The Max Bell School Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee

The Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Committee is tasked with making recommendations to the School, and it represents the first concrete step to meeting the commitments in the School’s July 7, 2020 Statement on systemic racism and public policy.

The EDI Committee was created in the context of broad structural and systemic challenges related to racism and discrimination in our learning environments. It works for and with people who face systemic barriers, including people with disabilities and LGBTQI2S+ people, and to address all forms of racism, including against Black people, Indigenous peoples, and people of colour. The School is committed to developing innovative policy solutions and ideas that address these challenges, tracking progress on the five broad axes identified by the University: student experience, research and knowledge, outreach, workforce and physical space. These axes are based on the University’s EDI Strategic Plan 2020-2025 and the University’s Action Plan to Address Anti-Black Racism, released on September 30, 2020.

Meet the EDI Committee

The EDI Committee is chaired by Pearl Eliadis, a member of the School’s teaching faculty and an adjunct professor at McGill’s Faculty of Law.

Head shot of Pearl Eliadis

Pearl Eliadis

Chair, EDI Committee

Professor, Faculty of Law, McGill University

Faculty, Max Bell School

Pearl is a senior lawyer specializing in human rights with more than 25 years of practice and public policy experience.

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Pearl Eliadis is an award-winning human rights lawyer, an educator, and an author. She has successfully led complex, global projects for the UN, the European Commission, governments and NGOs, as well as in-country missions in China, Ethiopia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan and Timor Leste. In Canada, her clients include human rights institutions and governments. She serves as President of the Quebec Bar Association’s specialized working group on human rights.  

Pearl also has more than a decade of public policy experience in government, including as Director of Policy at the Ontario Human Rights Commission and Senior Director at the Policy Research Initiative (Privy Council Office) in Ottawa. From 2000-2003, she served on several UN missions to establish the National Human Rights Commission and the Unity and Reconciliation Commission in that country.    

She has taught at the Faculty of Law at McGill University since 2012, where she serves as adjunct professor. Pearl also is a Full Member of the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism. 

Pearl has written extensively on human rights, public policy and evaluation in the social justice context. Her 2014 monograph, Speaking Out on Human Rights (MQUP) won the Huguenot Society of Canada Award. The book examines the role of human rights commissions and tribunals and their contributions to democratic governance and the rule of law. She has also published several book chapters and articles on public policy evaluation, international human rights, democracy and dissent, and women’s rights. 

Pearl is deeply engaged with civil society organizations in Canada and internationally, and has served in leadership roles with many human rights NGOs. She is a recipient of several awards for this work, including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Canada 125 Commemorative Medal. She was named a Human Rights Change Maker in 2017 by Equitas.   


Head shot of Omar Akeileh

Omar Akeileh

Policy Consultant, Cannabis Council of Canada (Max Bell School MPP ‘20)

Growing up as an immigrant and witnessing both intended and unintended consequences of policies on folks near and wide, Omar sought to synthesize his sociological and political science backgrounds to cultivate an avenue of change, via a Master of Public Policy, that can enable a tangible positive impact.

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Through his various experiences, Omar believes in adopting an inclusive outlook, and advocating for the enactment of just, collaborative, and effective policies that produce solutions for the majority, and emphasize meaningful representation beyond mere tokenism and window-dressing.It is in this regard that Omar strives to be a passionate advocate for equity, representation, and justice, on the Max Bell EDI Committee, while championing for those who have been traditionally excluded from the decision-making table.


Head shot of Rudayna Bahubeshi

Rudayna Bahubeshi

MPP Candidate, Max Bell School

Rudayna Bahubeshi has spent the last several years working at non-profits and philanthropic foundations working towards a more equitable future. Most recently, she worked on designing and managing programs at the Canadian Women’s Foundation and leading stakeholder engagement and communications at Inspirit Foundation.

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Rudayna has a wide breadth of volunteer and organizing experience from managing a recent municipal election campaign and designing programming to activate young women’s civic leadership to advising projects focused on health equity and supporting artistic productions.

Rudayna is passionate about racial and economic justice and she is keen to bring both her professional and lived experience to Max Bell’s EDI Committee. In addition to fostering an inclusive and accessible space for all students, she looks forward to contributing to the school’s efforts to be a preeminent policymaking institution that is unwaveringly anti-racist, anti-oppressive, and committed to communities commonly excluded from policymaking processes and prosperity. Rudayna resides in Tkaronto.


Head shot of Clarissa Passos

Clarissa Passos

Administrative Coordinator, Max Bell School

Clarissa Passos is the administrative coordinator at the Max Bell School of Public Policy. She received her BA in Social Communication from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and studied French as a second language, as well as Immigration and Interethnic Relations at UQAM. She has also completed a post-grad in Audiovisual Translation.

