Newsletter March 2004: Focus on India-Canada Relations
SOUTH ASIA PARTNERSHIP CANADA NEWSLETTER
“With more than 80,000 Canadians of Pakistani origin and several Pakistani-Canadian associations, there is a need to do more in fostering networks and sharing of knowledge and expertise on Canadian foreign and development policies regarding Pakistan. SAP Canada has been playing a major role in this regard.” Khalid Usman, Councillor Ward 7, Town of Markham
SAP Canada serves as a coalition of Canadian organizations that together and with South Asian partners, works for sustainable human development in the region.
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Support SAP Canada: SAP Canada invites you to become a member and join thousands of community organizations and individuals in six countries working to make a difference in South Asians’ daily lives. Individual memberships are $50. For more information about becoming a member, visit our web site or call our membership coordinator at 613-241-1333 ext. 230. Become a Canadian voice for South Asia!
March 11-22, 2004: Canadian Tour – Women Reviving Democracy in India. Canadians in Windsor (March 11), Edmonton (March 13), Calgary (March 15), Lethbridge (March 17-18), Regina (Mach 19) and Winnipeg (March 22) will hear from South Asia Partnership Canada how Indian women have overcome barriers of sexism and become decision-makers for their communities. The six-city tour is an initiative by South Asia Partnership Canada, its hosting partners in each city and the Canadian International Development Agency to promote links between Canadian and South Asian civic groups on the role of women in local government in Canada and India.
March 22, 12-2 pm: Seminar with Binalakshmi Nepram on Gun Wars and Drug Deaths in South Asia: A Narrative of Armed Ethnic Conflict, Narco-Trafficking and the Spread of Small Arms in North-East India in Ottawa, Canada. Ms. Nepram, a small arms expert, will talk about how the spread of small arms in the North East regions of India have exacerbated ethnic conflict and narcotics trafficking. Ms Nepram will discuss the responses of governments in South Asia to the UN Biennial Conference on Small Arms and Light Weapons and will highlight emerging civil society initiatives on small arms in the region. Ms Nepram is also a member of the South Asia Small Arms Network, and the International Action Network for Small Arms and has recently taken up an appointment with Saferworld to research on small arms in the Indian context. This seminar is co-sponsored with the Small Arms Working Group of the Canadian Peacebuilding Coordinating Committee. RSVP to Isabelle Valois 613-241-1333 ext. 227 or by email.
2004: Canadian Roundtables on Women, Peace and Security in Sri Lanka. SAP Canada in collaboration with DFAIT, the Forum of Federations and the Canadian Committee on Women, Peace and Security and the International Centre for Criminal Justine in Vancouver, is organizing a series of roundtable across Canada inviting women participants from Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities to express their perspectives and opinions about women’s role in the Sri Lanka peace process. The goal is to create an opportunity for women living in Canada to participate in consultations regarding the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in Sri Lanka. For more information please contact Isabelle Valois by email or telephone 613-241-1333 ext. 227.
Fall 2004: Canada Fit for Children Conference – A South Asian Plan of Action: SAP Canada and its partners will host a participatory conference to outline a South Asian strategy as part of Canada’s National Plan of Action. The keynote speaker is the Honourable Senator Landon Pearson. The Canadian Society for International Health and Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada will lead the workshop on “Promoting healthy lives, including combating HIV/AIDS” theme. The Canadian Teachers’ Federation will lead discussion on “Promoting education and learning” and the Children and Armed Conflict Working Group of the Canadian Peacebuilding Coordinating Committee and UNICEF Canada will lead discussion on “Protecting from harm.” Each workshop will include a country case study, followed by a discussion. The conference will be held at 250 Albert Street, Ottawa. For more information contact the Conference Organizer.
June 16-18, 2004: Women, Security and South Asia: Developing Strategies for Regions of Conflict – South Asian Regional Workshop in Colombo, Sri Lanka. SAP Canada in collaboration with DFAIT, International Alert, SAP International and the Canadian Committee on Women, Peace and Security are providing this opportunity for selected South Asian activists, advocates, academics, journalists and conflict survivors to assemble to discuss issues of concern, to share experiences, and draft a common “Plan of Action” for peace and security in the region. For more information please contact Isabelle Valois by email or telephone 613-241-1333 ext. 227.
