The Canadian Museum for Human Rights isn't scheduled to open for another two years, but already it is demonstrating the kind of impact it will have on the community and, more important, on dialogue on important historical and current issues.
Last week, the museum organized visits to Canada and Winnipeg of two world-renowned Ukrainian academics who have been conducting new research into the famine-genocide (Holodomor) that killed millions of Ukrainians in 1932-33 during the reign of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.
Events were held across Canada, including several in Winnipeg, generating national news coverage on important human rights questions.
This early effort shows that the museum is much more than a building or a collection of exhibition halls.
It is closer in definition to a university that seeks not only to educate young people, but generate dialogue in the community and among leading intellectuals everywhere.
In that sense, the museum will establish Winnipeg not just as the home of an iconic piece of architecture that represents in visual form the values and definition of Canada, but also as an intellectual capital where spirited discussions generate worldwide interest.
As the world grows more complicated, so will the challenge of understanding human rights and the duty of citizens to become engaged.