The African Studies Centre and The Caribbean Studies Centre, University of Toronto, invite you to a panel discussion with speakers Rieaz Shaik, High Commissioner, Republic of South Africa; Professor Atif Kubursi, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Canadian Arab Federation; Dr. Melissa Levin, Jewish Faculty Network.

Moderated by Dr. Nisrin Elamin, Anthropology and African Studies, University of Toronto with opening remarks by Dr. Dickson Eyoh, Interim Principal, New College.

ASL provided
Refreshments provided


Dr. Nisrin Elamin, Anthropology and African Studies

Opening remarks

Dr. Dickson Eyoh, Interim Principal, New College


Rieaz Shaik, High Commissioner, Republic of South Africa

Mr Shaik was an anti-apartheid activist, a former student leader, and an active member of African National Congress’s (ANC). He was also a negotiator in the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA), the Multi-Party Talks, and played a significant role in shaping the intelligence dispensation for democratic South Africa.

High Commissioner, Rieaz Shaik, known as ‘Moe, has been South Africa’s envoy to Canada, for just over two years.

Mr. Shaik has held several senior management positions, both in the private and public sectors. His various positions included: CEO at CorpAfrica (Pty) limited, Deputy Intelligence Coordinator, South Africa’s Consul General to Germany, South Africa’s Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Algeria, Special Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Head of South Africa’s foreign intelligence service, and Group Executive of the Development Bank of Southern Africa.

All of the above positions have given Mr Shaik deep knowledge on government policy, negotiations, geopolitical issues, infrastructure finance, the political and working environments of African governments and their institutions. He holds insightful reflections on politics, business development in Africa, the role of the private sector in infrastructure delivery, the importance of relationship building, strategy formulation and prudent risk management.

Mr. Shaik holds a Bachelor of Science (Computer Science) degree, a Bachelor of Optometry degree and a Masters degree in Optometry (Cum Laude), all from the University of Durban Westville. He has also completed the Advanced Management Program (AMP) at the Harvard Business School and the Introduction to Neuroscience coaching, an online course from the University of Pretoria.

He is the author of “The ANC Spy Bible: Surviving Across Enemy Lines” a memoir published in 2020. HC Shaik, is an outspoken thought leader, ever ready to be engaged in the exchange of ideas that shape not only the trajectory of his own country, but also that of global affairs.

Professor Atif Kubursi, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Canadian Arab Federation

Atif Kubursi is Emeritus Professor of Economics at McMaster University, Canada. He taught economics at Purdue University in Indiana, USA, was Visiting Scholar at Cambridge University, UK, Fellow of the Harvard Institute of Economic and Social Policy at JFK School of Government, and Adjunct Professor with the Faculty of the Environment and Urban Studies at York University. Dr., Kubursi has also served as Senior Development Officer at UNIDO in Vienna Austria, and as the Executive Secretary, and Undersecretary General of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia and Chief of the Economic Analysis Division. He is also a fellow of ERF and Chair of the Board of the Global Footprint Data Foundation. Dr. Kubursi has published 13 books and over 250 articles and technical reports. He is chair of the Board of Trustees of the Canadian Arab Federation.

Dr. Melissa Levin, Jewish Faculty Network

Melissa Levin is an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, in the African Studies Centre and New College at the University of Toronto. She has a PhD in Political Science from the University of Toronto, an African Studies MSc from Edinburgh University and an Honours in African Literature from the University of the Witwatersrand. Her research focuses on questions of coloniality, nationalism, state transformation and the politics of memorialization with a view to understanding political change, institutions and social solidarities. She has published her work in academic and popular journals, books and blogs. She is currently co-editing a special journal issue for the “Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy” on democratic pedagogies. Prior to returning to the academy, Melissa was a political strategist and advised political organizations on elections strategy in, among others, South Africa, Mozambique, Republic of Congo and Venezuela. She was director of Strategy and Research at the ANC where she wrote speeches for leadership, including Nelson Mandela. She was the project co-ordinator for a Mellon-Funded collaborative project between the University of Toronto and the University of the Western Cape. She was awarded a Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (JIAS) fellowship at the University of Johannesburg for 2021. She is currently the co-chair of the human rights cluster and the teaching, training and mentoring cluster of a SSHRC-funded crowd-sourcing democratic innovations platform, Participedia and a board member of Friends of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, a South African foundation focused on deepening democracy and building non-racialism.

Event Details

Friday, April 19, 2024
5:00 – 7:00 p.m. ET
William Doo Auditorium, New College – 45 Willcocks Street, Toronto (doors open at 4:30 p.m.)

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African Studies Centre and Centre of Caribbean Studies wish to thank New College; Women and Gender Studies; History; Historical and Cultural Studies, UTSC; Geography and Planning; Political Science; Centre for the Study of the United States; Bissell-Heyd Chair; Anthropology, UTSG; Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies; Latin American Studies; Critical Equity and Solidarity Studies; Global Development Studies, UTSC; Transitional Year Programme; Adult Education and Community Development (OISE); Sexual Diversity Studies; Hearing Palestine; Ziibiing Lab; Scholars Strike Canada; Jewish Faculty Network for their collaboration on this event.

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