TORONTO, July 4, 2005: Dr. Karen Mock has decided not to seek another reappointment as the executive director and chief executive officer of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) when her second term expires in October of this year. Dr. Mock will have served four years as head of the national anti-racism organization which was founded as part of the Japanese Canadian Redress Agreement. She was its second chief executive since it was proclaimed by the federal government in 1996
"This was a very difficult decision to make," said Dr. Mock. "Anyone who knows me, knows that I love this job, and appreciate the significance, importance and potential of the CRRF as a leader and facilitator of antiracism work in this country. I was honoured and privileged to have been appointed to serve the Foundation in a leadership position, and I look forward to working collegially with the CRRF board and staff and our stakeholders across the country, but from a different vantage point. For now, we are working together to ensure a smooth transition for my successor."
In her letter dated June 19, 2005 to the Honourable Raymond Chan, the Minister of State for Multiculturalism, Dr. Mock noted: "As I approach retirement, I plan to devote the remaining years of my career primarily to anti-racism, human rights and equity education and training, in both the public and private sectors, and to spend somewhat less time on administrative and governance issues than I have had to in the past two years."
Dr. Mock was appointed to the Foundation in October 2001, by then Minister Hedy Fry, shortly after the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, which Karen attended as part of the official Canadian delegation. She took up her position only weeks after the September 11th tragedies that also escalated the challenges in domestic anti-racism and human rights work. Her mandate included, among many other things, increasing the national and international profile of the Foundation, and reaching out to racialized communities, institutions and organizations across the country.
An educational psychologist by training, well-known human rights advocate, multicultural/anti-racist educator and qualified by the Canadian courts as an expert in discrimination and hate group activity, Dr. Mock quickly embarked on a campaign to strengthen the profile, funding and capacity of the CRRF through an aggressive program of communicating to the media, community groups and other stakeholders in the anti-racism field the Foundation's position on a number of timely issues, including the victimization of Muslim and non-Muslim Canadians in the wake of September 11th.
In October 2002, under her leadership, the Foundation hosted a conference in Edmonton entitled, Strengthening the Agenda against Racism, that served as a catalyst for the development of Canada's recently released action plan against racism. In 2002 and 2003 she coordinated two summit meetings initiated by the Honourable Lincoln Alexander, then Chair of the Foundation, involving local, provincial and federal government officials and senior police personnel to work towards acknowledging and resolving the problem of racial profiling. By the fall of 2003, the Foundation's increased reputation resulted in CRRF's being invited by the UN in Geneva to serve as interlocutor for the civil society component of the Canadian visit of the Special Rapporteur on Racism. The Foundation staff received accolades from the UN, the Canadian government and the NGOs alike for coordinating such a thorough and inclusive program.
Dr. Mock also took the message of the CRRF across the country to various sectors -- from police services to workplaces and school boards, to commissions and parliamentary committee hearings, and to non-governmental organizations working in a variety of fields throughout Canada. She was the 2004 recipient of the Sikh Centennial Foundation Award for Civil Liberties Advocacy, and last year was named one of the 100 worldwide Freedom Heroes by the Freedom Center, the U.S. based Underground Railroad Museum.
"By increasing its profile and enhancing its capacity for education and training and anti-racism policy analysis, we are grateful Dr. Mock took the Canadian Race Relations Foundation to the next stage of its development. We wish her every success in her future endeavours and have no doubt she will continue to make an outstanding contribution towards anti-racism and equity for all Canadians," said Andrée Ménard, Acting Chair of the Foundation.
The executive director's position, which is a Governor-in-Council appointment, will now be tendered for applications. The Board will conduct interviews and make a final recommendation to the Minister of State for Multiculturalism in the coming months.