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Thank you from the executive producer on 6 Degrees Citizen Space 2017

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Unexpected. Smart. Engaging. Worthy.

Three months ago, on a warm July morning, the 6 Degrees team gathered with our designers from Puncture in our boardroom on the fifth floor of a brick building overlooking the heart of Toronto’s Chinatown on Spadina Avenue south of Dundas. With sun streaming in the large windows, we tossed adjectives onto the table – words to best describe 6 Degrees Citizen Space. It was part of an exercise to define the tone of our brand.

In other words – an attempt to distill who we are and what we want to be when we grow up?

After an hour of discussion, we agreed on our top six attributes:

Bold. Urgent. Optimistic. Unapologetic. Clear. Inclusive.

And so, emboldened by such dynamic descriptors, we adjourned the meeting to boldly, urgently and optimistically resume our task of curating what we hoped would be a memorable and meaningful three days of conversation and connection. All with the ambitious goal of charting a course toward creating truly inclusive societies.

This is my first assignment with the Institute for Canadian Citizenship.

As the grandchild of Ukrainian immigrants, and a long-time freelance producer with CBC radio, giving voice to newcomers, and finding ways to widen the circle of influence and conversation to include youth, women and people of colour, has long been both a personal and professional passion.

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Over the past six months, I’ve had the immense pleasure of working with a dedicated, thoughtful, and hard-working team whose roots include Mexico, Egypt, Palestine, Pakistan, the British West Indies and French Canada. They put in long hours, attend copious meetings, write and receive thousands of emails, draft reports, worry about partner logos, post information updates, take photos, make and re-make multiple decisions – all with a view toward creating an eclectic series of events, a space, a happening.

6 Degrees Citizen Space is not your average conference.

Despite being just two years old, the word that emerged at the end of this year’s iteration was “movement.”

We convened world-renowned authors and speakers, young activists, researchers and reporters from around the world. From Ataturk, Istanbul to Changi, Singapore, from Bogota to Beijing to Brampton, participants gathered to listen and learn, to deliberate and debate, and hopefully, ultimately, to leave feeling energized, empowered and eager to take up the cause, and join the 6 Degrees movement to spread the word across Canada and beyond.

And now, as the dust settles from 2017, I look back on this intense yet positive experience and come away with the following 6 Degrees life lessons:

Be bold. Take urgent action. Remain optimistic. Don’t apologize for caring. Be clear. And above all else – welcome as many as you can into the circle. Inclusion is always a choice.

Thank you to the team at 6 Degrees – Alain Pescador, Aisha Jarrah, Deena Douara, Kimberley Gadwah, Portia Biswas, Gayatri Kumar, Phil Chalk and Niki  Mohrdar – along with Charlie Foran, Leith Bishop, Scott Young, Dave Young, Christine Latimer, Abra Rissi, Roberto Alvarez, Soraya Sarif, Julia Girmenia, Jasmit de Saffel, Stacey Boag, Alyssa Horvat, Anja Moore-Heighington, Alykhan Haji, Salima Jaffer, Amanda Pileggi and the rest of the ICC staff, as well as our co-chairs Adrienne Clarkson and John Ralston Saul and the board of directors, for having the vision to know the time for 6 Degrees is right, and it’s now!

See you next September!

Karin Chykaliuk
Executive Producer
6 Degrees Citizen Space