March 22, 2021

Professor appointed co-chair of Human Rights Centre

Professor Kathleen Mahoney has been appointed co-chair of Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights

RWCHR announces Canadian Co-Chairs

(Originally released March 17, 2021)

We are delighted to announce that RWCHR Senior Fellows Professor Kathleen Mahoney and Professor Payam Akhavan -- distinguished legal scholars and practitioners -- will become the RWCHR Canadian Co-Chairs. We very much look forward to working with Kathleen and Payam in common cause, and to being the beneficiaries of their repository of experience and expertise, as will the Canadian and international community.

Professor Mahoney is a Queen’s Counsel, and has been a Professor of Law at the University of Calgary for over 35 years. She is a founder of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, the former Chief Negotiator for the Assembly of First Nations for the Residential School Settlement Agreement, and a principal architect of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Professor Mahoney has held many prominent international fellowships and lectureships, and has organized and participated in collaborative human rights and judicial education projects around the world. She was selected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a Trudeau Fellow, a Fullbright Fellow, a Sir Alan Sewell Fellow, and a Harvard Human Rights Fellow. Professor Mahoney is also a recipient of the Governor General’s Medal, the Alberta Centennial Medal, and the Bertha Wilson Touchstone Award.

Professor Akhavan SJD (Harvard) is a Senior Fellow of Massey College and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law with prior academic appointments at McGill University's Faculty of Law, Université Paris Nanterre, European University Institute, Yale Law School and Oxford University. He is a Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, and previously served as the first Legal Advisor to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, having also served with the UN in Bosnia, Rwanda, Cambodia, Guatemala, and East Timor. Professor Akhavan has also appeared as counsel in landmark cases before the International Criminal Court, including the Joseph Kony and Saif Gaddafi cases, and the International Court of Justice, including the Rohingya genocide case against Myanmar, as well as the European Court of Human Rights and the Supreme Courts of Canada and the United States. He is also a founder of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre, and advised Iraq's High Committee for the Recognition of Genocide against Yazidi Kurds, and the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. Among his many distinctions, he delivered the 2017 CBC Massey Lectures and is a recipient of the 2021 Law Society of Ontario’s prestigious Human Rights Award.

Please join us in welcoming Kathleen and Payam!

Best wishes,

Irwin Cotler (RWCHR Chair) and Judith Abitan (RWCHR Executive Director)

Learn more about the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights