Colonialism in Modern Times: A Canadian Law School Conference (March 2022)

  • May 25, 2022

The Queen’s Human Rights Law Club, with the support of the CBA International Law Section hosted “Colonialism in Modern Times: A Canadian Law School Conference” from March 2-4, 2022.

The 3-day online conference was held for the second year in a row consisting of 16 panels hosted by clubs at 12 common-law schools across Canada. Each club chose their own topics, titles and speakers, focusing on areas that intersect domestic and international human rights issues in relation to the theme of modern-day colonialism.

The conference was online for the second year in a row as transitions between online and in-person classes differed by province. Hosting a Canada-wide conference provided the opportunity for Canadian law students to come together to learn and grow about issues in not only their communities, but communities in other regions of Canada and across the globe. The conference saw over 250 students, lawyers and activists participate.

The conference began with an opening address by Professor Ardi Imseis, a Queen’s Law Professor with experience as a UN official in the Middle East, who gave a talk on the intersection between post-colonial and international law. Other panels throughout the day focused on the impacts of modern-day colonialism on Indigenous peoples, sex workers and Black people.  In the evening, the conference held a panel on careers in human rights and international law, which included a presentation on the BISC International Law Programs, the CBA International Initiatives Young Lawyers International Program and a discussion with Queen’s Law Professor and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies Joshua Karton on LLM programs.

The second day of the conference examined the modern-day impacts of colonialism on Saskatchewan, examined the impacts from a business law lens, and moved towards panels discussing modern-day colonialism on the international scale. The day was grounded by the keynote address, provided by Mehdi Hakimi, the Executive Director of the Rule of Law Program at Standard’s School of Law.  His address focused on the impacts of modern-day colonialism on Afghanistan and international avenues to address such issues. The day concluded with an opportunity for students to network with lawyers working in international law through a lively group discussion, which was organized by the CBA International Law Section’s Law Student and New Lawyer Committee.

The panels on the final day of the conference focused on issues in New Brunswick regarding Indigenous history, modern-day colonialism in Ontario, and perspectives on fertility and reproductive law. The panel concluded with a discussion about the Israel-Palestine conflict and how modern-day colonialism shapes the discourse surrounding the issues.

Please check out the conference’s full schedule. We thank everyone for their participation and look forward to hosting a similar event next year!