Abdul Qaiyum Lodhi
He was a sociologist, educator and a literary enthusiast. He was a sterling champion of human rights and social justice. Born in Pakistan, he attended public school and university earning a Masters of Arts in Sociology from Punjab University in Pakistan in 1962 following his first degree in the natural sciences. After immigrating to Canada, he earned a second Masters of Arts in Sociology from the University of Toronto. Following this, he worked toward a doctoral degree, also in Sociology, from the University of Toronto. He completed his PhD in 1971.
Dr. Lodhi's teaching career in Canada began in 1970 and took him to five different universities. He was a distinguished teacher, scholar and mentor at St. Thomas University from 1984 to 1991, moving through the ranks of assistant professor to full professor in a mere seven years. In addition to teaching and research, in which he created strong interests in his students, he earned distinction as the main co-founder of the Atlantic Human Rights Centre, the designer of St. Thomas University's certificate program in Criminology and Social Justice and the recipient of the annual Human Rights Award from the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission in 1989.
Concerned with the development of the person in the truest sense, Dr. Lodhi wanted to end peoples' inhumanity towards others. He taught about human rights, social justice, the reduction of prejudice and discrimination, anti-racist education and the promotion of equality for all those who, because of a different or differing condition, are relegated to perdition. He did this in a positive and appealing way but above all, he lived it and reflected a model that served as a catalyst for change and growth. He was deeply spiritual and highly magnanimous. Part of his appeal stemmed from his simplicity and love in dealing with colleagues, friends and students. All of those who worked with him through the Atlantic Human Rights Centre can attest to the fact that the experience with him has been an education in itself.
Dr. Lodhi was certainly pleased and perplexed at the concept of "human" practice, and to him "human rights" were the natural outgrowth. Signs of progress were present at the time but there was still much to be done. In one of his papers, published in his last co-edited book, Human Rights: Issues and Trends (1993), he pleaded for a turn around in human rights in developing countries.
His vision of peace and understanding among peoples, underscoring the celebration of their similarities through respect and acceptance lives on. The Dr. Abdul Qaiyum Lodhi Memorial Lecture and workshop series at St. Thomas University are inspired by and reflect his vision.