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Citizenship Ceremony

Forte Chorus
Forte Chorus

Forte – Toronto Gay Men’s Chorus is one of Canada’s premier male choral ensembles with a membership proudly drawn from Toronto’s diverse LGTBQ+ community.

Created by three founding members in 1997, Forte has evolved through a wide range of performance styles and repertoires; from show tunes and “choir-ography” to original and classical works. Today, their programming includes an exciting and challenging array of musical styles, presented in their annual holiday and Pride-affiliated summer shows and their ongoing Unzipped cabaret series at Buddies in Bad Times.

Forte Chorus also appears at a variety of beloved LGBTQ+ community events including the Candlelight AIDS Vigil, Pride and Remembrance Run, Toronto Pride Flag Raising Ceremony at City Hall, Inspire Awards, Orlando/Pulse Nightclub Memorial, The Imperial Court of Toronto Coronation and the Toronto Mr. Leatherman competition.

Forte Chorus
Toronto Gay Men’s Chorus
Sistema Toronto
Sistema Toronto

Sistema Toronto provides musical and intellectual opportunities to children in vulnerable communities, with the goal of transformative social change. Sistema builds stronger communities by enabling at-risk children to overcome poverty, grow, and thrive as engaged citizens and future leaders.

Sistema Toronto is first and foremost a social development program, using ensemble-based music education to transform the lives of at-risk children. Sistema Toronto students work together for 10 hours of weekly instruction. They learn strings (violin, viola, cello, or double bass), percussion, choir, and music and movement while developing important life skills like problem solving, empathy, and self-advocacy.

Sistema Toronto
Music education for at-risk children

6 Degrees at the AGO

Jaafar Abdul Karim
Jaafar Abdul Karim

Jaafar Abdul Karim is an international award-winning journalist and the host of the interactive, personalized talk show JaafarTalk, broadcast on Germany’s international broadcaster Deutsche Welle. He is a typical trimedial reporter that tweets, posts, films, and interviews at the same time. He has reported from various war zones, such as Libya, Syria, and Iraq. With his previous award-winning talk show Shababtalk, he hosted discussions in Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Lebanon and Morocco. 

Abdul Karim was born in Liberia, raised in Switzerland and Lebanon, and studied in Germany, France and Great Britain. He is now often considered a politically independent, brave, and free mediator between the German and Arab community. His work enables open and direct communication between Germany and the Arab world and provides a safe space for Arabic youth to discuss ideas, opinions, and thoughts openly. 

Abdul Karim has been honoured as “Reporter of the Year” 2016 by the online publishing platform, Medium. Shababtalk has been honoured by the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU) as “Best Arabic Talk Show” three years in a row. 

In addition to being a TV host, Abdul Karim also works as a columnist for Zeit Online and has a vlog on the internet portal Spiegel Online. He is also the author of the book Fremde oder Freunde? (Friend or foe?).

Jaafar Abdul Karim
Journalist and talk show host (Lebanon/Germany)
Siri Agrell
Siri Agrell

Siri Agrell is the executive director of OneEleven, a community of more than 50 Toronto technology companies. A committed urbanist, she is known for her work at the intersection of policy, progress, and the public good. She was director of strategic initiatives to Toronto Mayor John Tory, where she led government modernization efforts, and held other files including the King Street Pilot Project, the Bloor Street bike lane pilot, #TorontoStrong, and the ongoing arrival of refugees in the Toronto shelter system. 

Prior to the mayor’s office, she held a senior role in the Office of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. She began her career as a newspaper journalist, and worked for the Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, National Post, and Globe and Mail, where she was the urban affairs reporter from 2007-2012.

Siri Agrell
Executive director of OneEleven, writer, and urbanist (Canada)
Kendall Anderson
Kendall Anderson

Kendall Anderson is the acting executive director of the Samara Centre for Democracy. Anderson is the visionary behind the Samara Centre’s groundbreaking research and educational programs. As a former editor at Random House of Canada, Anderson is a talented storyteller who is able to articulate creative solutions to the problems in our politics. Anderson has a BSc from the University of Guelph, which she currently only uses to prevent her two young children from contracting food-borne illnesses.

Kendall Anderson
Acting executive director, The Samara Centre for Democracy (Canada)
Ric Esther Bienstock
Ric Esther Bienstock

Ric Esther Bienstock is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker best known for her groundbreaking investigative documentaries. Her films, including The Accountant of Auschwitz; Tales From the Organ Trade, Sex Slaves, Ebola: Inside an Outbreak; Boxing: In and Out of the Ring; Penn & Teller’s Magic and Mystery Tour ; and Ms. Conceptions, have screened at over 80 international festivals and aired in more than 60 countries.

In July 2019, she was named an Officer of the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest civilian honour. In 2015, she was awarded the Gordon Sinclair Award for Broadcast Journalism from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television for her body of work. Bienstock has also been honoured by the Toronto International Film Festival with the Birks Diamond Tribute to the Year’s Women in Film as one of Canada’s leading women filmmakers. 

Bienstock currently serves on the Board of Directors of Toronto’s Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary festival, and has been on the board of the Documentary Organization of Canada (DOC) since 2014.

With a passion for social issues, her films, often years in the making, stand out as the definitive films on whatever topic she tackles. As a result, she has been asked to speak before governments, international organizations and law enforcement the world over. 

Her work has garnered dozens of prestigious awards, including an Emmy Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism, two Edward R. Murrow Awards, a Dupont-Columbia Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism, a British Broadcast Award, four Canadian Screen Awards, two Donald Brittain Awards, two Geminis, a Genie, a Royal Television Society Award, and two Amnesty International Awards, among many others.

