Speakers’ bios

Kasari Govender took office as B.C.’s first independent Human Rights Commissioner on September 3, 2019. Her role is to lead the promotion and protection of human rights in British Columbia through the Office of the Human Rights Commissioner. Govender has devoted her life to promoting human rights, with a focus on the rights of those most marginalized and vulnerable. From 2008 until 2019, Govender held leadership positions at West Coast LEAF, including as Executive Director from 2011. Earlier work includes pivotal roles in establishing the Rise Women’s Legal Centre, a nonprofit legal clinic in British Columbia. Govender earned her law degree from the University of Victoria and her Master’s Degree in International Human Rights Law from the University of Oxford, U.K. She has taught as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of British Columbia and as an
instructor at Simon Fraser University. In 2019, her work was recognized by the WomenLawyer’s Forum with their Award of Excellence.

Silvio José Albuquerque e Silva is a member of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Mr. Albuquerque has held high-level positions in the Brazilian bureaucracy,, such as Deputy Secretary of State for Human Rights and Chief of Staff of the President of the Supreme Court and of the Minister of Defense. A career diplomat since 1987, besides Canada, where he is the current Consul General in Vancouver, he has served in Belgium, Colombia, the United States, and Chile. He holds a Masters in International Politics from The Free University of Brussels (Université Libre de Bruxelles).

Nuno Porto (Ph.D. University of Coimbra, Portugal, 2002) is an anthropologist and museum curator. He taught at the University of Coimbra, Portugal, from 1991 to 2012. Then he joined the Museum of Anthropology at UBC. He has published extensively on colonial culture based on the case of the Diamonds Company of Angola and has developed the website diamangdigital.net to preserve and make accessible the archival materials of the company. He has curated a series of exhibitions on African and South American contemporary issues and occasionally teaches on contemporary and traditional African Arts.

Carmen Aguirre is an award-winning theatre artist and author, has written and co-written over twenty-five plays and the #1 international bestseller Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter and its bestselling sequel Mexican Hooker #1 and My Other Roles Since the Revolution. She is a Core Artist at Electric Company Theatre. carmenaguirre.ca

Coral Santana is a Vancouver-based Afro-Latina storyteller, activist, and producer born in the Dominican Republic. She is the Director and Founding Member of exposure UBC, a student-run organization that highlights UBC creatives and aims to build a conscious creative community. Coral was the Creative Director and Producer of the online festival ARTIVISM: SEX + The Unheard and GlobalEYES Film Festival: The Construction of Woman.

Hidemi Mitani Shen (she/her) is an Asian Latinx born and raised in Chile of Japanese and Chinese descend. She will be graduating this spring from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of International Economics. During her time as an undergraduate student, she was involved with the Vancouver School of Economics Undergraduate Society and has been a consultant at 180 Degree Consulting at UBC, where she worked with non-profit organizations. Moreover, she was able to do an Arts Co-op term as a Communications Coordinator for UBC Sauder Alumni Engagement Team. During her spare time, she enjoys snowboarding when she can and exploring Vancouver!

Danilo Angulo-Molina is a third-year Honours Political Sciences and International Relations double-major student at the University of British Columbia. Conflict is a concept that has always been present in his life and shaped it significantly, including growing up as an Internally Displaced Person (IDP) in the oldest armed conflict of the Americas in Colombia and living in the Middle East, experiencing and learning about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Danilo is the founder and host of the UBC series of conversations “Let’s Talk About” to promote dialogue and give a voice to UBC students. Danilo has worked as a Research and Policy Associate at the Canadian Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (CCR2P). Danilo works as a human rights researcher for Scholars at Risk (SAR), where he researches how scholars in Latin America are persecuted and advocates for their academic freedom to international stakeholders. Additionally, Danilo also works as a legal intern at the International Bar Association (IBA).

Alejandro Arauz is an interdisciplinary artist exploring issues of identity, diaspora and transplantation through the vernacular of print media, performance and video. Digital applications allow Alejandro to create bridges between mediums to expand on the lineage of his imagery. His versatile print-based practice emerged to call inclusivity, hybridity, heterogeneity and authorship into question. Print terms like transfers, pressure, states, matrix, substratum and press are reconsidered. As a result, methods like ‘Print Performance’ emerged, with the intention to embody both the print process and content. Alejandro is particularly interested in the Latin American Diaspora within Canada and the USA. Alejandro is the Undergraduate Chair of the BFA Program at Queen’s University and the Print Media instructor.

Miret Rodriguez is a VLACC board member, art historian and co-founder of Curated Tastes, a one-of-a-kind art mediation company. She holds a MBA in art and culture management from the Superior School of Commerce in Paris. During her 5-year stay in Paris, she managed two Urban Art Galleries and the culture and wellbeing club of Microsoft EMEA. She moved back to Vancouver in 2018 with the goal to open the doors of galleries, museums and artists’ studios to anyone curious about art. She has experience in guiding visits and teaching art history in French, English and Spanish.

Rubén ‘Beny’ Esguerra arrived as a child in Tkaronto (Toronto, Canada) from Bacatá (Bogotá, Colombia) as a political refugee with his parents, who were receiving threats for their human rights activism. Today, Beny Esguerra is a JUNO nominated multi-instrumentalist/producer, spoken word poet, arts educator and community worker. In April 2021, he was honoured with the Ontario Arts Foundation Artist Educator Award given annually to an Ontario resident who exemplifies excellence in arts education and maintains an active arts practice. Beny is a Ph.D. (ABD) candidate in Musicology/Ethnomusicology specializing in Colombian traditional music and Hip Hop culture. His upcoming album–A New Tradition VOL 3–combines spoken word and hip hop with Latin rhythms and melodies set to be released in the fall of 2021.