Constructive and evidence based conversations

meet the plenary speakers

Pedro Antunes

The Conference Board of Canada

Pedro Antunes is the thought leader and spokesperson for the Conference Board’s suite of economic forecast products, as well as other reports and economic indicators that relate to Canada and its regions. Mr. Antunes has provided expert testimony before parliamentary committees. He makes numerous presentations on economic topics and dialogues with Canadian leaders, the public and media about issues important to Canada.

Mr. Antunes joined the Conference Board in 1991 after working with the Canadian Forecasting Group at the Bank of Canada. In addition to his contribution to regular forecast products, Mr. Antunes led research on the impact of demographic change on the financial sustainability of public health care, productivity and other issues affecting the long-term economic growth for Canada and its provinces. He also worked on several international projects, helping decision-makers in Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan and Ukraine develop appropriate forecasting and policy analysis tools.

Pedro is fluent in both official languages. He is married with one son and enjoys hikes with his dog and playing soccer. Mr. Antunes holds an M.A. (Economics) from Queen’s University and a B.A. (Honours Economics) from Bishop’s University.

Roseanne Archibald

Assembly of First Nations

AFN National Chief RoseAnne Archibald of Taykwa Tagamou Nation, is a strength-based and heart-centered leader, with 31 years of experiences in First Nations politics.

RoseAnne is a third-generation Chief in her family whose leadership has been ground breaking and historical for women and youth. She was the first woman and youngest Chief elected for Taykwa Tagamou Nation (TTN) in 1990 at 23 years of age. She was also the first woman and youngest Deputy Grand Chief for Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) as well as the first female and youngest Grand Chief for Mushkegowuk Council. She served a second term as Chief of TTN, and a second term as NAN Deputy Grand Chief. For nine years, she ran a successful consulting business providing advice and guidance to First Nations leaders, and organizations, specializing in negotiations and facilitation. She returned to elected leadership in 2018 becoming the first woman Ontario Regional Chief leading the Chiefs of Ontario.

Education is a priority and essential to self-determination. RoseAnne holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree and was the first member of her community to complete a Master’s Degree (Humanities). She was awarded the prestigious “Canada 125 medal” for having “made a significant contribution to Canada” through her leadership. Positive and lasting change requires creative and innovative thinking and ways of being. RoseAnne balances her political life with creativity and art practice. She is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work focuses on political art, landscape and portrait photography, music as well as documentary short films that reflect a personal passion for social justice, political engagement and community building. RoseAnne has dedicated her adult life to serving and striving to create a better quality of life and future for First Nations people. She represents a generational change, bringing diplomacy and encouraging unity in the First Nations political system, while breaking down barriers since the start of her political career. As Ontario Regional Chief, RoseAnne worked tirelessly and collaboratively with the Ontario Leadership Council over her three-year term. She made positive changes during her term including a strong and effective pandemic response that focused on saving lives and preserving the health and well-being of First Nation citizens; improved relationships with the federal and provincial governments; and established a Council of Elected Women Chiefs and the creation of an Economic Growth and Prosperity Table. She was elected to Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief in July 2021.

Susan Black

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.

Balgis Osman Elasha

African Development Bank

Dr. Balgis Osman Elasha is a Climate Change and Green Growth Expert with African Development Bank. Osman-Elasha’s work has received global attention. A lead author of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports, she was among a select few to represent the group in 2007 in Oslo to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, next to Al Gore. The following year, she was awarded the UN’s Champions of the Earth Prize.

The US State Department invited her to the United States in 2008 to take part in a science diplomacy programme, where she gave lectures on climate change at several American universities. Balgis Osman Elasha holds a PhD in Forestry Science, Master in Environmental Science and a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) with honor in Forestry and Agricultural Science. She has more than 17 years’ experience in different climate change issues with special focus on vulnerability and adaptation assessment related to African countries and the Middle East. Her achievements were the result of years of hard work and persistence. Like women studying the sciences everywhere, she was among a small group at her university.Osman-Elasha began her career doing forestry work at Sudan’s Forests National Corporation in the 1980s. Her Fuelwood Development for Energy project emphasized community forestry, fuel conservation, and sustainable forest management. As part of that project, her team distributed improved cookstoves to reduce firewood use. She credits this work with having introduced her to the climate variability experienced in rural areas of Sudan, and to the problems faced by the rural communities.