Ric Esther Bienstock
Documentary producer, writer, and director (Canada)
Jessica Bolduc
Jessica Bolduc

As the executive director of the 4Rs Youth Movement, Jess Bolduc has travelled across Turtle Island and internationally in order to learn about the conditions that might be necessary for communities to shift and transform complex systems through dialogue and strategic action. The work of 4Rs is about centering the role that Indigenous young people play in moving forward reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

Bolduc is a board member of Turtle Island Institute, Thinking Rock Community Arts, a member of the Core Team for the Youth Social Infrastructure Collaborative (YSI), and is part of the stewardship committee for the establishment of a community foundation in the Algoma region.

When she is home in Baawating (Sault Ste. Marie, ON), she can most often be found stacking wood, cooking food, harvesting meat, and boiling sap (among other things) as a volunteer at Shingwauk Kinomage Gamig, the local Anishinaabe culture-based university.

Jessica Bolduc
Executive director, 4Rs Youth Movement (Batchewana First Nation, Anishinaabe Aki)
Bangerz Brass
Bangerz Brass

Bangerz Brass is Toronto’s only hip-hop brass band. Bringing together three of the city’s hottest young MCs and a hurricane-force brass section, the Bangerz have gone from playing the streets to selling out clubs in less than two years. Their shows – filled with dance-offs, MC battles, singalongs and even mosh pits – have made them Toronto’s favourite party band. They have become so synonymous with live music that the city’s own tourism magazine featured them on the cover of their 2019 issue.

Bangerz Brass
Hip-hop brass band
Cory Doctorow
Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow is a science-fiction author, activist, journalist, and blogger. He’s the co-editor of Boing Boing and the author of sci-fi books for adults Radicalized and Walkaway, as well as young adult (YA) graphic novel In Real Life; the non-fiction business book Information Doesn’t Want To Be Free; YA novels Homeland, Pirate Cinema, and Little Brother, and novels for adults Rapture Of The Nerds, and Makers.

He works for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is a Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab Research Affiliate; a visiting professor of computer science at Open University; a visiting professor of practice at the University of South Carolina’s School of Library and Information Science; and he co-founded the UK Open Rights Group. Born in Toronto, he now lives in Los Angeles.

Cory Doctorow
Writer and activist (Canada/U.K./U.S.)
Rania El Mugammar
Rania El Mugammar

Rania El Mugammar is a Sudanese artist, liberation educator, anti-oppression consultant, multidisciplinary performer, speaker, and published writer. 

As a writer, El Mugammar’s work explores themes of identity, womanhood, Blackness, flight, exile, migration, belonging, gender, sexuality, and beyond. El Mugammar’s primary mediums are poetry, spoken word and oral storytelling. She is a published poet, storyteller, and playwright. El Mugammar is deeply interested in poetic form and the auditory texture of words, as well as the visual/aesthetic impact of language and form. 

She is co-chair of the St. Jamestown Collective Impact Steering Committee, a member of the Leaders Panel for the Economic Development and Culture Strategic Plan at the City of Toronto. She is also the lead anti-oppression consultant for the RECENTRE initiative, program director of B Inc at Bcurrent Performing Arts, and co-founder of the How to be an Ally Series at the Centre for Social Innovation. 

El Mugammar is an experienced anti-oppression, equity, inclusion, and liberation educator and consultant who is unflinchingly committed to decolonization and freedom as the ultimate goals of her work. She has worked extensively with contemporary arts institutions, STEM- based enterprises, media organizations, educational institutions, and community/grassroots spaces, including VIBE Arts, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Ministry of Canadian Heritage, Daniels Spectrum, Trinity Square Video, eBay, Facebook Canada, Toronto Cultural Music Lab, Canadian Art magazine, Bcurrent, Toronto Arts Council, WattPad, Women’s College Hospital, the University of Michigan, TPW Gallery, Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, Regent Park Focus, and beyond.

Rania El Mugammar
Artist, anti-oppression consultant, and liberation educator (Sudan/ Canada)
Aude Favre
Aude Favre

Aude Favre was the first French journalist to start a  YouTube channel. She decided to start her channel to fight against disinformation in 2017, shortly after Donald Trump was elected President of the United States (his election played a significant role in her decision). She has been debunking fake news since then, and is followed by 90,000 people. Before starting her YouTube channel, she worked in TV for more than ten years. 

Aude Favre
Journalist and YouTuber (France)
Shona Fulcher
Shona Fulcher

Shona Fulcher is the chief community officer at Centre for Social Innovation Toronto (CSI). Fulcher has long had a soft spot for the reluctant hero who, when faced with a wrong they can right, quietly pulls up their socks and changes the world. This lifelong fascination inexorably drew her to the world-shaking, change-making energy of CSI. 

CSI is a co-working space, community, and launchpad for people and organizations who are putting people and planet first, co-creating the next economy, and changing the world. CSI provides over 1000 change-makers across three locations in two countries with the tools, relationships, and knowledge they need to accelerate their success and amplify their impact. 

Shona Fulcher
Chief community officer at Centre for Social Innovation Toronto
Rachel Giese
Rachel Giese

Rachel Giese is an award-winning Toronto journalist and the author of Boys: What It Means to Become a Man, which won the Writers’ Trust of Canada Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing. She’s the editorial director of Xtra and a frequent contributor to CBC Radio and the Globe and Mail. Her work has appeared in the Literary Review of Canada, Real Life, NewYorker.com and The Walrus.

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

Dr. Judith S. Goldstein received a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in 1962 with a concentration on European and American history. As a Woodrow Wilson Scholar at Columbia University, she then studied for a master’s degree in European history. 

