Glendon Campus
York University
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Toronto, Ontario
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Thomas Berger to Deliver the 2009 Annual John Holmes Memorial Lecture at Glendon


The 2009 annual John Holmes Lecture at Glendon will be delivered in English by the Honourable Thomas R. Berger, O.C., Q.C., O.B.C. with the title From the Mackenzie Valley to Nunavut: Northern Challenges. This public lecture will take place on Tuesday, March 31st at 7:30 p.m. in Room 102, Glendon Hall on the Glendon campus.

Right: Thomas Berger

Now a practicing lawyer, Thomas Berger has been prominent in defending minority rights and establishing the rights of Canada’s Aboriginal peoples. He served as a Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia from 1971 to1983. During that time, he was Chairman of the Royal Commission on Family and Children’s Law, B.C, 1973-74, Commissioner of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry 1974-77, and of the Inquiry on Indian and Health Consultation 1979-80 for the Government of Canada. Thomas Berger is the author of Northern Frontier, Northern Homeland (1977); Village Journey: a Long and Terrible Shadow (1985); Fragile Freedoms: Human Rights and Dissent in Canada (1981), and One Man’s Justice: A Life in the Law (2002). He acted as Conciliator in 2005-2006 with respect to a series of disputes between the Government of Canada and the Government of Nunavut; his report is called “The Nunavut Project”.

The annual John Holmes Memorial Lecture at Glendon honours the late John W. Holmes, O.C., Canadian diplomat, writer, administrator, and professor of International Relations at Glendon from 1971 to 1981. Holmes was a tireless promoter of Canada at home and abroad, in political, diplomatic and educational circles. He also participated in the founding of the United Nations and attended its first General Assembly in 1945.

Left: John Holmes

Shortly after Holmes’ death in 1988, a memorial fund was set up at Glendon under the leadership of Professor Albert Tucker, Principal of Glendon from 1970 to 1975 and Chair of the History Department at the time, to create a series of annual lectures sponsored by Glendon's International Studies Program honouring the late Holmes.

The first John Holmes Memorial Lecture was delivered by Sir Brian Urquhart, retired Under-Secretary General of the United Nations in 1989. Other distinguished speakers have included former Prime Minister of Canada, Kim Campbell; Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Louise Fréchette; Canadian ambassadors Geoffrey Pearson and Anne Leahy; renowned author and public figure John Ralston Saul; retired Supreme Court Justice Peter deCarteret Cory; and former Deputy Secretary-General of Amnesty International (and Glendon alumnus) Vincent del Buono, among others.

Admission to this public lecture is free, but since seating is limited, reservations are recommended. Please indicated your attendance by e-mail:, or by telephone: 416-487-6727.

Submitted by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny

Published on March 11, 2009