Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Reem Bahdi

Alumna Reem Bahdi, LLB 1996, LLM 2001, has been named the 2017 Guthrie Award recipient, given by the Law Foundation of Ontario in recognition of outstanding advocates of access to justice, in this 20th anniversary year of the prestigious award.

An author, researcher, and human rights expert, with a particular expertise in the human rights of Arabs and Muslims in Canada, Bahdi was the Canadian Bar Association’s first equality adviser and played a significant role in the creation of the Arab Canadian Lawyers Association.  Her graduate thesis supervisor at the Faculty of Law was Prof. Edward Morgan, and the title was: “Globalization of Judgment: Transjudicialism, International Human Rights Law and Commonwealth Courts.”

Professor Bahdi, Canada’s first tenured Palestinian-Canadian law professor, is an associate professor at the University of Windsor’s Faculty of Law and a visiting professor at Birzeit University’s graduate program in democracy and human rights in the West Bank. She helped introduce a mandatory access to justice course at Windsor’s law school in 2003 and served as its associate dean from 2012 to 2015.

Her research focuses on the human rights of Arabs and Muslims after 9/11 and Palestinian judicial education. In addition, she has served as an expert witness, frequently pro bono, in many legal proceedings involving Canadian-Muslim rights and national security including the Commission of Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Maher Arar.

“Professor Bahdi has seized the opportunity to work on complex and cutting edge access to justice issues,” says Linda Rothstein, LLB 1980, chair of the LFO board. “She has dedicated her life to changing hearts, minds, and systems to champion human rights. And, remarkably, it seems she is just getting started.”

Alumna Leilani Farha, LLB 1995, executive director of Canada Without Poverty and UN special rapporteur on adequate housing, says: “Reem is fully committed to the implementation of human rights, whether in a classroom teaching access to justice, as an expert witness in a racial profiling case, or whilst overseas working on the Karamah project with the judiciary. She has devoted her career to exposing the universality and transformative nature of human rights with a view to defending the rights of marginalized groups.”

The LFO created the Guthrie Award in 1996 to honour H. Donald Guthrie who served as a Foundation trustee for 21 years, including 13 years as chair. The Guthrie Award recognizes outstanding individuals for their contributions to access to justice.

The Guthrie Award will be formally presented to Professor Bahdi at a reception later this year.

Read more about Reem Bahdi’s Guthrie award here.

Photo: Jay Terry