In 1972, Goldstein completed her doctoral studies at Columbia University after writing her dissertation on “The Politics of Ethnic Pressure: The American Jewish Committee Fight Against Immigration Restriction: 1906-1917.” This work was the beginning of a sustained concentration on immigration and diversity in America and Europe. 

In the late 1980s, she began to write a book on the integration of Jewish immigrants in Maine which William Morrow published in 1992. Goldstein founded Humanity in Action in 1997 and began to serve as its executive director. She has an abiding interest in conservation and landscape design and history, especially as it relates to Maine and Mount Desert Island.

Judith Goldstein
Founder and executive director, Humanity in Action (U.S.)
Bailey Greenspon
Bailey Greenspon

An advocate at the intersection of political engagement and female leadership, Bailey Greenspon has built a career working with talented young people to amplify their voices. Greenspon is the senior program manager at G(irls)20, a Toronto-based, global movement dedicated to advancing young women in decision-making spaces. She has worked with young leaders across the G7 and G20 countries, in West Africa, South Asia, and Canada. 

A World Economic Forum Global Shaper, Greenspon previously ran the Everyday Political Citizen program at the Samara Centre for Democracy, served as the head moderator for gender negotiations at the G7’s Youth Engagement Group (Y7), is a founding adviser to both Progress Toronto and the Institute for Canadian Citizenship’s 6 Degrees, and served as an adviser to the Department for Women and Gender Equality’s (WAGE) GBA+ Roundtable. Greenspon studied international development at McGill University.

Bailey Greenspon
Senior program manager, G(irls)20 (Canada)
Steye Hallema
Steye Hallema

Steye Hallema is a director known for his skill to tell original stories with the newest technologies. He started his career as a creative at the critically acclaimed multimedia theatre group PIPS:lab and was creative lead at the Medialab from Dutch broadcaster The VPRO. He might have created the world’s first 360º music video in 2009 and his follow-up Virtual Reality music video What do we care4 was nominated for a UK music award in 2015 and was a worldwide hit amongst virtual reality early adopters. This project landed him a job as creative director for Jaunt VR, a Disney-backed VR startup from Silicon Valley. The Cinematic VR experience Ashes to Ashes, which Hallema co-directed, won gold at The Dutch VR Awards and was nominated for a Gouden Kalf (the Dutch Oscars). Weltatem — a virtual reality opera game which Hallema directed — won two Dutch Game Awards. 

Hallema currently works as creative director for Studio WildVreemd and as artistic leader for The Smartphone Orchestra, a new storytelling device to tell stories with the audience instead of to them.

Steye Hallema
Founder and creative director, The Smartphone Orchestra (The Netherlands)
Cotee Harper
Cotee Harper

Born and raised in Toronto, Cotee Harper’s roots stem from the Cree Shawnee Potawatomi Nation and she is also a member of the Mistawasis First Nation in Saskatchewan. 

As the youngest daughter of the late urban elder Vern Harper, she merges her heritage as an Indigenous dance artist with a contemporary dance style. For 25 years, she has also studied classical ballet and contemporary dance at Anna McCowan Johnson’s Interplay School of Dance. 

Harper is also a traditional dancer of fancy shawl and jingle dress and has performed for dignitaries, in schools, and festivals throughout Ontario. She was also featured in the opening performance of the 2017 Indspire Awards.

Cotee Harper
Fancy shawl dancer (Canada)
Miranda Hassell
Miranda Hassell

Miranda Hassell is currently the communications manager at The Democratic Engagement Exchange, leading the nation’s largest non-partisan voter engagement campaign. Her passion for democratic engagement is in her blood: her grandfather ran communications for political campaigns in British Columbia, and her great-grandfather organized in Saskatchewan. Hassell first ran a campaign in primary school, by hanging signs on her front porch and shouting at people on the street. 

Hassell is a storyteller with purpose. She has led rallies, workshops, and digital campaigns reaching millions. Driven by a deep sense of justice, she believes that empathy is the cornerstone of effective communications. 

Hassell studied equity and diversity and nonprofit management at Ryerson University. She is a recovering political staffer who previously worked at Queen’s Park, and Toronto Foundation.

Miranda Hassell
Communications manager, The Democratic Engagement Exchange
Wexford Gleeks
Wexford Gleeks

The award-winning Wexford Gleeks are a nationally recognized ensemble from the Wexford Collegiate Performing Arts program. They were featured in the TVO documentary Unsung: Behind the Glee, as well as “The Real Glee” episode on Global’s 16×9. Most recently, they have performed for George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Goldie Hawn. They also share their talents regularly at events across Ontario.

Graduates of the program find work worldwide, with former Gleeks now employed at both the Shaw and Stratford Festivals, as well as on Broadway in New York.

Wexford Gleeks
Showchoir from Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts
Alena Helgeson
Alena Helgeson

Alena Helgeson is the founder of #iamhereCanada and co-founder of #jesuislaCanada – branches of the #jagärhär movement that was created in Sweden in 2016 by Mina Dennert.

Along with 140,000 members from 13 international sister groups, #iamhereCanada counters dangerous speech online. At a grassroots level, members carve out space within hateful comments of online media articles to help those who feel silenced to share their voices and see support. Joining a larger movement of “counterspeak,” members hope this initiative will inspire the silent majority to speak out with facts, empathy, and compassion in an era of disinformation, intolerance, and manipulation.

By day, Helgeson works as a medical office administrator in a clinic for medically fragile children and utilizes her bachelor of education degree by supply teaching in rural Alberta.

Alena Helgeson
Founder, Canadian chapter #iamhere (Canada)
Justin (Jah’kota) Holness
Justin (Jah’kota) Holness

Justin (Jah’kota) Holness is part Jamaican and part Nakota from Ocean Man First Nation in Saskatchewan, so subsequently his artist name is Jah’Kota. He is a 2019 Indigenous Music Award nominee for Best Rap/Hip-Hop album of the year for his album WOKE. The title tune also hit number one on the Indigenous Music Countdown for Aug 3-9, 2019. 