Osman-Elasha began her climate change work as a researcher in the Climate Change Unit at Sudan’s Higher Council for Environment and Natural Resources. Her work there included conducting greenhouse gas analyses, which caused her to realize the link between rising greenhouse gases and deforestation in Sudan. Her research there addressed climate change vulnerabilities and adaptations in drought-prone regions.

Patricia Morales Errázuriz

CEO of Filantropía Cortés Solari (FCS)

Patricia Morales Errázuriz is the CEO of Filantropía Cortés Solari (FCS) a philanthropic group that promotes comprehensive and sustainable development in Chile through Science, Education and Conservation. Ms. Morales Errázuriz also holds a Master of Arts in Economics, from the Paris School of Economics (France), with university teaching experience in International Economics and Econometrics. In 2017, Ms. MORALES ERRÁZURIZ was awarded the 2017 Mujer Opina award for promoting women’s leadership in public policy and politics.

Ms. Morales Errázuriz has served as General Manager of Cortés Solari Philanthropy and Executive Director of Progresa Foundation Progressive Think Tank. Moreover, she has extensive experience in environmental education, engagement between the public, private and civil society sectors for the development of sustainable solutions, and public policy formulation that integrates social, environmental, cultural and economic perspectives. Since 2013, Morales Errázuriz has been a regular panelist in different radio programs and she is a former manager of the Latin Jazz group Infusion.  She is also a member of Pollens, interdisciplinary think tank at the Ecole normale superieure in France.

Paul Genest

Power Corporation of Canada

Former Deputy Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs, Senior Vice President, Power Corporation of Canada and Power Financial Corporation.

Mr. Genest was appointed Senior Vice-President of Power Corporation and Power Financial in 2016.His background includes government, academia and business. He served in a number of portfolios as a deputy minister in the Ontario Government, including with Intergovernmental Affairs and Francophone Affairs.

Mr. Genest was deputy minister responsible for oversight of the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games held in Toronto in 2015. He has served in the federal government as Director of Policy and Research in the Office of the Prime Minister of Canada. He held executive positions with the Council of Ontario Universities and Bell Canada and has served as adjunct professor at Glendon College, York University. A Fellow at the Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Ryerson University, Mr. Genest is an active volunteer with a number of organizations including Pine River Institute, which provides residential rehabilitation for teenagers, the Nature Conservancy of Canada – Ontario Region, Business for the Arts, and the Alliance Française de Toronto. A champion of diversity, he has been honoured for his advocacy for the rights of the LGBTQ community. He is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Mr. Genest holds a Bachelor of Arts, Honours (graduating cum laude) in English and Philosophy from the University of Guelph, a Masters in Philosophy from the University of Ottawa, and a PhD in Philosophy from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. He is also a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School and has completed the Rotman School of Management, Institute of Corporate Directors – Directors Education Program (ICD.D).

Jill Hanass-Hancock

South African Medical Research Council

Prof. Dr. Jill Hanass-Hancock is Senior Specialist Scientist at South African Medical Research Council. She is a scientist focusing on the vulnerabilities and needed adaptations to enhance inclusion of people with disabilities in HIV and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) programmes in Southern Africa. She has investigated accessibility of sexuality education, inclusive and integrated HIV and SRHR care and the integration of rehabilitation services into key public health programmes such as HIV. 

