OFFICIAL STATEMENT - Edmonton, September 25, 2017

From August 21-25, 2017, The John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights was proud to host the Ignite Change Global Gathering for Human Rights. As part of our efforts to build a human rights city, we seek to bring the world to Edmonton and to engage in challenging and courageous conversations.

JHC is an educational organization whose philosophy is based on the belief that all education needs to be based in a space of Collective Wisdom; we all have something to bring to the table and it is through the harnessing of our collective stories that we are able to achieve a greater understanding of human rights and build peaceful human relations.

JHC strives to create welcoming spaces for respectful dialogue on difficult and triggering topics.  Not one of us holds the answer to the pressing issues facing our world, but together we can better understand the dimensions of the issue and find common ground in working towards change.

The Global Gathering offered up a range of perspectives, voices and experiences on the issues of hate, drugs, arms and human trafficking.   It was an honour and an unforgettable experience coming together, sharing and learning as concerned global citizens to reflect on critical issues facing Canada while working to renew our treaty relations. We are proud of the outcomes of the event and are incredibly grateful to our supporters and partners.

We, the Board of Directors of the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights, stand together in the call for all to participate and to seek out spaces for safe but challenging conversations.  We can debate our perceptions of the facts or we can come together to find a place for all humanity and to work to bridge our differences.  

We believe all voices in Canada are welcome and important on issues local or global. Given our diversity, it is here on Turtle Island where peace can start. It is in our spaces here in this Human Rights City that we can build bridges across our differences and confront the challenging conflicts we see in our world today.

We are aware of material which is circulating with respect to one of our Board members, Ms. Ranya El-Sharkawi.  This material contains unfounded allegations and untruths.  With that said, we support Ms. El-Sharkawi as a valued Board member and as a community member advocating for peace and human rights. Her perspective, as well as all others, are welcome at our table.  We seek to create spaces of respectful and reciprocal dialogue.

We are proud of the outcomes of the Gathering.  We are very grateful for the dedicated contributions of staff and volunteers who worked tirelessly to bring the Gathering  to fruition.  We value and thank the many organizations, agencies, individuals and conference registrants for their support.

The JHC looks forward to continuing our work to facilitate critical dialogue and education about human rights and peace.  

The Board of Directors of

John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights


Neximar Alarcon