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75th Annual Summer Conference, August 10–13, 2006

Speaker Biographies

Lillian Allen
Poet, vocalist, and lyricist

Lillian Allen emerged as a leading influential figure on the Canadian cultural landscape. She is an award winning and internationally renowned poet and writer of short stories and Plays. As one of its lead originator, she has specialized in the writing and performing of dub poetry, a highly politicized form of poetry, which is sometimes set to music. Her recordings Revolutionary Tea Party and Conditions Critical won Juno awards in 1986 and 1988 respectively. Her works appear independently and in anthologies. She has spent close to three decades writing, publishing, and performing her work in Canada, The US, Europe, and England. In 2004/5 She instigated, wrote, hosted and co-produced CBC radio’s Wordbeat, a series of thirteen half hour shows on poetry and the spoken word.

She has also worked in film, both as a featured artist (Revolution from de Beat, 1995; Unnatural Causes, 1989; Rhythm and Hardtimes 1987) and as co-producer and co-director of Blak.. Wi Blakk… (1994), a film on Jamaican dub Poet Mutabaruka.

She is a leading expert on cultural diversity and culture in Canada and has been a consultant and advisor to all levels of government, to several institutions, and to community groups. She has initiated and facilitated the establishment of a number of organizations in various culturally diverse communities, and has worked within several established organizations to create access and change.

She is a past member of the Racial Equity Advisory of the Canada Council, the Experts Advisory on the International Cultural Diversity Agenda and an executive member of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO. She is also currently (volunteer)artistic Director of the Dub Poets Collective.

Hons: several including: City of Toronto William P Hubbard Race Relations Award, Margo Bindhardt Award, City of Toronto & the Toronto Arts Council Fdn, 1998; Foremother of Canadian Poetry, League of Canadian Poets, 1992; Ontario Volunteer Service Award, 1989; Outstanding Contribution to the Arts Award, National Congress of Black Women, 1987; Juno Awards, Revolutionary Tea Party, 1986; Ms. Magazine Landmark Album of the Last 20 Years, 1988 for Revolutionary Tea Party; 1987 Juno Award for Conditions Critical, 1988. Many other awards and citations.

Works: selected: Theorize This, 2004, Psychic Unrest, 2000, Freedom & Dance (CD), 1999; Women Do This Every Day, 1993; Nothing But A Hero, 1992; Why Me, 1991; Conditions Critical (album), 1988; If You See Truth, 1987; Revolutionary Tea Party ( album), 1986; Curfew Inna BC (cassette), 1985; De dub poets (recording), 1984. In Anthologies: Wheel and Come Again, 1988; The Other Women in Canadian Literature, 1995; Breaking Through: A Canadian Literary Mosaic, 1990. Plays; Market Place, 1995; Love and Other Strange Things, 1993, 1991; Art and Motherhood, 1985. Reports; First Steps on the Road to Racial and Cultural Equality: From Multiculturalism to Access; Creating Room for Inclusion- a Strategy for Cultural Diversity, 2001; Cultural Diversity in Every Day Life, 2002.



Jim Balsillie
Chairman and Co-CEO, Research In Motion

Mr. Balsillie is responsible for directing RIM's strategy, business development and finance. In 2002, Mr. Balsillie founded The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), a world-class global research institute focused on the restructuring of international governance, with particular emphasis on financial and economic institutions.

Mr. Balsillie is a Graduate of the University of Toronto and the Harvard School of Business. He is a Chartered Accountant and elected as a Fellow of the Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants. He also holds a Doctorate Degree from Wilfrid Laurier University.

Research In Motion, developers and manufacturers of BlackBerry®, has been honored with numerous industry and product awards. Details of these awards can be located at:



Sheela V. Basrur
Chief Medical Officer of Health and Assistant Deputy Minister, Public Health Division

Appointed Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health in early 2004, Dr. Sheela Basrur is also Assistant Deputy Minister of Public Health overseeing the work of over 6000 staff in 36 public health units and a wide range of public health services and programs. Dr. Basrur has a joint reporting relationship to the new Ministry of Health Promotion as well as the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.

In late 2004, the CMOH was granted greater legal independence in a number of areas including the responsibility to make annual reports directly to the Ontario Legislature, and the freedom to speak directly to the public on health issues whenever the CMOH considers it to be appropriate.

Dr. Basrur has an extensive background in addressing these challenges:

  • She previously served as the Medical Officer of Health for the City of Toronto, with 1800 staff – one of the largest public health bodies in North America.
  • Before entering public health, Dr. Basrur practiced medicine as a general practitioner in Guelph.
  • She holds a Masters of Health Science degree from the University of Toronto, and is a specialist in community medicine.
  • She is also a graduate from programs at Western Ontario and Dalhousie, and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Toronto

Recently, Dr. Basrur has been recognized for her efforts related to the public health community at large, including:

  • Honorary Doctorate of Science, Ryerson University
  • Honorary Diploma of Nursing, George Brown College
  • Women of the Year distinction, Greater Toronto YWCA, and
  • Fellowship, Centennial College



Michael D. Chong
President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister for Sport

Michael Chong was elected to Parliament in 2004 and re-elected in 2006. He has been a member of the Standing Committee on Industry, Natural Resources, Science and Technology.

Prior to his election, Mr. Chong was Chief Information Officer for the National Hockey League Players’ Association and a senior technology consultant with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority. He has also held information technology positions with Barclay’s Bank and the Research Capital Corporation.

Mr. Chong was born in 1971 in Windsor and was raised in Fergus, Ontario. He is a co-founder of the Dominion Institute, an organization committed to raising Canadians’ awareness of their history and sense of belonging. Mr. Chong sits on the board of the Elora Festival, a well-established celebration of song which attracts world-wide performers.

He is married to Carrie Davidson and they have a son.



Salimah Y. Ebrahim
Environmentalist, Journalist, Producer

A journalist and young global humanitarian, Salimah Ebrahim, born in Nairobi and raised in Vancouver, has for the past decade been working for the protection of Canada’s white Spirit Bear and its remarkable habitat in the Great Bear Rainforest – one of the most ecologically sensitive and diverse areas of our planet.

As founding member and Chairwoman of the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition, Salimah knew from an early age that she wanted to promote environmental sustainability, creating Kids for Saving Earth Club at the tender age of 11. A chance meeting with fellow youth Simon Jackson a few years later inspired Salimah to catch the “spirit of the bear” and over a first meal of burgers and chocolate cake, the pair established the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition– what has today become the largest youth led environmental organization in the world.

With a membership of over 6 million members in 60 countries, Salimah, Simon and the Youth Coalition have enjoyed the support and mentorship from many high profile figures – ranging from Dr. Jane Goodall to Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and the Backstreet Boys. As Co-Executive Producer for the groundbreaking The Spirit Bear – the first major Hollywood animated movie with a mission to protect its namesake – Salimah is dedicated to a new approach to environmentalism where global social and economic bottom lines finally allow for the establishment of a new paradigm of social entrepreneurship – one that constructively engages young people and adults alike in tackling global issues

Combining her spirit bear pulse and diverse background, at 24, Salimah is also a highly accomplished journalist, having traveled around the world to cover some of the most engaging and important stories of her generation. Her work, for major international news outlets – including CBC Television, The Globe and Mail, The Cairo Times and A&E’s Biography Channel – documenting global youth movements, Middle Eastern politics, environmental security challenges in Africa, international G8 and G20 summitry in Italy, Canada and France, and most recently the war in Iraq, has afforded Salimah a unique view of global affairs – landing her a seat across from presidents, prime ministers and world leaders since the age of 17.

Salimah has been awarded and recognized for her work as both journalist and environmentalist – recently having been chosen and profiled by CBC Television as one of 25 young Canadians who are changing the world.



Giles Gherson
Editor-in-Chief, The Toronto Star

Giles Gherson was appointed Editor-in-Chief of The Toronto Star effective October 4, 2004.

Prior to joining The Globe and Mail in January, 2004 as Editor of the Report on Business, Gherson was Editor-in-Chief of The Edmonton Journal from 2000–2003. In this role, he made significant improvements to the overall content and design of the Journal.

Between 1996 and 2000, Gherson worked in Ottawa for Southam News as National Economics Columnist and then as Editor-in-Chief. During this period, he also served as National Affairs Editor for the Ottawa Citizen and then as Political Editor of the National Post.

