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Marilou McPhedran

Marsha Hanen Award for Excellence in Creating Community Awareness


Marilou McPhedranC.M, B.A., LL.B., LL.M.,LL.D. (honoris causa)

Marilou McPhedran is a human rights lawyer and professor who serves as the founding Director of the Institute for International Women’s Rights at The University of Winnipeg Global College and on the boards of the community-based “sister” organization, Institute for International Women’s Rights – Manitoba, and of the Legal Help Centre, both of which she co-founded. Marilou led Global College in the launching of one of the world’s few undergraduate human rights majors and she continues to design and teach innovative, collaborative courses that integrate concepts of human security and human rights. She has worked with a wide range of stakeholders, including agencies in the United Nations, the University for Peace in Costa Rica, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre, Rotary World Peace Partners, Women for Women South Sudan, and numerous other organizations.

A pioneer in research and advocacy to counter human rights violations through systemic reform — in law, medicine, education, and government — she describes her work as “evidence-based advocacy” for achieving “lived rights”. Last month, as the chair of the Minister’s Task Force on Sexual Abuse of Patients in Ontario, she delivered bold recommendations set in an “ecological human rights framework”.

Her honours include the Order of Canada, in recognition of her efforts towards stronger gender equality protections in the Canadian constitution, and an Honorary Doctorate from her alma mater, The University of Winnipeg. Named one of Canada’s ten most influential women’s rights advocates in Homemakers Magazine and Woman of the Year by B’nai Brith Women, she is also a recipient of Queen’s Jubilee and Diamond Jubilee Medals. In the past year she has been featured among “Women Who Inspire” by the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, awarded the “Dianne Martin Medal for Social Justice Through Law” by Osgoode Hall Law School, and named an “Access to Justice Champion” in the Law Times.

The University of Winnipeg is honoured to present Marilou McPhedran with the Marsha Hanen Award for Excellence in Creating Community Awareness for her exceptional and longstanding contributions to building caring and just societies.

Photo © Austin Grabish