laugh or don’t have humour, there is no point in doing anything.”
Mr. Akhtar described that one of the main motive behind the conflict, and indeed everything in life wasself-intrest. What is in my best interest? Everything in one’s life is governed by self-interest, not in a selfish way but in a way where that is inherently how we perceive the world. He stressed that people were not just a speck in the universe, that this is not how we see ourselves, so any conflict resolution needs to take people’s self-interest into account.
The 7Cs Compass provides a roadmap for approaching conflicts and finding the best resolution available, even though it may not be the ideal resolution. Through practices of communication and compassion, we are able to come to a better understanding of where the other person is coming from—of what is in the best interest for the other person? In this way, two opposing parties can come to the table and work through their different perspectives to come to a common understanding.
Mr. Akhtar stressed that talking helps no matter what, that in the end people always come together for a resolution. This is true in the context of workplace conflicts, interpersonal conflicts, or even international or social conflicts. There is a price to pay for not talking, whether that is a toxic work environment or something as tragic as genocide, once it is over people come together to talk and find a resolution. It is his hope to skip the price to pay for not talking and go straight to a dialogue that will provide a good resolution for the current instance.
He asked the participants to split into pairs and talk about a conflict in their lives with their partner. Mr Akhtar then asked each partner to briefly summarize their respective partner’s conflict. In this way, we could hear the conflict spoken back to us, seeing the diversity of issues but also to help compartmentalize the conflict.
Mr. Akhtar wished to highlight the nature of conflict as something that happens to us, not something we asked for. However unavoidable conflict may be, it does not always have to be negative. There is an importance of making allowances for our humanity. When we approach a conflict with compassion and genuinely listen to the other party, we can see what is motivating the other person, the unintended consequences of decisions. The cost of workplace conflict is 325 billion dollars, in addition to the social and emotional cost. It is in our best interest to listen and participate and work to resolve conflicts, rather than let them grow.
Fail Safe Conflict Resolution -
The 7Cs Compass
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Click here for agenda
Intercultural Dialogue Institute
481 University, suite 711, Toronto ON M5G 2E9
President and CEO,
Conciliators Without Borders Services Inc.
Read more about Shahid
The 7Cs methodology is applicable to a range of personal and workplace conflicts. It provides unique appreciation of the role of conflict and a set of comprehensive strategies for effective conflict resolution. Participants will learn practical tools for managing adversarial relationships in personal and professional settings at a fraction of cost incurred in some other options.
Conflict is an unavoidable fact of life. How we manage it can be the difference between breaking or fostering a future relationship. We can either allow conflict to scar us for life or master it for growth and enrichment. Given this nature of conflict, we believe training in conflict resolution should be a combination of effective, affordable and accessible. It is this approach to conflict resolution that has inspired us to design and offer this workshop.
On April 29th, IDI’s Service Learning interns from the Urban Studies program at Innis College, University of Toronto hosted their keynote and panel discussion, which they had organized for three months. The theme of the discussion was how Toronto businesses interacted with environmentalism, as well as the interplay between green policies and businesses.
Rizwan Khan and Barbora Grochalova of the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA), gave the opening keynote. Mr. Khan explained that CELA was a speciality legal aide clinic with a mandate to help low income individuals, community groups, and environmental NGOs.
The government of Ontario visualizes the challenges of climate change, he said, within the lens of failure—what will happen if we fail to mitigate and adapt to climate change? As an additional challenge, there is a belief that even trying to address climate change will have a negative impact on economic growth. From 2009 to 2014, Ontario shut down all their coal-powered power plants, which showed a significant dip in Green House Gas (GHG) emission, but not one in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
This hurdle is not as big as many people think, Mr. Khan explained. “We do not have to lose economic growth because we address climate change,” he said.
The largest emitters of GHGs in 1990 were the industrial sector, transportation, and large buildings. Within the current legal framework this is addressed through the 2009 Green Economy Act (GEA), which created the Green Energy Act and amended a number of prior acts. This included requiring home electronics to be energy efficient; allowing homeowners to feed into the energy grid and receiving some payment for renewable energy; set new rules for provincial land planning that could not be contravene by municipal planning. Missing from this though, was the need to address transportation with numbers that have risen since 1990.
Ms. Grochalova spoke of next steps. The acknowledgement of the need to transition into a decarbonized economy is there, but now the debate rests with how we achieve this. Ontario’s targets of reducing carbon emissions is 15 percent by 2020 (for which it is not on track), 37 percent by 2030, and 80 percent by 2050.
Bill 172 (Climate change mitigation and low-carbon economy, 2016), which is still in committee, was proposed to address this. It would introduce the idea of carbon taxing, to provide information to consumer’s for the carbon footprint of a product. The other aspect of this bill is Cap and Trade.
The idea with Cap and Trade is to have a hard cap for the province of Ontario, in which if a smaller polluter had emissions allowance (GHG emissions per tonnes) left, they could sell it off to a higher polluter. The logic behind this is to prevent polluters from going above the hard cap of GHG emissions per tonnes, because then they would have to essentially pay to pollute.
Within Toronto, there are only about 150 large enough polluters (over 25 000 tonnes of CO2) that would participate in this Cap and Trade program. These include power plants, but also some university campuses, among others. Therefore the impact on the city of Toronto will not be unmanageable. Rising energy cost will be the biggest signifier.
This is a video from the Government of Ontario explaining its Cap and Trade: https://youtu.be/MbUwhIROLek.
To evaluate the Bill, Ms. Grochalova asks two questions: is it effective and is it fair? In terms of effectiveness, she explained that we need to recognize the urgency of climate change. Many smaller island nations at the Paris climate conference (COP21) used the slogan “1.5 to Stay Alive” to highlight the fact that if the global temperature rises 1.5 degrees, many of them will cease to exist.
For the world to have a two thirds chance of staying under 1.5 degrees, it gives us a carbon budget of four years to emit the way we are now, and then stop emitting altogether. At a 50 percent chance of staying within that 1.5 degrees, we have 9.8 years. Based on this, many of our policies are not effective. This includes the proposed Cap and Trade, which puts the price of emitting above the hard cap at $17 per tonnes. Some researchers have proposed that there won’t be significant change at prices below $100–$200. Additionally, there are too many allowances at the moment for it to be an effective tool in curbing carbon emission.
In terms of fairness, the ones who have been and will be most affected by climate change are those with limited or no means to find ways to mitigate the real consequences of climate change. Low income people do not have significantly high emissions of GHG, but they are disproportionately affected by climate change and by policies designed to mitigate it. Environmental damage may affect them more severely, and the higher cost of energy and food will also have a greater effect. Ms. Grochalova explained that for these policies to be fair, there needs to be a legislated response that addresses this.
The panel discussion was moderated by University of Toronto Professor Douglas MacDonald. The discussants were Nicole Beayni who is the Project Officer for Race to Reduce, and Robert Bianchi who Director of Partnerships at MaRS’ Advanced Energy Centre.
Ms. Beayni described Civic Action as a non-profit organization that brings leaders together to address the challenges that the communities of Toronto and Hamilton face. In 2008, they co-carried out an environmental survey of the GTA and found that one of the largest emitters of GHGs were office buildings. There were 165 million square feet of GTA office space and it accounted for 20 percent of carbon emission in the GTA. They also learned that there was a lot more that building managers, owners, and tenants could do to lower their emissions.
The Commercial Building Energy Leadership Council was set up to identify some challenges and address them. It consisted of 50 volunteers from owners, to tenants, and government personnel. The barriers they identified were: 1) lack of good data and understanding of energy use; 2) the need for a better way to share best practices; 3) lack of information and pressure to use a business case to enact change; and 4) not enough effective communication between landlords and tenants.
Race to Reduce grew out of this in 2011. They set it up as an office challenge to work on reducing the collective energy consumption by 10 percent, from 2011 to 2014. The final numbers were reported in 2015. Over 600 landlords, 196 buildings, and 42 percent of the office spaces participated in the Race to Reduce. The collective reduction of these participants was 12.1 percent or 12 000 tonnes of GHGs. This saved them $13.7 million. It created a platform for different people involved in these office buildings to talk to each other, with Civic Action facilitating the initial conversation. They held an annual awards ceremony which provided further incentive. Businesses have also exported these practices to their regional offices and the competition is being replicated in other cities.
Mr. Bianchi spoke about the attempt of MaRS’ Discovery District to create an ecosystem of innovations. At MaRS, there are four core programs. The community energy consists of micro-grids (the Zibi Project), to bring different actors together in an attempt to become carbon neutral. One of the problems with reducing energy consumption is not knowing how much you consume, so the Green Button project was a way of delivering data and sharing it with third parties for further innovation. Utility transformation consists of bringing different people together to act towards a common goal, rather than acting individually and less efficiently. Finally MaRS puts Canadian corporations in touch with international contacts to share most efficient technologies.
He explained that the Advanced Energy Centre was leading the adoption of the Investor Confidence Project in the Canadian market to clearly highlight the financial benefits of bigger renovation projects—lightbulbs versus replacing all the the windows or furnace.
Mr. Bianchi also made the point that the summer of 2014 was the first year in many in which Toronto did not have a smog advisory. This was likely due to Ontario closing its coal power plants. He pointed out that Toronto is seen as a global leader in climate leadership as it has reduced its GHG emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels. It also uses a deep lake water system that cools the buildings, rather than using conventional energy.
About the theme:
The symposium will focus on the ways that Toronto's businesses can be more environmentally conscientious. We would like to look at the corporate impact on climate change and how we, as a city, can adapt to minimize our impact on the environment. Since 2009 extreme weather events, including rainfall, ice storms and snowstorms have resulted in losses over $1 billion, so an effort on trying to limit our effect on climate change will benefit all levels of society. Current actions taken by provincial and municipal governments support the mitigation of greenhouse gases, but fail to identify climate change risks at various scales. We would like you to be part of this discussion to improve Toronto’s image as a leading green city and to take an important, albeit small step in addressing the problem of climate change. We are interested in exploring initiatives that Toronto businesses have been a part of to limit their economic footprint; both from businesses that are not in the environmental sector, as well as things like green startups within this sector. Finally we would like to invite those in the academic fields to provide a framework and possible analyses of how well these projects have found success or will need to be improved.
Some questions we would like to explore: