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Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship

Margaret Atwood (2018 laureate)
Margaret Atwood (2018 laureate)

Margaret Atwood is the author of more than 50 books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. Her novels include The Handmaid’s Tale and Alias Grace, both of which were recently serialized for streaming; The Blind Assassin, which won the Booker Prize in 2000; Oryx and Crake, which was nominated for the Giller and Booker prizes; The Year of the Flood; the MaddAddam Trilogy; The Heart Goes Last; and Hag-Seed, a novel revisiting of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Her most recent collection of poetry is The Door. Her non-fiction works include Survival; Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth; and A Writer on Writing. Her most recent graphic series is Angel Catbird.

She has served in various capacities with several organizations, including PEN International and BirdLife International. In 2017, she was awarded the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, the Franz Kafka Prize, and PEN Center USA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She continues to be surprised by human behaviour, both noble and not.

See Margaret at the the Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship.

Margaret Atwood (2018 laureate)
Award-winning author, poet, and essayist (Canada)
The Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson
The Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson

The Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson arrived in Canada from Hong Kong as a refugee in 1942 and made the astonishing journey from a penniless child to accomplished broadcaster, journalist, and distinguished public servant in a multi-faceted lifetime.

During Madame Clarkson’s mandate as Governor General, her energy, enthusiasm, and passion left an indelible mark on Canada’s history. A leading figure in Canada’s cultural life, she is the bestselling author of the 2014 CBC Massey Lecture Belonging: The Paradox of Citizenship; Room for All of Us: Surprising Stories of Loss and Transformation; Heart Matters: A Memoir; and a biography of Dr. Norman Bethune.

Madame Clarkson has received numerous prestigious awards and honorary degrees in Canada and abroad. A Privy Councillor and Companion of the Order of Canada, she lives in Toronto.

The Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson
26th Governor General of Canada & Co-founder and Co-chair of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (Canada)
Tomson Highway (performer)
Tomson Highway (performer)

Tomson Highway is a Cree writer and musician from northern Manitoba who writes plays, novels, and music that are studied in many countries around the the world. As a trained classical pianist who has since moved on to other forms of music, notably cabaret and musical theatre, he holds a Bachelor of Music Honours degree from the University of Western Ontario, as well as honorary doctorates from ten Canadian universities. In 1994, he was made a member of the Order of Canada. In his 20s, he was a social worker working with Indigenous children, inmates, artists, and activists. At the age of 30, he turned his attention to writing music, plays, and novels. His best-known works are the plays The Rez Sisters, Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing, and The (Post) Mistress, and the best-selling novel Kiss of the Fur Queen. From 1986 to 1992, he was the Artistic Director of Native Earth Performing Arts, Toronto’s first Indigenous theatre company. Among the many awards he has either won or been nominated for are the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best New Play and Best Production, the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama, and a Juno for Aboriginal Album of the Year.

He has criss-crossed North America, Europe, and the world with his readings, lectures, performances (at the piano), and teaching engagements at universities, colleges, schools, theatres, nightclubs, concert halls, bookstores, art galleries, and other institutions. In fact, as a world traveller (“born a nomad, always a nomad”), he has circumnavigated the globe three times and been to 55 countries (and counting).

Several film and television documentaries on both his work and his background have been produced for the international market over the years, most notably Adrienne Clarkson Presents (1991), Life and Times (1997), and, most recently, Tomson Highway Gets His Trout (2003).

See Tomson at the Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship.

Tomson Highway (performer)
Cree musician, playwright, and novelist (Canada)
Patricia Cano (performer)
Patricia Cano (performer)

Winner of the 2017 Toronto Theatre Critics Award for Best Actress in a Musical, Patricia Cano is a Peruvian-Canadian actor and singer-songwriter originally from Sudbury, Ontario. A graduate of the University of Toronto (University College Drama Program), Cano has been collaborating with Tomson Highway since 2001. Whether it be performing Cree Cabaret alongside Highway on stages across the globe, or performing in his hit one-woman musical, The (Post) Mistress, in both English and French, or being featured on Highway’s 2015 Juno nominated album, Patricia Cano Sings Songs from The (Post) Mistress, Cano’s professional career has been intimately and powerfully shaped by Highway’s work.

Also worthy of note is the time she spent working in Paris, France. From 2002 to 2006, she lived and worked with the French theatre company, le Théâtre du Soleil, assisting on the music stage alongside Jean-Jacques Lemêtre, celebrated “musicien du theatre,” as well as working with the incomparable theatre director Ariane Mnouchkine. Those were formative years that ultimately led Cano back to Canada in search of a career in music. In 2009, she launched her debut album, This is the New World, featuring compositions in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese, written in collaboration with Carlos Bernardo, Brazilian multi-instrumentalist and composer. Since then, Cano and her band have toured extensively, and have been featured on jazz and folk festival stages across Canada. In 2017, she launched her highly anticipated sophomore album Madre Amiga Hermana, which she hopes to take on the road in 2019. For now, she is staying close to home, having just given birth to her second child.

See Patricia at the Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship.

Patricia Cano (performer)
Singer-songwriter and actor (Canada)
Marcus Ali (performer)
Marcus Ali (performer)

Marcus Ali was born in Toronto to Trinidadian parents with a love of great music. A versatile musician who is equally at home in a wide range of genres, he has played on over 60 albums on a variety of woodwinds (saxophones, flutes, clarinets, West African flutes, tin whistles). He has performed, toured, and recorded with dozens of bands including Grand Prix de Jazz award–winner Nick Ali and Cruzao, Matt Dusk, Mr. Something Something, Orquesta Fantasia, Tomson Highway, and The Composers Collective Big Band. Currently Marcus can be heard with the Ali Bros, Grüvoria, DRUMHAND, Soldiers of Song: A tribute to the Dumbells, and multi-Juno-nominated Jason Wilson. He has toured extensively across Canada as well as throughout the U.S., the U.K., the Caribbean, and Japan. Since 2004, Marcus has also been the saxophone instructor and jazz combo director at Claude Watson School for the Arts. He teaches private woodwind lessons and regularly leads workshops and sectionals throughout the Greater Toronto Area.

See Marcus at the Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship.

Marcus Ali (performer)
Woodwind musician and instructor (Canada)
SoundCrowd (performer)
SoundCrowd (performer)

SoundCrowd,Toronto’s first large-scale a cappella ensemble, made its concert debut in 2016 alongside former Barenaked Ladies frontman Steven Page at Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall. Since then, the ensemble has repeatedly sold out its own high-energy concerts around the city, been a featured guest on a national TV show (The Social), created viral videos, performed with other notable Toronto-based a cappella groups (Cadence, Countermeasure, Retrocity), and travelled to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall with choirs from around the world under the direction of Deke Sharon (Pitch Perfect, The Sing-Off). SoundCrowd is the brainchild of Founder and Artistic Director Scott Pietrangelo.

See SoundCrowd at the Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship.

SoundCrowd (performer)
A cappella ensemble (Canada)

16th LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecture

Sue Gardner
Sue Gardner

Sue Gardner’s work is motivated by the desire to ensure that everybody in the world has access to the information they want and need, so they are equipped to make the best possible decisions about their lives. She spent the first decade of her career as a journalist, working in radio, TV, print, and online. In 2003, she became head of cbc.ca, the website of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. In 2007, Gardner became executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit that operates Wikipedia. Today she serves as an adviser or board member for a variety of non-profit, grant-making, and policy organizations working on issues related to technology, media, gender and digital freedoms.

Gardner has an honorary doctorate of laws from Ryerson University, was named a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum, has been ranked by Forbes magazine as the world’s 70th most powerful woman, was the inaugural recipient of the Knight Innovation Award, received the Cultural Humanist of the Year award from the Harvard Humanist Association and is a proud recipient of the Nyan Cat Medal of Internet Awesomeness for Defending Internet Freedom.

See Sue at the LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecture.

Sue Gardner
Digital consultant, former Executive Director of Wikimedia Foundation (Canada)
John Ralston Saul
John Ralston Saul

John Ralston Saul proposes a new humanism through what he calls responsible individualism. His 14 works have been translated into 29 languages in 38 countries. His philosophical trilogy and its conclusion — Voltaire’s Bastards, The Doubter’s Companion, The Unconscious Civilization and On Equilibrium: Six Qualities of the New Humanism — has impacted political thought in many countries. In A Fair Country: Telling Truths about Canada, he argues that modern Canada is profoundly shaped by Indigenous ideas. He is general editor of the Extraordinary Canadians biographical series and contributed his own biography of Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine and Robert Baldwin. The Comeback, his latest release, explores how Indigenous peoples are empowering themselves for a grand return to a position of power and influence.

Saul is President Emeritus of PEN International, and founder and honorary chair of French for the Future. He also founded the LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecture. He is a Companion of the Order of Canada, a member of the Order of Ontario and a Chevalier in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (an Order of France). His many literary awards include Chile’s Pablo Neruda International Presidential Medal of Honour, the Governor General’s Award and the inaugural Gutenberg Galaxy Award.

John Ralston Saul
Award-winning essayist and novelist & Co-founder and Co-chair of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (Canada)
Red Spirit Singers (performer)
Red Spirit Singers (performer)

The Red Spirit Singers are of the Ojibwa, Cree, Oneida, Potawatomi, and Dakota nations. They first came together as a drum group in 1998.

Over the years, the Red Spirit Singers have traveled to powwows throughout southern Ontario. Additionally, some Red Spirit Singers members have travelled to perform abroad, including the International Dance Festival in Andong, South Korea. They are often asked to perform in events such as the opening ceremonies for the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games in 2015 and the opening ceremonies for the World AIDS Conference in Toronto in 2006, and for the Pope for World Youth Day in Toronto in 2002. Most recently, they were asked to open the #TorontoStrong vigil in Mel Lastman Square that honoured the 10 victims who were killed in a van attack in late April 2018.

Members include
Steve Teekens (leader), Nipissing/Ojibwa
Jay Lomax, Dakota
Thunder Jack, Oneida/Ojibwa
Rain Foots, Potawatomi
Ryan Besito, Ojibwa

Photo credit: City of Toronto

See the Red Spirit Singers at the LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecture.

Red Spirit Singers (performer)
Indigenous drumming ensemble (Canada)
Samba Squad (performer)
Samba Squad (performer)

Founded in 1999 by award-winning percussionist Rick Shadrach Lazar, Samba Squad has risen from a community-based drumming group into one of the most dynamic acts on the Canadian World and Latin music scenes. From jazz to roots to international drumming festivals, this energetic and joy-instilling groove machine has performed at a myriad of venues. Samba Squad has appeared at the Toronto and Montreal Jazz Festivals, London’s Sunfest, Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival, and many others in Toronto and Ontario. The mix of heavy drum grooves and audience interaction lifts the spirits of people everywhere.

Samba Squad follows the path of the drum from Brazil to Toronto. Inspired by the Escola de Sambas of Rio de Janeiro, the Afro Blocos of Salvador Bahia, and the Maracatu nations of Recife and Pernambuco.

See Samba Squad at the LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecture.

Samba Squad (performer)
Drumming ensemble (Canada)

6 Degrees at the AGO

Vanessa Arelle
Vanessa Arelle

Vanessa Arelle is a social entrepreneur and tech startup investor. She focuses on cultural strategy, developing frameworks that enable successful and innovative spaces, dialogue, ecosystems, and connections. She is a natural storyteller and story-maker, and her many interests intersect in entertainment, authenticity, and social impact. From 2011 to 2015, Vanessa was the head of Cultural Affairs for Mexico in the U.K. She was Project Director of Yoko Ono ́s IMAGINE PEACE for the London 2012 Games Cultural Olympiad and has been a regular contributor to Vogue Mexico and Vogue Latin America since 2014. In 2015, Vanessa was involved in brokering the merger of Ilios Mexico to Solar City (now Tesla Solar). Vanessa is a Trustee of Fashion Revolution (U.K.); a board member of Remake (U.S.); a Strategic Cultural Advisor for Contemporary Istanbul Art, Culture, and Education Foundation (Turkey); and a Fellow at the Royal Society of Arts (U.K.).

See Vanessa at Exchange: Shared Spaces.

Vanessa Arelle
Founder and CEO, TABOOZAPP (Mexico/UK)
Renata Ávila
Renata Ávila

Renata Ávila is a Guatemalan international human rights lawyer and digital rights advocate. In her practice, she has represented Indigenous victims of genocide and other human rights abuses, including the prominent Indigenous leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Rigoberta Menchú Tum, as well as others such as award-winning journalist Julian Assange and Wikileaks.  As part of her long-standing advocacy work in the field of Internet and human rights, from 2013 to 2015, she co-led a global campaign to uphold human rights in more than 75 countries with World Wide Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Avila sits on the board of Creative Commons, is a trustee of the Courage Foundation (an organization assisting whistleblowers at risk) and is on the Coordinating Collective of DiEM25, a movement to democratize Europe. She is currently writing a book on digital colonialism.

See Renata at 360: Online/Offline.

Renata Ávila
Director, Ciudadano Inteligente (Smart Citizen Foundation) (Guatemala)
Yiannis Boutaris
Yiannis Boutaris

Yiannis Boutaris was born in Thessaloniki in 1942. He obtained his degree in chemistry in 1965 from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and his diploma of oenology from the Wine Institute of Athens iIn 1967. From 1969 to1996, he served successively as Assistant Director, Technical Director, and Managing Director at the family wine industry J. Boutaris & Son S.A. In 1996, he left the family firm, and in 1998, he created Kir-Yianni winery, located at the privately owned vineyards of Yiannakohori and Amyndeon, run today by his two sons.

Yiannis Boutaris was elected Mayor of Thessaloniki in November 2010 (first term January 2011 – August 2014) and in May 2014 (present term September 2014 – August 2019).

He has served as president and board member of many professional, cultural, and environmental organizations since 1980. He has received many national and international awards and distinctions, both as a winemaker and as Mayor of Thessaloniki.

See Yiannis at Where Inclusion Happens.

Yiannis Boutaris
Mayor of Thessaloniki (Greece)
The Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson
The Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson

The Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson arrived in Canada from Hong Kong as a refugee in 1942 and made the astonishing journey from a penniless child to accomplished broadcaster, journalist, and distinguished public servant in a multi-faceted lifetime.

During Madame Clarkson’s mandate as Governor General, her energy, enthusiasm, and passion left an indelible mark on Canada’s history. A leading figure in Canada’s cultural life, she is the bestselling author of the 2014 CBC Massey Lecture Belonging: The Paradox of Citizenship; Room for All of Us: Surprising Stories of Loss and Transformation; Heart Matters: A Memoir; and a biography of Dr. Norman Bethune.

Madame Clarkson has received numerous prestigious awards and honorary degrees in Canada and abroad. A Privy Councillor and Companion of the Order of Canada, she lives in Toronto.

The Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson
26th Governor General of Canada & Co-founder and Co-chair of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (Canada)
Jennifer Corriero
Jennifer Corriero

Jennifer is a social entrepreneur with a passion for community building, youth engagement, and global education, named by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader and recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women. She is co-founder and Executive Director of TakingITGlobal (TIG), a non-profit organization that empowers youth to understand and act on local and global challenges. TIG received the Tech Museum Award for Education and was recognized with the Intercultural Innovation Award from the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. She also helps to lead the Connected North program, serving over 7,500 students in 30 of Canada’s remote Indigenous communities, and #RisingYouth Community Service Grants, which will provide more than 2,500 grants for youth-led projects by 2020.

She received her Masters in Environmental Studies (MES) at York University, where she has also served as Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Health. Jennifer also served on the Canadian government delegation to the UN World Summit on the Information Society, as part of TakingITGlobal’s work supporting accreditation and civil society participation in iInternational policy gatherings since 2002.

See Jennifer at Exchange: Shared Spaces.

Jennifer Corriero
Co-founder and Executive Director, TakingITGlobal (Canada)
Ane Crabtree
Ane Crabtree

A costume designer for film and television, Ane Crabtree created the look for The Sopranos original HBO pilot; The Westworld Series Season One; Luck for HBO; and The Handmaid’s Tale for Hulu.

Born in South Dakota and raised in Kentucky, Crabtree studied fine arts and Shakespeare at Harlaxton College in Lincolnshire, England, and fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.

Her singular vision has her working with a wide range of directors and producers, including Warren Littlefield, Mimi Leder, Michael Apted, Michael Mann, David Milch, and Bruce Miller. She is known for her personal touch with actors such as Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Thandie Newton, Ann Dowd, Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, Dustin Hoffman, Viola Davis, Morgan Freeman, Antonio Banderas, Lizzy Caplan, and Michael Sheen.

Crabtree designed Seasons One and Two for The Handmaid’s Tale. Her recent work includes the Dee Rees and Cassian Elwes follow- up film to Mudbound, The Last Thing He Wanted, and the Scott Free/FOX pilot for The Passage. She was nominated for a Costume Design Guild Award for PanAm (2012), Masters of Sex (2015), and Westworld (2016), winning the award for The Handmaid’s Tale (2017). She’s also received two Emmy nominations for The Handmaid’s Tale (2017 and 2018).

Ane Crabtree
Costume designer, The Handmaid’s Tale (USA)
Rosanna Deerchild
Rosanna Deerchild

Rosanna Deerchild is an award-winning Cree author and broadcaster with more than 20 years of experience telling stories. Her latest poetry collection, calling down the sky, published by BookLand Press, was shortlisted for the 2015 League of Canadian Poets’ Pat Lowther Memorial Award, the Manitoba Book Award (the Lansdowne Prize for Poetry), and the McNally Robinson Book of the Year award. She is the host of Unreserved on CBC Radio One.

See Rosanna at 360: Inside/Outside.

Rosanna Deerchild
Cree author, broadcaster, and host of Unreserved on CBC (Canada)
Eugenia Duodu
Eugenia Duodu

Eugenia Duodu is the CEO of Visions of Science Network for Learning (www.vosnl.org), a charitable organization that empowers youth from low-income communities through meaningful engagement in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). She devotes her time to community and global outreach initiatives and participates in various boards, organizations, and councils. She is an advocate for education and creating equitable opportunities for youth to achieve their full potential.

See Eugenia at Exchange: Youth and the Future of Work.

Eugenia Duodu
CEO, Visions of Science Network for Learning (Canada)
Hamoon Ekhtiari
Hamoon Ekhtiari

A lover of all things blueberry or avocado, Hamoon is the founder and CEO of Audacious Futures, a global launchpad for re-imagining the future at the intersection of technology, humanity, and philosophy.

Previously, he was the Director of Strategy and Innovation for the Executive Vice President at TELUS. Prior to that, Hamoon was the Founding Director of Studio [Y], a leadership and innovation academy at MaRS, Canada’s largest innovation hub. He also founded a social enterprise which raised $1 million in its first year, helped build Deloitte’s consulting business in the Caribbean, and taught as adjunct faculty.

Hamoon is a member of the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference, an AdR Fellow at the University of Cambridge, a recipient of University of Waterloo’s Alumni Achievement Medal, and a Canada Millennium Scholar. He is passionate about unlocking the potential of people, organizations, and societies to re-imagine and build the future.

See Hamoon at Exchange: Youth and The Future of Work.

Hamoon Ekhtiari
Founder and CEO, Audacious Futures (Canada)
Charlie Foran
Charlie Foran

A past president of PEN Canada, Charlie is a senior fellow at Massey College, and an adjunct professor in the Dept. of English at the University of Toronto. Charlie has degrees from the University of Toronto and the University College, Dublin, and has taught in China, Hong Kong, and Canada. He has also published eleven books, including five novels. In 2014 he was named to the Order of Canada.

He lives in Toronto with his family.

Charlie Foran
CEO, Institute for Canadian Citizenship (Canada)
Rachel Giese
Rachel Giese

Rachel Giese is an award-winning writer and editor in Toronto, and the author of Boys: What It Means to Become a Man. She’s a regular contributor to CBC Radio and editor-at-large at Chatelaine. Her work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, Literary Review of Canada, The New Yorker Real Life, and The Walrus.

See Rachel at 360: Citizenship Now

Rachel Giese
Journalist and author of Boys: What It Means to Become a Man (Canada)
Huda Idrees
Huda Idrees

Huda is the founder and CEO of Dot Health, a real-time personal health data platform. With a background in engineering from the University of Toronto and a prolific career at some of Toronto’s best- known startups, including Wattpad, Wave, and Wealthsimple, her latest venture is transforming the way people access and control their own health information for good. Huda’s work has been featured in The Globe and Mail, Metro News, CNBC, and Metro Morning. She has been recognized as one of the Top 5 CEOs in Toronto Life and as one of the Top 25 Women of Influence in 2017. Huda serves on the Business Innovation and Development Committee at Sinai Health System and on the Canadian Federal Economic Strategy Table for Health and Biosciences.

See Huda at Exchange: Youth and the Future of Work.

Huda Idrees
Founder and CEO, Dot Health (Canada)
Javier López Casarín
Javier López Casarín

Javier is a serial entrepreneur committed to redefining Mexico’s social policy agenda through innovation. He has a long-standing business career in the telecommunications and technology sectors.

He is currently the CEO  of Grupo Reinventando a México (GraM), a business conglomerate that works with governments and private institutions to facilitate the development and implementation of innovative solutions to tackle some of Mexico’s most pressing social issues. Javier also chairs the Fundación Reinventando a México, the social arm of GRaM, that focuses its philanthropic initiatives on promoting social and technological innovation in Mexico.

See Javier at Exchange: Where Inclusion Happens.

Javier López Casarín
President, Fundación Reinventando a México (Reinventing Mexico Foundation) (Mexico)
Caro Loufti
Caro Loufti

Caro is the Executive Director of Apathy is Boring, working in a non-partisan manner and on a national scale to engage Canadian youth in democracy. She started as an intern at Apathy is Boring and took on the national leadership role a year and a half later. She was previously a co-producer for Montreal’s Art Matters Festival and graduated with distinction from Concordia University with a bachelor’s degree in art history and human rights. She currently sits on the Inspirit Foundation’s board, working to inspire pluralism among young Canadians as well as the Darling Foundry board, supporting the creation and exhibition of contemporary art. She provides a youth perspective on topics of civic and political engagement and has been featured on CTV News, CBC Radio, and Global News among others. She was awarded the Walker Humanitarian Award by Concordia University and was named a Canadian Arab to Watch in 2015 by the Canadian Arab Institute.

See Caro at Exchange: Youth and the Future of Work.

Caro Loufti
Executive Director, Apathy is Boring (Canada)
Jamiesha Majevadia
Jamiesha Majevadia

Jamiesha Majevadia, FRSA, leads policy and research engagement at The Challenge, the U.K.’s leading charity for building a more integrated society. She is currently working on a major research report on the extent and depth of social mixing (the British Integration Survey) and is developing a human-centred design thinking approach to sharing best practice for those delivering social integration interventions. In her previous roles she led a number of evidence-based policy research reports, including a collection of case studies and essays on the integration of migrants, refugees, and asylum-seeking persons at the local level. In addition to integration, her interests include inequality, discrimination, multiculturalism, and extremism, as well as place-based decision-making and service design. A natural facilitator, Jamiesha is drawn to developing partnerships and working in collaboration with like-minded individuals and organizations internationally. She is motivated by her personal experiences and a drive to turn policy and evidence into real, practical solutions.

Jamiesha Majevadia
Policy and Research Lead, The Challenge (UK)
Abdul-Rehman Malik
Abdul-Rehman Malik

An award-winning London-based journalist, educator, and organizer, Abdul-Rehman Malik is the programs manager for the Radical Middle Way, which offers powerful, faith-inspired guidance and tools to enable change, promote social justice for all, and combat exclusion and violence. His work has spanned the U.K., Indonesia, Pakistan, Sudan, Mali, Morocco, Singapore, Canada, and Malaysia. In January 2015, he became director of the Insight Film Festival, a unique year-round festival that celebrates the intersection between faith and film. In 2017, he was a Yale Greenberg World Fellow.

Malik is a regular contributor to BBC Radio, hosting Pause for Thought—contemporary perspectives on spirituality—on BBC Radio 2 and presenting documentaries and programs for BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service. His recent documentary work includes The Muhammadan Bean: The Secret History of Islam and Coffee and Finding Allah at 33rpm.

A trustee of the Sandford St Martin Trust, which promotes excellence in broadcasting about religion, Malik has a keen interest in harnessing cultural production for social change. In addition to providing content guidance to a variety of cultural and literary institutions, he is currently working with colleagues from around the world to establish a global network of Muslim cultural leaders committed to building cultural capital and supporting cutting-edge artistic production.

See Abdul-Rehman at the Coffeehouse and What’s Next?

Abdul-Rehman Malik
Postgraduate Associate at Yale University, Program Manager at Radical Middle Way (Canada)
Anne-Laure Mathieu
Anne-Laure Mathieu

Anne-Laure has been working in the cultural non-profit sector, both in Quebec and internationally, for 17 years. From communication and marketing director to international project manager, she has occupied diverse positions in festivals, art organizations, and congresses in the performing arts, cinema, literature, and the social sector.

Anne-Laure puts the principles of humanity and meaningfulness at the heart of her work, combining them with her extensive practical knowledge in the event and cultural fields. She works with design thinking and collective intelligence tools to help organizations develop their strategy and their culture of innovation, and change the way people are interacting and learning from each other. She’s also the co-founder of AÏNA, a start-up designing day-to-day solutions for elderly people.

See Anne-Laure at Exchange: Youth and The Future of Work.

Anne-Laure Mathieu
Freelance human-centered designer and strategist (Canada)
Monia Mazigh
Monia Mazigh

Monia Mazigh is an author, academic, and human rights advocate. She is the author of Hope and Despair, published in 2008 by McClelland and Stewart and shortlisted for the Ottawa Book Award.

In 2014, her novel Mirrors and Mirages was published in English by House of Anansi Press. Mirrors and Mirages was a finalist for the Trillium Book Award and the Ottawa Book Award, in the original French.

Her second novel, about the Arab Spring, Hope Has Two Daughters, came out in French in fall 2015. It was published in English in January 2017 by House of Anansi Press. This summer, Monia was the writer-in-residence at the Historic Joy Kogawa House, finishing her upcoming new novel.

See Monia at the Coffeehouse.

Monia Mazigh
Author and human rights advocate (Canada)
Alexis McGill Johnson
Alexis McGill Johnson

Alexis is the Co-founder and Executive Director of the Perception Institute, a consortium of social science researchers, law professors, and culture makers focused on the role of the mind sciences in developing interventions to address issues of bias and discrimination in workplaces and other key domains. She has co-designed and authored original research in the mind sciences, and regularly delivers presentations and facilitates workshops in the private and public sector on the role of implicit bias, racial anxiety, and stereotype threat. Alexis has led in the design of diversity and inclusion strategies for national organizations, and developed empirical metrics to determine efficacy. Currently, Alexis is a board member and former board chair of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Previously, she has served on the boards of the New York Civil Liberties Union. She is a founder of the Culture Group as well as a frequent commentator on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and elsewhere in the press. During the 2004 election cycle, she served as Executive Director of Citizen Change. She holds degrees from Princeton and Yale universities, and has taught political science at both Yale and Wesleyan universities.

See Alexis at 360: Inside/Outside.

Alexis McGill Johnson
Executive Director, Perception Institute (USA)
Yascha Mounk
Yascha Mounk

Yascha Mounk is a lecturer on government at Harvard University, a Senior Fellow in the Political Reform Program at New America and an Executive Director at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change. He is also a weekly columnist for Slate, a monthly columnist for CNN, a regular contributor to Die Zeit, and the host of The Good Fight podcast. His latest book, The People vs. Democracy, was published earlier this year by Harvard University Press and has been translated into six languages.

See Yascha at 360: Citizenship Now.

Yascha Mounk
Executive Director of Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, author of The People vs. Democracy (Germany)
Lamia Naji
Lamia Naji

Lamia Naji is an associate manager for strategy and learning at the Mastercard Foundation, which focuses on advancing youth employment in Africa. She supports research and partnerships related to digital financial inclusion and MSME growth. Lamia’s work involves sense-making, facilitation, and knowledge translation, ultimately contributing to collective organizational learning and impact. Her recent blog with CGAP’s Xavier Faz explores the potential impact of “’superplatforms”’ on low-income user segments. Lamia is deeply passionate about all things Middle East and Africa, especially coffee.

See Najia at Exchange: Shared Spaces.

Lamia Naji
Associate Manager, Strategy and Learning, Mastercard Foundation (Canada)
Giusi Nicolini
Giusi Nicolini

Giusi Nicolini was mayor of Lampedusa e Linosa, Italy from 2012 to 2017. During her mayoralty, she garnered international praise for her defence of refugee rights.

Lampedusa has been a primary European point of entry for immigrants and refugees for almost two decades. Nicolini sought to mobilize her fellow Lampedusanos to welcome and shelter them, while lobbying Italian and European authorities for assistance and support.

For her efforts, Nicolini received the Simone de Beauvoir Prize, the Olof Palme Prize, and the Council of Europe’s North-South Prize in 2016. In 2017, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) presented her with the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize.

See Giusi at Where Inclusion Happens.

Giusi Nicolini
Former Mayor of Lampedusa e Linosa (Italy)
Natan Obed
Natan Obed

Natan Obed is the President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the national representational organization for Canada’s 60,000 Inuit. He is originally from Nain, the northernmost community in Labrador’s Nunatsiavut region, and now lives in Ottawa. For 10 years he lived in Iqaluit, Nunavut, and worked as the Director of Social and Cultural Development for Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., the organization that represents the rights of Nunavut Inuit. He has devoted his career to working with Inuit representational organizations to improve the well being of Inuit in Canada.

See Natan at 360: Inside/Outside.

Natan Obed
President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and National Inuit Leader (Canada)
Charles Officer
Charles Officer

Charles Officer’s filmmaking career began with a slate of award-winning short films that premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and the Sundance Film Festival. His debut feature, Nurse.Fighter.Boy, premiered at TIFF 2008 and garnered 10 Genie nominations. His feature documentary debut, Mighty Jerome, won four 2011 Leo Awards and a 2012 Emmy Award for Best Historical Documentary. In 2012, Officer directed Stone Thrower: The Chuck Ealey Story, which aired on TSN for the CFL’s 100th anniversary. His television documentary, The Skin We’re In, premiered on CBC in 2017, and he recently completed directing a variety of episodic television series, including Private Eyes and the Netflix Original series 21 Thunder. His feature documentary Unarmed Verses premiered to major acclaim at Hot Docs 2017, winning the Best Canadian Feature Award. He just completed Invisible Essence: The Little Prince, a feature documentary about Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s inspirational novella, which is being released internationally on October 16. He is currently in development on a television series adaptation of Mordecai Richler’s novel Son of a Smaller Hero and a feature, Akilla’s Escape.

Charles Officer
Filmmaker (Canada)
Ijeoma Oluo
Ijeoma Oluo

Ijeoma Oluo is a Seattle-based writer, speaker and “Internet yeller.”

Her work on social issues such as race and gender has been published in The Guardian, The Stranger, Washington Post, ELLE Magazine, NBC News, and more. She has been the Editor-at-Large at The Establishment since 2015. Her New York Times–bestselling first book, So You Want to Talk About Race, was released in January 2018.

Oluo was named one of the Most Influential People in Seattle by Seattle Magazine, one of the 50 Most Influential Women in Seattle by Seattle Met and one of The Root‘s 100 Most Influential Americans in 2017, and is the recipient of the Feminist Humanist Award 2017 by the American Humanist Association.

See Ijeoma at 360: Inside/Outside.

Ijeoma Oluo
Author and speaker (USA)
Sevaun Palvetzian
Sevaun Palvetzian

One of Canada’s leading experts on civic engagement, Sevaun Palvetzian has been CEO of CivicAction since January 2014. Under her leadership, CivicAction has focused on building inclusive cities and levelling the playing field of opportunity. Throughout her career, Sevaun has advocated for new voices at the tables of influence, including championing the next generation of leaders in her roles with the Ontario Public Service, University of Toronto, and Presidential Classroom.

A voice of influence and advocacy on many urban issues, Sevaun is frequently called on for print, radio, and TV commentary. She has served as a member of the Premier’s Community Hubs Framework Advisory Group, the Toronto Police Services Board’s Transformational Task Force, and Toronto Mayor John Tory’s Advisory Panel for International Hosting Opportunities. She also sits on the Board of Directors for the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council, NPower Canada, and Waterfront Toronto, and is a member of the Ivey Business School Leadership Council.

See Sevaun at Where Inclusion Happens.

Sevaun Palvetzian
CEO, CivicAction (Canada)
Sage Paul
Sage Paul

Named as one of the Top 25 Women of Influence 2018, Sage Paul is an urban Dene woman and a member of English River First Nation. Based in Toronto, Sage is an artist, designer, and innovative leader for Indigenous fashion, craft, and textiles, championing family, sovereignty, and resistance for balance. Sage is also a founding collective member and the Artistic Director of Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto.

Some of Sage’s art and design work has shown at the Royal Ontario Museum; at Harbourfront Centre; at The Centre for Craft, Creativity & Design (North Carolina, U.S.A.); and as part of a curated program at Western Canada Fashion Week by Ociciwan Contemporary Art Collective. Sage has presented on Indigenous fashion including at Canada House (London, U.K.), for The Walrus mMagazine, at Ryerson University, at Toronto Women’s Fashion Week, and at South African Fashion Week. Later in 2018, she will present the complete collection of “Giving Life” at Festival Mode & Design (Montréal) and Otahpiaaki Fashion Week (Calgary).

In 2017, Sage received the Emerging Designer Award by Design Exchange and RBC Foundation in the fashion category, was recognized by Flare Magazine as a top 100 talented and driven Canadian woman, and was honoured by the Ontario Minister of the Status of Women as a trailblazing woman who is transforming Ontario.

Sage sits on the Ryerson School of Fashion Advisory Board and is developing an Indigenous Fashion elective course for George Brown College.

See Sage at “The Prophets of Dystopia: Atwood, Art and Activism Exchange.

Sage Paul
Urban Dene artist and designer (Canada)
Maryam Pougetoux
Maryam Pougetoux

Maryam Pougetoux is a 19-year-old French Muslim student. She is currently in Licence 3 of the Letters Edition Media Communication program at Sorbonne University.

Pougetoux is the president of the local chapter of the National Union of Students of France at her university. Through her involvement in this progressive union, she has the opportunity to inform and protect students, organize solidarity on campus, and fight against all types of discrimination.

Furthermore, Pougetoux volunteers occasionally with immigrants and works with people with autism year-round. All these experiences allow her to learn more about herself and the world around her. She constantly reminds herself that she has the chance to be free to think, to act, to love, and to make choices, but she is especially free to be who she is. She particularly appreciates the Oscar Wilde quote “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

See Maryam at 360: Citizenship Now.

Maryam Pougetoux
President, La Sorbonne to l’Union Nationale des Étudiants de France (National Union of Students of France) (France)
john a. powell
john a. powell

john a. powell is Director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society and Professor of Law, African American, and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He was previously the Executive Director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University. Prior to that, he founded and directed the Institute on Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota. He was formerly the National Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union. He is a co-founder of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council and serves on the boards of several national and international organizations. john led the development of an “opportunity-based” model that connects affordable housing to education, health, health care, and employment, and is well-known for his work developing the frameworks of “targeted universalism” and “othering and belonging” to affect equity-based interventions. john has taught at numerous law schools, including at Harvard and Columbia universities. He is the author of Racing to Justice: Transforming our Conceptions of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society.