In 1994, he served with the Office of the Minister of Human Resource Development as Principal Secretary to Lloyd Axworthy and was responsible for strategic management of Social Security Reform including the design and implementation of Employment Insurance. Prior to that Gherson was National Affairs columnist for The Globe and Mail in Ottawa, Ottawa bureau chief and National columnist for the Financial Times of Canada and Washington correspondent for the Financial Post.

He has contributed chapters to The Free Trade Deal (1988), Canada Among Nations (1992) and Paying for Cities (2003). He has appeared as a commentator on numerous radio and television programs including CBC’s Prime Time News, CTV’s Canada AM, PBS’ Washington Week and several CBC Newsworld programs as well as serving as a regular weekly business panelist for CBC TV’s Midday and CBC Radio’s Morningside. He has won several journalism awards, including the Public Policy Forum’s 1993 Hyman Solomon Award for Excellence in Public Policy Journalism.

He is a director of the Public Policy Forum and a member of the advisory boards of the Institute of Intergovernmental Relations at Queen’s University, and Guelph-Humber University.

Giles was born in London, U.K., and has a B.A. Honours from Queen’s University. He is an avid runner and father to two daughters.


Anne Golden
President and Chief Executive Officer, The Conference Board of Canada

Anne Golden, Ph.D., C.M., has been President and Chief Executive Officer of The Conference Board of Canada since October 2001. Previous to that, Dr. Golden served as President of the United Way of Greater Toronto for 14 years. She has gained national recognition for her role in the public policy arena through chairing two influential task forces: one in 1996 for the provincial government on the future of the Toronto area, and another in 1998 for the City of Toronto and the federal government on homelessness. Currently she is a member of the Toronto City Summit Alliance Steering Committee and the Commercialization Advisory Council for the Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Trade, as well as the Panel of Senior Advisors to the Auditor General of Canada.

Author of numerous publications on public policy issues, Dr. Golden has held research positions including Director of Policy Research for the Ontario Liberal Party (1981–82), Special Advisor to the Provincial Leader of the Opposition (1978–81) and Research Coordinator for the Bureau of Municipal Research (1973–78).

In 2003, Dr. Golden’s commitment to social justice was recognized in her appointment by the Governor General as a Member of the Order of Canada. She has received honorary doctorates from Royal Roads University (2005), the University of Toronto (2002), York University (2000) and Ryerson Polytechnic University (1997), as well as an honorary diploma from Loyalist College (2005). In 2004 she received the Urban Leadership Award for City Engagement from the Canadian Urban Institute, as well as the WXN Canada’s Most Powerful Women: The Top 100 Award. In 2003 and in 2002, the National Post’s annual ranking of Canada’s brightest and best women executives named Dr. Golden among the elite of Canada’s businesswomen. In August 2000, she was named one of the “City of Toronto’s Top 10 Power Brokers” by the National Post; and in 1993 she was chosen by Toronto Life magazine as one of the “Eight Best People in Metropolitan Toronto.”



Robert Greenhill
President of the Canadian International Development Agency and Alternate Governor for Canada on the Board of Governors of the World Bank Group

With his strong interest in global issues, Mr. Robert Greenhill has combined a career in international business with a commitment to international public policy.

He was appointed President of the Canadian International Development Agency in May, 2005. Mr. Greenhill also serves as Alternate Governor for Canada on the Board of Governors of the World Bank Group and sits on the Board of Governors of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

Mr. Greenhill started his career with the international consulting firm, McKinsey & Company. In 1995 he joined Bombardier Inc., Canada's leading aerospace and rail-transportation manufacturer. While at Bombardier, he occupied a number of senior posts, including Senior Vice President Strategy, before becoming President and Chief Operating Officer of Bombardier International in 2000. Focusing full-time on international public policy, Mr. Greenhill joined the International Development Research Centre as Senior Visiting Executive in 2004.



Michael Hollingsworth
Playwright and author

Michael Hollingsworth is one of the founding directors of VideoCabaret. He is the creator of the video rock drama Electric Eye, and the adaptations of 1984 and Brave New World. He is also the award winning playwright/director of the twenty-four part play cycle The History of the Village of the Small Huts: New France to The Life and Times of Brian Mulroney.



