Forum: 2017 Massey Lecturer

The “us versus them” rhetoric increasingly employed by politicians is endangering human rights around the world. What are some of the major human rights struggles of our times, and what we can do about them?

Payam Akhavan – renowned human rights scholar, former UN prosecutor at The Hague, and 2017 CBC Massey Lecturer – has experienced the grim realities of genocide throughout his life. He joins the Salt Spring Forum for a powerful conversation about international human rights.

A Professor of International Law at McGill University and a Member of the International Court of Arbitration, Akhavan previously taught at the universities of Yale, Toronto, Oxford, and Paris.

He served with the UN in conflict zones around the world, including Bosnia, Cambodia, Guatemala, Rwanda, and Timor Leste, and as legal counsel in cases before the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, the European Court of Human Rights, the Supreme Court of Canada, and the Supreme Court of the United States.

Akhavan also served as Chair of the Global Conference on Prevention of Genocide and founded the Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre. His contributions to international human rights have been featured in the New York Times, Maclean’s, the Toronto Star, the Montreal Gazette, and on BBC HardTalk.

The companion book to Akhavan’s 2017 Massey Lectures, In Search of a Better World: A Human Rights Odyssey (House of Anansi Press) became the top selling non-fiction book in Canada. Copies will be on sale at the event.

Tickets are available at ArtSpring – 250-537-2102 and online – and at Salt Spring Books. Tickets also at the door if quantities last. $20 - General; $15 - 2018 Forum Members. Students and low-income residents email

November 2, 2018 12:53 PM