She has a strong policy and programme development background and her work does not only contribute to science but also informs local, national government and the work of international agencies such as UNAIDS or UNFPA. She has been ranked in the top 1% of scholars writing about disabled persons over the past 10 years – a level deemed as “Expert.” Quoting Jill: “The current COVID-pandemic has highlighted the inequality between those with and without disabilities again. The pre-pandemic inequalities deepened and the needs of people with disabilities were only an afterthought. Under crisis conditions the SRHR needs of women with disabilities have become a forgotten agenda as we are dealing here with several levels of marginalization: COVID and its inequality in responses, disability and gender”. She will be speaking in the plenary on Mental Health and disability – particularly with perspectives on how those experiencing challenges related to disability and mental health have already faced an enormous impact from the pandemic and are likely to continue doing so as Covid-19 casts its long shadow.

Ricardo Hausmann

Harvard’s Growth Lab

Dr. Ricardo Hausmann (born 1956) is the Rafik Hariri Professor of the Practice of International Political Economy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is the founder and director of the Growth Lab, dedicated to do fundamental and applied research on growth, productive transformation and social inclusion and help countries, regions and cities with their development strategies. He is also a former Venezuelan Minister of Planning of Venezuela and a former Chief Economist of the Inter-American Development Bank where he founded the Research Department. He co-introduced several regularly used concepts in economics including original sin, growth diagnostics, self-discovery, dark matter, the product space, and economic complexity.

His work has been published in some of the top journals in the world, including Science, Journal of Development Economics, Journal of International Economics, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of International Money and Finance, Economic Policy, and the Journal of Economic Growth, among many others. These publications have been cited more than 42,000 times, and their main findings have been highlighted in mass media outlets such as The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

Since launching the Growth Lab in 2006, Hausmann has served as principal investigator for more than 50 research initiatives in nearly 30 countries, informing development policy, growth strategies, and diversification agendas at the national and sub-national levels.

Kate Higgins

Canadian Council for International Cooperation

Kate is an accomplished leader and experienced manager, with over fifteen years of experience in international development, civil society, think tanks, and government. She was previously Deputy Executive Director of Oxfam Canada, where she has led the organization’s work on strategy and communications and spearheaded a number of organizational change initiatives. Before joining Oxfam, Kate worked for CIVICUS, a global alliance of civil society organizations, where she led strategy development and the organization’s work on data, sustainable development and citizen action.

She has held senior policy and research roles at the North-South Institute and the Overseas Development Institute, leading work on chronic poverty, protracted conflict, women’s economic justice and international assistance and building several global, multi-stakeholder initiatives. Kate started her career at the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), working on the Indonesia and Papua New Guinea programs. She has lived and worked in Australia, Canada, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Thailand and Uganda and has undertaken missions in several other countries. Kate has degrees in economics and development studies from the University of Oxford and the University of Sydney.

Carol Ann Hilton

The Indigenomics Institute

Carol Anne Hilton, MBA is the CEO and Founder of The Indigenomics Institute. Carol Anne is a recognized First Nation’s business leader with an international Master’s Degree in Business Management (MBA) from the University of Hertfordshire, England. Carol Anne is of Nuu chah nulth descent from the Hesquiaht Nation on Vancouver Island.

Carol Anne was recently appointed as a senior advisor on the Canadian Federal Economic Growth Council. The Council advises the Federal Finance Minister Morneau on Canadian economic growth. Carol Anne was also recently appointed to the BC Economic Task Force advising the Ministry of Jobs, Trade, and Technology. Carol Anne is currently authoring ‘Indigenomics- a Global Power Shift’ Carol Anne has led the establishment of a line of thought called indigenomics- building and developing local Indigenous economies.

Carol Anne’s work has been recognized with a BC Aboriginal Outstanding Business Achievement Award, a Creating Wealth Award from the National Indigenous Council of Elders and Business of the Year Award from the Nuu chah nulth Economic Development Corporation. Carol Anne currently serves as Director on the McGill University Institute of the Study of Canada and the National Canadian Community Economic Development Network and is also serving as a juror on the Smart Cities Challenge. Carol Anne is an instructor at Simon Fraser University’s Community Economic Development Program and a faculty lead at the Banff Center’s Indigenous Business Program where she was also a Fleck Fellow.


