The Middle East and the Refugee Crisis: An Evening with Robert Fisk

The ongoing crisis in the Middle East has not only undermined security in the region, it has generated a host of complex problems with far reaching implications. The rise of ISIS and the beginning of a resurgent Russian interest in the area have helped to fuel the worst refugee crisis since the end of World War II. With an estimated 21.3 million refugees around the world, Canadians are being forced to think about our responsibilities as global citizens: are we doing enough? Or have we already done too much? With Canada’s acceptance of tens of thousands of refugees in the last year, these are questions that we can no longer ignore.

Robert Fisk, an award winning Middle East correspondent for The Independent, will provide us with an on-the-ground perspective of events in the Middle East and the origins of the refugee crisis.

He will be joined onstage by filmmaker, Nelofer Pazira, and Permanent Representative of Greece to the United Nations, Catherine Boura.

Moderated by Bal Brach, award winning journalist.

This event is presented in partnership with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Centre for Hellenic Studies.


Tue, 07 Mar 2017 7:00 - 9:00 pm



Robert Fisk is the multi-award winning Middle East correspondent of The Independent, based in Beirut. He has lived in the Arab world for more than 40 years, covering Lebanon, five Israeli invasions, the Iran-Iraq war, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Algerian civil war, Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, the Bosnian and Kosovo wars, the American invasion and occupation of Iraq and the 2011 Arab revolutions.

Occasionally describing himself as an ‘Ottoman correspondent’ because of the huge area he covers, Fisk joined The Independent in 1989. He has written best-selling books on the Middle East, including Pity the Nation and The Great War for Civilisation.

He was born in Kent in 1946 and gained his BA in English and Classics at Lancaster University. He holds a PhD in politics from Trinity College, Dublin. (courtesy of the Independent)


Nelofer Pazira is an award-winning Afghan-Canadian director, actress, journalist and author. She grew up in Kabul, Afghanistan, where she lived through ten years of Soviet occupation before escaping with her family to Pakistan, before immigrating to Canada. In 1996 she returned to Taliban-controlled Afghanistan in search of a childhood friend. That journey became the basis for the critically-acclaimed film Kandahar, in which she starred.

She has since directed, produced, or starred in a number of other documentaries. Her memoir, A Bed of Red Flowers: In Search of My Afghanistan was named winner of the Drainie-Taylor Biography Prize. She also founded the Dyana Afghan Women’s fund, which provides education and skills training for women in Afghanistan.

She has also written and contributed to the Independent, CBC, the Toronto Star, amongst other publications.


Her Excellency Catherine Boura is the ambassador of Greece to the United Nations. Previously, she was the ambassador of Greece to Lebanon. Prior to that, Boura was Minister of Foreign Affairs, Consul general of Greece in New York. She first joined the Diplomatic services in 1983.

The ambassador holds a bachelor degree in Literature, from the Athens University, a Master's Degree in History from the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at London University. And also she holds a PhD in history, Ottoman Empire, at London University.

(Courtesy of the Washington Diplomat)

Bal Brach is an award-winning television journalist with more than a decade of experience working in newsrooms across Canada. She's been a producer and reporter for CTV, Global News and CBC. In 2016, Bal was awarded the highest honour in B.C. journalism -- a Jack Webster award for her stories about Syrian refugees. "Finding Refuge" was CBC's in-depth coverage of the settlement of thousands of Syrian refugees in B.C. Bal was one of two journalists staffed full time for four months to cover this story. This year, she is nominated for a prestigious Canadian Screen Award. Recently, Bal added documentary filmmaker to her resume. She wrote, directed and produced a documentary about the growth of the Indian wedding business in Canada. The film aired on CBC and has also screened at film festivals around the world. 



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