2016 Conference Speakers

We have an incredible line up of speakers!

Learn more about them.

Nahlah Ayed Nahlah Ayed is a writer and veteran foreign correspondent based in London.  She has covered many major world events: most recently, the refugee crisis across Europe, the dying days of Iran under international sanctions, and the conflict in Ukraine. Ayed also spent nearly a decade working across the Middle East. Prior to joining CBC, Ayed was a parliamentary reporter for The Canadian Press. She has won numerous national and international awards for her work, and she is also the author of a national bestseller book on refugeehood.
Shaheen Azmi Shaheen Azmi, PhD is Director of the Policy, Education, Monitoring and Outreach Branch at the Ontario Human Rights Commission where he has worked for more than 17 years. He completed his PhD in social work at the University of Toronto and has focused his academic research and writing on the challenges of ethno-racial and religious diversity to human services, social welfare, and human rights.
Desmond Cole Desmond Cole is an award-winning writer, freelance journalist, and activist. He is currently a columnist at the Toronto Star. Desmond's writing and advocacy focuses on social justice issues, including immigration detention, anti-Black racism, and systemic poverty. He is an elite skipper of stones. 
Isadore Day Regional Chief Isadore Day, Wiindawtegowinini was elected Ontario Regional Chief in June 2015 and is a member of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Executive and Chair of the Political Confederacy for the Chiefs of Ontario. Born in Elliot Lake and raised in the North, he worked in construction, commercial fishing, and social services before being elected Chief of Serpent River First Nation in 2005. His board and committee positions include Lake Huron Regional Chief, the Union of Ontario Indians, the Chiefs of Ontario, and the North Shore Tribal Council. As Ontario Regional Chief, Isadore actively advocates for the protection of Indigenous Nations’ inherent and treaty rights. His post-secondary education focused on Social Work, Business, and First Nation Public Administration and Governance 
Fay Faraday Fay Faraday is a nationally recognized social justice lawyer, strategic adviser, policy consultant and academic whose work focuses on labour, human rights, and constitutional law.  Representing unions, community organizations and coalitions, she has litigated numerous leading cases at the Supreme Court of Canada. As a Metcalf Foundation Innovation Fellow, Fay has written three landmark reports addressing migrant worker rights, most recently Canada’s Choice:  Decent Work or Entrenched Exploitation for Canada’s Migrant Workers (2016).
Joseph Heath Joseph Heath PhD is Professor in the Department of Philosophy and the School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Toronto. A fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Trudeau Foundation, Heath is the author of several books, both popular and academic. His most recent, Morality, Competition and the Firm (Oxford, 2014), is a collection of papers on business ethics and the normative foundations of market economies. He is also the author of Enlightenment 2.0, which won the Shaughnessy Cohen prize for Political Writing in 2015.
Deanna Jamieson Deanna Jamieson’s career with the federal government spans three decades, and includes positions at Statistics Canada; Indigenous and Northern Affairs; Innovation, Science and Economic Development; and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). Her final assignment at ESDC included overseeing a research project related to foreign credential recognition and a panel on the employment challenges of new Canadians. More recently, she has ventured into the fields of foresight and behavioural economics in her work as senior analyst at Policy Horizons Canada. Throughout her career, Deanna has particularly enjoyed working on collaborative projects involving strategic policy and new technologies and approaches.
Ingrid Mattson Ingrid Mattson PhD, is a scholar of Islamic Studies, an expert in interfaith relations and an internationally recognized Muslim religious leader. Since 2012, she's the Chair of Islamic Studies at Huron University College. Previously she taught in the US where she was a noted public figure as the president of the largest Muslim organization in the country. She has worked with the White House, has taught US and Canadian chaplains, and is a prolific public speaker.
John W. McArthur John W. McArthur PhD is a senior fellow in the Global Economy and Development program at the Brookings Institution and with the UN Foundation. He was deputy director of the United Nations Millennium Project and a research fellow at the Center for International Development at Harvard University. Accomplishments include proposing a graduate degree to provide rigorous cross-disciplinary training for the next generation of sustainable development practitioners; co-chairing the International Commission on Education for Sustainable Development Practice; co-founding the global network of Masters in Development Practice programs; chairing the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council (GAC) on Poverty and Sustainable Development; and chairing the GAC on Benchmarking Progress.  John, who completed a DPhil (PhD) and MPhil in economics at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, is a member of the Forum’s Advisory Board on Sustainability and Competitiveness.
John McCallum The Honorable John McCallum PhD Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, was first elected to the House of Commons in 2000. He was re-elected in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011, and 2015. He has served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, member of the Standing Committee on Finance, Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions), Minister of National Defence, Minister of Veterans Affairs, Minister of National Revenue, and Chair of the Expenditure Review Committee. Before entering politics, Mr. McCallum was Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the Royal Bank of Canada. He was a professor of economics at McGill University, the Université du Québec à Montréal, Simon Fraser University, and the University of Manitoba. He has written on fiscal and monetary issues, comparative macroeconomic performance of OECD countries, and Canada-US economic integration. A native of Montréal, Mr. McCallum obtained a Bachelor of Arts from Cambridge University, a Diplôme d’études supérieures from the Université de Paris, and a doctorate in economics from McGill University.