John Ibbitson
Columnist, The Globe and Mail

John Ibbitson, political affairs columnist for The Globe and Mail, and author of The Polite Revolution: Perfecting the Canadian Dream (McLelland and Stewart, 2005), has lived numerous writing lives.

Born in the small Ontario town of Gravenhurst, he wrote his first published play, Catalyst (Simon and Pierre, 1975), for the local high school drama club, before leaving for Trinity College, University of Toronto, where he graduated in 1979 with an Honours B.A. in English. The remainder of his twenties was profitably spent – in creative, if not monetary, terms – writing plays, including Mayonnaise (Simon and Pierre, 1982), which premiered at Toronto’s Phoenix Theatre in 1981 and was subsequently produced across Canada and adapted for television by the CBC.

In his thirties, Ibbitson turned to writing young-adult novels, the best known of which is 1812: Jeremy’s War (Maxwell MacMillan, 1991, republished by KidsCan Press, 2001), which was nominated for the 1992 Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature. The book has been read by many thousands of students in Ontario schools and elsewhere, and is still in print.

In 1988, Ibbitson graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a Masters degree in Journalism, and arrived at the Ottawa Citizen as a rather aged cub reporter. He worked as a reporter, columnist and Queen’s Park correspondent for Southam papers until 1999, when he joined The Globe and Mail as Queen’s Park columnist, subsequently serving as the paper’s Washington Bureau Chief and, since August 2002, as political affairs columnist, based in Ottawa. He has published two previous works of political analysis: Promised Land: Inside the Mike Harris Revolution (Prentice Hall, 1997) and Loyal No More: Ontario’s Struggle for a Separate Destiny (HarperCollins, 2001). His latest work, The Polite Revolution, examines the challenges and opportunities facing Canada at a time of political and cultural transformation.

Apart from writing, John Ibbitson’s interests include reading (mostly history and biography), music (mostly classical), fishing, going for long runs, and playing poker with reporters.



Mark Kingwell
Professor, University of Toronto

Mark Kingwell, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto, specializes in political theory, especially justice theory and citizenship, and related topics in the philosophy of architecture, art and design. He was born in 1963 and educated at Toronto, Edinburgh, and Yale, where he completed a PhD in 1991. Kingwell has held visiting posts at Cambridge University, the University of California at Berkeley, and the City University of New York, where he was Weissman Distinguished Professor of Humanities in 2002. His major awards include the Spitz Prize for political theory (1997), the Drummer-General’s award for non-fiction (1998), and National Magazine Awards for essay-writing (2002) and columns (2004). In 2000 he was awarded an honorary DFA by the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design for contributions to theory and criticism.

Kingwell is the author of nine books of philosophy and cultural theory: A Civil Tongue (1995), Dreams of Millennium (1996), Better Living (1998), Marginalia (1999), The World We Want (2000), Practical Judgments (2002), Catch & Release (2003), Nothing for Granted (2005); and Nearest Thing to Heaven (2006). He is also co-author of the best-selling photographic history of the twentieth century, Canada: Our Century (1999). He is a contributing editor of Harper’s magazine and, from 2001 to 2004, was chair of the Institute for Contemporary Culture at the Royal Ontario Museum.

Kingwell’s articles and reviews have appeared in many leading academic journals, including Journal of Philosophy, Ethics, Political Theory, and Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities, as well as more than forty mainstream publications, including Harper’s, Utne Reader, the New York Times Magazine, and The Globe and Mail, where he is a contributing book reviewer. He has been television columnist for Saturday Night, political columnist for Adbusters, comment-page columnist for the National Post, and is currently cocktail columnist for Toro.

Mark Kingwell’s writing has been translated into eight languages, and he has lectured to popular and academic audiences around the world. He is currently at work on a book examining cities and consciousness.



Atul Kohli
Professor of International Affairs at Princeton University and specialist on the politics and economics of development

Atul Kohli has been both a Professor of International Affairs and a Professor at the Woodrow Wilson School and Department of Politics, Princeton University since 2002 and 1991 respectively. He has also taught at Michigan State University.

