Creating a society based on justice, equity and inclusion requires collaborative action

Brian Bronfman has worked tirelessly to initiate, enhance and foster growth of the Peace Network for Social Harmony since its inception in 2009. He sees the role of his organization to bring various parties together to first connect, and then to share their best practices and work cooperatively, while at the same time maintaining their grassroots functionality.

The Forum on Diversity and Inclusion is the organization’s biggest event to-date; and will take place at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts on April 21 and 22, with 200 stakeholders scheduled to participate. During a recent conversation, Brian stated; “To ensure that the Forum is productive, we have done a lot of forward planning and preparation. In addition to our own advisory panel, we have consulted with community organizations, cultural institutions, educational and religious institutions, artists, representatives of the wider business community, philanthropic organizations and the City of Montreal.”

“On Day One we’ll set the table for the conference with indigenous Senator Michelle Audet as our keynote speaker. This session will take place in the museum theatre. Two panel discussions will follow, with questions from the audience. The topic for the first panel will be: ‘Diversity and inclusion: the state of play, approaches, blind spots and perspectives’ and includes Rachida Azdouz, a psychologist, specialist in intercultural relations and researcher affiliated with the Intercultural Relations Research Laboratory (LABRRI) and Fabrice Vil. Fabrice is very active with youth in Montreal North with a basketball-focused program called Pour 3 Points.”

“The topic for the second panel is, ‘Transversality and intersectionality: theory vs practice.’ The panelists are Bochra Manaï, commissioner Office for the fight against racism and systemic discrimination; and André Ho, Community Project Coordinator Montreal LGBTQ+ Community Center. At the conclusion of the panel discussions, we’ll all move up into the museum for a networking cocktail.”

Day Two of the forum will move (fittingly) to the Museum’s Peace Pavilion for Intersectoral and sectoral workshops with one hundred participants working at tables of ten.

The objective of the forum is to provide an opportunity for many different parties to meet and discuss/analyze major overreaching issues of diversity and inclusion, share knowledge and best practices, build sectoral and intersectoral synergies, generate collaborative action, create greater efficiency and effectiveness in their work and to increase their social impact.

Brian continues; “Meeting people face-to-face is a great way to overcome prejudices and misconceptions. A few years ago, I was invited to speak about the Peace Network by a Muslim group who were meeting at St. James United Church. There I was, a person of Jewish faith speaking in a Protestant Church to a group of Muslims. When you stop and think about it, that’s a remarkable opportunity to overcome our prejudices.”

To ensure continuity of the work started at the Forum, participants will be encouraged to keep in contact and to continue their collaborative efforts. The Peace Network will also share the results of the Forum, with its proceedings available online and a summary report will be shared broadly.

For more information about the Forum on Diversity and Inclusion, please visit: and for the Peace Network for Social Harmony: