Media Releases

U of T panel discussion on the Syrian refugee crisis & policy options for Canada

December 2, 2015

TORONTO, ON-   The glob­al paral­y­sis on the Syr­i­an cri­sis has led to the largest refugee cri­sis ever wit­nessed by the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty, with mil­lions of Syr­i­ans being uproot­ed and dis­placed. The Cana­di­an gov­ern­ment has announced a plan to wel­come 25,000 refugees by the end of Feb­ru­ary in 2016 but much work needs to be done to wel­come new Cana­di­ans.

The Cana­di­an Cen­tre for the Respon­si­bil­i­ty to Pro­tect (CCR2P), the Hart House Debates Com­mit­tee and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to Refugee Alliance will be host­ing a pan­el dis­cus­sion on Dec 2, 2015 to explore the impe­tus behind this refugee cri­sis, dis­cuss the human and glob­al impacts, and con­sid­er pol­i­cy options that Cana­da and the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty can pur­sue to uphold our col­lec­tive respon­si­bil­i­ty.

The pan­el dis­cus­sion will fea­ture promi­nent experts in the field, includ­ing:

  • Ambas­sador Paul Hein­beck­er, For­mer Per­ma­nent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Cana­da to the Unit­ed Nations & Advi­so­ry Board Mem­ber of the Cana­di­an Cen­tre for R2P;
  • Leen Al Zaiback, Board Mem­ber of Life­line Syr­ia;
  • Kris­ten Mar­shall, a Senior Refugee Law Train­er at Legal Aid Ontario.
  • Mod­er­a­tor: Raja Khouri, Direc­tor of the Cana­di­an Arab Insti­tute.

WHEN: Dec 2, 2015 at 7PM

WHERE: Hart House Debates Room (7 Hart House Cir­cle) at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to.


Paul Hein­beck­er has served as Per­ma­nent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Cana­da to the Unit­ed Nations in New York, Ambas­sador of Cana­da to Ger­many and Min­is­ter (Polit­i­cal Affairs) at the Cana­di­an Embassy in Wash­ing­ton, as well as in more junior posi­tions in Ankara, Stock­holm and the OECD. In Ottawa, he has been Chief For­eign Pol­i­cy Advi­sor to then Prime Min­is­ter Mul­roney, Assis­tant Sec­re­tary to the Cab­i­net for For­eign Pol­i­cy and Defence, and Assis­tant Deputy Min­is­ter for Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty and Glob­al Affairs in the Depart­ment of External/Foreign Affairs. Paul was an archi­tect of Canada’s human secu­ri­ty agen­da, helped nego­ti­ate an end to the Koso­vo war, head­ed the Cana­di­an del­e­ga­tion to the Cli­mate Change nego­ti­a­tions in Kyoto and rep­re­sent­ed Cana­da on the UN Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil. At the UN he was a lead­ing oppo­nent of the Iraq war, and an advo­cate of the Inter­na­tion­al Crim­i­nal Court and the Respon­si­bil­i­ty to Pro­tect.

Leen Al Zaiback is a senior board mem­ber of the Toron­to based Life Line Syr­ia and the co-founder and direc­tor of Jusoor, or Bridges, an inter­na­tion­al NGO ded­i­cat­ed to the edu­ca­tion of indi­gent Syr­i­an youth. A grad­u­ate of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, Leen has also worked at Queen’s Park as a Pol­i­cy Advi­sor and with Free the Chil­dren as the Senior Man­ag­er for Donor Engage­ment. Leen is an active phil­an­thropist in the arts; she sits on the Young Patron’s Cir­cle of Massey Hall and Roy Thomp­son Hall and is Chair of the Toron­to Arts Foun­da­tion Emerg­ing Lead­ers Cir­cle.

Kristin Mar­shall has worked to enhance access to jus­tice for over 20 years. She has rep­re­sent­ed refugees and immi­grants held in deten­tion, at the Immi­gra­tion and Refugee Board, and at the Fed­er­al Court of Cana­da. She has devel­oped train­ing and clear lan­guage resources for immi­grants, refugees and sur­vivors of domes­tic vio­lence, and is cur­rent­ly the Senior Refugee Law Train­er at Legal Aid Ontario. She was clin­i­cal instruc­tor in the refugee divi­sion at Down­town Legal Ser­vices for sev­er­al years and is cur­rent­ly work­ing with stu­dents on a project inves­ti­gat­ing the impact of Canada’s refugee poli­cies on sex­u­al minori­ties and per­sons liv­ing with or vul­ner­a­ble to HIV with the Inter­na­tion­al Human Rights Pro­gram. This project involved field work in Turkey and Jor­dan con­cern­ing reset­tle­ment of Syr­i­an refugees, and in Mex­i­co, to exam­ine human rights vio­la­tions there.

Raja G. Khouri is pres­i­dent of the Cana­di­an Arab Insti­tute, a pol­i­cy think-and-do tank he co-found­ed in 2011. He is a com­mis­sion­er with the Ontario Human Rights Com­mis­sion, com­mit­tee mem­ber of Human Rights Watch Cana­da and co-founder of the Cana­di­an Arab/Jewish Lead­er­ship Dia­logue Group. Raja for­mer­ly worked as an inter­na­tion­al con­sul­tant in orga­ni­za­tion­al devel­op­ment and capac­i­ty build­ing, and served on sev­er­al gov­ern­men­tal and civ­il soci­ety bod­ies. He has chaired con­fer­ences, giv­en and mod­er­at­ed lec­tures, giv­en numer­ous media inter­views, and pub­lished com­men­taries in jour­nals and major Cana­di­an dailies. He’s the author of Arabs in Cana­da: Post 9/11.


The Respon­si­bil­i­ty to Pro­tect, also referred to as RtoP or R2P, is an inter­na­tion­al prin­ci­ple coined in 2001 under the lead­er­ship of the Cana­di­an gov­ern­ment and lat­er adopt­ed at the 2005 World Sum­mit by 150 heads of gov­ern­ment. R2P states that when sov­er­eign states are unable or unwill­ing to ful­fill their respon­si­bil­i­ty to pro­tect their own pop­u­la­tions from mass atroc­i­ties such as geno­cide, eth­nic cleans­ing, crimes against human­i­ty and war crimes, the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty has the respon­si­bil­i­ty to do so.


The Cana­di­an Cen­tre for R2P, based at Munk School of Glob­al Affairs, Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, is a lead­ing Cana­di­an, non-par­ti­san and non-prof­it research orga­ni­za­tion which aims to pro­mote schol­ar­ly engage­ment and polit­i­cal imple­men­ta­tion of the R2P prin­ci­ple.  (

  • Media reg­is­tra­tion is avail­able for all of our on-site events.
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For media inquiries, please con­tact:

Tina J. Park
Exec­u­tive Direc­tor
Cana­di­an Cen­tre for the Respon­si­bil­i­ty to Pro­tect | 1–416-828‑2361|