UWinnipeg student joins delegation to United Nations

white ribbonsWinnipeg men are the first to attend United Nations with women’s delegation

A student from The University of Winnipeg’s Global College  and a researcher-curator at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR)  are the first men to join the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace as delegates to the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

Global College student Matthew Parent and the CMHR’s Armando Perla and will join the group in New York City next week at the invitation of Professor Marilou McPhedran, director of the Institute for International Women’s Rights at The University of Winnipeg. More than 6,000 women – including about 200 Canadians – are expected to congregate for the 57th annual event, March 4 to 15 at UN headquarters. March 8 is International Women’s Day, celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.

Janis Alton, the Toronto-based co-chair of the Voice of Women, has attended the annual UN event since 1990 and is unaware of any Canadian men ever participating before. “The theme of this year’s UN Commission is violence against women, a problem that is best addressed by changing our culture – and men are obviously a big part of that,” she said. “If we’re working towards solutions, we need to have men on board.”

Perla and Parent were active in last year’s White Ribbon Campaign, which encouraged men to take a public stand to end violence against women. At the UN event, they will participate in discussions and workshops and meet with key activists such as Cora Weiss, who has been nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize, and Betty Reardon, a prominent feminist peace educator who taught at Columbia University.

Perla said his involvement will also help inform how human rights issues affecting women are presented when the Museum opens in Winnipeg in 2014. CMHR content will include women’s suffrage movements around the world, feminist thinkers and movements, gender inclusion in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, pay equity, and stories of violence against women, including missing and murdered Aboriginal women.

Parent, who is studying politics and human rights, said ending violence against women is not simply a matter of empowering women, but educating and mobilizing men. The CMHR and the Global College have forged a working relationship in pursuit of their shared objectives to raise awareness of the importance of human rights and facilitate learning and dialogue.


Advance interviews in Winnipeg with Perla or Parent can be arranged through the contact information below. Phone interviews can also be arranged from New York while the UN session is underway.

For more information, please contact:

Maureen Fitzhenry

Manager, Media Relations

Canadian Museum for Human Rights

(204) 289-2112

Cell: (204) 782-8442



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