Andrea Nemtin Andrea Nemtin is CEO and founding president of Inspirit Foundation. In fewer than five years, she and her team launched a series of critically needed programs to address inclusion in Canada. She played a key role in coordinating the organizational structure to embrace positive impact investing strategies, creating the foundation’s first roadmap towards a 100% impact portfolio. Andrea brings a rare combination of creativity, business acumen, and passion for social inclusion to the foundation, fostered by her experience at organizations such as Alliance Atlantis, Documentary Organization of Canada, Hot Docs, and Abilities Arts Festival. Her inspiration comes from exchanging ideas with young change leaders, community champions, and fellow foundation leaders. 
Keith Neuman Keith Neuman PhD. is Executive Director of the Environics Institute for Survey Research, a non-profit research organization that promotes public opinion and social research on important issues of public policy and social change in Canada. Over the past three decades, he has directed landmark studies focusing on under-researched segments of the population (e.g., Indigenous Peoples, Muslims, Black people), as well as general public opinion studies on such topics as citizenship, democracy, climate change and multiculturalism. He is a frequent media commentator on social trends and public opinion.
Ratna Omidvar The Honorable Ratna Omidvar, CM, OOnt is an internationally recognized expert on migration, diversity, and inclusion. In April 2016, she was appointed as an independent senator representing Ontario. Ratna is the founding Executive Director and currently a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Global Diversity Exchange (GDX), Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University, a director at the Environics Institute and Samara Canada, and the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council’s Chair Emerita. Co-author of Flight and Freedom: Stories of Escape to Canada, she was appointed to the Order of Ontario in 2005 and became a Member of the Order of Canada in 2011, with both honours recognizing her advocacy work on behalf of immigrants and devotion to reducing inequality in Canada. In 2014, Germany awarded her the Cross of the Order of Merit in recognition of her contribution to the advancement of German-Canadian relations.
Sara Özoǧu Sara Özoǧul is a junior researcher in Planning at the University of Amsterdam, and works on the Toronto case study for the EU-funded project DIVERCITIES. Central to the project is the concept of hyper-diversity, arguing that identities are liquid, multiple, and intersecting. Thus, drawing conclusions or predictions based on a single characteristic such as nationality, ethnicity, or income becomes impossible, which in turn has profound implications on urban policy-making and governance. Born to ‘bi-ethnic’ parents and raised in rural Germany, Sara often felt confronted with prejudices and personally relates to the concept of hyper-diversity. She studied Social Sciences in the Netherlands and Urban Studies in the United Kingdom.
Eric Reguly Eric Reguly is the European bureau chief and columnist for The Globe and has been based in Rome since 2007. In Europe and North Africa, he has covered stories ranging from the euro zone crisis and the bank bailouts to the Athens riots at the Arab Spring. His awards include the 2007 Hyman Solomon Award for Excellence in Public Policy Journalism, a National Newspaper award and two National Magazine Awards. He has contributed to several books, including Orange Alert, a remembrance of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and Beautiful Destruction, an essay and photo book on the Alberta oil sands. He was born in Vancouver and holds Italian and Canadian citizenship.
Michelle Rempel The Honorable Michelle Rempel is the Member of Parliament for Calgary Nose Hill. She has been Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment and is currently the Official Opposition Critic for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. A former director at the University of Calgary, she also worked in the technology commercialization division of the University of Manitoba. Michelle was named one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women's Executive Network, one of Avenue Magazine’s “Top 40 under 40”, a recognition of Calgary's exceptional community leaders, and was twice named by Maclean’s Magazine as Parliamentarian of the Year. Rising Star calling her “one of the government’s most impressive performers.” In 2016, Michelle was selected as a Young Global leader by the World Economic Forum. In Calgary, she has planned events, raised tens of thousands of dollars, and acted as volunteer leader for numerous not-for-profit organizations. She holds a degree in economics.
Doug Saunders Doug Saunders is the Globe and Mail's international affairs columnist and author of The Myth of the Muslim Tide (2012) and Arrival City: How the Largest Migration in History Is Reshaping Our World (2011). The Guardian says that Arrival City − a national bestseller and winner of the Donner Prize − is "the best popular book on cities since Jane Jacob's The Death and Life of Great American Cities half a century ago". Doug has won the National Newspaper Award, Canada's counterpart to the Pulitzer Prize, on five occasions.
Simon Tremblay-Pepin Simon Tremblay-Pepin is a professor at St. Paul University in Ottawa and researcher at the Research Institute and Socio-Economic Information (IRIS). His research interests are political systems, social innovation, public finance, and economic democratization prospects. In addition to various articles and research papers, he is the author of “Illusions: petit manuel pour une critique des médias" and coordinated the first volume of "Dépossession: une histoire économique du Québec contemporain," published by Lux Éditeur.
Xiaoyi Yan Xiaoyi Yan is Director, Research at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. Since joining the Public Service, she has worked in several federal departments in charge of socio-economic research, policy development, corporate planning, performance & risk management, gaining important insights into various economic and social files of the Government. A Doctorate in Economics, she taught Economics at York University in Toronto and the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, China for eight years. 