Former Governor General

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.

Ilona Kickbusch

Global Health Centre

Professor Ilona Kickbusch is the Founder and Chair of the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. Professor Kickbusch key interests relate to the political determinants of health, health in all policies and global health. She is the founder of the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute, Geneva. She advises countries and organizations on their global health strategies and trains health specialists and diplomats in global health diplomacy. She continues to advise the WHO. She is a member of the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board. She acts as Council Chair to the World Health Summit in Berlin and is vice-president of the European Health Forum Gastein.

She has been involved in German G7 and G20 activities relating to global health and the global health initiatives of the German EU presidency in 2020. She chaired the international advisory board for the development of the German global health strategy. She publishes widely and serves on various commissions and boards. She initiated the @wgh300 list of women leaders in global health. She is program chair of the leaders in health network SCIANA. She is co-chair of a Lancet FT Commission on “Governing health futures 2030: growing up in a digital world.” She continues to advise the World Health Organization. Professor Kickbusch has had a distinguished career with the World Health Organization.

She was key instigator of the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion and WHOs Healthy Cities Network and has remained a leader in this field. She was the director of the Global Health Division at Yale University School of Public Health and responsible for the first major Fulbright Programme on global health. She has published widely and received many prizes and recognitions. She has been awarded the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesverdienstkreuz) in recognition of her “invaluable contributions to innovation in governance for global health and global health diplomacy.

Lord Jack McConnell

House of Lords of the United Kingdom

The Rt Hon Lord Jack McConnell served as First Minister of Scotland between 2001 and 2007, before being appointed to the House of Lords as Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale in 2010. He became a Vice-President for Unicef UK in 2015. 

Lord McConnell received the degree of Doctor of the University of Stirling in October 2008, in recognition of his contribution to public affairs. He was the Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Peacebuilding from 2008 to 2010, and Education Adviser to the Clinton Hunter Development Initiative in Malawi and Rwanda. Lord McConnell is the Founder and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the McConnell International Foundation. He is involved as an ambassador, patron and board member of several international and UK-based non-government organisations.

Amina Mohammed

United Nations

Deputy Secretary-General Executive Office of the Secretary-General (EOSG) Ms. Amina J. Mohammed is the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group.

Prior to her appointment, Ms. Mohammed served as Minister of Environment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria where she steered the country’s efforts on climate action and efforts to protect the natural environment. Ms. Mohammed first joined the United Nations in 2012 as Special Adviser to former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with the responsibility for post-2015 development planning.

She led the process that resulted in global agreement around the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the creation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Ms. Mohammed began her career working on the design of schools and clinics in Nigeria. She served as an advocate focused on increasing access to education and other social services, before moving into the public sector, where she rose to the position of adviser to four successive Presidents on poverty, public sector reform, and sustainable development. Ms. Mohammed has been conferred several honorary doctorates and has served as an adjunct professor, lecturing on international development. The recipient of various global awards, Ms. Mohammed has served on numerous international advisory boards and panels. She is the mother of six children and has two grandchildren.


Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations

The Honourable Bob Rae, P.C., C.C., O.Ont., Q.C., former Premier of Ontario, and former interim Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, was born in 1948, in Ottawa.

Mr. Rae received his Honours Bachelor of Arts in Modern History in 1969 from the University of Toronto, a Master of Philosophy as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University in 1971, and graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 1977. Mr. Rae’s passion for social justice dates back to his early days in student politics and community service. Between 1978 and 2013, he was elected 11 times to federal and provincial parliaments, and served as the Premier of Ontario from 1990 to 1995.

