Thursday, December 18, 2014

Reverend Mpho Tutu among guest presenters at the Second Bi-Annual Diversity, Inclusivity and Equity Symposium

Toronto, ON – The Community Inclusivity Equity Council of York Region (CIECYR) today announced that Reverend Mpho Tutu, Executive Director of the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, will be among the guest presenters at the Second Bi-Annual Diversity, Inclusivity and Equity Symposium, to be held on Tuesday, April 28 and Wednesday, April 29, 2015. On April 30th 2015, Reverend Tutu is also scheduled to speak at the Inaugural Bi-annual CIECYR Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity Awards and Benefit Gala.  Both events will be held at the Sheraton Parkway Toronto North Hotel, 600 Highway & East, Richmond Hill. 
Two-day Symposium

On April 29, Reverend Tutu will deliver a keynote address on truth and reconciliation. Reverend Mpho Tutu will be joined by guest presenters Dr. Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and Lionel Bazil Davis, former political prisoner during Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment.  Dr. Blackstock will give the morning address at the symposium on April 28, speaking on First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) and The Canadian Context. Lionel Davis will give an afternoon keynote address on The South African Experience. The two-day symposium will explore the theme of Truth, Reconciliation and Engagement, within the context of the South African experience and the current parallel Truth and Reconciliation process underway in Canada.

 The symposium’s theme of Truth, Reconciliation and Engagement is inspired by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRCC). The TRCC is investigating the truth behind the experiences of Aboriginal people during the residential school era which date back to the 1870s. During this era, more than 150,000 First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children were placed in these schools, often against their parents’ wishes. An estimated 80,000 former students are alive today. The ongoing impact of residential schools has been felt throughout generations and has contributed to social problems that continue to exist today.

 In addition to the Canadian experience, the symposium will look at lessons learned from the South African experience, post-apartheid. South Africa’s TRC process was established in the late 1990s. This Commission was guided by Ubuntu, an Nguni Bantu concept of human civility, engagement and way of being from the Southern African regions, which translates to mean human kindness. The concept was used as a guiding ideal for the transition from apartheid to majority rule. During the height of South Africa’s TRC process, citizens of South Africa confronted a painful past. The panels heard reports of the thousands of human rights abuses that took place during the apartheid era. South Africa’s reconciliation process has become a model across the globe for countries recovering from institutionalized violent conflicts.

The symposium will be attended by human service professionals from all sectors and a spectrum of community members. During workshop sessions, attendees will not only examine the history of the residential school system and the subsequent Truth & Reconciliation process in Canada and in South Africa but also a number of workshops will be dedicated to exploring how grassroots and mainstream organizations engage diverse individuals, families and their communities who have experienced traumatic events, caused by either human or natural factors, whether locally or internationally, i.e. ethnic cleansing wars, tsunamis, chronic poverty, human trafficking, the AIDS epidemic, homophobia, etc..
 On-line registration to the symposium begins on January 13th, 2015 via The CIECYR official website:      

Inaugural Bi-annual CIECYR Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity Awards and Benefit Gala
On Thursday, April 30, 2015, The CIECYR is slated to host the Inaugural Bi-Annual DEIAS Awards & Benefit Gala. The Gala Patrons are The Honourable Alvin Curling and Mr. Trevor Wilson, Author & Global Human Equity Strategist. The gala is a fundraising awards celebration that unfolds among a welcoming company of local, provincial and national attendees and dignitaries. The evening program is hosted by Carla Robinson, former host and journalist with CBC TV. 

Gala attendees will be joined by special guest Reverend Mpho Tutu, Executive Director of the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation. The evening will also include a video presentation by her father, the esteemed Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and numerous other awards.  Other notable speakers and/or presenters include The Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair of Canada’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission; former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, The Honourable James Bartleman; and Chief Donna Big Canoe, Chief of the Chippewas of Georgina. The Honourable Bob Rae and The Honourable James Bartleman are both honourary co-chairs of the Gala.

Other notable speakers and/or presenters include:
·         The Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair of Canada’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission;
·         former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, The Honourable James Bartleman; and
·         Chief Donna Big Canoe, Chief of the Chippewas of Georgina. 

The Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity Awards for Service (& Innovation), better known as DEIAS, is an awards program that recognizes and highlights the work of individuals as well as not-for-profit and corporate entities that are dedicated trailblazers in matters of diversity, equity and inclusion in the context of organizational change and community engagement. 

 ll proceeds raised by the Benefit Gala will go towards building a school library and supporting the educational needs of the children and youth of the Chippewas of Georgina Island.

To purchase tickets to the Benefit Gala either visit our website ( or call (416) 846-8949 or send an email

Vince J. Ciarlo
Ciarlo Communications

510 – 4070 Old Dundas Street West
Toronto, ON M6S 2R6
Tel: 416-763-3783
Cell: 416-458-5090
 Serving the communications industry since 2006

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