Anita Bromberg
Anita Bromberg is the Executive Director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation. A recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Community Program Excellence Award, she has three decades of experience working on issues of racism, discrimination, and human rights, countering hate and inter-group relations. Born and raised in Winnipeg, Anita was admitted to the Ontario Bar in 1982. She is a frequent spokesperson, lecturer, trainer, and media representative on topical issues of the day. A court-recognized expert on racism and extremism, she has instituted and participated in numerous intercultural outreach and educational initiatives. She was the National Director of Legal Affairs for B'nai Brith Canada and human rights coordinator for the League of Human Rights where she coordinated the legal initiatives of the organization's advocacy efforts and was responsible for the operation of its Anti-Hate Hotline and annual report on racism.
William A. Macdonald William A. Macdonald is President of his own public policy and economic strategic consulting firm W.A. Macdonald Associates Inc. in Toronto, Canada, which consults primarily with Chief Executives.  He was formerly senior partner of McMillans, a large Toronto law firm and a director of Imperial Oil, National Trust company, Rio Algom and Marathon Realty.
Ceta Ramkhalawansingh Ceta Ramkhalawansingh was the corporate manager of diversity and community engagement for the City of Toronto for three decades prior to retirement and was responsible for introducing many ground-breaking equity and human rights policies. In July 2014, she was appointed by Toronto City Council to fill a vacancy as the Councillor for Ward 20. Ceta has served and continues to serve on several boards of local, provincial, national, and international organizations.
Amanuel Melles Amanuel Melles was the President of the Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs and the Chair of the 82nd Annual Summer Conference.  He is a social entrepreneur and the former director of Organizational Capacity Building for the United Way Toronto. Originally from Eritrea, he headed the Department of Marine Biology and Fisheries at the University of Asmara and conducted research in Kenya, Mauritius, Saudi Arabia, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy. He was the 2002 recipient of the Jane Jacobs Prize, awarded to "unsung heroes" who have made Toronto a better place, and in 2001 received the Skills for Change Pioneers Award. Amanuel was also the founding president of the African Canadian Social Development Council and co-founded the Canadians for Peace & Development in Eritrea (CPDE), an organization advocating peace and respect for human rights in the context of war between Eritrea and Ethiopia.
Emilie Nicolas Emilie Nicolas is a PhD student at the University of Toronto in anthropology and an Action Canada Fellow. She attended her first conference in 2013 and was an active member of the 2014 Program Committee. She also currently serves as VP External Affairs and Board Member for Québec Inclusif and is a member of the Banff Forum on Public Policy.
Adam Redish Adam Redish is President of the Institute. He joined the Board in 2010 and was the Vice Chair of the 2011 Summer Conference and served as chair of the 2013 Executive Committee. When not focused on Couchiching issues, he works in the public sector where he has held a number of different positions in labour relations, the environment, and urban planning. Adam holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from McMaster University and a Master's degree in industrial relations from the University of Toronto.
Helen Tewolde

Helen Tewolde is Manager, Program and Partnership Development, George Brown College. Previously, she was project manager of the Council of Educators of Toronto, a partnership of Toronto colleges, universities, school boards, government, business, and community that seeks to enhance access to higher education. Helen attended McMaster University where she earned an Hons. BA in Political Science and Philosophy and University of Toronto for an MA in Theory and Policy Studies in Education and Comparative, International and Development Education, and certification from the Executive Program for Non-profit Leaders, Stanford School of Business. Helen was the 2015 Couchiching Conference Co-chair and 2016 VP, Program.

Armine Yalnizyan Armine Yalnizyan is one of Canada's foremost progressive voices. An economist, she joined the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives in 2008 to advance their work on inequality. She is featured weekly on CBC Radio's most popular morning show, Metro Morning, and CBC TV's The Exchange for her views on Canadian business. She was elected Vice President of the Canadian Association for Business Economics in 2013.

2016 Summer Conference

The Canada Project

Identity, Citizenship, and Nationhood in a Changing World

August 5-7, 2016
The YMCA Geneva Park Conference Centre, Orillia, ON

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Couchiching Connects
April 2017
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