Couchiching Connects: December 2015
In this Issue:
Couch Community News
“The Spirit of Social Change”, a Documentary Premiere and Conversation, Thursday, January 14th, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at Daniels Spectrum, 585 Dundas Street East, Toronto.
Connects Readers: Please be advised that the Couchiching office will be closed the week of December 28th and will be open for business Monday, January 4th.
The President's Message
It’s the giving season so why not give the gift of Couch! There are so many ways to do so:
- What young (or not so young) public affairs aficionado on your list wouldn’t love to receive the gift of a registration for the 2016 Summer Conference: “The Canada Project: Identity, Citizenship and Nationhood in a Changing World”?
- As you can see in the update below, conference co-chairs Armine Yalnizyan and Emilie Nicolas are pulling together a landmark conference on what it means to be Canadian on the cusp of our sequential celebrations (Registration is now open at www.couchichinginstitute.ca). As our gift to you, we are even throwing in a holiday discount for the first 20 registrations!
- Or give them a ticket to the Couchiching Gala – always a stimulating and sparkling evening with engaging conversation, excellent food, and the presentation of the Couchiching Award for Public Policy Leadership.
- Or just give to the Institute. We have been good all year and are always delighted to get gifts at this time of year – well, in fact, all year round. If you give more than $75, you not only get a tax receipt, we’ll make you a member of Canada’s oldest public affairs institute!
On behalf the Institute, I would like to wish all our friends, members, and Connects readers the very best for the holiday season!
VP Programs, Helen Tewolde
Hard to believe it is already mid-December. Having no snow on the ground here in Toronto only makes belief that much harder. Some of us have to believe it more than others, though. I refer to the hard-working volunteers on the Gala, Conversations, Summer Conference, and Marketing and Communications committees who keep busy with timetabling, inviting, planning, scheduling, and promoting.
They know all too well: after December, the countdown feverishly begins!
With only seven months to the highly anticipated 85th Summer Conference, “The Canada Project: Identity, Citizenship and Nationhood in a Changing World”; four months to the 5th Annual Couchiching Gala, and one month until the InSpirit documentary, “Spirit of Social Change” debuts in January, followed by a Conversations series, 2016 is slated to be a busy and productive year for Couchiching program volunteers.
Between executive, conference, marketing and communications, strategy, partnership, and program considerations, it has been a busy season for me in my role of integrating the program portfolios. The overlaps, networks, and intersections are becoming sharper and more distinct in my mind. The main overarching question for integrating the portfolios seems to be: how do we effectively operationalize the incredibly rich and expansive diversity of thought, resources, and experiences represented in our committees to ensure balanced, considered, and cutting-edge public policy perspectives among our Gala table hosts; Summer Conference and Conversation speakers, guests, sponsors, and participants? Cross-referencing, cross-checking, informing, communicating, and strategizing while keeping a pulse on the ever-present and emergent ambiguity of “not knowing yet until so-and-so responds” are all part of the leadership work Vass, Eranda, Ahmer, Mohamed Huque, Armine, and Emilie handle each and every day. Not for the faint of heart.
It has been enlightening to see how aligned committee work actually is. The program portfolios, of course, have some natural intersections given that we are all under the Couchiching umbrella. However, our committee volunteers truly know how to cast a wide net and assemble dynamic individuals and organizations for important public policy dialogue that matters.
Like most of you, I am looking for rest, rejuvenation, and reflection over the holiday season and looking forward to the New Year where we will be charged up to realize all of the visioning and planning of the last quarter.
Happy Holidays everyone! See you in 2016.
The Couchiching Gala 2016: The Institute’s Signature Toronto Event, April 11th, 2016
Couchiching Award for Public Policy Leadership
Chair, Public Policy Award and Gala Committees, Vasiliki (Vass) Bednar
The annual Couchiching Gala is an evening of sparkling conversations with a range of dynamic table hosts and is a key element in our fund-raising. Planning for the 2016 Gala, which will be held in the Great Hall of the University of Toronto’s Hart House, is well underway.
Note: Only a limited number of tickets are available to plan to order yours as soon as they become available (http://www.couchichinginstitute.ca/the-gala/gala-2015/the-2015-gala-the-institute%E2%80%99s-signature-fundraising-event).
