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An Online Forum in Honour of David Petrasek

About this Event

Join us as we explore global human rights topics with three former United Nations High Commissioners for Human Rights: Mary Robinson, Louise Arbour and Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, who will discuss human rights in the context of COVID-19 together with independent experts and representatives of civil society. A special video message from current UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, will set the stage for this discussion.

David Petrasek passed away on May 12, 2020 from cancer. This Forum is the first of a number of activities envisioned over the coming years as part of an initiative to carry his tremendous legacy forward, all with a focus on empowerment, education, connections, debate and change. Those activities will be supported by the David Petrasek Legacy Fund, which is being launched in conjunction with this Forum.

About David Petrasek

David believed passionately in a world of universal human rights protection. And towards that essential, fundamental vision and goal, he was deeply committed to creating innovative opportunities for learning, opening up space for thoughtful debate, building partnerships and connections, crafting concrete strategies and advancing practical solutions.

Throughout his remarkable career – as an educator, lawyer, academic, activist, researcher and policy analyst – he worked for rights and justice at the front lines of armed conflict, close to home, in the corridors of power, in classrooms and lecture halls around the world, and through his eloquent writing.

Over the course of an impressive career spanning four decades, based in Ottawa, Geneva and London, David Petrasek worked for Amnesty International, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, the International Council for Human Rights Policy and Open Global Human Rights and was an instructor in the part-time LLM program at the University of Oxford. He had been an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa since 2010.

Never chasing the spotlight, David inspired, encouraged and challenged thousands of students, civil society colleagues, and UN and government officials to question, re-imagine and make change happen.

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