Politician, lawyer, mediator and writer Bob Rae will deliver the Vigod Memorial Lecture in Human Rights. The lecture will take place on Wednesday, September 26 at 7pm in the Kinsella Auditorium at St. Thomas University. 

Mr. Rae will speak about his role as Special Envoy to Myanmar in the context of the Rohingya crisis.

"We need to stay focused on the Rohingya crisis, and not fall prey to “crisis fatigue”," Mr. Rae wrote. "The agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh to allow for the repatriation of refugees does not “solve” the issue. The return of any refugee to the place of conflict can only happen, as UN Secretary General puts it, if it is “dignified, voluntary, and secure”, and that won’t happen without UN engagement, clear assurances from both governments, and the active participation of the Rohingya population. Dignity means giving agency to a people too long ignored at best and brutalized at worst. Nor can we lose sight of the need for real dialogue and reconciliation inside Myanmar, a continued attention to the humanitarian crisis in the camps, and more organized efforts to collect information on the key issue of accountability."

Bob Rae was elected eleven times to the House of Commons and the Ontario legislature between 1978 and 2013.  He was Ontario’s 21st Premier from 1990 to 1995, and served as interim leader of the Liberal Party of Canada from 2011 to 2013.

He is working now as a lawyer, negotiator, mediator, and arbitrator, with a particular focus on first nations, aboriginal, and governance issues.  He also teaches at the University of Toronto School of Governance and Public Policy, and is a widely respected writer and commentator.

An author of five books and many studies and reports, Bob Rae is a Privy Councillor, a Companion of the Order of Canada, a member of the Order of Ontario, and has numerous awards and honorary degrees from institutions in Canada and around the world.

About Dr. Bernie Vigod
Dr. Bernie Vigod was a lifelong advocate of human rights. An outstanding teacher and scholar, he was a professor of History at the University of New Brunswick as well as Associate Dean of University’s School of Graduate Studies at the time of his death in 1988. Dr. Vigod served the cause of human rights with distinction. He spoke and published extensively on human rights issues. Dr. Vigod also acted as an advisor to public officials on human rights issues and took a leading role in organizations dedicated to promoting human rights. This lecture series is dedicated to his memory and features distinguished speakers on a wide range of human rights issues.