University of Toronto International Health Program

Health and Human Rights Conference 2010

This weekend on March 5th and 6th, the students of the University of Toronto International Health Program (UTIHP) hosted the Health and Human Rights Conference at the J.J.R. MacLeod Auditorium. Gathering a smorgasbord of scholars, professionals, thought-leaders, and concerned and socially-conscious youth, the HHRights Conference was a two day affair that sought to tackle the crucial but highly problematic issue of international aid and development. Asking hard questions about the current impact of aid, its current flaws, and potential solutions, the event generated truly thought-provoking and insightful discussions and conversations. Some highlights include:

1. Opening performance of "Broken Land - A Song for Haiti" by JC and Karim. I have no idea who these guys are (fellow U of T students, I presume) but what a way to start the conference! A soulful performance with equally riveting lyrics that set the mood for the rest of the evening. Have a listen to the song here...

2. Opening Keynote presented by George Roter Engineers without Borders Co-founder and Co-CEO George Roter kick started the event by sharing his experiences during his time in various African countries, drawing the link between the rather abstract theme of aid and development to its human connection. After all, as he said, the conference is "about these human beings living in extraordinarily challenging conditions who want to see change for the better". With a brief history of the development of aid and highlighting specific thought starters, George set the context for the conference reminding the audience that "we need to go beyond the idea of charity and start thinking about [aid] as opportunity, as partnership".

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