Returning to the practice of law in 1996 as a partner at Goodmans LLP, Mr. Rae led the restructuring of the Canadian Red Cross, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and also chaired the board of the Royal Conservatory of Music. He also wrote Lessons to be Learned on the Air India bombing, and Ontario: A Leader in Learning, a study of the higher education system for the Government of Ontario. Mr. Rae stepped down as a Member of Parliament in 2013 to return to legal practice and, in particular, to work with Indigenous communities and continue his work in education, governance, and human rights. He currently serves as senior counsel at Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP. In addition to his legal practice, Mr. Rae is a Fellow of the Forum of Federations, Massey College, and the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights. He teaches at the University of Toronto in the School of Public Policy and Governance, the Faculty of Law, Massey College, and Victoria University. He is also a mediator and arbitrator with ADR Chambers. He is the author of five books. In October 2017, Mr. Rae was appointed as Canada’s Special Envoy to Myanmar. In this role, he engaged in diplomatic efforts to address the crisis in the country’s Rakhine State and wrote the report Tell Them We’re Human in 2018. In March 2020, he was named Canada’s Special Envoy on Humanitarian and Refugee Issues to continue the important work he started as Special Envoy to Myanmar, while also addressing other pressing humanitarian and refugee issues around the world. Bob Rae is a Privy Councillor, a Companion of the Order of Canada, a member of the Order of Ontario, and has numerous awards and honorary degrees from institutions in Canada and around the world. Along with music, reading, and writing, he loves tennis, golf, and fishing. He is married to Arlene Perly Rae. They have three daughters and five grandchildren and live in Toronto.

Shelagh Rogers

CBC Radio

Shelagh Rogers is a veteran broadcast-journalist at CBC Radio, currently the host of, and a producer for, The Next Chapter, the program devoted to writing in Canada. She has hosted other national radio programs such as This Morning, Sounds like Canada, The Arts Tonight and she was Deputy Host of Morningside with Peter Gzowski.

Off-air, Shelagh has dedicated herself to public service. She is a vocal advocate for recognizing mental health care as the same priority as physical health care, for adult literacy, and for a reckoning with the truth of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples. In 2010, Dr. Allen Benson, CEO of Native Counselling Services of Alberta, presented Shelagh with NCSA’s Achievement in the Aboriginal Community Award. In 2011, she was inducted as an Honorary Witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a life-changing honour. Also that year, she was named an Officer of the Order of Canada, for elevating the cause of adult literacy, fighting against the stigma of mental illness by sharing her own story of depression, and for promoting Canadian culture. Trent University named Shelagh The Jack Matthews Fellow for 2014. In 2016, she received the inaugural Margaret Trudeau Award for Mental Health Advocacy. She holds eight honorary doctorates from Canadian universities and is Chancellor Emeritus of the University of Victoria. In 2021, UVic’s Division of Student Affairs recognized Shelagh to the “honorary degree of Doctorate in Chancellation”, chancellation being the act and art of being a chancellor.

Shelagh co-edited the three books in the Aboriginal Healing Foundation’s “Speaking My Truth” series about residential schools, truth and reconciliation. In 2019, she was named an inaugural Library and Archives Canada Scholar, acknowledging “the outstanding contribution of individuals who have dedicated their lives to the creation and promotion of the country’s literary and historical heritage.” This spring, it was announced that Shelagh is the 2022 Symons Medallist, recognizing “an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to Canadian life.”She believes passionately in the power of dialogue and above all listening as a means to making positive societal change. Shelagh is a member of the Métis Nation of Greater Victoria, and is honoured to be participating in the Victoria Forum.

Oliver Schmidtke

University of Victoria

Dr. Oliver Schmidtke is a Professor in Political Science and History at the University of Victoria where he has also served as the director of the Centre for Global Studies in Victoria since 2011.

He received his PhD from the European University Institute in Florence and has been a JF Kennedy Fellow at Harvard University, a visiting scholar at Humboldt University Berlin, a F. Braudel Senior Fellow at the European University Institute, a Marie Curie Fellow at Hamburg University, and a research fellow at the Hamburg Institute for Advanced Study.

His research interests are in the fields of the politics and governance of migration, citizenship, nationalism, democracy, and populism. Oliver Schmidtke is a regular contributor to national and international media. He has published 15 authored & edited volumes and over 80 journal articles/ chapters.

