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The Victoria Forum 2024
The Victoria Forum 2024 - Bridging Divides: Turf, Trust and Truth

Day 3 - Plenary Session 1

August 30, 2022, 8:15-9:30 PST

Bridging Divides and Trust (Plenary)

LocationThe Farquhar Auditorium, University of Victoria – Ring Rd B115 (in-person and online)

Trust is the foundation for bridging divides between people who increasingly face various types of inequality related to their cultural, racial, and social backgrounds that affect their ability to perform their tasks and meet their daily challenges. It is widely recognized that trust between nations, between and among people and their institutions is critical to solving problems, overcoming challenges, and seizing opportunities. For example, recent studies have shown that in many places around the world, people are losing the trust in democracies that are crucial to their success. Therefore, it is our responsibility to create a better and safer world. One way of doing this is by sharing information and knowledge across academic disciplines, which can help break down cultural, social, and political barriers, promote peace and prosperity and build trust among global communities.

In this plenary session, Susan Black, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Conference Board of Canada, will interview The Right Honourable David Johnston on how trust can shape the future well-being and prosperity of the world.


  • Susan Black image

    Susan Black

    The Conference Board of Canada
    Susan Black image

    Susan Black

    Chief Executive Officer The Conference Board of Canada

    Susan Black is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Canada’s leading independent applied research organization. Since 2018, she has led a successful transformation at The Conference Board of Canada and has focused its efforts on providing rigorous research insights to Canadians across nine knowledge areas.

    Susan has over 30 years’ experience across sectors and industries. As President of Catalyst Canada, CHRO at Intact Financial and SVP, People at Holt Renfrew, Susan has dedicated her career to advocating for inclusive environments, stronger employee engagement, and opportunities for women in the workplace.

    Susan believes in the power of people and expanding her horizon on a daily basis.

    Susan holds a BA from Yale, has an MBA from Harvard, and obtained a PhD in organizational studies from York University.


  • David Johnston image

    David Johnston

    Former Governor General of Canada
    David Johnston image

    David Johnston

    Former Governor General of Canada

    David Johnston was born in Copper Cliff, near Sudbury, Ontario on June 28, 1941, the son of Dorothy Stonehouse and Lloyd Johnston, the retail manager of a local hardware store.

    Following the family’s move to Sault Ste. Marie, he attended Sault Collegiate Institute and played under-17 hockey with future hockey hall of famers Phil and Tony Esposito. Mr. Johnston went on to attend Harvard University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1963, twice being selected to the All-American hockey team on his way to being named to Harvard’s athletic hall of fame. He later obtained Bachelor of Laws degrees from the University of Cambridge and Queen’s University. In 1964, he married his high school sweetheart, Sharon Johnston, with whom he has five daughters. They are grandparents to 14 grandchildren.

    Mr. Johnston’s professional career began in 1966 as assistant professor in the Queen’s University law faculty. He moved on to the University of Toronto’s law faculty in 1968, and became dean of Western University’s law faculty in 1974. He was named principal and vice-chancellor of McGill University in 1979, serving for fifteen years before returning to teaching as a full-time professor in the McGill Faculty of Law. In June 1999, he became the fifth president and vice-chancellor of the University of Waterloo, serving until 2010 when he was asked to serve as Canada’s 28th governor general. Throughout his career, Mr. Johnston has served on numerous provincial and federal task forces and committees, as well as on the boards of a number of public companies. He was president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (now Universities Canada) and of the Conférence des recteurs et des principaux des universités du Québec. He was also the founding chair of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, and he chaired the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, the federal government’s Information Highway Advisory Council and was the first non-American to chair Harvard’s Board of Overseers. Mr. Johnston is the author or co-author of more than 25 books, including new editions, and he holds honorary doctorates from more than 25 universities and learning institutions in Canada, China and India. He was invested as an officer of the Order of Canada in 1988 and promoted to companion, the Order’s highest level, in 1997. On October 1, 2010, Mr. Johnston was sworn in as the 28th governor general since Confederation. His motto, CONTEMPLARE MELIORA, meaning “To envisage a better world,” refers to his belief in the abilities of all Canadians to imagine and create a smarter, more caring nation and contribute to a fairer, more just world. The motto appears on his coat of arms along with a crest, arms and supporters reflecting the priorities of his mandate. In the Mr. Johnstons’s view, a smart nation is one that learns from the past, embraces the future and looks to the world with confidence and respect, while a caring nation recognizes that the measure of any society’s success lies in its ability to help others, particularly the vulnerable and marginalized among us. Together with Sharon Johnston, he focused his mandate on strengthening the pillars of learning and innovation, philanthropy and volunteerism and families and children. Mr. Johnston has inspired and launched a number of major new programs and initiatives, including My Giving Moment and the Governor General’s Innovation Awards. He revitalized the Caring Canadian Award program which recognizes individuals who volunteer their time to help others and, with Her Majesty The Queen’s approval, he supported the creation of the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers, an official Crown honour which incorporates and replaces the Caring Canadian Award. Mr. Johnston also supported the introduction of the Polar Medal, a program that replaces the Northern Medal, to celebrate Canada’s northern heritage and recognize achievement in the polar regions and in Canada’s North. Additionally, he established the Rideau Hall Foundation as a means of strengthening the institution’s ability to serve Canadians through a range of initiatives linked to leadership, education, innovation and giving. In keeping with his role and responsibilities as governor general, Mr. Johnston has visited hundreds of cities and small towns from coast to coast to coast during his mandate. He has represented Canada on more than 40 missions abroad. In March 2015, Mr. Johnston accepted a prime ministerial request to extend his mandate by two years, until September 2017.

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