Virtual Victoria Forum Program and Registration

Please join us at the 2020 Virtual Victoria Forum on November 12, 13 and 19. This year’s Forum focuses on understanding the long-term implications of the pandemic and developing solutions and responses to it. Our world is divided in many ways and along different fault lines. The 2020 Forum will focus on ways to bridge economic divides, social divides and environmental divides.

Program

Thursday, Nov 12, 2020

All times are in Pacific Time Zone (PT)

8:30am – 10:15am | Welcome and Opening Plenary

  • Territorial Acknowledgement
  • Welcome Remarks
  • Opening Plenary

Speakers

Details to be announced shortly

10:15am – 11am | Transition & Networking

10:30am – 12pm | Roundtables

Major challenges facing youth (unemployment, modern slavery, forced marriage, erosion of rights and citizenship) have been made even greater by the impact of Covid-19. Youth, and especially young women, are being impacted in various ways including significant gender wage gaps and occupational segregation between young women and men, and an increase in unpaid care and household work. Greater numbers of youth are experiencing mental health challenges and rising anxiety. Loneliness, isolation and fear of the uncertain can be paralyzing, and severely impact youths’ (and adults) ability to strive and for their future development. We need urgent and targeted policy responses to prevent lost opportunities and further youth exclusion, but we also need to engage youth on what they need if they are to be supported, included and empowered to navigate these uncertain times. In this roundtable we will explore the nature of these crisis through a solutions-oriented lens and identify what we can do to bring about positive change. We will do this by engaging participants on four dimensions of crisis – opportunity; stability; protection; and citizenship – to better understand lived experience of youth. Together we will explore tangible solutions that are addressing these challenges via three key questions:

  1. How can we better understand the transformations and interventions that underpin job creation but also account for the opportunities, stability, protection and citizenship dimensions of the COVID-19 crisis, and its generational, racial and gendered dynamics?
  2. 3What do youth today need to thrive in a changing world, how do they exercise agency as young local-global citizens and which skills do they need to ensure they are active agents of change?
  3. How and in which ways do young people mobilise to resist and navigate barriers of economic uncertainty and the future of work?

Speakers

Details to be announced shortly

The COVID-19 pandemic has not shone a favorable light on Western democracies. As of October 5, eleven of the top twenty countries in the world, in terms of deaths per capita, were European or North American democracies, and another nine were Latin American democracies. Meanwhile, China, one of the world’s most coercive states, has, for all intents and purposes, eliminated the disease within its borders. Democracies’ widespread failure to effectively address the pandemic is mirrored by policy failures in other areas, most notably on the critical issue of climate change. Not a single democracy has reduced carbon emissions at anything close to the rate required to avoid a climate catastrophe. (To be fair, no non-democracies have succeeded in implementing such reductions either.)

The session will consider the weaknesses of democracies as they relate to solving humanity’s critical problems, including their near-term time horizons and short attention spans, structural inability to address challenges of high causal complexity and cross-cutting values, and vulnerability to influence by well-resourced vested interests. It will propose ways of overcoming these impediments.

Speakers

Details to be announced shortly

The COVID19 pandemic has affected every sector; however for those of us in Canada and US we also are in the midst of elections. The US Presidential election and an election called in British Columbia. Politics across Canada and the US at times feel surreal thanks to the prevalence of social media use by candidates, their supporters, and detractors. Join Dr. Janni Aragon for a presentation and discussion about these issues. Aragon will focus more on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok in her presentation.

Speakers

Dr. Janni Aragon
Director, Technology & Society Program, University of Victoria

Details to be announced shortly

Details to be announced shortly

Details to be announced shortly

Details to be announced shortly

Details to be announced shortly

Friday, Nov 13, 2020

All times are in Pacific Time Zone (PT)

8am – 9:30am | Plenary

Covid-19 requires funders, researchers and practitioners alike to reposition themselves in response to the pandemic. There are needs for immediate adaptation and reorientation in the light of possible secondary impacts, but also the potential for mid- to longer-term transformations in ways that support and contribute to building a world differently. This plenary session will provide insights drawing on theoretical knowledge and actual, practical experience accrued over time by researchers from a number of countries, bringing these together in an integrated and forward-looking way. It will highlight particularly the importance of engagement with, and learning from, the communities and citizens who experience the most profound challenges in finding solutions and ways forward. Distinct viewpoints will be shared on how the pandemic is influencing different policy issues – for example on gender, social protection, food systems – and consider ways in which these priorities can be addressed by different strategies, including bridging public and private investment for resilient economies and inclusive recovery. It will take a systemic approach that demonstrates the interconnectedness of the issues addressed at a very important period of unique global challenge. Audience members will be invited and encouraged to engage in a virtual interaction with the presenters.

