Join us for a night of hope; the 4th Daughters for Life Gala Dinner 2016, helping young women across the Middle East achieve their potential through education.

The 4th Daughters for Life Gala Dinner will honour a number of prominent and influential people who have made significant contributions toward the betterment of our world. Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai will be awarded the 2016 Courage and Inspiration Luminary Award. The Trailblazer Luminary Award will go to the writer Maria Campbell while husband and wife, Stephen Lewis and Michele Landsberg, will be awarded the Life Achievement Luminary Award. This year’s gala is building on the success of our previous three galas, in which we raised funds for the Foundation’s educational programs and awareness for our initiatives within the community.

Veteran Israeli Shlomi Eldar, the Arab affairs journalist for Israel’s Channel 10 will be our Guest Speaker, sharing his insights on the power of education and promoting peace through education. Mr. Eldar has fielded the call while live on air on Channel 10 in January 2009 from Dr. Abuelaish just after his three daughters and niece had died after his flat was shelled in Gaza.

The evening will also highlight the work of the Foundation since it began in 2010. And who better to do that than one of the Foundation’s graduates, Loureen Sayej, who will share her experiences.

Well-known radio personality, Erin Davis, the host of the Morning Show on 98.1 CHFI will MC the gala.

During the evening, there will be music by The Royal Conservatory and an aerial art and circus performance by Angola Murdoch of Lookup Theatre and Holly Treddenick . In addition, an auction will be held including a painting by one of Canada’s leading contemporary artists, Charles Pachter, and on the night, live painting by Mike Hammer, and more.

Let’s join together to help more young women from the Middle East reach for their dreams!

Luminary Awardees


Malala Yousafzai — DFL Gala 2016 Courage and Inspiration Luminary Awardee
Eighteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest-ever Nobel laureate. Malala came to the world’s attention after she was shot in 2012 by the Taliban for her efforts in promoting girls’ education in Swat Valley. Pakistan subsequently ratified its first Right to Education Bill. For her education expertise and courage to speak out, Ms. Yousafzai was a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.
We are pleased to confirm Malala’s parents, Tor Pekai Yousafzai and Ziauddin Yousafzai, will be receiving the Courage and Inspiration Luminary Award on behalf of their daughter, Malala Yousafzai.
Mr. Yousafazi will also be speaking openly about girls equal opportunities for education and independent identities.

Maria Campbell  — DFL Gala 2016 Trailblazer Luminary Awardee
Maria Campbell is a writer, playwright, and teacher. She started her career in 1973 when she published her first book, Halfbreed. That book has become a literary classic and continues to be one of the most widely taught texts in Canadian literature. Campbell’s first professional play, Flight, was the first all-Aboriginal theatre production in Canada. Flight brought modern dance, storytelling, and drama together with traditional Aboriginal practices.
She has received numerous awards, including the National Aboriginal Achievement Award, and many more. She was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2008.
Campbell has worked as a volunteer with women and children in crisis for over forty years and is co-founder of a halfway house for women in Edmonton. Maria ‘s home, until recently, was a safe house for women and youth. She is the national Elder with the Walking with our Sisters Collective.

The couple Michele Landsberg & Stephen Lewis — DFL Gala 2016 Life Achievement Luminary Awardee
Michele is an articulate, tenacious, progressive and persuasive, award-winning former Toronto Star columnist Michele Landsberg is one of Canada’s best-known feminists and social justice activists. A fearless advocate for women and children over many decades, she uses words, in print and in person, to fight injustice, to attack oppressive power structures and policies, and to champion the cause of human rights, race and gender equality, peace and pluralism.
Stephen is a Professor of Distinction at Ryerson University and a Professor of Practice in Global Governance at the Institute for the Study of International Development at McGill University. He is the co-founder and board chair of the Stephen Lewis Foundation, and he is co-founder and co-director of AIDS-Free World, an international advocacy organization.
Michele Landsberg and Stephen Lewis have been happily married for 48 years.

