WHRI Ottawa 2024

Group of women smilingThe Women’s Human Rights Education Institute is celebrating our 20th anniversary!

20 years & more than 1000 alumni from close to 100 countries have participated in our women’s rights capacity building programs!


To mark this anniversary, we are offering a special program:

Women’s Human Rights Institute 2024: The right to live a life free of violence: CEDAW, International Women’s Human Rights & Gender-based Violence Against Women

Date: June 17 – 22, 2024

Location: Ottawa, Canada

Please complete the registration form HERE

This special program is designed for women’s human rights defenders to:

  • Renew, update & refresh your understanding of CEDAW & other international human rights mechanisms for protection against GBVAW
  • Examine new & emerging trends & understandings in WHR law & advocacy
  • Become versed in the intersectional nature of women’s human rights protections, particularly as they pertain to GBVAW
  • Explore new & emerging forms of violence, as well as existing protections & gaps
  • Engage with experienced advocates to refine your own advocacy plans & objectives
  • Expand global collaboration, solidarity, & networks for your work
  • Explore GBVAW, CEDAW & Indigenous women’s advocacy

This program will be delivered by WHRI faculty and partners, including:

Alda Facio –WHRI Co-founder, former expert member of the UN Working Group on Discrimination Against Women and Girls (UN WGDAWG)
Special guest: Marion Bethel, CEDAW Committee Vice-chair & Rapporteur
Amanda Dale, GBVAW & International WHR expert; Human Rights Research and Education Centre Fellow, University of Ottawa

Additional special presenters include:

  • Joan Riggs, Ontario Native Women’s Association
  • Cora McGuire-Cyrette, Ontario Native Women’s Association
  • Marilou McPhedran, Senate of Canada
  • Sara Mux, Colectiva Ixpop (Guatemala)

A special symposium that is open to the public will be included in the program:

What’s Law Got to Do with It?: Activists & UN Experts Discuss Using International Human Rights Mechanisms to Combat Gender-Based Violence

June 19 – 4:30 – 6 pm (In-person or virtual) – Details and RSVP here: Symposium Info & RSVP

Program Format:

Program includes an online component and one week in person.

Part 1: May 2023 (online)

Self-led interactive web-based learning modules to refresh your foundational understandings of international human rights & CEDAW: the UN Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.

Part 2: June 17 – 22, 2024 (in -person)

In-person participatory learning program led by a team of WHRI faculty & associates who will share current women’s rights praxis while also offering participants an opportunity for cross regional knowledge building & sharing. This program is also a time to connect & recharge your batteries!

Scroll down for additional program details.


The program will be held at the Human Rights Research & Education Centre at the University of Ottawa.

The University of Ottawa campus sits on the traditional, unceded territory of the Omamìwìnini Anishnàbeg (Algonquin) and is committed to building meaningful relationships with neighbouring Algonquin communities and with Indigenous peoples throughout the region and across Canada. Ottawa is the capital city of Canada.

Registration Information:

Note that first preference for registration will be given to WHRI alumni and associates.

Please complete the registration form HERE

Program fee: $2000 USD

*Please note that registration fees only cover participation in the program, & you will be responsible for your own travel & accommodation costs. Reasonably priced accommodations are available on campus at the University of Ottawa – more information will be provided after registration.

Payment schedule:

  • A minimum deposit of 500 USD is due upon acceptance to hold your place in the program. Payment plans are available upon request if needed.
  • Full payment is due no later than May 31st.

Discounts: Unwaged participants, full-time students and staff of women’s organizations with an annual budget of less than USD $80,000 may be eligible for a discounted registration fee.

Requests for discounts will be considered on a case by case basis, but please bear in mind that fees are charged in order to help us cover expenses and support the sustainability of this program. We regret that we do not have sufficient funding to offer tuition waivers for this program.

Discounts may be available for multiple participants from the same/affiliated organizations—inquire by email if this applies to you.


Reasonably priced accommodations are available on campus at the University of Ottawa. You can find the booking information HERE.

We recommend staying in 90U out of the two dorm options available. These rooms have a small kitchenette and two separate sleeping areas so they can be shared with other participants.

If you are looking for a roommate to save on costs, contact us at whriapplications@gmail.com and we will try to match you with another participant to organize room sharing.

Please note that the cost of registration does not include accommodation or travel costs, and accommodations must be arranged and paid separately by participants. We regret that we are unable to make bookings on your behalf.

Visa Information

Please be aware that a visa for Canada may be required. 

Note that even if a visa is not required, you likely need to register for an ETA to enter Canada.

See Canada Citizenship Immigration website for additional information, including a list of countries requiring visas for travel to Canada.  Even if you don’t require a visa, you may be required to seek authorization to enter Canada in advance online.  Check the information carefully.

Once you are registered, we will provide you with an invitation letter, but you must find out from your local consulate or embassy what documents and procedure are required:

You must have a valid passport, usually at least six months validity is required.

  • Two recent passport photos are usually required. Make sure these photos meet the requirements as outlined on the website.
  • Enclose the application fee. Your fee will not be refunded, even if your application is not accepted. You cannot appeal a refusal.
  • You must provide proof that you have enough money for your visit abroad. The amount of money may vary, depending on the circumstances for your visit, how long you will stay and whether you will stay in a hotel, or with friends or relatives. You can get more information from the visa office in your country or region.
  • You will need to include other documents. These documents could be: identification cards, proof of employment, a letter of invitation from your hosts, or a proposed itinerary. Check the website of the visa office responsible for the country or region where you live for more information.
  • Other information related to your ties to your home country, such as marital status, children if any, family ties, property ownership, can be helpful
  • If you have traveled abroad previously, please include information on past visas as demonstrating travel history can be helpful to your application


Contact us at whri.applications@gmail.com and learnwhr@gmail.com

Program Details:

Part 1 – May 2024: Web-based component

  • Interactive e-learning lessons to review and refresh the foundations
  • Accessed through easy links on a laptop, tablet, or cell phone

Review topics:

  • Basic Notions of Human Rights
  • Introduction to Human Rights and UN System
  • Intro to CEDAW, Core principles of CEDAW
  • Form & function of the CEDAW Committee
  • CEDAW Optional Protocol

Part 2 – June 17 – 22, 2024 in-person at the University of Ottawa

Topics will include:

  • CEDAW as a living document: holistic rights frameworks & emerging discourses in women’s rights norms
  • CEDAW’s GBVAW Framework: Violence as discrimination; interconnectedness of rights; intersectional praxis
  • Advocacy strategies: CEDAW shadow reports & UN Special Procedures specific to women’s rights
  • From global to national to local: strategies for rights implementation
  • Regional mechanisms
  • GBVAW, CEDAW & Indigenous women’s advocacy

Learning Strategies will include: 

  • Collaborative knowledge building and sharing
  • Problem-solve in a “live lab” of rights defenders
  • Participate in a mock, interactive “feminist radio” learning module
  • Moot your ideas in a mock international mechanism setting with experienced experts
  • Connect with and learn from current and former United Nations human rights mechanisms