Mr. Kohli has been honored with the Charles H. Levine Award (2005) in “Comparative Policy and Administration” for his book State-Directed Development. He has also been given research grants from the SSRC-MacArthur Foundation’s Committee on International Peace and Security, the Ford Foundation, the Smithsonian Institute, and the Institute for the Study of World Politics in New York.

He is the Associate Editor of Perspectives on Politics and the Secretary-Treasurer of the Comparative Politics Section for the American Political Science Association, he is the Director of the Committee on South Asia at Princeton University, and he is the Editor of World Politics.

Mr. Kohli has written many books and articles, including State-Directed Development: Political Power and Industrialization in the Global Periphery, Democracy and Discontent: India’s Growing Crisis of Governability, and The State and Poverty in India: The Politics of Reform.



Madonna Larbi
Consultant on international and social development and former Executive Director of MATCH International Centre

Madonna Larbi is a consultant on international and social development issues with years of experience working with women’s organizations in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America. She was former executive director of MATCH International Centre an organization based in Ottawa that works with women’s groups in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America. Ms. Larbi is a founding board member of the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) based in Accra, Ghana. AWDF funds women’s groups on the African continent. As well, Ms. Larbi was on the board of the National YWCA of Canada, SOS Children’s Villages Canada and sat on Unesco’s Status of Women’s Committe in Canada. Madonna Larbi has recently provided strategic support and successfully sourced start-up funds to a few women run enterprises in Ghana.



Bernie Lucht
Executive Producer of CBC radio’s Ideas

Bernie Lucht is the executive producer of two CBC Radio One programs: the long-running, nightly series, Ideas and the Sunday afternoon program of religious and spiritual exploration, Tapestry.

Born and raised in Montreal, he attended the High School of Montreal and earned a BA from Concordia (Sir George Williams) University in 1966. That same year, he joined the CBC as a producer with Radio-Canada International, producing daily news magazine programs for broadcast overseas on the short wave service of the CBC.

In 1969, he went on to produce Cross-Country Checkup, CBC Radio’s national open line program, before leaving for West Africa to work as a CUSO volunteer teacher in rural Nigeria. He returned to Canada in 1971, starting work as a production assistant at Ideas and rising to become the program’s executive producer in 1984.

As executive producer of Ideas, Lucht is responsible for the overall editorial and creative direction of the program. He also commissions and organizes the annual CBC Massey Lectures series. He has supervised several major CBC network specials, including The Gorbachev Revolution by Gwynne Dyer (1990) and From Naked Ape to Superspecies by David Suzuki (1998). Under his leadership, Ideas has won many awards and received national and international recognition for the quality of its work.

Lucht is a senior fellow at Massey College in the University of Toronto. In 1998, he was awarded The John Drainie Award for Distinguished Contribution to Broadcasting by the Alliance of Canadian Cinema Television and Radio Artists.

Bernie Lucht lives in Toronto. He is married and the father of three sons.



Zine Magubane
Associate Professor of Sociology at Boston College

Zine Magubane received her BA from Princeton in Political Science and PhD from Harvard in Sociology. She has taught at the University of Cape Town, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and is currently an Associate Professor of Sociology and African and African Diaspora Studies at Boston College. She is the author of bringing the Empire Home: Race,Class, and Gender in Britain and Colonial South Africa (Chicago 2004), hear Our Voices: Black South African Women n the Academy (UNISA 2005) and Postmodernism, Postcoloniality, and African Studies (Africa World Press, 2005).



Brian Maracle
Journalist, author, radio host

Brian Maracle was raised on the Six Nations Grand River Territory until the age of five when his family moved to the U.S. He attended public school and high school in cities and small towns in western New York and southern Ontario. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1969 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He worked for native Indian organizations in Vancouver during the 1970s. In 1980 he moved to Ottawa to attend Carleton University, where he obtained a Bachelor of Journalism degree in 1982.

During the 1980s, he was worked as a journalist for The Globe and Mail and CBC Radio, and as a writer and freelance reporter covering native issues for the mainstream and native news media. His first book, Crazywater, was published in 1993. He then moved to the Six Nations Reserve and began writing Back on the Rez, which was published in 1996. He then began learning the Mohawk language and, together with his wife, Audrey, established a full-time adult immersion language school. The school, Onkwawenna Kentyohkwa, has just completed its seventh year of operations.

