Toronto, 19 May 2016 — Justice Albie Sachs, an activist, freedom fighter and a former judge on the Constitutional Court of South Africa, delivered the 2016 Annual Pluralism Lecture this evening. He was introduced by Mawlana Hazar Imam, who chairs of the Global Centre for Pluralism’s Board of Directors.
Toronto, 19 May 2016 — Justice Albie Sachs, an activist, freedom fighter and a former judge on the Constitutional Court of South Africa, delivered the Annual Pluralism Lecture this evening. He was introduced by Mawlana Hazar Imam as as “a chief architect of South Africa’s new post-apartheid constitution, one of the most admired constitutions in the world.”
Justice Sachs recounted a riveting story of South Africa’s to struggle to redefine itself as a post-apartheid nation. The people faced a fundamental choice between accepting a power sharing structure along the dividing lines of race, or striving towards pluralism by recognising the equality of all people on the basis of a shared humanity.
The pluralist vision won out in the end. It was enshrined in South Africa's Bill of Rights — now seen as a model that other countries look to as they craft their own constitutions.
In a heartfelt gesture that capped his emotional story, Justice Sachs presented Mawlana Hazar Imam with a copy of the Bill of Rights, which he described as “South Africa's most precious gift to the world.”
The Global Centre for Pluralism’s Annual Pluralism Lecture invites international leaders who have made a difference in the world to share their insights on pluralism. Past lecturers include Canada's Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres, and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Held in the auditorium of the Aga Khan Museum, the event drew an eminent gathering, which included Princess Zahra and Prince Aly Muhammad, as well as former Canadian Governor General Adrienne Clarkson — who gave the closing remarks — and other prominent Canadian and international leaders.