2021 Symons Medalist:
The Honourable Louise Arbour, former UN High Commissioner of Human Rights
The 2021 Symons Medal will be awarded to the Honourable Louise Arbour, CC, GOQ on Friday, October 29 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.
“We look forward to welcoming Madame Arbour to Charlottetown this fall to share her perspective and reflect on a life spent in pursuit of civil justice for all, including her important work with the United Nations, the Supreme Court of Canada, and beyond.”Each year since 2004, the Symons Committee, co-chaired by Robert Sear and George Kitching, selects a recipient from a list of outstanding nominees. “On behalf of Confederation Centre of the Arts and CEO Steve Bellamy, I am pleased to announce the Honourable Louise Arbour as the 21st Recipient of the Symons Medal,” states Sear, chair of the Fathers of Confederation Buildings Trust.
The Symons Medal Lecture offers an eminent Canadian a national platform to discuss the state of Confederation from their vantage point and through their professional lens.
A high-profile Canadian lawyer, prosecutor, and jurist, Madame Arbour was appointed to the Supreme Court of Ontario in 1987 and the Court of Appeal for Ontario in 1990.
In 1996, the Security Council of the United Nations appointed Madame Arbour Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. In this role, she secured the first conviction for genocide (Rwanda) since the 1948 Genocide Convention and the first indictment for war crimes by a sitting European head of state (Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic).
Madame Arbour was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada in 1999 and in 2004 she was appointed High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations, and later the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on International Migration.
Madame Arbour, Senior Counsel at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, was recently appointed to lead an independent review into sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces.
Madame Arbour has received numerous honorary doctorates and awards. She is a Companion of the Order of Canada and a Grand Officer of the Ordre national du Québec. She follows a formidable line of Symons Medallists, including the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, Dr. David Suzuki, and the Honourable Bob Rae.