October 17, 1996 * Vol . 7, No. 4

Ed Broadbent to join SFU faculty

Former federal New Democratic Party leader and international human rights expert/activist Ed Broadbent has been appointed J.S. Woodsworth chair in humanities at Simon Fraser University for two years beginning September, 1997.

During that time, Broadbent will organize and participate in public lectures and seminars and teach five courses in at least three different programs.

"I'm honored and delighted to be associated with J. S. Woodsworth -- a founder and leader of social democracy in Canada -- and the university in this way, and look forward to working with faculty and students in developing his ideas in the context of the contemporary world," says Broadbent.

"I have a strong, theoretical interest in democracy which I was able to test in day-to-day political life," he adds. "The explosive expansion of market economies has stimulated me to think further about the nature and prospects of democracy in our time, as well as human rights."

Broadbent is currently a visiting fellow at All Souls College, Oxford. For the past six years he has been president of the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development. He led the NDP from 1975 to 1989 and was frequently favored in the polls as the individual most Canadians wished to be prime minister.

A former professor of political science at York University, he earned a PhD in political science at the
University of Toronto, where he did postgraduate work as well as at the London School of Economics.

In 1991, he was the first recipient of SFU's Thakore award, inspired by the life and legacy of Mahatma Gandhi.

"Ed Broadbent is one of the dis-tinguished public intellectuals of our time, fulfilling a Canadian tradition that links public service and academic values," says Jery Zaslove, director of the institute for the humanities. "His work in the causes of international human rights, labor rights, and cultural survival is an important aspect of Canadian democracy, which is always in danger of being overwhelmed by global market forces and privilege.

"Above all, he is a thoughtful humanist who is thinking and rethinking what is important about democratic theory and its lifelines to human rights."

J.S. Woodsworth, founder of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, forerunner of the NDP, was instrumental in achieving many of Canada's basic social programs, such as family allowances, old-age security and unemployment insurance. He died in 1942.

Political scientist Alan Whitehorn, was the first J.S. Woodsworth chair at SFU, from 1994-96.

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