2015 Peace Patron Award
On May 12, 2015, the Mosaic Institute hosted its first-ever Peace Patron Dinner. The event, held at the Toronto Region Board of Trade, was held in honour of The Honourable Louise Arbour, who was named the Mosaic Institute’s 2015 Peace Patron. The Peace Patron Dinner was a sold out event that attracted more than 300 people and raised almost $200,000 to support the work of the Mosaic Institute.
In selecting Madam Arbour as this year’s Peace Patron Award recipient, the Mosaic Institute chose to honour one of Canada’s most accomplished and respected “global citizens”. Whether working as a jurist, an academic, a senior UN official, or a human rights defender, the through-line of Madam Arbour’s career has been her quintessentially Canadian commitment to promoting equality, resolving conflict, strengthening democracy, and upholding the rule of law, both in Canada and across the globe. Her unrelenting willingness to do the right thing in the interest of peace – despite obstacles, critics, or fatigue – is an inspiration to all Canadians, and, in particular, to the generation of young Canadians involved in the work of the Mosaic Institute who will soon follow in her footsteps.
Madam Arbour brought remarks at the Dinner. In them, she highlighted the pivotal role of civil society in promoting peace and justice around the world. She discussed the importance of creating societies based on respect for the rule of law that both uphold civil liberties and balance security concerns with an unwavering commitment to generating social and human development. Madam Arbour praised the work of the Mosaic Institute in creating opportunities for members of diaspora communities in Canada to build trust and work together with their fellow Canadians with connections to different sides of overseas conflicts, pointing out that understanding our perceived adversary’s point of view is fundamental for the construction of peace.
The 2015 Peace Patron Dinner was also an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the young Canadians who participate in the Mosaic Institute’s programs. Two of them spoke at the Dinner. Hodo Hussein, a former participant in Mosaic’s Next Generation program in high schools and now a student at York University, described her experience as a high school student striving to become a “global citizen” and shared a moving spoken word poem with the audience called “O Canada”. Tejas Parasher, the former UofMosaic chapter president at the University of Toronto and now a PhD student at the University of Chicago, shared how the UofMosaic program had provided him with a tangible way to become involved in peacebuilding and the promotion of pluralism.
In addition to Tejas and Hodo, a team of 15 Mosaic volunteers, all of whom are either current or past participants in the Institute’s programs, worked very hard to make the evening a success. The Honorary Co-Chairs of the Peace Patron Dinner were York University President Mamdouh Shoukri and Ryerson University President Sheldon Levy. Both spoke about the importance of diversity on their respective campuses and praised the work done by the Mosaic Institute through the UofMosaic program. Among the highlights of the evening were the remarks given by His Workship Mayor John Tory, Mayor of Toronto, whose appearance was kept secret until the last minute by event organizers. Mr. Tory thanked the Mosaic Institute for its work, and praised Mosaic's co-founder Vahan Kololian for being one of Toronto's most engaged citizens. Mr. Tory noted that "with greate diversity comes great responsibility: the responsibility to understand each other, the responsibility to avoid the reasons why people could not live together elsewhere, the responsibility to make sure no one is left on the outside looking in."
The evening was made possible by the generous support of RBC and the BMO Financial Group, the event's co-presenting Patrons, and by St. Joseph's communications, the Dinner's Media Sponsor. The Mosaic Institute also thanks the event's Ambassador and Benefactor-level supporters, the Dinner Committee led by Elizabeth Levitt, the many volunteers who made the Peace Patron Dinner possible, and, above all, all the friends and supporters who attended and who made the event such a smashing success.
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