In 2016, Jah’kota made history for being the first Indigenous hip-hop artist to “drop a verse” in the Canadian Senate on National Aboriginal Day. He is an award-winning entrepreneur who received the 2018 CBC Ottawa Trailblazer Award for TR1BE Academy, a creative agency for Indigenous youth. He is also an award-winning youth worker who received the Youth Community Service Award from the Committee of Youth Officers of Ontario while working as an Indigenous Youth Diversion Coordinator at the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health. His life purpose is to help young people find their genius through art, music, fashion, and entrepreneurship. His music is inspired by the mission to achieve reconciliation and help “Indigenize” Canada.

Justin (Jah’kota) Holness
Hip-hop artist, entrepreneur, and founder of TR1BE Academy (Canada)
Marcus Huynh
Marcus Huynh

Marcus Huynh lives and breathes the positive power of community. With a very adventurous mindset and big picture lens, Huynh is passionate about taking leaps in his life to evoke positive change and help build inclusive communities. 

In his role as community animator to a co-located community of over 600 social change professionals, he creates and recreates daily the essential bonds that turn a group of strangers into an activated powerful community.  

In his role as TEDxToronto’s director of community, Huynh is passionate about building inclusive communities, bringing a strategic lens that unites and ignites the TEDxToronto community.

You can also find Huynh exploring the city by bike, at a café, or on his next outdoor adventure.

Marcus Huynh
Community animator, Centre for Social Innovation Spadina, and director of community, TEDxToronto
Martin Katz
Martin Katz

Founder and president of Prospero Pictures, Martin Katz is one of the most prolific feature film producers in Canada. His credits include Hotel Rwanda, Spider, A Dangerous Method, Cosmopolis and Maps to the Stars, in addition to television projects including the Elvis Costello series Spectacle, and Ice Road Truckers.

Katz holds degrees in law from University of Toronto and Université de Paris I (Panthéon-Sorbonne). He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, a director of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship and chair of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.

Martin Katz
Film and television producer (Canada)
Javier López Casarín
Javier López Casarín

Javier López Casarín 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 a writer, analyst, and lecturer on innovation issues. 

López Casarín chairs Fundación Reinventando a México (FRaM), a non-profit organization with the mission to foster social capital in Mexico through initiatives aimed at improving the lives of its citizens. These initiatives include discussion and research-based forums, programs to improve labour qualifications, as well as programs that provide a wide range of support mechanisms for vulnerable and marginalized communities. FRaM actively engages in research and the dissemination of its results in the realm of innovation.

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

Caro Loutfi 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. A first-generation Canadian, Loutfi 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, holds a BFA with distinction from Concordia University, and is a former board member for the Darling Foundry, which supports the creation and exhibition of contemporary art. 

Loutfi currently sits on the Inspirit Foundation’s board, working to inspire pluralism among young Canadians, and is an adviser to Sid Lee’s C2 Conference, as part of the Sustainability Impact Unit. She regularly provides a youth perspective on topics of civic and political engagement and has been featured on CTV News, CBC, and Global News, among others. 

She was featured as one of 19 prominent young Canadians to watch in the We Are Canada CBC series (2017). 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.

Caro Loutfi
Executive Director, Apathy is Boring (Canada)
Abdul-Rehman Malik
Abdul-Rehman Malik

Abdul-Rehman Malik is an award-winning journalist, educator and cultural organizer. In June 2019, he was appointed lecturer and associate research scholar at the Yale Divinity School. He also serves as the program coordinator at Yale University’s Council on Middle East Studies, and is responsible for developing curricula and partnerships with public schools to promote better cultural, language, and religious literacy about the Middle East to educators and students alike. 

Malik also serves as director of the Muslim Leadership Lab, an innovative student leadership program being incubated at the Dwight Hall Center of Social Justice at Yale. He is also the programs manager at the Radical Middle Way, which offers powerful, faith-inspired guidance and tools to enable change, combat exclusion and violence, and promote social justice for all. His work has spanned the United Kingdom, United States, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sudan, Mali, Morocco, Singapore, Canada, and Malaysia.

Malik is a frequent journalist for BBC Radio, offering contemporary perspectives on contemporary spirituality. Until 2018, he regularly presented the popular Pause for Thought segment on Radio 2 and Something Understood on Radio 4. His most recent essay for Radio 3’s Holy Week 2019 was titled “Behold the Man”.

In addition to providing curation and content guidance to a variety of cultural and literary institutions, Malik works to create platforms at the intersection of arts and social change. In January 2015, he became director — a voluntary position — of the Insight Film Festival, a unique year-round festival that celebrates the intersection between faith and film. He was creative adviser to English Touring Theatre’s acclaimed, radical reimagining of Othello from 2017-2019 and curated The Othello Project, a multidisciplinary festival of artistic responses to the production.

Malik recently trained over 150 young civil society leaders in Indonesia to use the power of theatre and storytelling to bridge interfaith and intercultural divides against the backdrop of violence and discrimination as part of a Google.org funded initiative called Project Cerita. The program has now been piloted in the U.K. and in the Netherlands.

Malik was artist-in-residence at the Doris Duke Foundation’s Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Design and Culture in June 2018. During his residency at Shangri La, Malik curated a series of programs and original performances around the theme, “What is Muslim Culture?”. He serves on the advisory board of the Said Foundation’s Amal Muslim Cultures & Arts program fund.

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

Anne-Laure Mathieu has been working in the cultural sector, both in Quebec and internationally, for 18 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 in the social sector.