See john at 360: Citizenship Now.

john a. powell
Director of Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, and Professor of Law, African American, and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley (USA)
Ramona Pringle
Ramona Pringle

Ramona Pringle is an Associate Professor in the RTA School of Media at Ryerson University; Director of the Transmedia Zone, an incubator for innovation in media and storytelling; and Director of the Global Campus Studio, a unique university-based studio devoted to fostering international co-productions through the use of digital collaboration tools. As a writer, producer, and journalist, Ramona’s work examines the evolving relationship between humans and technology. She is a technology columnist for CBC, and the writer and director of the interactive documentary Avatar Secrets. Previously, she was the interactive producer of PBS Frontline’s Digital Nation and editor- in- chief of Rdigitalife. Ramona’s projects have been featured at festivals and conferences, including i-docs, Power to the Pixel, TFI Interactive, Sheffield Doc/Fest, Hot Docs, SXSW, NXNE, Social Media Week, TEDx, and in publications, including The New York Times, Mashable, Cult of Mac, and The Huffington Post. Ramona has a master’s degree from New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program.

See Ramona at 360: Online/Offline.

Ramona Pringle
Director of Transmedia Zone and Associate Professor in the RTA School of Media at Ryerson University
Jai Sahak
Jai Sahak

Jai Sahak is the Diversity and Community Engagement Coordinator for the Town of Ajax, where he oversees diversity and community strengthening initiatives. In addition to his role at the Town of Ajax, he is an Adjunct Professor at Seneca College.

In the past, he has worked on the front-line, where he was responsible for developing and overseeing community-first programs with a particular focus on the integration of new immigrant and refugee youth living in disadvantaged and “high-risk” communities in Ontario.

He has also served as a Project Coordinator at OCASI (The Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants), an umbrella organization consisting of over 250 agencies across Ontario. OCASI is instrumental in advocating on behalf of agencies and individuals navigating the settlement sector and its complex funding structure.

Jai has extensive experience working with diverse communities across Ontario with a deep understanding of equity and inclusion principles affecting racialized communities.

See Jai at Exchange: Where Inclusion Happens.

Jai Sahak
Diversity and Community Engagement Coordinator for the Town of Ajax (Canada)
Eva Salinas
Eva Salinas

Eva Salinas is Managing Editor of foreign affairs news site OpenCanada.org and a journalism instructor at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario. She was previously the editor of The Santiago Times in Chile, where she was also a freelance correspondent for The Globe and Mail, The Times of London, and the CBC, among others. She has also worked for the Financial Post, Journalists for Human Rights, and Athletes for Africa. She holds a bachelor of journalism degree from Ryerson University and a master’s degree with McMaster University’s Institute on Globalization & the Human Condition. Her educational book for children, Latin Americans Thought of It, was published in 2012 with Annick Press.

See Eva at Exchange: Shared Spaces.

Eva Salinas
Managing Editor of OpenCanada.org, journalist, and instructor (Canada)
Devyani Saltzman
Devyani Saltzman

Devyani Saltzman is a Canadian writer, curator, and journalist with a deep interest in multidisciplinary programming at the intersection between art, ideas, and social justice. She is the author of Shooting Water, the 2014–18 Director of Literary Arts at the Banff Centre, and the Founding Curator of Literary Programming at Luminato, North America’s largest multi-arts festival and Toronto’s Festival of Arts and Creativity. In 2018, she was appointed Director of Public Programming at the Art Gallery of Ontario, working across all disciplines. Her work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, the National Post, The Atlantic, and Tehelka, India’s weekly of arts and investigative journalism. She sits on the board of PEN Canada and the advisory committees for Project Bookmark Canada and the Humber Galleries, and has been a juror for the National Magazine Awards, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, and the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction. Saltzman has a degree in anthropology and sociology from Oxford University.

See Devyani at “The Prophets of Dystopia: Atwood, Art and Activism Exchange.

Devyani Saltzman
Director of Public Programming, Art Gallery of Ontario (Canada)
Saskia Sassen
Saskia Sassen

Saskia Sassen is the Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology and co-chair of the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University.

Her most recent book, Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy, has been released in 18 languages. Her other books, translated into over 20 languages, include Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages; A Sociology of Globalization; the 4th edition of Cities in a World EconomyThe Global City; and Guests and Aliens (New Press 1999).

She has received numerous awards and mentions, including multiple honorary doctorates, and the Prince of Asturias 2013 Prize in the Social Sciences. Sassen is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

See Saskia at 360: Inside/Outside.

Saskia Sassen
Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, Columbia University (Argentina/USA)
John Ralston Saul
John Ralston Saul

John Ralston Saul proposes a new humanism through what he calls responsible individualism. His 14 works have been translated into 29 languages in 38 countries. His philosophical trilogy and its conclusion — Voltaire’s Bastards, The Doubter’s Companion, The Unconscious Civilization and On Equilibrium: Six Qualities of the New Humanism — has impacted political thought in many countries. In A Fair Country: Telling Truths about Canada, he argues that modern Canada is profoundly shaped by Indigenous ideas. He is general editor of the Extraordinary Canadians biographical series and contributed his own biography of Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine and Robert Baldwin. The Comeback, his latest release, explores how Indigenous peoples are empowering themselves for a grand return to a position of power and influence.

Saul is President Emeritus of PEN International, and founder and honorary chair of French for the Future. He also founded the LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecture. He is a Companion of the Order of Canada, a member of the Order of Ontario and a Chevalier in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (an Order of France). His many literary awards include Chile’s Pablo Neruda International Presidential Medal of Honour, the Governor General’s Award and the inaugural Gutenberg Galaxy Award.

John Ralston Saul
Award-winning essayist and novelist & Co-founder and Co-chair of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (Canada)
Johanna Schneller
Johanna Schneller

Johanna Schneller is one of North America’s leading freelance journalists specializing in entertainment features. She has profiled the most prominent actors of our time, including Julia Roberts, Johnny Depp, Diane Keaton, Brad Pitt, Julianne Moore, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jeff Bridges, Liam Neeson, Robert Downey, Jr., and Nicole Kidman. Her cover stories have appeared in every major magazine, including Vanity Fair, In Style, and Premiere. She was a senior writer in the Los Angeles bureau of GQ magazine from 1990 to 1994.

Her weekly Fame Game column in The Globe and Mail has been nominated for four National Newspaper Awards. She also writes a daily What I’m Watching TV column in the Toronto Star and Metro.

As the host of CBC’s new series, The Filmmakers, Schneller interviews directors and film experts about classic Canadian films. She also hosted TVO’s renowned film series Saturday Night at the Movies.

Schneller regularly conducts on-stage interviews for the Toronto International Film Festival and the Toronto Public Library. She co-wrote the best-selling book Mayor Rob Ford: Uncontrollable: How I Tried to Help the World’s Most Notorious Mayor.

As a screenwriter, her work includes adaptations of Sailor Girl, based on the novel by Sheree-Lee Olson; Every Lost Country, based on the novel by Steven Heighton; Girl Crazy, based on the novel by Russell Smith; and The Girls in the Balcony, based on the book by Nan Robertson.

Schneller and her husband, the writer and broadcaster Ian Brown, live in Toronto near their two grown children.

See Johanna at Exchange: Prophets of Dystopia.

