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Gail Asper


David Asper

Award-Winning Human Rights Program Breaks 10,000 Mark Across Canada

posted April 22, 2012

Winnipeg, MB. – April 12, 2012– Since its 1997 inception in Winnipeg,Manitoba, one of Canada’s largest educational initiativeshas now reached almost 10,500 high school students and chaperones in 118 citiesand communities spanning 12 provinces and territories.  In 2012 alone, 40schools and community organizations from 17 cities in eight provinces are participatingin The Asper Foundation’s award-winning Human Rights and HolocaustStudies Program.  Over 1,100 high school students and chaperones will travel tofreedom memorials and the renowned US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DCon four separate trips taking place between April and May 2012.  Students arealso required to volunteer for 16 hours each in their communities on publicprojects of their choosing which has resulted in over 110,000 hours ofvolunteer community service being carried out across Canada since the program wasestablished. The Asper Foundation contributes and raises, with partners, over amillion dollars annually to facilitate the participation of high schoolstudents and their chaperones in the program.

The program is aimed at promoting understandingand sensitizing Canadian high school students to the consequences of racism. Itdeals with topics ranging from racism to genocide and its extraordinary successin communities across Canadawas the inspiration for the original vision of the Canadian Museumfor Human Rights.  In 2004, theprogram received the Human Rights Award from the Nova Scotia Human RightsCommission “in recognition of (its) creative means of advancing andprotecting human rights and working to address racism in ourcommunities.”  The Asper Foundation also received the 2008 New BrunswickPioneer of Human Rights Award from the New Brunswick Human Rights Commissionwhich recognizes “human rights pioneers for their historic contributionsto the protection and promotion of human rights in Canada.”

Gail Asper,President of The Asper Foundation commented, “Very sadly, my mother Babs Asper passed away this past summer.  Now morethan ever I can’t help but be reminded of how she and my father IsraelAsper were tremendous believers in the powerful impact of this program on somany thousands of young people across Canada.  These students gain a broad anddeep understanding of human rights and are instilled with the knowledge thatthey have a personal responsibility to stand up and take action to ensure that everyone’srights are protected.

Program students havecommented, “I will stand strong for what I believe in and will take onthe responsibility to educate other people in the future”, “Thisprogram had a profound effect on me”, “It taught me that we are allresponsible to teach others about human rights”, “I am more willingto take action now instead of just talking about what should be done” and“It is up to us and our generation to pass our knowledge to futuregenerations.”

The program includes an18-hour education program on human rights and the Holocaust with an addedemphasis on American history, the civil rights movement and the currentsituation in the world today. The curriculum for the educational component ofthe program was developed specifically by human rights and Holocaust educatorsfor The Asper Foundation.  After the educational component is completed,students participate in a trip to Washington, DC where they spend several daysat the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and other important monuments relating tohuman rights and freedom. 

The program is proud toenter into its fourth year of going green. With over 1,100 high school studentsand chaperones from across Canadatravelling to Washington, DC each year, The Asper Foundation recognizesthe real need for the program to help alleviate the effects of its share ofcarbon dioxide emissions.  A donation is being made once again to Tree Canada,a not-for-profit, charitable organization established in 1992 to plant treesfor non-commercial purposes. Tree Canadais a leader in promoting the value of urban forests in Canada and has tree-planting sites inall 10 provinces.  As well, adonation is being made once again to the Jewish National Fund of Canada’sGo Neutral program.  Established in 1901, the Jewish National Fund is anot-for-profit, charitable organization that has helped capture approximately 110 million tons ofcarbon by planting more than 240 million trees in Israel and turning 250,000acres of arid land into sustainable forest.

The Asper Foundation isthe founding member of a consortium comprising private and public institutions thatspearheaded the establishment of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights asa Canadian national Museum in March 2008.  Construction began 2009 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The Museum has made groundbreaking history as it will be the largest humanrights institution and centre for education in the world today.  It willexplore the subject of human rights and its purpose is to promoteunderstanding, respect and to encourage reflection, dialogue and action.

The AsperFoundation was established in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canadain 1983 to build upon the philanthropic objectives of Dr. Israel Asper and theAsper family.  Itundertakes and develops major initiatives in the areas of culture, education,community development and human rights locally, nationally and internationally.

For coverage of the program or more information, mediaare asked to contact Mr. Jeffrey Morry, 204-989-5539,e-mail at [email protected]  For more information on the program, visit For information on The Asper Foundation, Forinformation on the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, visit


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