Mathieu puts the principles of humanity, inclusion, 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 the French AÏNA, a startup designing day-to-day solutions for the elderly.

Anne-Laure Mathieu
Event designer and strategist (Canada)
Ryan McMahon
Ryan McMahon

Ryan McMahon is an Anishinaabe comedian, writer, and media maker from Couchiching First Nation in Treaty 3 Territory. In 2012, McMahon became the first Native comedian to ever record a solo one-hour mainstream comedy special for CBC, when he taped Ryan McMahon – UnReserved.

His five-part series, A 12 Step Program For Canada, in which he lays out a path to decolonization and reconciliation, aired on CBC Radio 1’s flagship Saturday show, Day 6 With Brent Bambury. The series won the 2018 RTDNA award for Best Opinion/Commentary.

When not standing onstage trying to make hundreds of strangers laugh, McMahon’s podcasts (Thunder Bay, Red Man Laughing and Stories From The Land) have garnered millions of downloads globally. Thunder Bay, a podcast deep dive into the legacy of colonialism on a small city in Canada, was named in dozens of “Best Of” podcast lists at the end of 2018, including lists in the New York Times, Globe and Mail, and Apple Podcasts.

Ryan McMahon
Comedian, writer, and media maker (Anishinaabe Aki)
Dave Meslin
Dave Meslin

A passionate transpartisan political disruptor, Dave Meslin has spent the last 20 years as a political biologist, exploring the strange and mysterious worlds of protest movements, party politics, and non-profit organizations. Wearing a suit and tie one day and shouting through a megaphone the next, Dave has worked as an executive assistant at both city hall and the provincial legislature, painted do-it-yourself bike lanes on the street, organized hundreds of volunteers, started a handful of non-profits, worked as federal lobbyist, helped draft provincial legislation, survived tear-gas riots in three countries, buried his car, and got thrown in jail. Not in that order. 

His TED talk about apathy has more than 1.7 million views and his 90-second video clip from the 2016 Canadian election coverage, using colourful stacks of Lego bricks to explain how our voting system fails us, has over 2.5 million views on Facebook alone.

Dave’s bestselling book, Teardown: Rebuilding Democracy from the Ground Up, is a roadmap for change and a cure for cynicism. His thesis is simple: We’re stronger and smarter when we’re all involved. By replacing cynicism with a culture of participation, we can re-imagine our role in the world and the possibilities of the future.

Dave Meslin
Author, Teardown: Rebuilding Democracy from the Ground Up (Canada)
Serpil Midyatli
Serpil Midyatli

Serpil Midyatli was the first Muslim to be elected to the Schleswig-Holstein state parliament in 2009. She is chairwoman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SDP) in Schleswig-Holstein and a member of the SPD party executive. She is responsible for childcare and integration in the state parliament. 

The daughter of Turkish immigrants, Midyatli became head of a restaurant in Kiel at 18, and then organized larger events. Managing a small business, Serpil has learned to tackle situations hands-on — an attitude she has preserved in politics.

For Midyatli, it is important to meet people openly. Politics is about solving people’s everyday problems such as the rising cost of childcare and housing. Politics is a team effort, because we can only solve many of the challenges in Schleswig-Holstein together. With this attitude, Midyatli leads her party in Schleswig-Holstein and fights for the people in the region in the state parliament.

Serpil Midyatli
Chairwoman of the Social Democrats and Member of Parliament (Schleswig-Holstein, Germany)
Andrew Moir
Andrew Moir

Andrew Moir is a documentary filmmaker whose work is marked by intimacy and character-driven storytelling. His short films have screened at festivals, such as Sheffield Doc/Fest, AFI DOCS, and DOC NYC. Four of his films have premiered at Hot Docs. He is currently editing his first feature-length documentary.

Andrew Moir
Documentary filmmaker (Canada)
Mike Morden
Mike Morden

Mike Morden is the research director of the Samara Centre for Democracy. He is particularly interested in publishing research that effs with people’s narratives. He leads the charge on conducting the Samara Centre’s democracy-boosting research and contributing to its mission of asking critical questions, producing new evidence, and linking knowledge to action. 

Morden holds a PhD in political science from the University of Toronto. He is originally from London, ON, and he aspires to one day have a small cabin in the woods.

Mike Morden
Research director, The Samara Centre for Democracy (Canada)
Kate Rowswell
Kate Rowswell

Kate Rowswell is passionate about truth and trust in our digital world, so she runs a social impact organization dedicated to helping citizens understand the information environment and how it impacts our communities. Her research and projects explore disinformation, public mistrust of democratic institutions, political polarization, and the effects of technology on the social determinants of health. 

Rowswell is an affiliate member of the Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill University; previously she was a journalist for CNN, the BBC and ITN, and her work has appeared in the New York Times and the Washington Post. 

She worked in Afghanistan for international aid organizations as a director of communications and development, and as a social science consultant. She has visited or lived in more than 80 countries and enjoys looking at the world through an anthropological lens, using her MSc in medical anthropology from Oxford University.

Kate Rowswell
Executive director of Memetix (Canada/U.K.)
Smartphone Orchestra (The Netherlands)
Smartphone Orchestra (The Netherlands)

The Smartphone Orchestra is an orchestra created by the smartphones from the audience. Imagine shimmering musical sound fields in a concert hall, mass choreographies at festivals, unprecedented audience participation in theatre shows, and spontaneous flash mobs at parties or demonstrations. The Smartphone Orchestra opens up numerous possibilities to share experiences with mass audiences. Our team has a proven track record of creating and directing high-quality performances with completely engaged audiences.