July 12-14, 2004: Regional Conference on Women and Local Governance in Dhaka, Bangladesh. As part of its regional “People and Policy Program”, supported by SAP Canada and CIDA, SAP International will convene this regional forum to showcase the recent work of the South Asia Partnership network and other organizations toward advancing women’s participation and leadership in local government. It will provide a platform for civil society groups across South Asia to share learning and to plan cooperation.
Human Rights Training: The Canadian Human Rights Foundation (CHRF) helps organizations build their capacity to engage in human rights education, promotion and democratic development in Canada and around the world. This year’s human rights training program will take place June 13 to July 2. The goal of the program is to strengthen the capacity of human rights organizations to undertake human rights education aimed at building a global culture of human rights. The Application Form can be downloaded from the CHRF web site by clicking on “program”. The deadline for applications is March 20, 2004. Contact Fr�d�ric Hareau (firstname.lastname@example.org), the IHRTP Program Officer for further information.
An Evening with David Suzuki, hosted by Heather Reisman. On June 29, 2004, World Literacy of Canada is hosting a reading by one of Canada’s most well known environmental activists and authors. All proceeds support World Literacy of Canada’s education and community development programs for families in Canada and South Asia. Call 416-977-0008 for more information.
RECENT EVENTS & REPORTS
Women Decision-Making in Canada and India: International Women’s Day Celebration on March 5, 2004 at City Hall in Ottawa, Canada. SAP Canada celebrated International Women’s Day with the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre, Somali Women’s Support and Information Line, the City of Ottawa’s City for All Women Initiative and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. City Councillor Diane Holmes opened the event. A report will be made available soon.
Roaring India: A Dialogue on India-Canada Relations on March 1, 2004 in Ottawa, Canada. SAP Canada, with the financial support of DFAIT’s John Holmes Fund, brought together 25 prominent Canadians from civil society, academia, business, the Indo-Canadian community, culture and government sectors. Participants addressed ways to strengthen Canada-India relations, particularly in terms of civil society cooperation and knowledge of India in Canada. The Partners for the 21st Century Joint Statement by India and Canada was followed by Canada’s naming India as one of four most important countries for Canadian foreign policy. Participants noted that there is an emerging common agenda on India for different sectors of Canadian society. A report will be made available soon.
India and Canada Development Cooperation: A Civil Society Discussion on January 15, 2004. In October 2003, Canada decided to close its bilateral aid desk at the Canadian International Development Agency in response to India’s June decision to end its aid relationship with Canada and about 14 other countries. SAP Canada has kept a close watch on this issue and has been consulting with concerned Canadian civil society organizations and Indian groups to explore future directions for the Canada-India relationship. At the January meeting, organizations present agreed the bilateral aid closure was a missed opportunity and that the human development challenge in India required active Canadian participation.
SAP Nepal Presentation: Peacebuilding Process and Civil Society in Nepal. On February 23, 2004, Dr. Rohit Kumar Nepali of SAP Nepal and Faruq Faisel of SAP Canada presented on the role of ICTs in peacebuilding. Dr. Rohit Nepali’s presentation is now on-line. The event was organized in cooperation with Bellanet and the International Development Research Centre.
Afghanistan Seminar: Is There Any Sign of Change? with Hon. Flora MacDonald on February 16, 2004 in Ottawa, Canada. Hon. Senator Mobina Jaffer, Q.C spoke on behalf of the Canadian Committee on Women, Peace and Security and introduced the Hon. MacDonald who showed slides and gave candid commentary on her latest trip to Afghanistan to a packed room. The presentation was followed by a lively discussion.
Mobilizing Pakistan’s Silent Majority: The Role of Women In Islam And Participatory Governance. On January 29, 2004, SAP Canada held a seminar on the role of Pakistani women in good local governance with Dr. Riffat Hassan. Riffat Hassan, a Professor of Religious Studies and Humanities at the University of Louisville, Kentucky, is a well known pioneer of feminist theology in the context of the Islamic tradition. The room was packed and the discussion was lively.