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As a communications specialist, Clarissa worked for international advertising agencies for more than 15 years, before immigrating to Canada in 2012. In Montreal, Clarissa has also worked as Translator and Training Specialist for Deluxe Media, one of the largest global subtitling companies. 

As a Latin American woman and single parent, Clarissa would not feel accomplished without being able to have a positive impact on other peoples’ lives, including immigrant women like her, and ideally refugees.

Prior to joining the Max Bell School of Public Policy, Clarissa worked as Administrative Coordinator at McGill University, Faculty of Medicine, where she organized a major conference on Refugee Health, “It Takes a Village”. The experience was a game changer, putting Clarissa in contact with the UNHCR, CDAR, Médecins du Monde Canada, among others.

Today, Clarissa is happier than ever: she loves working at Max Bell School, where she has the opportunity to be part of discussions on equity and policy making. She also acts as a volunteer for the Welcome Collective, supporting vulnerable refugee claimants, specially single parents, pregnant women, mothers with newborns and large families with young children.

Head shot of Nayantara Sudhakar

Nayantara Sudhakar

MPP Candidate, Max Bell School

Vice President Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Max Bell School Post Graduate Students' Association

Nayantara Sudhakar’s interest in participating on the EDI Committee arises from her lived experience as a woman of color growing up in different regions of the world. Living in India, U.A.E, United States, and Canada demonstrated to her that countries have not fully realized the sustainable development goal of reduced inequalities. More now than ever, she believes that all individuals need to do their part and contribute to an environment conducive to people reaching their full potential. She feels blessed to hold a seat at an elite university such as McGill and now feels propelled to represent others with similar social identities and champion for their interests by being a part of the EDI Committee.

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For the past two years Nayantara has been involved in initiatives directed at achieving substantive equality. Her roles in these organizations consisted of supporting individuals with substance abuse and addictions, developmental disabilities, and mental health illnesses. She was tasked with communicating with individuals to understand their personal goals and consequently educating them about available community resources to help their integration into society. In doing so, Nayantara has come to understand the importance of trauma-informed practice, inclusive-feminism, and anti-oppression frameworks.

In her first week at Max Bell, Nayantara read that policy outcomes are shaped both by the structures within which individuals operate and the ideas they hold. Learning this, she believes that her personal experiences as well as professional experience supporting marginalized individuals have instilled in her an awareness of obstacles faced by underrepresented groups.It is Nayantara’s hope that by combining her knowledge with the structure of the EDI Committee she will be able to contribute to the positive outcomes of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Nayantara recognizes that there is still much for her to learn about the struggles of others, their experiences with stigmatization, and the tools used to combat discrimination. She is confident that the EDI Committee will help her in expanding her knowledge of equity, diversity, and inclusion and consequently assist her in becoming a better student, employee, and citizen.


Head shot of Lina Vissandjee

Lina Vissandjee

Multilateral Affairs Officer, Québec Government Office in Paris (Max Bell School MPP ‘20)

Lina Vissandjeeholds a Bachelor of Arts in International Development Studies and International Relations and a Master of Public Policy from McGill University. Passionate about gender equality and women’s empowerment, Lina has worked in Canada, France, Madagascar, and Mexico, supporting innovative public policy and social initiatives.

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Lina is a diplomat and currently represents the Government of Québec in multilateral organizations based in Paris and Geneva, with a focus on democratic consolidation, girls’ and women’s empowerment and 2SLGBTQI+ rights. Through her role as member of the Max Bell School of Public Policy EDI Committee, Lina hopes to contribute to shaping her alma mater’s leadership in anti-racism and commitment to meaningful progress towards the inclusion of marginalized groups.

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Jennifer Welsh

Canada 150 Research Chair in Global Governance and Security and Director, Centre for International Peace and Security Studies, McGill University

Jennifer Welsh is the Canada 150 Research Chair in Global Governance and Security at McGill University, cross-appointed to the Department of Political Science and the Max Bell School of Public Policy. She is also the director of McGill's Centre for International Peace and Security Studies.

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Jennifer has lived abroad for two decades, as a graduate student and professor at the University of Oxford and as professor at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. She has published widely on issues related to the ethics and politics of armed conflict, civilian protection, the role of the UN Security Council, and Canadian foreign policy.

From 2013-2016, she served as Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General on the principle of the 'responsibility to protect'. She has also served on a variety of Boards over the past three decades, including Anduhyaun Women's Shelter in Toronto, the United Way of Greater Toronto, the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation, and more recently, the Trudeau Foundation, the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation, and the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. She is of Metis heritage and was born and raised in Saskatchewan.


Please contact clarissa.passos [at] (Clarissa Passos )for further information.


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