He has written two as-yet unpublished biographies in the Mohawk language of Pauline Johnson and Tom Longboat. He also authors an all-Mohawk blog site ( on the web. He lives with his wife Audrey on the Six Nations Grand River Territory. In addition to being active in language revitalization, they are involved in establishing a Mohawk longhouse in the community.



Elizabeth May
Executive Director, Sierra Club of Canada

Elizabeth May is an environmentalist, writer, activist, and lawyer. She has been Executive Director of the Sierra Club of Canada since 1989. She is a former member of the Board of the International Institute of Sustainable Development and is former vice-chair of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. In 1999, Dalhousie University created a permanent chair in her honour, the Elizabeth May Chair in Women’s Health & the Environment. She has received numerous rewards, including the United Nations Global 500 award and 2 honourary doctorates. She is the author of four books. In 2005 Elizabeth May was honoured to be appointed as an Officer to the Order of Canada.



Vivian Rakoff
Author, former Director of the Clarke Institute Psychiatry and a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto

Vivian Rakoff is a professor emeritus in the department of Psychiatry in the University of Toronto. He is still in practice. Dr. Rakoff was born in South Africa and obtained his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Capetown, and graduated in medicine from University College at the University of London. He trained as a psychiatrist in Capetown and at McGill University.

He has been director of post-graduate education, and Professor and Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry in the University of Toronto and was the Director and Psychiatrist-in-chief of the (then) Clarke Institute of Psychiatry.

His primary academic field was in adolescence and the family. He has been the author/editor of works on adolescence, psychopharmacology and general text-books of psychiatry.

In a parallel vocational career he has written radio and television plays, occasionally published poetry, has written book reviews and has contributed to CBC Ideas and lectured on a variety of socio/political topics.

This is Vivian Rakoff’s fourth presentation at Couchiching.



John Ralston Saul

John Ralston Saul’s latest book, The Collapse of Globalism and the Reinvention of the World, confronts the reigning economic ideology known as globalization. His philosophical trilogy and its conclusion – Voltaire’s Bastards, The Doubter’s Companion, The Unconscious Civilization and On Equilibrium – has impacted political thought in many countries. A Companion in the Order of Canada and a Chevalier in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France, Saul recently received the Pablo Neruda International Presidential Medal of Honor.



Edward Tenner
Scholar and author

Edward Tenner, former executive editor for physical science and history at Princeton University Press, holds a visiting research appointment in the Department of Geological and Geophysical Sciences at Princeton University. He received the A.B. from Princeton and the Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago and has held visiting research positions at Rutgers University and the Institute for Advanced Study. In 1991–92 he was a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellow and in 1995-96 is a Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.



Peter Timmerman
Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, York University and a committed Buddhist

Peter Timmerman is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University, where he conducts research and teaches in a variety of different related areas, including environmental philosophy and ethics, global environmental issues, and religious traditions and the environment. He has published widely, ranging from some of the earliest work on the possible social impacts of climate change in his 1981 monograph, Vulnerability, Resilience and the Collapse of Society, to his recent work as editor of Volume 4 of the definitive Encyclopaedia of Global Environmental Change (Social and economic dimensions, 2002).

Among his other publications are essays on the ethics of high level nuclear fuel waste management, risk assessment, emergency planning, literature and the environment, and the role of “the gift” in emerging theories of ecological economics. One of his current research foci is on the ethics of the very long term.

He has been involved for 20 years with the Zen Buddhist community, including lecturing and writing on Buddhist dharma, Buddhism and the West, and Buddhism and ecology. Among his other activities in this area, he was the co-Chair of the Canadian NGO Earth Charter committee for the Rio Earth Summit; he was the founder-director of the Canadian Coalition for Ecology, Ethics, and Religion (CCEER), and is now on the Steering Committee of the Canadian Forum on Religion and Ecology (CFORE). He appears regularly on the Faith Journal TV programme on CTS, and was the subject of a programme in the series “The Originals”.



Tom Vassos
IBM Innovation Executive and U of T MBA Instructor

Mr. Vassos has been with IBM for 27 years and is the author of the book Strategic Internet Marketing which has been translated into 6 languages. As an expert in innovation and e-business strategies, Mr. Vassos has spoken at major events in 41 countries around the world. He has also assisted several local and national governments with their e-business initiatives (e.g., Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the City of Toronto, the State of Virginia, Scottish Enterprise and the Government of the Bahamas.)