Steye Hallema: founder and creative director
Hidde de Jong: creative coder
Eric Magnée: composer and creative technologist

Smartphone Orchestra (The Netherlands)
 
Ketty Nivyabandi
Ketty Nivyabandi

Ketty Nivyabandi is a human rights defender, poet, and advocate for democracy and social justice. She was forced to flee her home as a result of her activism in May 2015, after she mobilized and successfully led women peaceful protests in her home country, Burundi. As a refugee, Nivyabandi continues to raise awareness on ongoing human rights violations in her country, particularly against women.

She has led several global awareness campaigns on human rights violations in Burundi, has testified before the Canadian House of Commons Subcommittee on International Human Rights as a human rights defender, and regularly speaks on human rights, refugee issues, and the intimate effects of conflict on women’s lives.

Ketty Nivyabandi
Poet and activist (Burundi)
Nanjala Nyabola
Nanjala Nyabola

Nanjala Nyabola is a writer, independent researcher, and political analyst currently based in Nairobi, Kenya. Her research and advocacy focuses on conflict and post-conflict transitions, particularly on refugees and migration, as well as East African politics generally. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including the Financial Times, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, Al Jazeera, World Politics Review, as well as in edited collections. She is the author of Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics: How the Internet Era is Transforming Kenya and the co-editor of Where Women Are: Gender and the 2017 Kenyan Elections.

Nanjala Nyabola
Writer, independent researcher, and political analyst (Kenya)
Caroline Orr
Caroline Orr

Caroline Orr is a journalist and social scientist recognized internationally for her research on social media manipulation, online information warfare, human behavior, and far-right extremism. 

Orr joined National Observer’s reporting team in May 2019 as part of the Election Integrity Reporting Project. Prior to that, she spent a decade in academia conducting scientific research on the intersection of technology and media with human behavior and psychology, and has since expanded that work to focus on the application of traditional models of human behavior to online settings. 

In her work as a journalist and scholar, Orr has published extensively on various topics, including foreign and domestic information operations; digital manipulation; the use of social media for intelligence gathering and psychological profiling; online activism; the social-psychological functions of conspiracy theories; the normalization of hate; online extremism and radicalization; and the weaponization of social media. 

Orr’s work for National Observer’s Election Integrity Reporting Project focuses on current and emerging threats to democratic discourse, with a particular focus on disinformation and extremism. In addition to National Observer, her work has been published in national and international publications including USA Today, The Independent, The Monitor, Playboy, Byline Times, and Arc Digital.

Caroline Orr
Journalist, independent researcher, and research analyst (U.S.)
Orkan Özdemir
Orkan Özdemir

Orkan Özdemir has been a city council member in Berlin for nearly a decade and has worked as a policy adviser for the minister for the interior for the last two years. He studied political science at the Free University of Berlin and worked as head of political consulting at BQN Berlin, one of the most renowned consulting agencies in the field of integration and labour policy, for five years. 

Özdemir is a member of the social democratic party and part of its integration board in the Berlin chapter. He is an alumnus of the German Marshall Fund’s Transatlantic Inclusion Leaders Network and co-founder of the Refugees Welcome alliance in Berlin/Tempelhof-Schöneberg.

Orkan Özdemir
City council member, Berlin/Tempelhof-Schöneberg; policy adviser for intercultural affairs, minister for the interior of Berlin (Germany)
Pambo
Pambo

Pambo is one of Mexico’s most beloved and multifaceted artists and activists. She has an outstanding capacity to transmit emotions as a composer and singer.

In her album La Princesa Caballero, Pambo shows a new side, collaborating with award-winning Mexican musicians such as Alejandro Sanz and Kinky. She has also composed for artists such as Reik, Alek Syntek, Eiza Gonzalez, and Danna Paola. 

Pambo’s track “Perdón” was named the most played track in Mexico by SACM (Sociedad de Autores y compositores de México) in 2007, as was “Ya Me Enteré”, performed by Reik, in 2017. In 2018, “Ya Me Enteré”  was awarded the BMI Latin Award in Los Angeles for most played Spanish song in the U.S. 

Pambo is also a former ambassador for AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Mexico and is the current spokesperson and operator of #LoveArmyMexico, a humanitarian project with the purpose of rebuilding communities affected by the 2017 earthquake in central and southern Mexico.

Pambo has composed over 200 songs and is one of the first openly queer female singers in the country. She is increasingly becoming one of the leading voices on diversity in Mexico.

Pambo
Musician and activist (Mexico)
Samantha Perlman
Samantha Perlman

At 24, Samantha Perlman is running to be the second woman and youngest person on the current city council in her hometown of Marlborough, Massachusetts. 

Perlman’s enthusiasm for civic advocacy stems from studying abroad during the #FeesMustFall student protests around decolonization at the University of Cape Town. Witnessing youth mobilization and the capacity to be a change agent firsthand led Samantha to pursue civic engagement work at Generation Citizen and now as the Civic Engagement Manager at Scholars Strategy Network. Previously, Perlman worked within state and federal government internships, such as at the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Perlman is passionate about empowering young women to be involved in government and is an appointed member of her city’s Cultural Council. She got her degree from Emory University, and is a graduate of the Commonwealth Seminar, the Massachusetts Citizens’ Legislative Seminar, and the FAO Schwarz Fellowship in social impact. Recently, she graduated from the Institute for Nonprofit Practice’s Community Fellows Program and Emerge Massachusetts, an organization that trains women to run for office.

Perlman was a 2018 ICC Fellow where she pursued a civic tech project in Boston. 

Samantha Perlman
Civic Engagement manager, Scholars Strategy Network and 2018/2019 Institute for Canadian Citizenship Fellow (U.S.)
Eva Salinas
Eva Salinas

Eva Salinas is managing editor of foreign affairs news site, OpenCanada.org. 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 from Ryerson University and a master’s degree from 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.

