Karina Kesserwan

514 807-2213 #1

Karina Kesserwan was born north of the 59th parallel, in St. Petersburg , Russia. Coming from a multicultural background and having resided on three continents, she developed a keen interest for rapprochement of cultures from an early age.

Having received a Bachelor of Civil Law and a Bachelor of Laws from McGill University, Me Kesserwan obtained a Certificate in Mining Law from Osgoode Hall Law School.  She then pursued graduate studies in ethics and sociology and is currently writing a master’s thesis on aboriginal governance in the context of mining development.

Me Kesserwan began her career in a boutique firm specialized in aboriginal law. She then served as policy advisor to two Quebec Ministers responsible for Aboriginal Affairs. Her responsibilities included the Plan Nord file, the negotiations on the Agreement on Governance in the Eeyou Istchee James Bay Territory, and the relationships with the federal and other provincial governments. Her experience has allowed her to travel extensively throughout Northern Quebec and build trusting relationships with political and social leaders of aboriginal communities. She is also familiar with Northern Ontario, having resided in Sudbury, where she lectured at Laurentian University’s Department of Law and Justice.

Me Kesserwan set up her own practice in 2013, surrounding herself with a multidisciplinary network of experienced professionals.

She is fluent in French, English, and Russian, and has a basic knowledge of Spanish, Arabic, Italian and Brazilian Portuguese.

Conferences, presentations and publications :

  • "Beyond reconciliation: protecting and preserving Indigenous rights and knowledges", Jurist-in-Residence Program, Concordia University, Montreal (January 2020)
  • "Climate Crisis and Indigenous Refugees", Law Faculty of the McGill University, Montreal (January 2020)
  • "How can Indigenous knowledge help shape AI?", Food for Though Public Lecture Series, Université McGill », Campus McDonald, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue (November 2019)
  • "Relations entre les nations autochtones et l'industrie extractive : l'exemple canadien", Northern Forum on Sustainable Development, Yakoutsk, Russia (September 2019)
  • "How Can We Start AI Startups", Women in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (WinAIML), Montreal (April 2019)
  • "Diversité et gouvernance: défis et perspectives", Discussion table at the École des sciences de la gestion (ESG UQAM), Montreal (April 2019)
  • "Impact Benefit Agreements: a Canadian Example", Industrial development in the Arctic: a dialog between business and local communities international workshop, Moscow, Russia (April 2018)
  • "How can Indigenous knowledge shape our view of AI?", AI on a Social Mission Conference, Montreal (January 2018)
  • "Impact benefit agreements (IBAs) and free prior informed consent (FPIC) in Canada", the Influence of Governments and Business on the Self–determination of Indigenous Peoples in the Arctic Region in Today’s International Context conference, Dartmouth College, Institute of Arctic Studies, The Dickey Center for International Understanding, Hanover, USA (December 2017) 
  • "How to Start a Consultation Process to Achieve Your Goals", Consultation and Accommodation with Aboriginal Communities Conference, Montreal (November 2017)
  • "Communities First: Ensuring People-Driven Economic Development in Canada’s Arctic" (with Jean-François Arteau), Conference Board du Canada, Online training (March 2017)
  • "Les Autochtones : des partenaires incontournables", Cahier spécial "Perspectives et développement des affaires dans le Nord québécois", Journal Chefs d’entreprises (April 2013)
  • Caroline Briand and Karina Kesserwan, "Les obstacles à la compensation des victimes de violence devant les instances judiciaires civiles", Colloque international "Violence envers les femmes : réalités complexes et nouveaux enjeux dans un monde en transformation", Centre de recherche interdisciplinaire sur la violence familiale et la violence faite aux femmes (CRI-VIFF) (2011)
  • Caroline Chwojka and Karina Kesserwan, "Diversité culturelle et promotion des dialogues interculturel et interreligieux", Université francophone d’été à Paris "Tous différents tous égaux, l’Europe pour modèle?", Jeunes décideurs Europe (2007)
  • Iris Almeida and Karina Kesserwan, « Canada's Contribution To The Millennium Development Goals », Rights and Democracy (2005)
Other Activities and Distinctions:
  • Finalist in the Mercuriades competition, in the Emerging Talent category, Femme d’exception, 2019
  • Named of the 100 most influential Canadian women by the Women's Executive Network, 2018
  • Prix du Cèdre et de l’Érable, catégorie "Affaires et profession" of the Chambre de commerce et d’industrie Canada-Liban, 2015

  • Member of the Quebec delegation to the Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit, Washington, D.C., USA, 2015

  • Law firm start-up grant from the Young Bar of Montreal, 2014
  • Member of the Quebec delegation to the National Indigenous Women's Forum: Together we will end violence in Vancouver, British-Columbia, 2011