Dr. Monia Masigh, Author and Renowned Human Rights Activist

EVENT DATE: November 9, 2011
TOPIC: National Security and Human rights: Where Does Canada Stand?

Monia Mazigh, says a Toronto Star article, is “the Laura Secord of our time.”  In 2002, her husband Maher Arar was deported to Syria, tortured and held there without charge for over a year.  She campaigned tirelessly to obtain his freedom and clear his name.  In 2007, after a lengthy inquiry, her husband finally received an apology from the Canadian government and compensation for the “terrible ordeal” his family had suffered. 

Dr Mazigh described this harrowing story in her 2008 book Hope & Despair: My Struggle to Free My Husband, Maher Arar.  She was born and raised in Tunisia and immigrated to Canada in 1991.  She holds a PhD in finance from McGill University and speaks English, French and Arabic fluently.  She has worked at the University of Ottawa and taught at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia.  In 2004, she was the NDP candidate for Ottawa South, coming third but gaining the most votes there the NDP had ever received.  She lives in Ottawa with her husband and two children.