January 2013


January 2013
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A letter from the president
2012 - A Critical Founding Year for CAI
Dear *|FNAME|*,
 Welcome to the first CAI Bulletin!  It's meant to get you up to speed on the latest developments and plans at the institute.  The bulletin is another building block in the founding phase of the CAI which started in late 2011.
On the top of our minds shortly after CAI's incorporation in September 2011, was how to go about creating a policy think tank with a lasting institutional base.  So we formed a steering committee of committed community leaders, academics and professionals and tasked it with creating a high-level, five-year strategic plan.  The committee was also asked to provide guidance and support as the institute went about developing its infrastructure and building a network of supporters and collaborators.

 Throughout the year outreach meetings were organized with Arab-interest organizations, academics and influential individuals in a number of cities.  A partnership was formed with the University of Ottawa-based Arab Canadian Studies Research Group and a number of conferences were attended.  In October, the CAI held its inaugural conference, The Social Cost of National Security: Assessing the Impact of Counter-Terror Initiatives on Canadian Society, in partnership with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the International Human Rights Program at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.   (Late in 2011 CAI had participated with three panelists in the quadrennial National Leadership Conference of the American Arab Institute and the National Network for Arab American Communities.)
 On the logistical side, CAI established a website and opened a bank and PayPal accounts.  The institute filed an application for charitable status developed a business model and a business plan.  Late in the summer the steering committee appointed a highly-qualified transitional board of directors to take the reins and hold accountability for the continuing journey of the institute.  In addition, committee members pledged over $10,000 to cover start-up expenses, such as legal counsel, website development, identity design, stationery, and the like.  To this founding steering committee we owe a lot of gratitude!

 Just as 2012 was critical for the institutional founding of CAI, 2013 promises to be decisive in shaping and materializing the organization.  To help support this initiative please make a donation here (no amount is too small!) or contact us to volunteer.
Wishing you a healthy and succefull 2013!
Raja G. Khouri
Social Cost of National Security Conference Big Success!
A collaboration with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the one-day conference took place in Toronto on Friday October 19, 2012.  It featured a keynote address by Mr. Ben Emmerson, Q.C., the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.

The conference was hosted by the International Human Rights Program at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and attracted over 120 academics, lawyers, community and civil society leaders, students and activists.   The conference examined the impact of the focus on national security since 9/11 on security, immigration, privacy, society, human rights, accountability and the media.  For more information go here.
What to Expect in 2013
CAI has much planned for 2013! In the works is a key policy forum, a lecture series, and an offical launch gala of the institute. But most of the work will be behind the scenes, on institutional and capacity building: fundraising, resourcing intellecual capital, developing organizational bylaws, identifying research and operational standards, building partnerships, and creating strategies for engagement, communications and public relations. Stay tuned!
A Canadian society that is just, inclusive and respectful of all

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A Symposium on the Economic and Business Implications of the Arab Spring
On January 15, 2013, together with the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, the CAI held a symposium that examined the impact of two years of uprisings on economic and business prospects in the Arab World.

The symposium featured H.E. Wael Ahmed Kamal Aboul-Magd, Egyptian Ambassador to Canada who stressed the long term opportunities that transparent governance and a reduction in corruption will produce. Prof. Bessma Momani, of the University of Waterloo and the Centre for International Governance Innovation (also a CAI board and founding member) gave a keynote presentation on the "demographic dividend" and high levels of education many Arab countries enjoy that have the potential to propel economic growth for years to come.

A panel of business leaders with interests in the Arab World concluded the symposium with success stories and real-life experiences of Canadian business in the region. Close to 100 academics, business people and students attended the symposium.
An Event of Interest
On February 8th the University of Toronto International Human Rights Program at the Faculty of Law and the Munk School for Global Affairs will be hosting a public conference and workshop on Sexual Violence in the Recent Conflicts in Libya and Syria. It will be held at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law’s Bennett Lecture Hall (78 Queen’s Park Crescent, Basement).  

The event will feature human rights defenders, leading academics, international lawyers and policy makers from around the world.  If you would like to attend this fascinating event, please register online here.  For further information about conference go to the event website

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