Johanna Schneller
Freelance writer and film critic for The Globe and Mail (Canada)
Nadia Setti
Nadia Setti

Nadia Setti’s fields of research include women, literature, feminisms, questions of reading and writing on sexual difference, transnational literature, and migrant and postcolonial narrations and esthetics. Her main publications are about comparative literature, gender theory, philosophy, and writing and difference, migrant and postcolonial literature, and contemporary Italian literature. Select publications include Passions Lectrices (Reader Passions), “Migrants’ Art and Writings: Figures of Precarious Hospitality” in Vol. 16, Issue 4 of the European Journal of Women’s Studies, and “Le genre : une catégorie utile pour étudier la littérature ?” (Gender: A useful category for studying literature?) in Le genre, effet de mode ou concept pertinent ?

See Nadia at the Coffeehouse.

Nadia Setti
Professor of Gender Studies and Comparative Literature at The Center for Women's and Gender Studies, University of Paris 8 (France)
Ayaz Virani
Ayaz Virani

Holder of an Honours Bachelor of Science degree specializing in human kinetics. Singer-songwriter and winner of the 2016 Canada’s Walk of Fame Emerging Artist competition. Optimistic by nature. Passionate creative.

Ayaz Virani is far from your typical tech professional, but he has found his niche developing and promoting the culture that Bunz creates. Bunz is a barter-based marketplace where people meet to trade things like clothing, furniture, art, and plants, and more.

Bunz considers the cryptocurrency it recently launched to be a major step toward creating an ecosystem that empowers individuals and strengthens local communities.

See Ayaz at Exchange: Shared Spaces.

Ayaz Virani
Lead Marketing, Culture, and Business Development at BUNZ (Canada)
Daniel Webb
Daniel Webb

Daniel Webb is a leading Australian human rights lawyer. As Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, Daniel has led a series of legal challenges in the Australian High Court which have prevented the deportation of 460 refugees—including 157 children—to indefinite detention in Australian government detention facilities on the remote Pacific islands of Nauru and Manus.

Daniel coordinated the highly successful #LetThemStay campaign, which mobilized church leaders, doctors, teachers, and the Australian community to stop 40 babies from being deported to indefinite offshore detention. He has also visited the Manus Island detention camp three times to expose conditions on the ground and to share the stories of the men held there indefinitely.

Daniel previously worked as a legal aid lawyer, specializing in mental health and disability advocacy, and spent 12 months as the People’s Lawyer in the Republic of Kiribati. Daniel’s work defending human rights led to his winning the inaugural Global Pluralism Award in 2017.

See Daniel at Exchange: Where Inclusion Happens.

Daniel Webb
Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre (Australia)
Jesse Wente
Jesse Wente

Jesse Wente is one of Canada’s most prominent and recognizable Indigenous voices.

In January 2018, he was named the first director of Canada’s Indigenous Screen Office. He has been a columnist covering film and culture on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning for more than 20 years and is also culture columnist for CBC Radio’s Unreserved.

He has programmed film festivals, including Reel World, ImagineNative, and the Toronto International Film Festival. Jesse has curated retrospectives on Stanley Kubrick, Tim Burton, Bernardo Bertolucci, Michael Mann, and Kelly Reichardt. In 2012, Wente curated the world’s largest retrospective of Indigenous films, titled First Peoples Cinema: 1500 Nations, One Traditionand its accompanying gallery exhibition, Home on Native Land. He is currently producing his first film, a screen adaptation of Thomas King’s best-selling book, The Inconvenient Indian, and has signed a book deal with Penguin Random House Canada to write a memoir exploring his family’s history, including their experience with residential schools and its impact on his life growing up in a large city.

An outspoken advocate for Indigenous rights and First Nations, Métis, and Inuit art, he has spoken at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, the Canadian Arts Summit, Canadian Media Producers Association’s Prime Time, and numerous universities and colleges.

Wente currently serves on the board of directors for both the Toronto Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts.

See Jesse at 360: Online/Offline.

Jesse Wente
Ojibwa broadcaster, advocate, and pop culture philosopher (Canada)
Bianca Wylie
Bianca Wylie

Bianca is an open government advocate with a dual background in technology and public engagement. She is the co-founder of Tech Reset Canada, a coalition of business people, technologists, and other residents advocating for innovation that maximizes public good. Bianca is also a Senior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) in the Global Economy program. Her work at CIGI focuses on examining Canadian data and technology policy decisions and their alignment with democratically informed policy and consumer protection.

She worked for several years in the tech sector in operations, infrastructure, corporate training, and product management. As a facilitator at Swerhun Inc., she designed, delivered, and supported public consultation processes for various governments and government agencies. In 2014, Bianca founded the Open Data Institute Toronto. She is a columnist, guest lecturer, and speaker on open government, data governance, and public sector technology policy.

See Bianca at 360: Online/Offline.

Bianca Wylie
Writer and advocate (Canada)

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6 Degrees Presents

Garvia Bailey (MC)
Garvia Bailey (MC)

Garvia Bailey loves to tell stories, but her passion is helping others share theirs. She has cultivated that passion as an arts journalist and has devoted her professional life to sharing the narratives of artists across all disciplines.

 Most recently, she told the story of jazz and the colourful musicians who inhabit that world as host of Good Morning, Toronto on JAZZ.FM91. Previously, she spent 10 years with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) as an arts journalist/producer and broadcaster. While with the CBC, she was a host of a variety of radio programs, including Big City Small World, Canada Live, and Radio 2 Top 20a columnist for Metro Morning; and a contributor at cbcmusic.ca and CBC Television. Throughout her career in broadcasting, Bailey has turned the spotlight on emerging talent from across the Greater Toronto Area and has interviewed many celebrated international artists, including cultural pundit Roxane Gay, author Lawrence Hill, Pulitzer Prize–winner Jennifer Egan, director John Singleton, actor Chris Tucker, and jazz icon Tony Bennett. She is currently working on her own major photo/storytelling exhibit with Toronto-based Black Artist in Dialogue (BAND) and has teamed up with multimedia production company Pop Sandbox to tell the stories of Toronto neighbourhoods.  

See Garvia at 6 Degrees Presents.

Garvia Bailey (MC)
Arts journalist and broadcaster (Canada)
Emmanuel Jal
Emmanuel Jal

From his start in life as a child soldier in Southern Sudan in the early 1980s, Emmanuel Jal has come through a huge number of struggles during his life to become a successful and acclaimed recording artist and peace ambassador.

In 2008, a full-length documentary, War Child, on his life was released. In the same year, his autobiography, also titled War Child, was published.

Emmanuel has released several award-nominated studio albums. His live appearances have included Live 8, Nelson Mandela’s 90th Birthday Tribute, and the One World Concert for his Holiness the Dalai Lama.

In 2010, Jal released We Want Peace, part of a wider campaign of the same name that called for peace, protection and justice for all of Sudan, as well as calling for an end to all conflicts that affect innocent people around the world.

For his outstanding commitment to peace building, Jal has been awarded the Vaclav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent, Desmond Tutu Reconciliation Award, UNESCO’s Hero of the Global Campaign against Violent Extremism, the Hunt Institute’s Humanitarian Award, the Dresden Peace Prize, and the Common Ground Award among others.

