Greatest Learning Comes From Those Least Like Us

When Danny Graham was a defence lawyer he discovered, to his surprise, he really liked his clients. Everybody has a story to tell. If you can hear the story, you can learn and, in fact, you can bridge difference.

The awareness that those who are least like us have the most to teach us was heightened when his first child was born – imperfectly perfect with Downs Syndrome – as Danny had to adjust and readjust his expectations of parenting, his expectations of what his child would be like.

Danny Graham

Danny Graham

As he moved into restorative justice work – sparked by the discovery that he liked his defence clients, the understanding dawned that there were things only people at polar opposites – like a perpetrator and a victim –  could give each other. It was in the sharing of stories (worldviews or perspectives) that closure happened for many, that they could move on, that they could heal.

Different from me, different from you, does not mean less than. It just means different. In this Tedx Talk, Danny offers personal stories of parenting, restorative justice and politics – sharing his vulnerability, passion and worldview.

Danny and I became friends in 2005 as he was leaving politics. We each dedicated a significant amount of time to Envision Halifax over a four year period, inspired by its mission to ignite a culture of civic engagement, a mission still alive in what is now Engage Nova Scotia. In our conversations about this and other work, it is easy to see the alignment with the focus of Worldview Intelligence which creates the conditions and opportunities for learning from and with those least like us.

Danny Graham

Over a twenty year period, Danny Graham has held senior positions in business, law, government and politics. He is currently a Special Advisor to McInnes Cooper on business matters and the firm’s Corporate Social Responsibility Program. Since its inception in 2009, Danny has been instrumental in developing the CSR Program that includes environmental stewardship, community engagement, volunteer support and a pro bono program.

He is an experienced litigator, having been lead counsel in cases at all levels of court, including before the Supreme Court of Canada. He was Vice President of the Canadian Bar Association in Nova Scotia, and was on the National Executive of the CBA Criminal Justice Section.

Danny has been a senior advisor on justice matters to Justice Canada and the United Nations Development Programme, as well as a consultant to the governments of Thailand, Jamaica and Ukraine. He is also on the Board of Governors at St. Francis Xavier University.

In Nova Scotia, he is working with businesses, communities and government agencies on a variety of strategic matters – ranging from corporate social responsibility, to citizen engagement, to aboriginal rights and innovative leadership. He is currently Nova Scotia’s Chief Negotiator in the Made in Nova Scotia Process – the comprehensive rights reconciliation process amongst the Mi’kmaq, the Province and Canada.

Danny was the leader of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party and the MLA for Halifax Citadel in the Nova Scotia Legislature. He was the founding chair of the Nova Scotia Restorative Justice Program and Envision Halifax, and has been recognized by various organizations and news publications for his public and community leadership.

He currently leads Engage Nova Scotia, a grassroots citizen led initiative that is inviting Nova Scotia communities, businesses and institutions into discussions and actions about how to shape a new future for our province and is a member of the One Nova Scotia coalition.

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