South Asia Partnership International at the World Social Forum in Mumbai, India. SAP International, Nepal and Pakistan participated and brought the issues of small arms, peacebuilding and human security to the attention of hundreds of activists at the World Social Forum on January 16-21, 2004. South Asia Partnership International’s report on this event is now on-line.
Pakistan Social Forum Goes to the World Social Forum. The Pakistan Social Forum organized in Lahore on January 12, 2004 was a real success as it welcomed more than 8,000 active citizens from all over the country. This event made history with 500 Pakistani delegates participated in the World Social Forum in Mumbai, India. The report is now on-line.
Fourth Annual South Asian People’s Summit challenged South Asian Governments to create a Nuclear Free Zone and No War Pact in South Asia and meet the region’s human development needs. Each year, the Summit coincides with the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) annual government meeting between all countries in the region. More than 300 civil society organizations, community based organizations, human rights activists and individuals from South Asia took part in the Peoples Summit in Islamabad, Pakistan. The People’s Summit Declaration called on SAARC governments to trim down their military expenditure by 10% annually and divert it towards a Social Security Fund to be used particularly for gender equality and youth empowerment programmes. The People’s Summit representatives voiced the need to appoint a SAARC Commission to monitor the implementation of treaties and conventions ratified by SAARC member states. The withdrawal of subsidies on basic amenities such as water, food, among others, imposed by international financial institutions was also addressed in the Declaration. It called for the restoration of subsidies in agriculture, water, food security and on the delivery of basic social services. Labour rights, poverty alleviation, food security, inter and intra-state conflicts were among several issues that were addressed. The fourth Peoples Summit was organized by South Asia Partnership International and its member organization – South Asia Partnership Pakistan – along with other partners in civil society throughout the region. The full declaration is now on-line.
SAP Canada Staff Change: SAP Canada welcomes Kim Corey as SAP Canada’s new Finance and Administration Officer. SAP Canada also wishes a special farewell to long-time employees Information Systems Manager Janice Burke and Canadian Program Manager Faruq Faisel, who have pursued new opportunities. Ms. Burke is the Senior Office Administrator at Biotech Canada and Mr. Faisel has moved to Nepal as the new Director of the Nepal Media and Peacebuilding Project for the Institute for Media, Policy and Civil Society (IMPACS) based in Vancouver, Canada. We wish them both the best in their new careers.
SAP CANADA IN THE MEDIA
See Canadian Civil Society in action abroad in the last six episodes of “The Global Villagers” on Vision TV every Tuesday night at 10:30 pm (EST). The last show airs on April 13, 2004. (Check your local television guide for the channel.) Visit Villagers Media web site for the full schedule.
CHUO-FM “Click Here” radio show nominated for Golden Cherry award. SAP Canada congratulates Click Here broadcaster and long-time SAP Canada partner Mitchell Caplan for his Golden Cherry nomination as best radio show of the year. SAP Canada contributes the Beyond Border feature each week to Click Here. If you would like to bring Beyond Borders to your neighbourhood listeners, contact SAP Canada Communications.
Web Networks is featuring SAP Canada’s web site as a success story in its on-line portfolio. Read more about SAP Canada’s partnership with this member of the Association for Progressive Communications.
CONNECT WITH SOUTH ASIA PARTNERSHIP CANADA
Keep learning about South Asian development. Subscribe to one or more of SAP Canada’s list-servers:
- South Asia Human Development Forum is an on-line platform to strengthen regional dialogue among development stakeholders – civil society, networks and donors in South Asia, among others – to engage in discussion and share information about human development in South Asia. This site is open to all participants who want to read or post information and build links and support for issues such as democracy, governance, conflict, and justice.
- SAP E-Link: Receive periodic notices of opportunities to participate, report releases and web site updates by email.
- YouthAsia, a list-server for young Canadians and South Asians to discuss issues, share career information and keep in touch.
- Afghanistan, a list-server that shares information on developments in and on Afghanistan and Canada.
- Communication for Social Change, a list-server that discusses the practice and theory of using communication techniques for international and community development. This discussion is hosted on the South Asia Human Development Forum Network.
Khoj India Directory: A Directory of Canadian Organizations Working on Indian Development Issues. This directory features the work of 48 Canadian non-government organizations and civil society organizations, eight private sector organizations and 22 academics on development issues in India.
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