Viewing the World Through Multiple Lenses

- October 20, 2005

David Divine
David Divine

David Divine, the James R. Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies says he has high hopes Halifax will be the site for a major historical event. From October 26 to 28 Dalhousie will play host to Multiple Lenses: Voices from the Diaspora Located in Canada, a national conference that will explore how Black people in Canada have identified themselves over 400 years.

"This three-day national conference is a truly landmark event in the history of the 400-year recorded presence of Black people in Canada," says Divine. "It is a gathering of scholars and community representatives from across Canada who will take part in sharing knowledge and engaging in debates about the complexities of Black life in different parts of Canada. The content is unique; as is the structure. A book will result from the conference and important new information will be presented to a very wide audience."

This conference is the first of its kind and will include contributions from public servants, community representatives, film makers, musicians, artists, politicians, spiritual leaders, youth, and members of the public. The purpose of the conference is to explore the complexity of being identified as Black and Canadian and how this relates to the notion of 'citizenship'.

Some of the most significant, nationally and internationally respected Black leaders will be presenting information and opening up discussion and debate on critical issues affecting multiracial Canada including:

The Honourable Raymond Chan - Minister, Department of Multiculturalism

The Honourable Julius Isaac - former Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Canada

Justice Selwyn Romilly - Supreme Court of Canada.

Dr. Peter Paris - Princeton Theological Seminary and Liaison to the African American Studies Program at Princeton University.

Austin Clarke - Author; 1999 W.O. Mitchell Prize / 2003 Trillium Award / 2003 Commonwealth Writer's Prize

Martine Chartrand - Film maker, QuŽbec ("Black Soul" - keynote film of the conference)

Dr. Yvonne Brown - Manager, International Initiatives, External Programs and Learning Technologies Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia, BC.

Arnold Auguste - Publisher and President, SHARE Newspaper

Molly Killingbeck - Coach, Olympic Medallist, ON

Divine points out that key areas for development in the Black communities will be identified and addressed during the conference, including leadership issues, Black people and the law, how Black people are portrayed in the media, how Black people have been omitted in terms of the stories told about Canada's development, and Black people's contribution to the Canadian economy.

There are a number of questions that must be asked in this day and age says Divine. "What links are there between Black people residing in Canada and Black people residing in other parts of the world?" he asks "Do such links help in strengthening a sense of being Black and Canadian, or does an identification with Black people outside Canada somehow dilute one's commitment to being "Canadian"? (I hope that) that there will be a significant number of participants coming to the conference to take part in a major historical event to address these questions."

To register for the conference email or visit the registration web page at:


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