37th Annual Nash Memorial Lecture
Discerning a Path Toward Hope: A Liberal Arts University’s Journey with Omar Khadr
In September of 2008 students and faculty at The King’s University, Edmonton were introduced to the Omar Khadr case. They were told that it was hopeless. In the seven years that followed, the community at King’s wrestled with that hopelessness and learned a few lessons in the process. This is a story about how a university community learned how to connect their faith to their learning and their theory to their practice in a way that directed them toward hope. It is a story that took members of the community to Guantanamo Bay, and into a series of Canadian prisons. Ultimately, what began as an effort to teach King’s students ended with Omar Khadr becoming a King’s student.
Arlette Zinck is an associate professor of English and dean of the Faculty of Arts at The King’s University, Edmonton. Her areas of teaching and research include 17th century literature, focusing on the works of John Bunyan. Beginning in September of 2008, she served as faculty advisor to a group of students who became advocates for justice in the Omar Khadr case. She also coordinated a team of volunteer academics who devised and delivered curriculum for Mr. Khadr, both when he was in Guantanamo Bay prison and during his incarceration in Canada. Dr. Zinck and her colleagues continue to volunteer their services to The Correctional Services of Canada, where they teach a small group of inmates at the maximum-security prison, The Edmonton Institution. In 2012, Dr. Zinck was awarded The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of her work with Omar Khadr.