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IRIS hosts Canada/South Sudan Roundtable: Responding to the Crisis

Deeply concerned by the widespread political violence that has racked Africa’s newest nation since mid-­‐December 2013, Canadian South Sudanese community members and leaders met in Toronto on March 26, 2014 to share information on the crisis, build peaceful relationships across the Canadian South Sudanese diaspora, generate options for bringing an end to the violence and for coming to grips with its underlying causes.

DSCN0398The day-­‐long meeting was hosted by York University’s Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS), with organizational support from the SubSahara Centre, Peacemedia-­‐ paixmédia, Peacebuild – The Canadian Peacebuilding Network and South Sudanese community activists and opinion leaders. Discussion initially focused on sharing personal experiences of the crisis among the approximately 30 participants. It then turned to identifying the range of options available for short-­‐term peacemaking and long-­‐term peacebuilding, including tackling the country’s glaring governance deficit.

While strong tensions within the South Sudanese community in Canada and elsewhere were acknowledged, roundtable participants, representing a broad cross-­‐section of the South Sudanese community in Canada, pursued discussion in a spirit of solidarity and respect for all and their opinions. No insults or verbal abuse of individuals or specific groups were expressed, despite the depth of anger and sorrow. Each participant had the opportunity to voice their feelings and views on the crisis without interruption. Compassionate listening was encouraged.DSCN0423b

This report highlights the multiple common perceptions of the disastrous direct and indirect impacts of the violence on South Sudanese in their home country and in the diaspora, regardless of ethnic or religious background, age group, gender or educational attainment. It also sets out suggested collective responses to the crisis for urgent further consideration and action both in South Sudan and in Canada.

To encourage open discussion during the roundtable, it was agreed that comments by individuals would not be attributed in this report, and a very few asked that their names not be included in the list of participants attached.

View the full report from the Roundtable.

ENGOs and First Nations: A View of the Horizon and Reconciliation

Hosted in partnership

Sustainability Network and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Register at

June 27th, 8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
Sustainability Network,
215 Spadina Ave,Toronto

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The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples - and making a connection to the Ring of Fire.

Resolution 66/142 Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the General Assembly, March 30, 2012 and recognized and reaffirmed several areas including:"...Recognizing the value and the diversity of the cultures and the form of the social organization of indigenous peoples and their holistic traditional scientific knowledge of their lands, natural resources and environment..."

On May 9, 2012 Rick Bartolucci, Minister of Northern Development and Mines stated: "Ontario is blessed with an abundance of natural resources at a time in history when the world is developing faster than ever and demanding these resources. We are taking advantage of this incredible opportunity in the Ring of Fire to further open up Northern Ontario by bringing thousands of jobs, new infrastructure and economic opportunities to cities, towns and First Nations' communities."

The Sustainability Network is pleased to host a dialogue on "ENGOs and First Nations: A View of the Horizon and Reconciliation" in partnership with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. We are inviting our peers and leaders within the environmental, legal, resource and non-profit community to be engaged through a facilitated panel discussion. We will discuss critical environmental elements impacting reconciliation in Canada and how the environmental sector can influence reconciliation going forward.

Panelists will present their perspectives on the current and future climate regarding resource extraction, free, prior and informed consent, Aboriginal relations and more.


  • TRC Commissioner Chief Wilton Littlechild, former representative of the United Nations will discuss the role of the TRC and the relevance of the environment in reconciliation.

  • Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, Nishanwbe Aski Nation (NAN) will detail NAN's position on the environment including the Ring of Fire and impacts on the future in the north.

  • Justin Duncan, Ecojustice - Eastern Program Director and Staff Lawyer will give his perspective as an environmental advocate with an eye on Ontario's Ring of Fire, and impacts to healthy lakes, rivers, wildlife and wilderness.

  • Craig Ford was very recently Vice President, Corporate Responsibility at Inmet Resources. He is a strategic, visionary and well regarded corporate responsibility mining executive.

    The panel will be moderated by Jennifer Henry, Executive Director at KAIROS.


Arctic Love in the Park

Arctic Love in the Park
Date: Saturday, April 20th  12:00 noon
Trinity Bellwoods Park - behind the tennis courts (Queen West & Gore Vale Ave)
Rain or Shine
This Earth Day weekend, Greenpeace is calling everyone to join in a global event to help save the Arctic. In over 20 countries around the world, thousands will come together, forming a massive heart to show the world they want to see the Arctic protected.
You don’t want to miss your opportunity to be part of the largest I Heart Arctic event in Canada right here in Toronto! Just wear the colour red and meet us in Trinity Bellwoods Park at noon.
See you there!
Please Join and Share the Facebook Event:


Upcoming Spring Events at LEAF

International Conference – Work in a Warming World: Labour, Climate Change, and Social Social Struggle

November 29 - December 1, 2013
Toronto, Ontario Canada

The Work in a Warming World Community-University Research Alliance (W3) is organising a major international panel on the role of labour and work in the struggle to slow global warming.

