Former Executive Director of Manitoba Human Rights Commission heads museum facing own controversy

As a human rights lawyer, both in private practice and with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission, Isha Khan has championed many cases of individual discrimination. But in her new role as director of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, she is looking forward to taking on the wider role of advocating for the end of systemic discrimination.

In traditional law practice, she says, “you don’t get quite as many opportunities to be innovative or use education to bring about change” when it comes to fighting systemic discrimination, though she points out that she has handled such cases and seen success in championing individual cases of human rights violations. “But I was at a place in my career where I was ready to veer in that broader direction.”

The federal Minister of Canadian Heritage, Steven Guilbeault, announced in mid-August that Khan would be taking over as the museum’s director, starting her five-year term on Aug. 17. She is the first woman to hold the position on a non-interim basis since the museum opened in 2014. She is also the first person of colour in the job.

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