Most of us wish we lived in a more just and equitable world, and many have given careful thought to what constructive change might look like. But those who both think about and then actively devote their lives to effecting meaningful and sustainable change in the interests of justice and equity are sadly few and far between.
Join Hart House Conversations for a series of fireside-style chats with inspiring folks whose discontent with the status quo propels them to be the change they want to see in the world. The series is named after them: we call it “Changemakers.”
About the event
Countries around the world continue to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, and intersex individuals. In some cases, torture and death are punishments for people found to be identified as part of the LGBTQI+ community. These instances are not secluded to particular parts of the world, as discriminatory actions continue in South America, the Middle East, Africa, and even in our own backyards in Canada and the United States.
Rainbow Railroad, founded in 2006, is actively working with the Government of Canada, and local politicians, and joined by activists here in Canada and around the world to support LGBTQI+ people to escape persecution and find a new home in a more accepting community.
Join the discussion with Hart House Warden John Monahan and Rainbow Railroad’s Executive Director, Kimahli Powell.
About the panelists
Warden, Hart House
John Monahan has been the Warden (ie. chief executive officer) of Hart House at the University of Toronto since 2015. He is a Senior Fellow of Massey College and is an appointed Chair of the university’s Academic Appeals Committee. He also served on the Steering Committee for the University of Toronto Response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
Before arriving at Hart House, John was the inaugural Executive Director of the Mosaic Institute and a national and international thought-leader on confronting inter-community conflict and promoting social cohesion through education, dialogue and grassroots peacebuilding. Previously, John practised labour, employment and human rights law with Fasken; led the strategic development and oversight of Ontario’s international network of trade and investment offices; served as inaugural Director of the Ontario Investment and Trade Centre in downtown Toronto; and was posted to the Canadian Consulate-General in New York as Consul (Economic Affairs-Ontario) in the aftermath of 9/11. He holds a BA in International Relations from Trinity College, a JD from the University of Toronto, and an MPA from Dalhousie University. He also received a diploma in French language and civilization from l’Université des Sciences Humaines de Strasbourg and studied law at l’Université Panthéon-Assas in Paris.
Kimahli is a senior leader in the INGO field with expertise in community building and strategic advocacy with a focus on international development, law and policy, HIV/AIDs, and internally displaced persons. Since joining Rainbow Railroad as Executive Director, Kimahli has led the organization through transformational growth helping thousands of people in the process.
Under his leadership, Rainbow Railroad expanded its international reach and completed successful crisis interventions in Chechnya, Egypt, Uganda, and more recently Aghanistan and Ukraine. Kimahli holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Victoria and was listed in Out Magazine’s 100 profile of influential LGBTQI+ people in 2018.
Kimahli has served as a board member for The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), is the current Chair of the Dignity Network and is a board member of the Foundation for Black Communities. Kimahli is a regular contributor to international media with appearances on CNN, MSBC, CBC, BBC and a profile on 60 Minutes.