The Gala also includes the annual Couchiching Award for Public Policy Leadership, which honours the accomplishments of a Canadian who has made significant public policy contributions to Canadian life and has demonstrated bold leadership in public policy. The award recognizes exemplary actions taken by an individual to formulate and implement policy that has had a positive impact on Canada or a community within Canada. Past recipients include Stéphane Dion, Jane Jacobs, Henry Morgentaler, Elizabeth May, Lincoln Alexander, David Dodge, Mark Carney, Phil Fontaine, and William Davis.
Watch the January issue of Couchiching Connects for the announcement of the 2016 winner!
The 2016 Summer Conference - The Canada Project: Identity, Citizenship, and Nationhood in a Changing World
August 5th to 7th, 2016
The YMCA Geneva Park Conference Centre, Orillia, Ont.
Co-chairs Emilie Nicolas and Armine Yalnizyan
On the eve of Canada's 150th anniversary, the annual Summer Conference asks: who are we, and what do we want to become? For better or worse, the social experiment that is Canada offers a cutting-edge example of response to a world with increasingly blurred borders.
The 2016 Summer Conference will tackle the big picture questions about citizenship, immigration, and identity and how these shape the evolving notion of nationhood. From coast to coast to coast, communities and individuals may live within the geo-political boundaries that define Canada, but our experiences vary greatly. Our strength as a country, however, arises from the diversity of our identities. How will our differences intersect with the values we share to shape our public policy debates for the next 150 years?
The Conference Committee has been meeting to discuss the Summer Conference keynotes and the panels. We are currently shaping the panels and preparing to invite a mix of speakers from different walks of life and from across the ideological spectrum, to foster creative discussions on our identities as Canadians. We'd be delighted to have your contribution to the design of the Summer Conference. Please feel free to get in touch with Emilie Nicolas or Armine Yalnizyan about joining our committee!
2016 Summer Conference Reading List
With support from President Barack Obama and the legacy of his father on his side, Justin Trudeau sets out to redefine what it means to be Canadian.
“Divided, Canada stands to lose what makes it great”, Naheed Nenshi, October 16th, 2015, The Globe and Mail, http://www.couchichinginstitute.ca/archives/2011/2011-conference
“Are Open Borders the Solution to the Refugee Crisis?” Michelle Chen, October 12th, 2015, In These Times, http://inthesetimes.com/article/18498/do-we-need-open-borders
“Canada can’t let labour mobility create an underclass of TFWs”, Armine Yalnizyan, October 16th, The Globe and Mail , http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-commentary/canada-cant-let-labour-mobility-create-an-underclass-of-tfws/article26839652/
“Trudeau’s Canada, Again” Guy Lawson, December 8th, 2015, The New York Times Magazine, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/13/magazine/trudeaus-canada-again.html
See link for our suggested reading list related to this year’s topic courtesy of Manticore Books.
Chair Ahmer Khan
“The Spirit of Social Change”, a Documentary Premiere and Conversation, Thursday, January 14th, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at Daniels Spectrum, 585 Dundas Street East, Toronto.
Moderator: Pacinthe Mattar of CBC’s “The Current”
Register Now! Tickets are free. Limited seating is available.
About the event
The short documentary, The Spirit of Social Change, is the culmination of a two-year Couchiching Conversation Series centred around youth empowerment, spirituality, and social action. We engaged hundreds of people in cities across Canada to reflect on their beliefs and how they are translated into social engagement. The film features two activists who explore their evolving relationship to spirituality and examine it as a force for personal transformation and social change.
Join us for the premiere followed by a panel discussion with the filmmaker Tendisai Cromwell and activists Simon Black and Nayani Thiyagarajah
About Simon Black, Nayani Thiyagarajah, and Tendisai Cromwell
Simon Black is a writer, activist, and assistant professor in the Centre for Labour Studies at Brock University. His writing has appeared in The Independent, the International Socialist Review, Relay, New Labor Forum, on rabble.ca, and in Canada’s hip hop magazine POUND. @_SimonBlack
Nayani Thiyagarajah is a film director, writer, and producer. She was a 2015 fellow of the CBC’s Workshop for Diverse Creators, an executive producer at Refuge Productions, and a co-founder of the Society of DirectHERS and ProduceHERS. @_9knee
Tendisai Cromwell is a Toronto-based filmmaker, writer, and journalist. She produced The Spirit of Social Change through New Narrative Films, a production company that focuses on faith, spirituality, and diverse communities. @Tendisai
THANK YOU TO OUR SUPPORTERS
For more information
Couchiching Conversations are free public events that aim to provide a safe space for challenging discussions. For more information, please visit www.couchichingconversations.ca or email us at email@example.com.
