On Thursday 5 December 2013, the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation hosted the 2013 Jeanne Sauvé Address, Faith and Freedom: Promoting Religious Diversity and Gender Equality in Canada, delivered by Dr. Sheema Khan.

Her eloquent Address challenged the audience – and all Canadians – to embrace an inclusive approach to religious and cultural diversity.


Dr. Khan holds a Ph.D. in Chemical Physics from Harvard, and is the author of Of Hockey and Hijab: Reflections of a Canadian Muslim Woman. She co-founded the Toronto-based think tank The Tessellate Institute and, more recently, The Family Honour Project in London (Ontario), which is devoted to eliminating honour-based violence in Canada and abroad.

She is a Globe & Mail columnist writing on such topics as Reconciling Muslim practices with Western Principles, and from 2000 to 2005, she served as chair of the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations, a grassroots advocacy group.


Dr. Khan’s Address was followed by a lively panel discussion with Sauvé Scholars, moderated by Dr. Khalid Mustafa Medani, professor of political science at McGill University and a former Sauvé academic mentor. The discussion reflected on human and women’s rights globally as well as within the Muslim world.


Saman Ahsan (2003-04 Sauvé Scholar) is the Executive Director of Girls Action Foundation, a Montreal-based charity working across Canada to build girls’ and young women’s skills and confidence and inspire action to change the world. Born and raised in Pakistan, Saman’s extensive work experience includes Manager of the Council of 100 Leaders: West-Islamic World Dialogue at the World Economic Forum, Coordinator of the Women, Youth and Environment Section of the Family Planning Association of Pakistan, and National Coordinator of UNICEF’s Girl Child Project Pakistan. She was a Fellow with the World Economic Forum Global Leadership Program, through whom she obtained a Masters in Global Leadership in 2008.

Mirwais Nahzat (2009-10 Sauvé Scholar) is a public speaker, media commentator and international development consultant with over 12 years of experience in managing international programs. He currently works as a Kabul-based Consultant with Kardan University, where he oversees the business development, international relations and public engagement portfolios. Mirwais is also the founder of the Centre for Afghanistan Progress (CAP) and is the recipient of numerous awards in Canada as well as in his native Afghanistan.

Sadia Rafiqqudin (2011-12 Sauvé Scholar) is a Toronto-based photojournalist, public speaker and consultant for GrantBook, a social enterprise business. She uses multimedia storytelling to advocate for evidence-based policymaking at a local and international level. Born in Sargodha, Pakistan, the legacy of her parents’ move to Canada as refugees in 1990 has from a young age motivated her to pursue a life devoted to social justice. In recognition of this commitment, the Women’s Executive Network featured Sadia (then 22 years old) as one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women. Sadia has received numerous other awards and honours for her social justice work.

The discussion was followed by a lively holiday celebration.


The Jeanne Sauvé Annual Address celebrates the vision and values of the late Right Honourable Jeanne Sauvé, whose career, one representing many firsts –the first woman MP elected from Quebec to become a federal cabinet minister, the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House and as Governor General of Canada – is an enduring inspiration to today’s young leaders.

The Annual Jeanne Sauvé Address is the premier public event of the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation, whose mission is to help the next generation of leaders, in the words of the late Governor General, “address global issues, exchange opinions and ideas, gain insight, expand understanding and perspectives, and create a network of leaders.”

View a slideshow of the 2013 Jeanne Sauvé Address here.



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