Plenary Panel: Civil Society & Civic Participation

Panel Disscussant: John Monahan


John Monahan is the Executive Director of the Mosaic Institute, a Toronto-based foreign policy “think and do” tank that engages young Canadians from diverse ethnocultural communities in the promotion of peace in regions of the world beset by entrenched conflict. Under his leadership, the Mosaic Institute received the prestigious “Award of Excellence” from the Canadian Race Relations Foundation in 2012. Formerly a practising lawyer, civil servant and diplomat, John is currently an elected member of the International Council of the World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy in New York City, where he also sits on the Board of the Project People Foundation.  John joined the Advisory Board of the Canadian Arab Institute in 2013.

Suhail Abulsameed


Suhail Abualsameed, an immigrant to Canada from his native Jordan, is a community worker, public speaker, researcher, designer and human rights advocate human rights advocate. Suhail has been working with refugee and immigrant youth, The LGBT community and Muslim communities. Most recently, Suhail joined the White Ribbon Campaign managing gender based violence prevention projects in Africa, East Asia and the US. With a background in architecture and an extensive travel history, Suhail speaks at universities, high schools, conferences and other public forums around the country and internationally, on issues of identity, human rights, immigration, and youth issues and the social determinants of health.

Jehad Aliweiwi


Jehad Aliweiwi is a strategic thinker with more than 15 years of experience in senior management positions in social, settlement and community service organizations. Since 2004, Jehad has held the position of Executive Director with Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office, a multi service non-profit organization serving the Thorncliffe community for more than 20 years. Prior to that, he was Regional Director, Metro Region of Catholic Cross-Cultural Services. Jehad also worked with the Canadian Arab Federation for eight years, as Race Relations Officer and, later, as Executive Director. He is a Trustee of the Ontario Science Centre and a board member of Fred Victor Services and Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI). In 2010 Jehad was the recipient of the Local Hero Award from the Canadian Urban Institute.

Areej Hasso:

Areej.jpgAreej Hasso obtained a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Western Ontario. Her dissertation explored social policy development and implementation at the local level and municipal reform policy. She currently holds a position of Constituency Assistant with the Office of Toronto City Councillor Adam Vaughan serving Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina. She has worked for over seven years in program and project management, community development, and local policy development. Areej previously worked in the non-profit sector working with the Canadian Arab Federation and then as Manager of Development and Community Engagement at Scadding Court Community Centre, a multi-service agency in the City of Toronto. She currently sits on the Engaging Girls Changing Communities Advisory Board with York University’s Faculty of Education and Jean Augustine Chair: Study of Education in the New Urban Environment. In her current role Areej advises on current local legislation, regulations and municipal by-laws related to a variety of issues such as planning and development, municipal licensing and standards, and core municipal services. Areej believes that the quality of a city and city building is best achieved through multi-stakeholder collaboration and public engagement and that all have a shared responsibility for good decision-making.



Audrey Jamal:

Audrey.jpgAudrey Jamal is an accomplished public sector executive who currently leads a team in the Alumni Affairs Department at the University of Guelph, one of Canada’s leading research universities. Prior to this, Audrey oversaw the work of the Business Association in downtown Guelph as its Executive Director. Audrey also served as the Executive Director of the Canadian Arab Federation from 2002-2006. Away from the office Audrey has sat on the Board of Directors for a number of community organizations including the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) and is currently a Trustee at the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre.

Audrey has an academic background in the social sciences, and her M.A. thesis entitled Arab Canadians: The Other Within was awarded the Governor General’s Gold Medal. Currently, Audrey is a Ph.D. candidate in Urban Development at the University of Waterloo, her research is looking at the barriers to urbanization and inclusion in mid-sized Canadian cities. While raised in Toronto, Audrey has recently relocated to Guelph, Ontario with her husband and their two children.