Announcing the Aisenstadt Equality and Community Initiative


The McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism (CHRLP) is pleased to announce that through a gift from the Aisenstadt Foundation, an exciting new project, named the Aisenstadt Equality and Community Initiative, has been established. This initiative aims to enhance engagement and collaboration between universities and community-based organizations on issues relating to equality and access to fundamental social and economic rights.

The Aisenstadt Equality and Community Initiative will seek to better understand the realities that underlie inequality, social and economic exclusion, and what obstacles prevent effective access to justice within local communities. The initiative will also seek to empower community-based organizations to contest systemic and recurrent violations of equality rights. Finally, the initiative will promote transformative human rights education, which engages students, professors and community-based organizations.

By bringing together an interdisciplinary network of university researchers and students, as well as community-based advocates, the Aisenstadt Equality and Community Initiative will provide a forum for exchange across diverse fields of expertise and different disciplinary backgrounds, including law, social work, education and community development.

The Aisenstadt Initiative will also have a significant impact upon student training, providing practical experience for students working with community-based organizations.  Students will also be involved with faculty researchers in exploring the interplay between theory and practice.

Professor Colleen Sheppard, Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, spearheaded the initiative.  Anna Shea, a graduating McGill law student  coordinated the initiative this past summer, with the assistance of McGill Law student Emily Elder, and Myriam Dumont Robillard, a graduate student from the University of Montreal. Myriam Dumont Robillard, who was also an Aisenstadt Fellow at the CHRLP this year, strongly believes that this project has the strong potential to make a difference in collective well-being. "By actively engaging with the principal sources of systemic discrimination, this project will effectively support community organisations in improving how they contest and eradicate human right violations."

Participants will do research on access to justice, equality rights and economic and social rights; collaborate in developing educational materials to identify and remedy rights violations for use in community-based organizations; organize community-university workshops; and prepare working papers (including legal and policy-based analysis) highlighting recurrent rights violations in local communities.

The Aisenstadt Equality and Community Initiative will be coordinated by the McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, with involvement from its university and community-based partners.

For more information, see the Initiative's executive summary [.doc], or email us at [at]