Leilani Farha, Executive Director of Canada Without Poverty, is a lawyer, social worker, community activist and policy analyst. She has dedicated her life to preventing and addressing violence against women and the right to adequate housing. She has made a difference not only in the lives of individual women, but also to the systemic, underlying issues that cause impoverishment and violence. As a woman of colour, the issues Leilani has tackled in her efforts to challenge human rights violations in Canada and around the world are personal as well as professional.
Amongst her greatest contributions in advancing women’s rights is a clear articulation that embeds adequate housing issues in a framework of international human rights, specifically, social, cultural and political rights. Leilani has taught in the faculty of law at both the University of Windsor and the University of Toronto. She has participated in over fifty government and UN committees and meetings, also making presentations at various conferences, the UN Human Rights Council and in other fora. She has authored over twenty publications and major reports. And she has undertaken over a dozen international consultancies and fact-finding missions, mostly for various United Nations bodies.
Leilani has the uncanny ability to bring together disparate people and perspectives and find common ground while never compromising or losing sight of her focus on issues critical to achieving meaningful equality for women resulting in policy and legislative gains related directly to combating violence against women where it was not thought possible.