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Annual Ottilia Chareka lecture asks how Atlantic Canadian education systems can help combat systemic racism

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Oct 29, 2020

Category: UNB Fredericton

Ottilia Chareka

On Thursday, Oct. 29, the UNB Fredericton’s faculty of education will present the 9th Annual Ottilia Chareka Memorial Lecture on Education and Social Justice with a panel discussion: How can education systems in Atlantic Canada best respond to calls to combat systemic racism and to adopt anti-racist principles?

Canadian civic discourse is permeated with deliberation about the reconciliation, or lack thereof, between Indigenous and Settler Peoples, systemic racism faced by people of colour in virtually all areas of life, and the growing ethno-cultural diversity of Canadian society. This panel will contribute to that discourse by examining these issues in the context of public schooling in Atlantic Canada. The panelists all have personal and professional experience with public education in the region from primary school through graduate school and will draw on these experiences to propose possible responses in terms of policy and practice.

Alicia Noreiga-Mundaroy will moderate the discussion. She is a PhD candidate in the faulty of education at UNB where she pursues studies in the field of rural education. She is currently UNB's Graduate Student Association Vice President (Academic) and the graduate student representative in the President's Bi-Campus Committee for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.


Yao Bian is a relatively recent immigrant from China and a new Canadian citizen. She earned a PhD in history before coming to Canada and recently obtained her BEd from UNB. She is a supply teacher in the Anglophone West School district and a mother of two.

Sacha DeWolfe is a PhD student in the faculty of education at UNB. She is a Dr. Althea Warren Macaullay CFUW scholarship recipient (2018-19), Indspire’s Building Brighter Futures: Bursaries, Scholarships and Awards recipient (2018-19; 2019-20) and an O’Brien Fellowship recipient (2019-20). The focus of her PhD research is investigating the social, political and historical factors contributing to her identity as a Mi’kmaq woman and how her life stories contribute to an expanded dialogue of Wabanaki identity. Included in her dissertation is a documentary film which takes the audience on a journey from damage to desire.

Husoni Raymond is a recent graduate of St. Thomas University. Husoni is passionate about helping others and making a positive impact on his community through compassion and dedicated advocacy. During his time at St. Thomas, he organized numerous inaugural Black History Month events, using education as a tool to address anti-Black racism. Husoni is a founding member of Fredericton's Black Lives Matter chapter and works as the Anti-racism Project Coordinator at the New Brunswick Multicultural Council.

About the Annual Ottilia Chareka Memorial Lecture on Education and Social Justice

Ottilia Chareka, mother, activist, scholar, mentor, and friend, was a three-time graduate of the faculty of education at the University of New Brunswick (DAUS 1993; MEd 1994; PhD 2005). Ottilia was the first woman from her rural village in Zimbabwe to complete high school and went on from there to enjoy a stellar career as a teacher and academic. Throughout her life Ottilia was a considerable advocate for others, including the many Zimbabwean girls she supported in educational endeavours, fellow immigrants to Canada, and the First Nations students she worked with at St. Francis Xavier University.

When Ottilia died tragically in the spring of 2011, the UNB faculty of education chose to honour her with an annual lecture in her name focusing on education as a vehicle for social justice, something that was a lifelong passion for Ottilia. Ottilia is survived by her five daughters and a memorial fund has been set up by the St. Francis Xavier University faculty of education for her children.

The public is invited to join UNB Fredericton via Facebook Live on Thursday, Oct. 29, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. for this free lecture.

Contact: Dr. Alan Sears, Honorary Research Professor, UNB Faculty of Education, asears@unb.ca 

Photo: Dr. Ottilia Chareka