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The Irwin Cotler Institute for Democracy, Human Rights and Justice

In 2022, Tel Aviv University, in partnership with the Cotler family and TAU Canada, launched The Irwin Cotler Institute for Democracy, Human Rights and Justice to honour the Hon. Irwin Cotler, 2018 TAU Honorary Doctor and TAU Governor. The Institute is devoted to preserving Holocaust remembrance and combating antisemitism; protecting democracy, promoting human rights and pursuing justice; and advancing the understanding of Jewish people-hood, Israel, and the pursuit of peace in the international arena.

These topics are at the centre of Prof. Cotler’s life work and are especially important today, following October 7th, as an unprecedented global explosion of antisemitism and hatred is metastasizing in Canada, the U.S. and the rest of the international community. Prof. Cotler has remained steadfast in battling this tsunami of hatred, which is a standing threat to our human security.

Indeed, at the Honorary Degrees Conferment Ceremony at Tel Aviv University in 2018, Prof. Cotler was cited for “his influential role as an international attorney, parliamentarian, legal scholar and champion of justice; his inspiring track record both in pioneering human rights legislation in Canada and in stewarding landmark cases concerning free speech, freedom of religion, minority rights and war crimes justice; his stellar academic achievements, including sixteen years as director of McGill University’s Human Rights Program; and his steadfast, profound and indelible commitment to Israel and the Jewish people over decades.” Tel Aviv University is proud to be affiliated with Prof. Cotler, TAU Canada National President Mrs. Ariela Cotler, and the family.

The Cotler Institute: Seven Pillars

The activities of the Institute are organized around seven pillars, which are supported through annual donations as well as the Cotler Institute Endowment Fund:

  1. Cotler International Graduate Fellowship Program in Human Rights
  2. Annual Global Report on Antisemitism
  3. Annual Forum on Democracy, Human Rights and Justice
  4. Ethiopian Jewry – History and Heritage; Rescue and Renewal; Antidiscrimination and Equality
  5. Forgotten Exodus: Justice for Jews from Arab Lands and Iran
  6. Equal Voices: Women Rights are Human Rights
  7. Justice and Injustice in the Shadow of October 7th

The Institute operates the annual Irwin Cotler Fellowship Program, which

  • brings together 20 international students for weekly lectures and projects on human rights and democracy,
  • engages them in discussions about Israeli society, its history, diversity and challenges,
  • organizes field trips to historical sites and communities across the country,
  • and trains participants how to advocate for righteous causes in their home countries in the face of shifting social landscapes.

The Institute also organizes instructional workshops for

  • policymakers,
  • law enforcement officials,
  • media professionals,
  • and educators around the world

These workshops address the contemporary challenges to democracy, democratization and human rights, and the means to fight racism at large and antisemitism specificallyThe Institute convenes research seminars, and supports original policy-oriented research in diverse disciplines.

Irwin Cotler has dedicated his life’s work to championing human rights, advocating for justice on a global scale. Through his unwavering commitment and tireless efforts, he has significantly impacted the lives of countless individuals and has become a mentor and an inspiration to many.

Ontario and Western Canada

3130 Bathurst Street, Suite, 214, Toronto, ON | M6A 2A1 
Phone: 416.787.9930 | Toll Free: 833.32.CFTAU (22328)

Ottawa, Quebec and Atlantic Canada

6900 Boulevard Décarie, Suite 3480, Montreal, QC | H3X 2T8
Phone: 514.344.3417