|2012 Events (in reverse chronological order)
December 2, 2012
Speaker: Mr. Kartik Sameer Madiraju
(Environmental Activist & M.Sc. student at McGill University)
|TOPIC: India & Canada – Shared Environmental History & Challenges
About the Talk:
Kartik’s talk will focus on the shared environmental history and challenges now facing India and Canada. Both nations have a deep rooted respect and connection to the natural
world by way of native traditions and spiritual leaders.
However, that relationship has taken a back seat to the
ambitious industrialization and amassing of wealth in both
states. In seeking to develop the lucrative tar sands and
deregulate industrial practices, Canada risks destroying its
rich ecosystems and undermining First Nations' belief
systems and rights. India, in its pursuit of 'modern' status,
has pushed for massive development projects in coal and
hydroelectricity without considering the sentiments of its
people or the effects on other species. The similarities are
startling. Kartik will draw the historical parallels between Indian and Canadian environmental history, right from their indigenous and spiritual beginnings to the challenges of today. He will then introduce the philosophy of progress and modernization that dominates the political rhetoric in Canada and India, and examine whether industrial expansion and ecological realities can be reconciled in this framework and offer a new paradigm for both nations to seek out a new form of progress -- one that enshrines the rights of marginalized members of society, ecosystems and their resident species, while pursuing sustainable development.
About the speaker:
Kartik Sameer Madiraju is a M.Sc. candidate at McGill University’s Dept. of Bioresource Engineering who has been conducting research in renewable energy systems and fuel cells for six years, during which time he represented Team Canada at the
Intel International Science Fair for four consecutive years and successfully patented a new
method of producing electricity. After a conversation with an environmental activist,
Madiraju was inspired to explore the policymaking side of environmental protection and
traveled to India in 2010 where he worked with Greenpeace India on improving nuclear
power regulations. Later that year he worked on successfully ensuring the
decommissioning of nearly 300 hydroelectric dams which had been approved without
proper environmental impact assessments. He plans to study environmental law starting
next fall and has initiated environmental justice programs at his alma maters and raises
awareness for environmental issues through public speaking and written publications.
October 14, 2012
Speaker: Senator Asha Seth
|TOPIC: How we Matter
Synopsis of the talk: From
as far back as I can remember, I have been intrigued with the idea of
how one can alter the lives of people for the better. A lesson
was learnt very early at home — that we are not judged by how we lived
our lives but the people we managed to change along the way.
I will reflect upon my journey, from an inquisitive child in India who
dared to dream of becoming a physician, to serving thousands of
families for over three decades. And to still believe that the
best gift one can give anyone is the gift of hope. I will also
touch upon what we, as Indians, can bring of value to Canadian
shores. And how Indian culture, scholarship, business acumen and
spirituality, among other things, can enrich Canadian lives.
About the speaker: Dr. Asha Seth is the rare alloy of a fervid physician and passionate
empath whose accolades abound beyond the scope of record keeping in a
customary receptacle. From being a recipient of the Top 25 Canadian
Immigrants Award to being celebrated by her peers at The College of
Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario by The Council of Award for being
society’s vision of an ‘ideal physician,’ Dr. Seth’s remarkable journey
has been frequently documented by print, online and broadcast media
A young and meritorious doctor
from India who trained in Obstetrics and Gynecology at leading
hospitals of the world like Queen Charlotte Hospital and Royal
Berkshire Hospital, Reading in the U.K., embraced Canadian soil to
fulfill her life’s ambition to serve her patients and the populace at
large. And since 1976, not only is Dr. Seth a celebrated staff at St.
Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto but also operating her thriving
private family practice. Over three decades, she has delivered
thousands of babies and offered professional medical service to
hundreds of families.
of a Foundation that strives to disseminate the latest in medical
education and humanitarian activities represent her calling as a
“Physician-Philanthropist.” Dr. Seth’s chairing establishments such as
the Province of Ontario Medal for Police Bravery Advisory Council,
Canadian Police Services, nationally directing activities of
organizations like CNIB (formerly known as the Canadian National
Institute for the Blind) and being a Cabinet Member of the Canadian
Museum of Human Rights and innumerable such institutions render her a
model citizen for future generations to emulate. Gender Equality and
Social Justice remain issues close to Dr. Seth’s heart and her
munificent personal contributions and tireless fundraising is
recurrently celebrated by both beneficiaries and luminaries of our
On January 6, 2012, the
Honourable Asha Seth was appointed to the Canadian Senate (for Ontario)
by the Prime Minister of Canada, and sits as a Conservative.
