• unactoronto


a small act poster dec 18, 2014.jpg
Evening Agenda:

6:00pm -6:05pm Human Rights Day Opening Remarks

6:05-7:00 pm Reception

Light refreshments to be served.

7pm to 7:45pm How to get a job at the UN Talk!

Jasteena Dhillon, UN Human rights lawyer, speaks about "how to get an job at the United Nations.

7:45 to 9:15 Showing of 'a small act' Doc

This doc has won awards at SUNDANCE, hotdocs & EDINBURGH film festivals to name a few. The Hollywood Reporter says "Splendid......a precious and inspiring tale." And UNACTO is bringing it back so you have the chance to witness it.

In this documentary, Chris Mburu finishes elementary and secondary school in his poor Kenyan village, thanks to the generosity of Hilde Back, a school teacher Chris has never met. After receiving a scholarship, Chris studies law at Harvard University and joins the United Nations as a human rights legal advocate. He later establishes his own foundation to award scholarships to bright but needy children in poor countries around the world, and embarks on a search to find -- and thank -- Hilde.

9:15 to 10pm Panel Discussion

Star of our feature doc, Chris mburu will share his story. UN Human Rights Lawyer Jasteena Dhillon will discuss the right to education. President of UNACTO, Helen Mo'ungaloa Kavouras will interview and moderate the discussion.

Jasteena Dhillon

She is a professor of law at Humber and adjunct professor in the Faculty of Law, University of Windsor. Jasteena graduated from University of Toronto in Sociology in 1990 and of University of Windsor Law School in 1995 in Canada. She holds a Masters of Law in International law from Leiden University in the Netherlands. Jasteena holds a NATO SECRET clearance.


Jasteena has worked in community development and advocacy on violence against women and with immigrants/refugees from 1989 – 1999. From 1995-1996, Jasteena was a lawyer with the Office of the Children’s Lawyer representing children in welfare, family/civil matters.

Jasteena’s work with women, children and youth in the community has earned her recognition from her peers in the movement, wherein she received a community commitment award from Emily Stowe Shelter for Women. Jasteena has and continues to speak on and provide training on global issues and violence against women in Canada in the institutions, government and non-profit sector including, Canadian Forces College, Law Society of Upper Canada, Social Services Networks, Colleges and Universities.

From 1999 until 2009, Jasteena worked internationally in conflict, post-conflict and transitional countries and regions on justice and human rights issues. Her first engagement was in South Africa to work with Mandela’s office on the South African constitutional drafting process. Since then she has continued to work internationally legal and development expert in conflict, post-conflict and transitional crisis areas around the world, including in Afghanistan, Southern Sudan, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia and the Occupied Palestinian Territory for international non-governmental organizations, the United Nations and North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

In these international settings, Jasteena has worked specifically on rights and development for women, children, refugees, IDPs in conflict and post-conflict settings, with a special emphasis on issues ranging from development of rule of law institutions and governance, the role of customary and sharia legal systems, human rights and humanitarian law , duties and responsibilities of national and international actors in building judicial and political institutions and civil-military interaction strategy and tools in the evolution of states and regions from crises to stability.

After 10 years in the field, in North America, first to work for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) on civil-military relations for the Asia and Africa regions. After one year, she went onto Harvard Kennedy School, where she was a Fellow at the Carr Centre for Human Rights Policy, for Afghanistan/Pakistan program as a research fellow on issues like informal justice and human rights in the tribal areas.

In 2010, Jasteena started teaching international law at the Faculty of Law in Windsor and took on a position as Law Professor Humber ITAL. She teaches law in the law and global business studies. Jasteena continues her research and writing on international human rights, humanitarian law, and conflict, transition issues in her academic writing, research and presentations in Canada and around the world.

Chris Mburu

He is an international human rights lawyer who works as a senior human rights adviser for the Geneva-based Human Rights Agency of the UN.

As a child, Mburu was the recipient of an act of philanthropy by Hilde Back, a holocaust survivor who paid for his education.

The astonishing story of Back and Mburu is captured in the award-winning 2010 film A Small Act, but it is Mburu’s “pay it forward” initiative that is causing a shift in Kenyan society.

Mburu founded the Hilde Back Education Fund, which funds the education of talented children from poor families, proving that one small act can indeed change the way many experience the world.

Mburu’s new campaign – education is a human right – is to get all children the free education they are entitled to.

As part of his job, Mburu helps governments and other public institutions to improve their capacities to comply with their international human rights obligations.

He has also done research on discrimination and intolerance, which could result in the commission of serious crimes. He has been an advocate of human rights for the last 20 years at home in Kenya, as well as while studying at Harvard Law School and through organisations such as Amnesty International, Global Rights and now the UN.

He is also on the Board of Judges of Harvard’s Gleitsman International Activist Award, an award that has been bestowed on Nelson Mandela and for which Desmond Tutu has also been a judge. His wish is that all children in Africa get free education.