Associate Professor (Retired), McMaster University, Hamilton, ON. Born: Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.
Since the start of his career at McMaster University, in 1967, Professor Gary Warner has taught courses on French African and Caribbean literature (which he initiated), on the French language, 17th Century literature, as well as on peace and international development.
Career: Dr. Warner has held many positions at McMaster University while making significant contributions in the areas of social justice: Director of the Arts & Science Program (2000-05 and 2010-11); Director, McMaster International, where he was responsible for promoting and facilitating international development and international connections for the university (1988-97); Co-Director, then Associate Director, Theme School International Justice & Human Rights (1992-94); appointed to the Ontario Council of University Affairs (1991-96); Associate Dean, Faculty of Humanities (1985-88); Chair, Department Romance Languages (1979-84).
Other: Director, Sierra Leone Program, CUSO (1970s); Ontario Representative, International Board of Directors, CUSO (late 1980s).
Community: Dr. Warner is active in his community and has served on several committees: Chair, Working Committee of Roundtable on Strengthening Hamilton’s Community; Board Chair, Settlement & Integration Services Organization; Co-Chair, Committee Against Racial Discrimination; Governing Council, Hamilton’s Centre for Civic Inclusion; Executive Committee, Hamilton Community Foundation; Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council.
Honours: Inclusion in Who’s Who in Black Canada (2nd edition); Citizen of the Year, City of Hamilton (2006); Member, Order of Canada (2005); Lifetime Achievement Award, McMaster Students’ Union (2004); co-recipient (with spouse), World Citizenship, Hamilton Mundialization Committee (2002); John C. Holland Award, Hamilton BHM (1998); Certificate for work in race relations, Mayor’s Committee on Race Relations (1994).
Works: In Black Images; Ethiopiques; Canadian Journal of African Studies; Theatre Research International; Presence Africaine.
Education: Doctorat, Universite de Caen, France (1966).
Heroes: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Mahatma Gandhi; Nelson Mandela.
Motto: Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
Favourite book? My favourite book is Gustavo Gutierrez’s, A Theology of Liberation. It has served as a moral compass for me since I first read it in the early 1970s.
Favourite quotes? “I do not believe the spiritual law works on a field of its own. On the contrary, it expresses itself only through the ordinary activities of life. It thus affects the economic, the social and the political fields.” – Mahatma Gandhi 2) “I cannot be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be.” – Satish Kumar 3) “Aimer, ce n’est pas se regarder l’un l’autre, mais regarder ensemble dans une même direction” – Saint-Exupery 4) “…to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” – Nelson Mandela
Given the chance, what would you love to do that you haven’t done yet? “I would love to enhance my guitar skills!
Who inspires you? People like Nelson Mandela who maintained their humanity and social vision despite the intense suffering and persecution they endured.
Why do you do what you do? Because I believe that we are all part of a community of life that aspires to wholeness.