Emmanuel’s greatest passion is his charity, Gua Africa, which supports those affected by war and poverty from South Sudan. The charity trains and educates South Sudanese refugees to become professionals in medicine, law, and education.

See Emmanuel at 6 Degrees Presents.

Emmanuel Jal
Musician, actor, peace advocate (Canada/South Sudan)
Joshua DePerry (DJ Classic Roots)
Joshua DePerry (DJ Classic Roots)

Drawing inspiration from his life and culture, Classic Roots established his original sound by integrating First Nations songs with electronica music. He navigates the unique sound of techno/house music while dancing to the beat of traditional Anishinaabe sounds, establishing a sense of cultural freedom that echoes throughout the electronic music scene.

His album Hack the Planet won the 2015 Best Pop CD award at the Indigenous Music Awards, while his 2016 debut EP Deeply Rooted won Dada Life’s Best Track Award for his demo “Coconut Kills.”

The Thunder Bay native is currently based in Toronto but carries the spirit of Northern Ontario with him. He acknowledges the importance of community building and is excited to share his passion through upbeat workshops for the soul, which include dance, cultural dance, fitness, and DJ workshops. His workshops are largely offered throughout the Greater Toronto Area but extend throughout the country, including Northern communities. Classic Roots weaves optimism into his music and workshops, using it as a tool to inspire a greater sense of self-confidence in First Nations youth. Specifically, Classic Roots has delivered workshops through Mikw Chiyâm, a program that emphasizes skill-sharing to empower youth through mentoring and support, to reinforce a sense of cultural pride and encourage self-expression.

Classic Roots is determined to continue producing his own music and share it with the world. His beats tell a story that embodies the bold spirit of the North. Through the inclusion of First Nations drumming and singing in his electronic compositions, he acknowledges the continued resilience of his nation. Ultimately, Classic Roots reminds people that they have the power to realize their dreams.

See Classic Roots at 6 Degrees Presents.

Joshua DePerry (DJ Classic Roots)
Music producer, DJ, Indigenous dancer (Canada)
LIZ LOKRE
LIZ LOKRE

Music is deep in her blood. LIZ LOKRE has been writing and performing since she was 12, growing up singing in church and winning music competitions across North America. Her father booked live rock music in his native Dublin, while her Trinidadian mother travelled the world as an Indian dancer. In addition, LOKRE’s grandmother pioneered a popular pre-Bollywood style of Indian dance.

Although LOKRE continues to travel regularly to Los Angeles and beyond, it’s in Toronto where she continues to hone her craft. For the past few years, LOKRE has been collaborating with producer and guitarist Adrian X (Drake, The Weeknd, PARTYNEXTDOOR). Together they have created a sound that speaks to LOKRE’s message and reason for singing: to unify and uplift.

Alongside the release of her single “Rise Up!” Lokre founded the #RiseUpMovement and Rise Up! workshops, where she motivates grade-school students, encouraging them to identify their strengths and explore ways to make an impact in their communities.

With almost 700,000 spins on Spotify, her music is the calling card for this new artist. Her debut album is set to be released in 2019.

See LIZ at 6 Degrees Presents.

LIZ LOKRE
Singer-songwriter (Canada)
Diana Reyes (Fly Lady Di)
Diana Reyes (Fly Lady Di)

The first Filipina-Canadian to be featured in Chatelaine magazine as Ms. Chatelaine and named “one of Canada’s Best Street Dancers” by CBC Music, Diana Reyes (a.k.a. Fly Lady Di) has been harnessing dance success for well over a decade.

Toronto born, raised, and currently based, Reyes lived in New York City for several years as a dancer and live painter. Her mentors, including Ejoe Wilson, Buddha Stretch, Marjory Smarth and Sekou Heru (MOP TOP / Elite Force / Dance Fusion NYC), helped build her foundation in House, Dance, and Hip Hop.

Reyes has since worked with some of the world’s most renowned choreographers, including Laurieann Gibson (Honey), Darrin Henson (Britney Spears), Adolfo “Shabba-Doo” Quinones (Breakin’ and Breakin 2) Jae Blaze (Sean Paul), and Jamaica (Ashlee Simpson), and artists such as Jason Derulo, Kiesza, Fall Out Boy, Ashlee Simpson, Ciara, MC Lyte, The Clipse, Pharrell Williams, Fabolous, and Teddy Riley.

She has travelled the world teaching her brand of House Dance and Waacking across Canada, Dubai, South Korea, the Philippines, and India, and has judged several international street dance competitions such as UDO Canadian Street Dance Championships, Hip Hop International (India) World of Dance (Toronto), Dance@Live (India), and Battle of Warriors (Philippines).

Reyes currently choreographs for highly acclaimed recording artist Maylee Todd, Filipino folk-fusion dance troupe Hataw, tribal electro-fusion band Datu, and Tagalog-rapping female MC Han Han.

As a visual artist best known for her live paintings, Reyes also teaches graffiti art workshops with UNITY Charity and Art Starts.

See Fly Lady Di & Dance Crew at 6 Degrees Presents.

Diana Reyes (Fly Lady Di)
Dance artist and DJ (Canada)
SÄYE SKYE
SÄYE SKYE

SÄYE SKYE is a transgender Iranian rap artist and LGBTQ rights activist at the forefront of a new hip-hop movement that has its basis in social consciousness. With astonishing originality, his experimental raps challenge deep-rooted stereotypes of misogyny, discrimination, and queerphobia. Since age 13, he has been crafting songs and poems that resonate deeply with people, using music as a platform for communicating truth. SÄYE SKYE’s work is distinguished by both its mystery and infectious energy. Using the poetic language of Farsi, each song elicits an instant audience connection through its passion and pulse. From its unpredictable flow and hypnotic rhythms to its evocative lyrics, SÄYE SKYE’s work invites listeners to question their current state of being.

SÄYE SKYE is the first artist in Iran’s history to sing about the LGBTQ community, their existence and their protracted struggle for freedom. In 2009, he recorded and released his first single in Iran, Säye Yek Zane Irani (Shadow of an Iranian Woman). As a queer artist, he was consequently put at great risk for singing and advocating for LGBTQ rights through his music. In 2010, SÄYE SKYE was forced to leave his home and seek asylum in Turkey, where he was granted refugee status, moving thereafter to Toronto in March 2011. SÄYE SKYE is currently collaborating with acclaimed German producers and singers on the release of his first EP.

See SÄYE at 6 Degrees Presents.

SÄYE SKYE
Transgender Iranian rap artist and LGBTQ activist (Iran/Canada)
Phil Villeneuve (DJ Phillippe)
Phil Villeneuve (DJ Phillippe)

Phil Villeneuve (aka DJ Phillippe) has been making Toronto move for nearly a decade with several residencies throughout the city, including the long-running monthly Tapette party, featuring French pop, disco, and house music. The French-Canadian DJ and dancer also headlines stages at Toronto Pride and TIFF, and spins in Miami, Los Angeles, Portugal, and New York.

From big brand events on mega stages to sweaty little queer clubs, his blend of upbeat vocal house music lifts people up and brings folks together on the dance floor. Phillippe is also co-founder of Yohomo, Toronto’s only source for LGBTQ+ nightlife and culture.

See Phil at 6 Degrees Presents.

Phil Villeneuve (DJ Phillippe)
DJ and dancer (Canada)