Introduction

Crystal Tremblay
University of Victoria, Canada

Moderator

Peter Taylor
Institute of Development Studies, UK

Speakers

Mary McCarthy
Policy Lead – Nutrition | Development Cooperation and Africa Division (Irish Aid), Ireland

Manuel Balán
Director, Institute for the Study of International Development, McGill University, Canada

Rachel Sabates-Wheeler
Research Fellow, Institute of Development Studies, UK

Sohela Nazneen
Research Fellow, Institute of Development Studies, UK

Discussant

Khalil Shariff
CEO, Aga Khan Foundation Canada

9:30am – 10:30am | Transition & Networking

10:30am – 12pm | Roundtables

Over the last decade, analysts have tracked a marked decline in the free expression and protection of democratic values and freedoms internationally. During this same period, global greenhouse gas emissions have risen sharply, bringing us ever closer to the dangerous limits that our 2030 global climate targets seek to avoid. At home and on the streets, divisions in public opinion and political ideology – on climate and otherwise – appear to be widening. Global protest action has reached levels beyond that seen during the Vietnam or Civil Wars, and online, information ‘wars’ show no signs of abating. The last few years, and indeed months, have shown us how and where the systems and structures on which modern societies have been built have fractured in the face of cascading crises.

Many are calling for new visions of the future. A future economy untethered from fossil fuels; a resilient global society and earth system that flourishes rather than flounders alongside human progress, and; a just and inclusive transition that recognizes the contributions of past generations and charts a better world for future ones. Undoubtedly, this November’s US election and its aftermath will be a critical waypoint in orienting our global democratic and climate trajectories. It will also be a test of our collective response. In this session, our speakers will explore what they see as key levers to achieving a bold new vision for society.

Speakers

Details to be announced shortly

Despite a gradual move towards a universal agenda and many efforts to “decolonise”, development, its related bodies of knowledge are still mired in capitalist, (neo)colonial and unequal hierarchies and power structures. Inequities and inequalities so widespread today are produced by racial, class, gender, sexual, religious, linguistic, ecological, and epistemological power hierarchies. All these challenges contribute to the likelihood of those already marginalised suffering more acutely from the onslaught of Covid-19. Decolonizing knowledge requires us to call into question the principles that sustain the current dominant knowledge and understanding of what society should be like. It demands that we question the norms and structures that often determine how people should behave, what kind of knowledge is valued, and which knowledge is encouraged, silenced or simply not supported at all. It becomes a process of liberating ourselves from assumed principles, values and domination of Western-centric/colonial world systems and embracing a diversity of knowledges and ways of being. It is also an important framing to help support reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples, as these require actions that promote social repair and systemic change, including creating spaces that help bridge the void between competing and conflicting systems of law and legislation, norms and knowledge. Decolonising knowledge and knowledge production in all its forms needs to include and be driven by the people whose lives are most affected by the decisions and policies being made.  In this round table, we invite a diverse group of participants to focus on the strengths, resilience and wise practices within communities. By engaging with lived experience we will address the following questions:

  1. In the context of COVID-19, what is our evidence and experience of efforts to decolonize knowledge and power as a means of reducing social divides?
  2. What strategies, approaches and methods for decolonization have worked well, where do we still need to improve in our question for more widespread social justice?
  3. What concrete steps are needed towards “building back better” beyond the pandemic, by decolonizing the world in ways which transcend turf, welcome truth, and build trust?

Speakers

Details to be announced shortly

Details to be announced shortly

7pm – 8:30pm | Roundtable

What are the prospects for multilateralism with a second Trump or new Biden Administration. How will this next presidency engage in trade policy (e.g., US-China, regional trade agreements), impacts on Taiwan and East Asian regional politics, COVID-19, climate & energy, and security. Join our speakers to debrief on the US election results and the implications for US-Asia foreign policy over the next four years and beyond?

Speakers

Details to be announced shortly

Thursday, Nov 19, 2020

All times are in Pacific Time Zone (PT)

9am – 10:30am | Roundtable Debrief and Closing

  • Closing Remarks
  • Continuing the conversation
  • 2021 Victoria Forum

Speakers

Details to be announced shortly

If you have any questions or are experiencing difficulties registering please contact us at victoriaforum@uvic.ca

Registration is free but mandatory.

The Virtual Victoria Forum 2020, the webinars and the Victoria Forum 2021  are jointly hosted by the University of Victoria and the Senate of Canada.

Founding partners: