Acknowledgment: Original ICFC logo conceived by Ms. Sarina Anand. Redesigned and animated by Mr. Santosh Shail.
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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

Dr. Asha Seth, SenatorSynopsis 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 alike.

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.

The establishment 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 society.

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:

Dr. 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:

Nipa Banerjee earned Doctorate and Master's degrees, specializing in development studies, from Toronto, Carleton and McMaster Universities.

She 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.

Dr. 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.

She 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 frequently.

Her 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 partner countries.

Research Interests:
• 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

Mr. Robert Fox, Executive Director, Oxfam CanadaAbout the speaker:

Robert 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 gender justice.

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.

Sunday, May 6, 2012
Speaker: Dr. Sundar Arora
Topic: The Art of Effortless Meditation

Dr. Asha Seth, SenatorAbout 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.

In 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 modalities. 

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:

When 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.