Programme Participants


Gala MC — Erin Davis

Erin, a popular media figure in Toronto, who has been a fixture on the Canadian radio landscape for 30 years. At present, she hosts the Morning Show on 98.1 CHFI. She also appears regularly as an MC for many local organizations and events in Toronto. Erin has been saluted by the Empire Club, Variety Club, and Toastmasters International for her public service work, and was given a Paul Harris Fellowship by the Rotary Club in recognition of her public service.

Erin Davis

Guest of Honour — The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, OC, OOnt

Installed as the 29th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario in September 2014, the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell’s public eclectic service career has spanned provincial, federal, and international borders. From 1992 to 1998, she served as Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme and Under-Secretary- General of the UN. Upon returning to Canada, she became the founding President and CEO of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization and later, the President and CEO of the Council of Canadian Academies. As Lieutenant Governor, she has focused her mandate on the themes of “Ontario in the World” and sustainability in all its forms.

Dowdeswell_257 Colour Final

Special Guest — Conversation with Israeli journalist, Shlomi Eldar and Louise Dennys

Shlomi Eldar was working as a news anchor on Israel’s Channel 10 when Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish called to desperately plead for help after two tank shells hit his home in Gaza in January 2009, killing three of his daughters. He took the call live on air, and the footage has been seen worldwide. Shlomi writes expert commentary for the website Al-Monitor: The Pulse of the Middle East, and is a research fellow at the Taub Center for Israel Studies at New York University.


Louise Dennys will be the interviewer of Shlomi Eldar. At the age twenty-five, she began her own publishing house. She helped build Lester & Orpen Dennys into an internationally renowned Canadian publishing house. Today she is Executive Publisher and Executive Vice President of Penguin Random House Canada

Dennys, Louise HR

Meet Our Scholar — Loureen Sayej, introduced by Dr. Stephen Miles, Provost, New College of Florida

Outstanding Daughters for Life scholar and student ambassador, Loureen will speak about her experience and her future plans after graduation this year to continue her studies and pursue a master’s degree in human rights law. She would like to eventually return to her native Palestine to work with the United Nations or with a non-government organization that advocates the rights of women.

Loureen Sayej

The voices of young girls matter   Hannah Alper

Hannah Alper is a 13 years Canadian activist, blogger, and motivational speaker who addresses issues such as the environment, anti-bullying, and social justice. She will be talking about what are young Canadian women looking up to.

Hannah Alper

Auctioneer — Milena Protich

This year’s Gala Live Auction is curated by Milena Protich J.D., LL.M., is a partner at the law firm of Lee LLP in Kitchener, and practicing in the areas of civil and administrative litigation and charities law. She is also a mediator. Milena is a long-time supporter of DFL, having served on its Board of Directors from 2010 to 2014. She has acted as an auctioneer at gala events for a number of Toronto-based charities.

To help meet our fundraising goal, DFLGala2016 will be holding an art live auction as well as a silent one.

The art for auction includes works by one of Canada’s leading contemporary artists, Charles Pachter, and present a live painting performance by Mike Hammer. See auction items here…

Milena Protich


 Music by The Royal Conservatory

Violinists Julia Pandolfo and Lynn Sue-A-Quan,  will perform for the cocktail party together.  


Aerial Art and Circus Performance by Lookup Theatre 

A highlight of the gala will be the aerial art and circus performance of Angola Murdoch of Lookup Theatre, a charitable company based in Toronto. Angola has worked around the world, performing and providing social circus workshops. Her shows have received rave reviews from The Globe and Mail.

Holly Treddenick — choreographer and performer will join Angola in the performance.



Honorary Chairs

Michael Dan — Honourary Co-Chair

One of our honourary co-chairs, Michael Dan is a social entrepreneur and philanthropist who specializes in green energy projects and projects concerning human rights. He set up The Paloma Foundation, a charity based in Toronto, Ontario dedicated to homeless young people and to women’s health and education issues. Mr. Dan was awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for community service.


Suleiman Rashid — Honourary Co-Chair

Suleiman Rashid is one of our honourary co-chairs. A chartered accountant, Mr. Rashid, 76, comes from Haifa in Palestine. He is a partner in the firm Rashid & Quinney Professional Corporation in Vaughan, Ontario and until recently, served as a director of the public auto manufacturing company, Martinrea International Inc.