Don Shafer

Veteran broadcaster/podcaster, settler scholar, and community activist

Don Shafer is a veteran broadcaster/podcaster, settler scholar, and community activist. He served as a cryptologist in the US Army, studied Psychology and English at the University of Texas and Communications and Journalism at the University of Southern California. As a lifetime learner he completed his master’s degree in the Humanities at Simon Fraser University in 2018, and is currently a PhD student with the Social Justice Institute at UBC, a sessional instructor at BCIT, City University, and UBC’s Climate Hub.

Don is the recipient of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, Lifetime Achievement Award for 2015 and was recognized for his work in media and in his community. His leadership was responsible for developing iconic radio brands across Canada such as CHOM FM, CHUM FM, Q107, CFOX FM, ROCK 101 as well as Roundhouse Radio. He was a pioneer in developing online interactive branding platforms and webcasting for the Toronto Star Newspaper Group. Don is strong supporter of community organizations promoting the important work that they do on and off the air. He has served on the boards of Variety the Children’s Charity, PFLAG, the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation, the Canadian, Ontario, and British Columbia Association of Broadcasters, and Advisory Boards of the University of British Columbia and The British Columbia Institute of Technology. He volunteers with Vancouver Co-op Radio and the Downtown Eastside Community Coordinated Response Network.

Don’s research at UBC explores the words we use and how people talk about climate change and its interconnectedness with settler colonialism, white supremacy, and other intersecting social justice issues. His work explores these intersections and how these conversational ecosystems influence our thinking and meaning-making. He argues that many of these issues sit on the same foundations and that there are tipping points in conversations that open up or shut down how we talk across difference, which include race, gender, culture, politics and climate. He wants to find out if we can learn to speak to individuals and communities from different social, economic, religious, political or cultural backgrounds and fill structural holes where we can build trust and bridges of understanding.

Sohaib Shahid

The Conference Board of Canada

Sohaib Shahid is the Director, Economic Innovation at The Conference Board of Canada. As part of CBoC’s Economic Forecasting Knowledge Area, Sohaib leads the Economic Innovation Team and their new economic product research and development initiatives.


Sohaib is an economic thought leader with experience in both the public and private sectors. Prior to joining the Board, he was a Senior Economist at TD Bank leading TD’s global economic forecast. He also worked as an Economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in Washington, DC. At both organizations, Sohaib worked on a wide variety of economic issues for a diverse set of countries.

When asked about what’s important to him in his role as Director of Economic Innovation, Sohaib didn’t hesitate:

“I’m very passionate about coaching my fellow colleagues and helping them enhance their skillset, so they can become Canada’s future leaders. By mentoring and training the next generation, we’ll continue to help solve some of the toughest problems Canadians face and make a difference in Canadians’ lives.”

Sohaib holds a MA and a PhD in Economics from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland

Kresse Wesling


Kresse Wesling MBE is a Canadian-born, Kent-based, multi-award winning environmental entrepreneur and Young Global Leader with a background in venture capital and significant start-up experience.

Kresse founded her first business, an environmental packaging alternatives company, in Hong Kong in 2002. By 2004 she launched this business in the UK and has since helped to build two other sustainable businesses; Babaloo, a mother and baby business and Yew Clothing, a line of eco-sports and casual wear.Then in 2005, Kresse and her partner James Henrit (Elvis) had a chance encounter with the London Fire Brigade where they learned that all of London’s damaged and decommissioned fire hoses were destined for landfill. Seeing the potential in the pillar box red heavy-duty material that the hoses were made from, the duo cut a deal with London Fire Brigade and set up Elvis & Kresse and started turning London’s fire hoses into luxury handbags. To give back they pledged to donate 50% of all profits from the Fire-hose Collection to The Fire Fighters Charity.

Kresse has also served as a Social Enterprise Ambassador for the UK Government and as a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader.

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