Speakers at Women Gathering  




Human rights activist, documentary filmmaker and award-winning author Sally Armstrong was editor-in-chief of Homemakers magazine from 1988 to 1999. She is presently a contributing editor at Maclean's magazine. She has covered stories about women and girls in zones of conflict all over the world. From Bosnia and Somalia to Rwanda and Afghanistan, her eye witness reports have earned her awards including the Gold Award from the National Magazine Awards Foundation and the Author's Award from the Foundation for the Advancement of Canadian Letters. She received the Amnesty International Media Award in 2000 and again in 2002. In addition she was a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies and of the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre. Sally is the co-producer and host of several documentaries, including They Fell From the Sky that aired on CBC's Rough Cuts in November 2001;The Daughters of Afghanistan aired on CBC Newsworld, The Passionate Eye in March 2003. She is the author of Ascent of Woman, Bitter Roots, Tender Roots, and The Nine Lives of Charlotter Taylor. In 2003 Sally was awarded the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement from the National Magazine Awards Foundation. In 2005 she received the Athena International Award (Chicago), the World of Difference Award from the International Alliance for Women (Florida) and the Red Cross Humanitarian Award - New Brunswick Region. In 2008 Sally received the Clarkson Laureate for public service at Massey College, University of Toronto. And in May 2008 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Journalism Foundation. Sally received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Royal Roads University in 2000, an Honorary Doctor of Letters from McGill University at the October 2002 convocation, and an Honorary Doctor of Letters from St. Thomas University in 2004. In 2007 she was made Doctor of the University at the University of Ottawa and received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Guelph University. In 1998 she was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

Marina Nemat was born in 1965 in Tehran, Iran. After the Islamic Revolution of 1979, she was arrested at the age of sixteen and spent more than two years in Evin, a political prison in Tehran, where she was tortured and came very close to execution. She came to Canada in 1991 and has called it home ever since. Her memoir of her life in Iran, Prisoner of Tehran, was published in Canada by Penguin Canada in April 2007, has been published in 28 other countries, and has been an international bestseller. MacLean’s Magazine has called it “…one of the finest (memoirs) ever written by a Canadian.” Prisoner of Tehran has been short listed for many literary awards, including the Young Minds Award in the UK and the Borders Original Voices Award in the US. On December 15, 2007, Marina received the inaugural Human Dignity Award from the European Parliament, and in October 2008, she received the prestigious Grinzane Prize in Italy. In 2008/2009, she was an Aurea Fellow at University of Toronto’s Massey College, where she wrote her second book, After Tehran: A Life Reclaimed, which was published by Penguin Canada on September 18, 2010, and has so far been published in four countries. Marina has spoken at tens of high schools, universities, and conferences around the world.
See Marina Nemat's web site.

PLEASE NOTE:Women Gathering participants send Marina Nemat warm congratulations on having her book Prisoner of Tehran a finalist in the "Canada Reads" annual contest. We hope and pray that the words also contribute to Marina's healing as she moves forward in her life while advocating for victims of torture sand repression. ... if you would like to read more click here.

Dekyi-Lee Oldershaw is a combination of inner peace and altruistic outer action. Her focus is the power and potential of the mind to affect positive change in personal purpose and health, work and organizations. From Burlington, she is co-author of 16 Guidelines for a Happy Life -- The Basic and Up Close, she is an international trainer for the Foundation for Developing Compassion and Wisdom, UK and trains facilitator globally. Dekyi-Lee’s life spans various areas of expertise beginning with flatwater kayaking and coaching at an international level; she heralds from a family of four Canadian Olympic athletes. She built a marketing agency then trained and taught for seven years at the Findhorn Foundation, a world renown socio-ecologically sustainable, spiritual community and education centre in Scotland. She became a student of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, leading to seven years as a Buddhist nun. Since 1990, she has mentored and trained leaders, social services, education and healthcare professionals in enlightened leadership, compassionate radical action, the transformative power of the mind, social and universal responsibility for organizations looking to make a positive difference in their community, industry and the world. Dekyi-Lee’s wisdom and humor creates a dynamic, participative learning environment.In 2007, she was nominated for the Athena Award for empowerment of women leaders and in 2008 was named Halton Woman of the Year. She is Founding Director of the Centre for Compassion and Wisdom in Burlington, Ontario, Canada.
See Dekyi-Lee's web site

Dr. Ingrid Mattson is the London and Windsor Community Chair in Islamic Studies at Huron University College at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada. Formerly, she was professor of Islamic Studies, founder of the Islamic Chaplaincy Program and director of the Macdonald Center for Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut. She earned her Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from the University of Chicago in 1999. She is the author of The Story of the Qur’an: Its History and Place in Muslim Societies, Islam, Christianity and the Environment and Religion and Immigration: Christian, Jewish and Muslim Experience in the USA.as well as numerous articles exploring the relationship between Islamic law and society, gender and leadership issues in contemporary Muslim communities. From 2006-2010 Dr. Mattson served as President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA); she previously served two terms as Vice-President. Dr. Mattson was born in Canada, where she studied Philosophy at the University of Waterloo, Ontario (B.A. ‘87). From 1987-1988 she lived in Pakistan where she developed and implemented a midwife-training program for Afghan refugee women. Dr. Mattson is frequently consulted by media, government and civic organizations and has served as an expert witness.

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