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Lily Pourzand

Iranian-Canadian Gender Equality Expert

Lily Pourzand is a Social Services leader with over a decade of leadership practices in the Violence Against Women sector. She is an expert in gender-based violence, equity, intersectionality, inclusivity, and accessibility. Advocating for a more equitable and accessible world for girls and women has been at the forefront of Lily’s personal and professional life. Lily is a first-generation immigrant woman who came to Canada for political safety and personal freedom in 1999 after graduating from law school in Tehran, Iran. She graduated from York University with a Bachelor’s in Women and Gender studies in 2007. Lily continued her education and graduated with a Master of Laws (LL.M.) from the Osgoode Hall Law School in 2010, focusing on the intersection of socio-legal barriers in women’s lives. In 2011 Lily established her blog on the Huffington Post Canada and utilized that platform to express her opinions on gender equality. Her pieces include but are not limited to;“International Day of the Girl Child: Looking to the Future of Women,” “Let’s Present the Voice of the First-Generation Immigrant Women in the Media,” and “Working Mothers in Canada: The Policies and Contradictions. In 2014, a short snap of her life narrative was featured in the Canadian Women’s Studies Journal titled “The Extraordinary Life of a Daughter of the Revolution.” Lily’s passion for change and growth motivated her to step into politics in 2014 when she announced her candidacy for the Federal Liberal Nomination from one of Toronto’s most diverse ridings. Her main goal was to run a grassroots campaign to engage more immigrant women in political discussions and debates.
During her political campaign, Lily was expecting her first child. Lily challenged socially
constructed stigmas around mothering and social-political activities. Since 2015, Lily has worked at Sandgate Women’s Shelter of York Region. She is the Director of Programs overseeing two emergency shelters for abused women and children and multi-disciplinary community programs.

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The Sedona Forum is the McCain Institute’s annual, high-level gathering of national and international leaders held each spring at the Enchantment Resort in the red rock country of Sedona, Arizona. Starting from the assumption of character-driven leadership and core democratic values, The Sedona Forum convenes thought-leaders, decision makers, activists and diverse experts to discuss approaches and solutions to real-world problems.
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