From the Senate to the classroom

Senator Marilou McPhedran and student - staff photo

Senator Marilou McPhedran and student – staff photo

MB Senator Marilou McPhedran returns to UWinnipeg to inspire next generation

WINNIPEG, MB – This morning, as 30 students file into their Global College classroom at The University of Winnipeg, they face a different sort of teacher – Manitoba Senator Marilou McPhedran is at the helm.  For student Melissa McGillis, that adds an exciting new dimension.

“It is exciting and intimidating! I have heard amazing things about this course and Senator McPhedran brings so many connections with people into the classroom, I want to do my very best,” says McGillis, who is majoring in International Development.

The course, Emerging Issues in Human Rights, introduces students to local and global human rights challenges and opportunities.  The intensive course examines the voices, perspectives, and actions of individuals working for human rights globally and locally. Appointed an independent Senator in 2016, McPhedran created the course when she was with Global College and taught it for seven years. She felt compelled to use her summer break from the Senate to teach again.

“I have really missed my students so much. As a Senator I have been holding youth circles to hear, unscripted, what concerns and ideas young people have, which is something I will do in this class setting,” said McPhedran. “I have taught at other places but the students at Global College are unique. They are fabulous.” 

This six credit course is offered from August 8 to 18, 2017 in collaboration with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) and with scholarship support from Rotary 5550 World Peace Partners. A portion is taught within the Museum and classes are also held in several locations, using the city as a “living campus”. Twenty guest lecturers add multiple perspectives to the course.

Global College class - Aug 8, 2017

Global College class – Aug 8, 2017

“In addition to classes inside the CMHR, we travel with students to Winnipeg Harvest,
Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre and Ka Ni Kanichihk, and these experiences are often transformative,” says McPhedran. “As it is 2017 we will also examine, with some critical analysis, Canada 150, including Indigenous lecturers and perspectives.”

The course begins today with a lecture by McPhedran aboard a bus as students travel to several Folklorama pavilions. “We explore multiculturalism and constitutional rights in different countries in our bus lecture then we experience a taste of their culture into the evening. It is an engaging and equalizing start to our time together,” says McPhedran.

For McGillis, “the idea of using the whole city as our textbook is so interesting and immersive. I really like the idea of going out to events to learn.” McGillis is doing a practicum with Food Matters Manitoba and enjoys working with Northern communities.

Senator Marilou McPhedran was born and raised in Neepawa, Manitoba, called to the Bar of Ontario, and named a Member of the Order of Canada (1985) in recognition of her co-leadership in the successful campaign for stronger gender equality protections in the Canadian constitution.  She was appointed to the Senate of Canada by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2016.

She founded the Institute for International Women’s Rights at Global College, University of Winnipeg, in 2009, based on her intergenerational models “evidence-based advocacy” and “lived rights”.

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Diane Poulin, Senior Communications Specialist, The University of Winnipeg

P: 204.988.7135, E:





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