Eva Salinas
Managing editor, OpenCanada.org (Canada)
Ahmed Shihab-Eldin
Ahmed Shihab-Eldin

Ahmed Shihab-Eldin is an Emmy-nominated journalist, producer and actor working as a senior correspondent with AJ+. He has worked for VICE on HBO, Al Jazeera English, the New York Times, the Huffington Post and PBS. He may be best known for creating and co-hosting Al Jazeera English’s flagship show The Stream, an interactive talk show nominated for an Emmy Award for Most Innovative Program in 2012.

In 2015, Shihab-Eldin was a correspondent on six stories on VICE on HBO. In 2015 and 2016, he was featured on the Arabian Business Power List “100 under 40: The world’s most influential young Arabs.”

In 2012, Shihab-Eldin helped establish HuffPost Live for the Huffington Post, producing and hosting World Brief, a 30-minute interactive global news show. He was also featured on Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list of young disruptors, innovators, and media entrepreneurs impatient to change the world.

Before joining Al Jazeera English in 2009, Shihab-Eldin helped launch the Doha Tribeca Film Festival in Qatar where he worked as a correspondent and led the site’s editorial content. Before that, he worked in New York as a digital producer for the PBS series Wide Angle, and a videographer for FRONTLINE/World, before joining the New York Times’ international desk.

In 2009, he began teaching digital media courses as an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, his alma mater, where he graduated with honors in 2007. In 2013, he published his first book, Demanding Dignity.

Shihab-Eldin is passionate about telling stories that connect people across boundaries and borders that separate them. He appears as a commentator for CNN, NBC, BBC, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, Yahoo and other platforms, and is often invited to speak at leading media, technology, and ideas conferences around the world—including the UN, World Economic Forum, SXSW, Aspen Ideas Festival, and Google Zeitgeist. The Network of Arab-American Professionals honored him with their Professional Excellence Award in 2013.

Ahmed Shihab-Eldin
Senior correspondent, AJ+ (Palestine/Kuwait/U.S.)
Alexandre Soublière
Alexandre Soublière

Alexandre Soublière is a novelist, screenwriter, and copywriter. His first novel, Charlotte Before Christ (Boréal, 2012), was unanimously praised by critics for its bold style as it ushered into literature an extraordinarily accurate portrait of an urban contemporary culture. 

He studied at Concordia University, and currently lives in Montreal.

Alexandre Soublière
Author and senior writer (Canada)
Yvonne Su
Yvonne Su

Yvonne Su is the program manager at the Samara Centre for Democracy. She has the fun job of developing programs that engage active citizens everyday to build a stronger democracy together. 

Su is also a leader in youth engagement having co-founded the Vote Mobs movement in 2011 and the non-profit organization Vote Savvy in 2015. Su holds a PhD in political science and international development from the University of Guelph, and a master’s degree from the University of Oxford.

Yvonne Su
Program manager, The Samara Centre for Democracy (Canada/China)
Nadya Tolokonnikova
Nadya Tolokonnikova

Nadya Tolokonnikova is a Russian conceptual artist, political activist, and co-founder of the art collective Pussy Riot, which has been the world’s most prominent art group in recent years and a global symbol of activism. In 2012, Tolokonnikova was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment following an anti-Putin performance by Pussy Riot in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Shortly after her release in December 2013, Tolokonnikova announced the opening of an independent Russian news service Mediazona. 

She has spoken before the United States Congress, British Parliament, and the European Parliament to fight and advocate for human rights in Russia. She has lectured at many universities as an honorary speaker, including Harvard and Cambridge, and received an honorary degree from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).

Tolokonnikova has published two books: Read & Riot: A Pussy Riot Guide to Activism (HarperOne, 2018) and Comradely Greetings: The prison letters of Nadya and Slavoj (co-written with Slavoj Zizek, 2014). She is a subject in the documentary Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer (HBO, 2013) and appeared as herself on Netflix’s House of Cards. Netflix original series Russian Doll included one of her tracks, “Organs”, in Episode 7. The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018), a comedy starring Mila Kunis, has her song “Bad Girls” on the soundtrack. 

In 2012, while in prison, she became a Lennon Ono Grant for Peace recipient and has performed the song “Refugees In” as part of artist Banksy’s Dismaland, and performed live on world renowned stages, such as Glastonbury Festival. 

By staging and merging her audio/visual and written art on a world stage and through meetings with world leaders, prison directors and wardens, political activists, philosophers, artists, Tolokonnikova has developed a continuous persistent and relentless fight for human rights that shines a unique light, often with humour to make it accessible, relatable, memorable and actionable, to a wider audience. 

Nadya Tolokonnikova
Artist, political activist, and Co-founder of Pussy Riot (Russia)
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, which supports Indigenous sovereignty through storytelling on screen. He has been a columnist covering film and culture on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning for more than 20 years, and is also a culture columnist for CBC Radio’s Unreserved

He has programmed film festivals, including Reel World, ImagineNative, and the Toronto International Film Festival, and 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 Tradition, and 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. 

Jesse Wente
Ojibwe broadcaster, advocate, and pop culture philosopher (Canada)
Fabrice Vil
Fabrice Vil

Fabrice Vil is co-founder and executive director of Pour 3 Points, an organization that transforms sports coaches into life coaches for youth in low-income neighbourhoods in Montreal, Quebec. Vil is also a columnist at La Presse newspaper and was a lawyer in civil and commercial litigation from 2007 to 2013, as well as a basketball coach from 2001 to 2009. 

Vil is also an Ashoka Fellow. Ashoka engages a network of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs.

