Creating space for transformative conversations

Sabreena Delhon appointed inaugural Open Democracy Fellow

May 13, 2020
Photo credit: Gelek Badheytsang

Sabreena Delhon is the inaugural SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue Open Democracy Fellow. Co-created by Open Democracy Project, the Fellowship will focus on supporting Canada's emerging democracy sector through responsive community building activities that convene, connect and share knowledge with local changemakers, non-profits and public sector institutions. The Open Democracy Fellow will have the additional designation of SFU Visiting Fellow, Open Democracy at Massey College at the University of Toronto.

“Recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic may be the challenge of our generation and will require shared knowledge and local leadership. This Fellowship will work across political orientations, values and borders to rebuild a more inclusive, democratic and just society,” says Chris Cowperthwaite, Co-Chair of the Open Democracy Project.

Dialogue Fellows partner with the Centre to lead initiatives that address issues of fundamental significance to our communities. Their appointment reflects distinguished achievements applying dialogic principles and methodsin diverse fields. Delhon will join Dr. Jennifer Wolowic, Project Manager for the Centre’s Strengthening Canadian Democracy Initiative, in supporting and building Canada’s democratic ecosystem. Delhon joins the Centre’s 12 Fellows working in numerous sectors such as climate solutions; diversity and innovation; urban sustainability; health, peace and security; and arts and conflict resolution.

“Our partnership with Open Democracy Project and Massey College at University of Toronto in supporting Sabreena Delhon’s Fellowship, demonstrates our Centre’s commitment and actions to strengthen Canadian democracy through collaboration”, says Shauna Sylvester, Executive Director of the SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue. “Delhon’s extensive experience at the intersection of community engagement initiatives and justice-sector issues as well as her background in empirical research make her the right person to launch this role.”

The partnership with Massey College will bring a pan-Canadian lens and new opportunities for collaboration and convening.

“Massey College is very happy to welcome Sabreena Delhon as a Visiting Fellow at Massey, partner with Open Democracy Project and SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue,” says Principal Nathalie Des Rosiers, “this is part of our commitment to ensuring that democratic values are fully integrated in our academic environment.”

Sabreena Delhon is a leading public sector strategist with over a decade of experience in developing and executing initiatives that deliver complex information to diverse audiences. She has been a contributor to DemocracyXChange, Canada’s annual democracy summit since 2017 and has served as Program Advisor for Open Democracy Project since 2019.

Delhon has directed provincial research studies that examine public perceptions of the justice system. Results have informed the work of Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General and are now required reading in access to justice courses at law schools across Canada.

In 2016, she conceived, coordinated and launched the first annual Access to Justice Week, which has since been adopted by other regions across the country. Delhon created and hosted Architects of Justice, Canada’s first narrative-form podcast on current topics and issues in the access to justice sector.

Delhon frequently writes about diversity and has been featured on CBC Radio’s The Sunday Edition and various legal blogs. She holds an M.A. in Sociology from Dalhousie University and a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Alberta.

The Open Democracy Fellowship is made possible thanks to the contribution of donors including the McConnell Foundation, Advantage Capital Strategies and Avana Capital Corporation.

About SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue

SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue creates real-world impact for society’s most pressing challenges by using dialogue and engagement to co-create solutions, exchange knowledge, support community-engaged learning, and to build the capacity of others in the knowledge and practice of dialogue.

About Open Democracy Project

Open Democracy Project is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2016 that is driving change through civic action and community engagement. Its initiatives include OpenDemocracy.ca, DemocracyXChange and DemocracyKit.

About Massey College

Massey College is an interdisciplinary and intergenerational centre that provides a convivial and inclusive environment for the exchange of opinions and ideas.