 Based in Toronto, Canada, the W3 conference is for labour and environmental activists, students, academic researchers, policy makers and the concerned public.

 W3's conference goals are to:

  • bring together labour and environmental activists from the global north and the global south;
  • make path-breaking labour and environmental research on the climate struggle known to a wider public
  • create a platform for ongoing links between researchers and unions to develop ideas, strategies and tactics;
  • share best practices in greening work and workplaces;
  • bring labour and labour research to the forefront of greening the world of work;
  • identify opportunities for labour leadership in the struggle to slow global warming.

Global warming is a universal concern, perhaps the greatest challenge facing work, workers and the planet in the 21st century. Climate change is already changing how we work, what we produce, and where we produce it. It shifts employment within and between countries, regions and communities, creating millions of climate migrants in the global north and the global south, dislocating people and industries and futures. But as global warming ravages jobs, work itself produces significant greenhouse gases (GHGs). And as important as work is to slowing global warming, the role of work and workers has been strangely absent from policy and social science research. Labour and environmental movements have yet to effectively address the role of climate change in the world of work.

 What role can workers and their unions play in slowing global warming?

Contact: Ann Kim -

Research Incubator May 27, 2013

The Centre of Excellence in Responsible Business at the Schulich School of Business will be holding an afternoon research workshop and incubator on Monday, May 27, 2013. It will be similar in format to the two events already held before in 2012.

Research Incubator
May 27, 2013 - 1:00 - 5:00 pm (lunch, refreshments)
TSE Boardroom
Miles S. Nadal Management Centre, Ernst & Young Tower
Toronto Dominion Centre
222 Bay St., Suite 500

Social - Pub Night
Duke of Devon
5:30 pm

The purpose of the workshop is to share and discuss some of the ongoing research taking place in the Centre along with an incubator to help faculty and doctoral students develop work into publishable papers in the area of responsible business, broadly defined (i.e. work that deals with social issues in management, CSR, sustainability, and business ethics). Whether you have a completed manuscript or simply a half-baked idea, the research incubator will match you with an expert in your area who will carefully read your paper or idea and provide you oral and written feedback to help you mature and develop the paper or idea. In addition, we will have a panel discussion with experienced reviewers and editorial board members to provide insight into publishing Responsible Business research in top management journals. Further details of the event, including full schedule will be provided shortly. We will be meeting in the Nadal Centre downtown. At the conclusion of the workshop, we will continue to socialize at a pub nearby, Duke of Devon,

So please let us know if you intend to attend the workshop, and send in your manuscripts, abstracts, or proposals. Whatever you send, we will find someone to help you develop that idea. The deadline for submissions is April 31st, 2013. For inquiries please contact Dirk Matten,

Please RSVP to Mary Amati, for both the Incubator & pub night

2013 What’s Worth Knowing: Educating for Responsible Citizenship Symposium

Learning for a Sustainable Future is a national non-profit organization housed by IRIS.

The What's Worth Knowing: Educating for Responsible Citizenship Symposium will be held on Monday, May 13th, 2013 at the YMCA of Greater Toronto in Toronto, ON. This event will bring together 120 senior decision makers from the education, government, business, and non-profit sectors, as well as high school and post secondary students. Register for the Symposium Today!

The Symposium will address the following questions:

  • What do children and youth need to know, do, and value, in order to ensure they are responsible, active, and contributing citizens?
  • How can formal education be reoriented to meet these goals?

The aim of this event is to:

  • Raise awareness of issues and challenges relating to youth citizenship
  • Develop a consensus on high-level strategies
  • Launch the youth-designed Our Canada Project
  • Identify actions and commitments to change

The Symposium will be followed by the LSF Annual State of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Gala at the Arcadian Loft in Toronto, ON. Purchase your ticket for the Gala today!

The What's Worth Knowing: Educating for Responsible Citizenship Symposium builds on the Ready or Not? Preparing Youth for 21st Century Responsible Citizenship Roundtable discussions hosted in 2012 by Learning for a Sustainable Future, in collaboration with Deloitte.

Register for the 2013 What's Worth Knowing: Educating for Responsible Citizenship Symposium Today!

IRIS Annual General Meeting

AGM_invitationJoin us on Tuesday, April 30th from 12-2pm in room 305 York Lanes for our very first AGM and Potluck!

We have had an awesome year filled with memorable events and we want to celebrate it with all of you. We will be recapping the year by sharing good food and stories.

Please click here to RSVP by Tuesday April 23rd.