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Launch of the Solidarity Dialogues on May 22, featuring influential leaders such as Fady Dagher, Imam Hassan Guillet and Rabbi Lisa Grushcow

Press Release

An initiative that supports inter-cultural understanding and strengthens cohesion in the face of rising social and political division.

MONTRÉAL, May 22, 2024 – The Solidarity Dialogues will provide front-line leaders from across Montreal with tools and strategies for facilitating intergroup dialogue and navigating polarization, while building understanding, trust and empathy.

The initiative will begin with a seminar through which these leaders will explore best practices in dialogue from across the globe, as adapted to the context of Greater Montreal. The leaders will then facilitate dialogue sessions for participants from within their respective communities, as well as from across different communities, as they use the process presented in the seminar to foster a series of open and respectful conversations.

The Solidarity Dialogues is an initiative of PLEDJ – Promoting Leadership for Empowerment, Development and Justice, in partnership with the Peace Network for Social Harmony.


Date and Time: Wednesday, May 22, 2024, 10:30 a.m. to noon
Location: Marriott Château Champlain Hotel,
1050 De La Gauchetière Street West, Montreal H3B 4C9

The program

Video introduction by the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, former Governor General of Canada;

Remarks by Fady Dagher, Chief of Police for the City of Montreal, and Neal Santamaria, Quebec Regional Director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation;

Official introduction of the Solidarity Dialogues by Dr. Amal Elsana Alhjooj, Executive Director and Founder of PLEDJ – Promoting Leadership for Empowerment, Development, and Justice;

Panel discussion: “Strengthening our Shared Spaces in Times of Conflict”;

Brian Bronfman, Co-founder and President of the Peace Network for Social Harmony, will be the event’s emcee.

Who will participate in the panel discussion?

Patrice Brodeur, Associate Professor at the Université de Montréal with extensive knowledge and research experience in interfaith dialogue;

Dale Dione, Indigenous community leader and specialist in mediation and restorative justice;

Rabbi Lisa Grushcow, Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom, author, former president of the Montreal Board of Rabbis, and advocate for interfaith bridge-building;

Imam Hassan Guillet, founding member of Table interreligieuse de concertation du Québec, which builds bridges between communities of faith;

Sophie Langlois, esteemed journalist for Radio-Canada with a focus on international development and human rights, will act as moderator.

Simultaneous translation in English and French is available for the panel discussion.

About the Solidarity Dialogues

The initiative will begin with a four-day preparatory session, to be offered in July 2024 to 18 front-line leaders from Montreal’s religious, academic and civil society sectors. The goal is for these leaders to gain in-depth knowledge of the dynamics of polarization; to develop a greater understanding of the influence of identity on social interactions and community life; and to gain mastery of practical tools and techniques for facilitating intergroup dialogues, including the creation of safe spaces for vulnerable exchanges.

Starting in October 2024, the leaders who took part in the preparatory seminar will lead twelve sessions of intragroup dialogue within their communities, as well as intergroup dialogue among communities. In addition, a series of four complementary webinars, featuring experts from a variety of backgrounds, will be offered over the course of the coming year.

The May 22nd “Strengthening our Shared Spaces in Times of Conflict” panel discussion will be broadcast live, and will act as the first webinar in the series.

The Solidarity Dialogues are made possible thanks to the generous contributions of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, Power Corporation of Canada and the Donner Canadian Foundation.

For further information: and interviews: Hanya Omar,, 514 571-3264



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