September 16, 2012
Speaker: Dr. Nipa Banerjee
(Visiting Professor, University of Ottawa)
|TOPIC: Afghanistan - Role of International Community with the Focus on India & Canada
About the Talk:
Nipa Banerji will speak on international community’s role in
Afghanistan with a focus on the approaches taken by Canada and India in
addressing the issues encountered by Afghanistan.
About the speaker:
Banerjee earned Doctorate and Master's degrees, specializing in
development studies, from Toronto, Carleton and McMaster Universities.
served as a practitioner and policy analyst in international
development and foreign aid for over 30 years. She worked with CUSO and
IDRC and 33 years in CIDA. She represented CIDA in Bangladesh,
Indonesia, India, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and in Afghanistan
(2003-2006) heading Canada's aid program in the four latter countries.
Banerjee joined the University of Ottawa in July of 2007, teaching
international development. Her primary objective as a teacher is to
transfer development knowledge, expertise and skills to young Canadians
and prepare them as analytic and critical thinkers and future
practitioners in international development.
strives to promote debates and dialogue on development and aid, aiming
to influence public opinion and public policies. She has to her credit
several published policy briefs and a Chapter on Canada's Role in
Afghanistan in a recently published book. Her research interests
include reconstruction, development and aid effectiveness,
coordination, management and related policies in fragile states, in
general and a special focus on Afghanistan, where she travels
other activities comprise capacity building in partner developing
countries in planning and managing for results and monitoring &
evaluation. She also conducts evaluation of effectiveness of aid in
• Development in Asia - focus on Bangladesh
• Foreign Aid
• Development policies
• Fragile states - focus on Afghanistan
June 24, 2012
Speaker: Mr. Robert Fox
(Executive Director, Oxfam Canada)
|TOPIC: India's Role in Ending Global Poverty
About the speaker:
Fox traveled to India in March 2012 to visit Oxfam India programs in
Bihar and to meet with NGO and civil society leaders in Delhi to
discuss India’s role in ending global poverty. He will share his
findings with us in his talk.
Robert Fox has served as Executive Director of Oxfam Canada since July
2005. In that time, he has led a renewal process that had seen Oxfam
Canada adopt women’s rights and gender equality as the central focus
for its program, policy, campaign and advocacy work.
Robert sits on the Board of Oxfam International and has lead Oxfam
delegations at the G8 and G20 and a number of international summits and
conferences. Robert has worked as the Oxfam Canada Representative for
Central America and Mexico, based in Managua, Nicaragua and as Director
of Communications for the Canadian Union of Public Employees. He
travels extensively around the world and across Canada to advocate for
Mission of Oxfam Canada:
Oxfam Canada builds lasting solutions to global poverty and injustice.
We work with allies in Canada and around the world to change the
policies and practices that perpetuate human suffering. We support
organizations in poor communities overseas in their struggle to secure
basic rights. Oxfam's advocacy and campaigns for just policies are
rooted in the knowledge and experience gained in that struggle.
Dr. Sundar Arora
|Topic: The Art of Effortless Meditation
About the speaker: Sunder S. Arora, MD, FRCP(P), is an adult and child psychiatrist,
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Ottawa, an
Interfaith Minister, yoga teacher from Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
and a family man.
He has had considerable experience in working with multicultural couples and families over the last 30 years.
his private practice in holistic psychiatry, which he runs with his
wife Rupinder – also a Doctor, psychotherapist and interfaith minister,
Dr. Arora creatively combines the Satir Model with other
He has published a CD set, Be Free Now, a synthesis of his clinical insights and spiritual journey and has a recent book Ushering in Heaven, a Psychiatrist's Prescription for Healing, Joy, and Spiritual Awakening.
In the best of traditions, Dr. Arora teaches by sharing spiritual
lessons that he has learned, as well as by describing his personal
experiences. Dr. Arora points the way for the spiritual aspirant to
find more joy in everyday life.
Here is an example: Wisdom is not mere intellectual understanding: instead it needs to be assimilated at a cellular and vibrational level.
Dr. Arora an dhis wife have an excellent website: www.meditationforlife.com
you visit the site, you will discover a wealth of information on
spiritual growth, how they share their spiritual journey through
clinical work, workshops, church services, CD's, books and – this is
key - through walking the talk.