Fabrice Vil
Co-founder and executive director of Pour 3 Points, and columnist at La Presse (Canada)
Bianca Wylie
Bianca Wylie

Bianca Wylie 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. Wylie 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.

Wylie 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, Wylie founded the Open Data Institute Toronto. She is a columnist, guest lecturer, and speaker on open government, data governance, and public sector technology policy.

Bianca Wylie
Writer and advocate (Canada)

17th LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecture

Adam Gopnik
Adam Gopnik

Adam Gopnik has been writing for The New Yorker since 1986. During his more than 30 years at the magazine, he has written hundreds of essays, from personal memoirs to reviews and profiles, along with much reporting from abroad, along with fiction, humour, and art criticism. His latest book, A Thousand Small Sanities: The Moral Adventure of Liberalism, explores the crisis of democracy in our era and champions liberalism and the belief in the “infinity of small effects”. His other titles include:  Paris to the Moon, The King in the Window, Through the Children’s Gate: A Home in New York, Angels and Ages: A Short Book About Darwin, Lincoln, and Modern Life, The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the Meaning of Food, Winter: Five Windows on the Season (Fiftieth Anniversary Massey Lecture), and At The Strangers’ Gate.

Gopnik has won the National Magazine Award for Essays and for Criticism three times, as well as the George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting. In March 2013, Gopnik was awarded the medal of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Republic. Two months later, he received a honoris causa from his Alma mater, McGill University, and that same year also received an honorary doctorate from the Rhode Island School of Design. 

Born in Philadelphia and raised in Montreal, Gopnik lives in New York with his wife, Martha Parker, and their two children, varyingly present, Luke and Olivia.

Adam Gopnik
Essayist, author, and speaker (U.S.)
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
Essayist, novelist, and Co-founder and Co-chair of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (Canada)
Nai Children’s Choir
Nai Children’s Choir

Nai Children’s Choir is a program founded by the CultureLink staff and volunteers to empower refugee children through musical learning. In Arabic, Nai means “sound of the flute” and true to its name, the program utilizes music as a force for healing, hope, and connection. Taking an arts-based youth empowerment approach, the program provides a unique space for refugee children to learn to express their grief, yearning, love, and hope through singing in their mother tongue and the official languages of their new home. This helps the children integrate into the Canadian multicultural environment while maintaining their heritage and culture. 

Since April 2016, Nai has worked with more than 400 refugee children, performed in over 30 sites, and welcomed many new families to join the growing program. The choir first performed at the inaugural 6 Degrees Toronto in September 2016.

Nai Children’s Choir
Refugee children’s choir (Syria/Lebanon/Algeria)
Hidden River Singers
Hidden River Singers

Cheryl L’hirondelle, Monique Mojica, Shandra Spears Bombay, Rose Stella, and Edebwed Ogichidaakwe form Hidden River Singers. They are some of Toronto’s most innovative Indigenous female singers, songwriters, actors, and arts activists. They first came together during the Idle No More protests and sang to honour the life and memory of the late Misty Upham at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival 2014. They opened the Strong Women, Strong Voices event at the Aboriginal Pavilion during the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, and have also performed at Pride Toronto, the Aga Khan Museum, and numerous events around the city. They have been featured at book launches for Charlie Angus, Leanne Simpson, and Pam Palmater, and have offered songs for rallies honouring Colton Boushie and Tina Fontaine. Collectively, they represent the Cree, Metis, Guna, Rappahannock, Anishinaabe, Tarahumara, and Mississauga of the Credit First Nations. 

Hidden River Singers
Indigenous hand-drum ensemble

Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship

Lieutenant-General (ret) The Honourable Roméo A. Dallaire
Lieutenant-General (ret) The Honourable Roméo A. Dallaire

General Roméo Dallaire is the founder of the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, a global partnership with the mission to end the recruitment and use of child soldiers.  A celebrated advocate for human rights, General Dallaire is also a respected author, government and United Nations (UN) adviser, and former Canadian senator.

Throughout his distinguished military career, General Dallaire served most notably as Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda prior to and during the 1994 genocide. General Dallaire provided the United Nations with information about the planned massacre, which ultimately took more than 800,000 lives in less than 100 days, but permission to intervene was denied and the UN withdrew its peacekeeping forces. General Dallaire, along with a small contingent of Ghanaian and Tunisian soldiers and military observers, disobeyed the command to withdraw and remained in Rwanda to fulfill their ethical obligation to protect those who sought refuge with the UN forces.

Whether as military commander, humanitarian, senator or author, Roméo Dallaire has penetrated our national consciousness, often in supremely uncomfortable ways. He continues to work tirelessly to bring national and international attention to situations too-often ignored, whether the atrocities of the Rwandan genocide, the struggle that he and many other military veterans face with post-traumatic stress disorder, or the recruitment and use of child soldiers. 

Lieutenant-General (ret) The Honourable Roméo A. Dallaire
 
The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson
The Right Honourable 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 best-selling 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 Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson
26th Governor General of Canada, and Co-founder and Co-chair of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (Canada)
Rufus Wainwright
Rufus Wainwright

Praised by the New York Times for his “genuine originality”, Rufus Wainwright has established himself as one of the great male vocalists, composers, and songwriters of his generation. 

The New York-born, Montreal-raised singer-songwriter has released seven studio albums, three DVDs, and three live albums, including the Grammy-nominated Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall, which captured his celebrated Judy Garland tribute performance at the London Palladium in 2007, and the album Release The Stars which went Gold in Canada and the U.K.

In addition to being a celebrated contemporary pop singer, Wainwright has made a name for himself in the classical world with his much-acclaimed first opera, titled Prima Donna, and most recent opera work Hadrian.

Rufus Wainwright
Singer, songwriter, and composer (U.S./Canada)