Mr. Vassos has taught technology and e-Business courses at several universities and colleges since 1981. He is currently teaching Corporate e-Business Strategies in the MBA program at the University of Toronto. He has guest lectured at several universities including Harvard University, the University of Manizales in Colombia, JKUAT in Kenya, Robert Gordon University in Scotland, the University of Amsterdam and ITESM in Mexico.

His research interests focused on the diffusion of e-Business innovation. He is a former business ambassador for the Ontario government, and has Enhanced Reliability as well as Secret security clearance with the Canadian federal government.

Mr. Vassos co-hosted a television show on CTV called This New SOHO (Small Office/Home Office) which focused on Internet strategies and advice for small businesses. He is also a frequent guest expert on TV shows such as Prime Business, CablePulse24, CTV News and the CBC Morning Show: Mr. Vassos received his MBA from the University of Toronto in 1994, and participated in the Harvard Executive Development Program in 1991 and 1996.

He was enrolled in the PhD program at Charles Sturt University from 2003 to 2004.



Pamela Wallin
Canada’s Consul General to New York

Pamela Wallin is the Senior Advisor to the President of the Americas Society/Council of the Americas in New York and she serves on several corporate boards and many advisory and volunteer organizations. The career of the Canadian-born journalist, diplomat and entrepreneur has now spanned more than thirty years and several continents.

From CBC radio to the Ottawa bureau of the Toronto Star, Pamela was then recruited to become the co-host of Canada AM. She went on to become CTV’s Ottawa bureau chief and anchored the weekend news. And in 1992, she became the first Canadian woman to co-anchor the nightly national television newscast Prime Time News.

In 1995, Pamela founded an independent television company, Pamela Wallin Productions, through which she hosted and produced a live nightly interview program. She also hosted the Canadian edition of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, garnering the highest ratings ever for a network production.

Although her work as a journalist covered all aspects of domestic and international politics, Pamela has dedicated much of her professional career to coverage of the Canada/U.S. relationship. In November 2001, she traveled to New York to host the highly successful “Canada Loves New York” rally, where more than 23,000 Canadians gathered to show support for the American people following the terrorist attacks of September 11th.

In 2002, Pamela was named to the Canadian Broadcasting Hall of Fame. In 2003, she was named a Distinguished Honoree by the Canadian Society of New York and, in 2004, she received a national Visionary Award from the Office for Partnerships for Advanced Skills and was once again recognized by Queen Elizabeth II for her public service and achievements.

Pamela has just completed her four-year term as Consul General of Canada in New York. She was appointed to the prestigious post in 2002.

Pamela is the author of three books, including her best selling autobiography Since You Asked (1998) and Speaking of Success (2001).She has thirteen Honorary Doctorates.



John Weigelt
National Technology Officer, Microsoft Canada Co.

As the National Technology Officer for Microsoft Canada, John Weigelt is responsible for driving Microsoft Canada’s strategic policy and technology efforts. In this role, Mr. Weigelt is the lead public advocate within the company on key issues such as the development of national technology policy and the use of technology by government, education and academia. Mr. Weigelt is also responsible for the development and implementation of strategies which strengthen the company’s relationships with the Canadian technology industry at large.

Previously, Mr. Weigelt held the role of Chief Security Advisor. As Chief Security Advisor, Mr. Weigelt was responsible for the development and communication of Microsoft Canada’s security and privacy strategies for organizations within the private and public sector.

Prior to joining Microsoft, John held the position of Senior Director of Architecture, Standards and Engineering at the Chief Information Officer Branch of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. In this role, he was responsible for the development of the Government of Canada Enterprise architecture, Treasury Board IM and IT standards, and provided support for Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Policy. John holds a Master’s Degree in computer and communications security from the Royal Military College of Canada and is both a certified information systems security professional as well as a certified information security manager.

John is an automobile aficionado and keeps a North American road map handy whenever he takes to the open road with his family. He continues to try to convince his Bernese mountain dog, Yukon, that there is enough room in his Mini for both of them.