Couchiching Community News
Members on the Move
David McGown is now Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives at Insurance Bureau of Canada. He has held many board positions with the Institute, including two terms as president.
Eranda Gjomema is now Constituency Casework Coordinator for Liberal Member of Parliament Julie Dabrusin.
Opinions: Our Alumni Write …
Ottawa Citizen, December 11th: Thomas Hall wrote: “Michelle Harper’s physical education class was fun. There were only a few rules for most games: you weren’t allowed excessive celebrations after scoring a goal, you had to pass a minimum of three times (each time to a different person) and no one kept score. The biggest sin you could commit was if you made fun of someone who was trying their best. That was a guaranteed trip to the penalty box.” The Olympic bronze medallist was a speaker at the 2014 Summer Conference “More than a Game: The Politics and Potential of Sport (http://www.couchichinginstitute.ca/archives/2014-conference/).
The National Post, November 26th: Akaash Maharaj, a speaker at the 2014 Summer Conference, “More than a Game: The Politics and Potential of Sport”, wrote: "I recently addressed the NATO Parliamentary Assembly at its Annual Session in Norway, on what seemed like a distant question: how should NATO conduct a future expeditionary campaign, which might be precipitated by an attack on one of its members? But the terrorist attacks in Paris have given this question a terrible new urgency.”
The Globe and Mail, November 23rd: Paul Heinbecker wrote: “It’s time for cool heads, not snap judgments. There is time and reason to proceed cautiously on the questions of war and peace raised by the attacks on Paris, Beirut, Ankara and, most recently, Bamako.” He is a fellow at the Balsillie School of International Affairs and Canada’s last ambassador to the UN Security Council. He was a speaker at the 2012 Summer Conference, “The Arab Spring: Implications and Opportunities for Canada” (http://www.couchichinginstitute.ca/archives/2012/home ).
The Globe and Mail, November 23rd: Tom Flanagan wrote: “The new Liberal government says it will implement the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It’s no surprise, as the Liberals campaigned on it.” He is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Calgary and chair of the aboriginal futures research program with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy and was a speaker at the 2010 Summer Conference, “Watershed Moment or Wasted Opportunity” (http://www.couchichinginstitute.ca/archives/2010/2010-conference ).
The Globe and Mail, November 21st: Bessma Momani and David Kempthorne wrote: “After last week’s appalling events in France, many of us have been left wondering how the Islamic State was able to finance its co-ordinated terrorist attack in downtown Paris. In order to choke off the flow of funds to such groups, we need global buy-in to implement a critical set of reforms.” Bessma, the associate professor at the University of Waterloo’s Balsillie School of International Affairs and Senior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, was a speaker at the 2012 Summer Conference, “The Arab Spring: Implications and Opportunities For Canada”, (http://www.couchichinginstitute.ca/archives/2012/home ).
The National Post, November 15th: Historian and author Margaret MacMillan wrote: “The guns had scarcely stopped firing in Paris before the media were filled with attempts to understand what had happened.” The warden of St. Antony’s College and professor of International History at the University of Oxford was a speaker at the 2010 Summer Conference, “Watershed Moment or Wasted Opportunity” (http://www.couchichinginstitute.ca/archives/2010/2010-conference)
The Globe and Mail, November 14th: Bessma Momani wrote: The G20 meeting beginning Sunday in Antalya, Turkey, offers an opportunity for economists, policy analysts and government officials to give themselves a maintenance and tune-up checkup.” The associate professor at the University of Waterloo’s Balsillie School of International Affairs and Senior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation was a speaker at the 2012 Summer Conference, “The Arab Spring: Implications and Opportunities For Canada”, (http://www.couchichinginstitute.ca/archives/2012/home ).
The Globe and Mail, November 13th: Richard Pound, the senior active member of the International Olympic Committee, wrote: “As the late Yogi Berra once noted, ‘When you get to a fork in the road, take it.’ That sage advice certainly applies to sport in these troubled times.” He recently chaired a World Anti-Doping Agency commission to inquire into and report on systemic doping in Russia within the sport of track and field and was a speaker at the 2014 Summer Conference, “More than a Game: The Politics and Potential of Sport (http://www.couchichinginstitute.ca/archives/2014-conference/ ).
Alumni in the News
The Agenda, December 11th: “From bearing witness to events, to making massive mistakes that change the course of history, humans wouldn’t be where they are today without the people who played a role in their collective past.” Author Margaret MacMillan discusses this complex relationship between biography and history. The warden of St. Antony’s College and a professor of International History at the University of Oxford was a speaker at the 2010 Summer Conference, “Watershed Moment or Wasted Opportunity” (http://www.couchichinginstitute.ca/archives/2010/2010-conference)
Reuters, November 24th: In an interview with The Independent, Dick Pound, “author of the report that revealed shocking levels of doping in Russian athletics and led to the suspension of Russia's athletics federation, said the upcoming second part of the report will be even more explosive.” He was a speaker at the 2014 Summer Conference, “More than a Game: The Politics and Potential of Sport (http://www.couchichinginstitute.ca/archives/2014-conference/ ).
The Globe and Mail, November 23rd: Writing about debate over the Rhodes scholarships, education reporter Simona Chiose quoted Léo Bureau-Blouin: “It is a life-changing moment for me. It’s about promoting postsecondary education, it’s about giving the opportunity to students from many countries to live an outstanding experience in Oxford. I did not hesitate for a minute.” The former student activist and provincial politician was a speaker at the 2015 Summer Conference, “Are We Failing Our Future: Time for a new deal between generations” (http://www.couchichinginstitute.ca/conference/2015-conference/ ).
Maclean’s, November 23rd: Senior correspondent Jonathon Gatehouse wrote: “Russia may well be the most flagrant cheater with coaches, athletes, and officials colluding to hide doping, but it’s hardly alone.” The independent report prepared for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was prepared by Montreal lawyer and former WADA president Richard Pound, Western University law professor Richard McLaren, and cybercrime expert Günter Younger. Pound was a speaker at the 2014 Summer Conference, “More than a Game: The Politics and Potential of Sport (http://www.couchichinginstitute.ca/archives/2014-conference/ ).
The Globe and Mail, November 19th: Columnist Gary Mason wrote: “Naheed Nenshi can often speak eloquently about the pluralistic wonder he considers Canada. But as one of the most high-profile Muslim figures in the country, the Calgary mayor admits he has been “shaken” by the closed-minded, even racist nature of some of the debate over the Syrian refugee crisis.” He delivered the closing keynote address at the 2011 Summer Conference, “From the Ground Up: Civic Engagement in Our Time” (http://www.couchichinginstitute.ca/archives/2011/2011-conference ).
The Globe and Mail, November 17th: National correspondent, Vancouver Bureau David Ebner wrote: “The Russian doping scandal could propel significant improvements in drug testing in all sports around the world, according to Richard Pound, the Canadian who led the World Anti-Doping Agency’s independent investigation that alleges rampant cheating by track and field officials and athletes in Russia.” He was a speaker at the 2014 Summer Conference, “More than a Game: The Politics and Potential of Sport (http://www.couchichinginstitute.ca/archives/2014-conference/ ).
Inside the Games, November 17th: Reporter Nick Butler wrote: “World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Independent Commission chair Richard Pound has claimed it is ‘pretty clear’ there is a lot of performance enhancing drug use in Kenya, suggesting it should be a "major concern" for the authorities as they aim to clean up problems within athletics. “ He was a speaker at the 2014 Summer Conference, “More than a Game: The Politics and Potential of Sport (http://www.couchichinginstitute.ca/archives/2014-conference/ ).
Financial Post, November 10th: Noting that “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will have plenty to deliver on when he recalls Parliament …”, reporter Gordon Isfeld quoted Glen Hodgson, senior vice president and chief economist of the Conference Board of Canada: “Getting elected is one thing, governing is another thing.” Glen was a speaker at the 2014 Summer Conference, “More than a Game: The Politics and Potential of Sport” (http://www.couchichinginstitute.ca/archives/2014-conference/ ) and the 2009 Summer Conference, “The Global Politics of Food” (http://www.couchichinginstitute.ca/archives/2009/2009-conference).
Calling all Readers of Couchiching Connects!
Please send information on Newsmakers, Members on the Move, Alumni in the News, and Opinions: Our Members Write ... to Sheila Robertson, Editor, Couchiching Connects, firstname.lastname@example.org
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