2017 Talks

Traditional Coast Salish Welcome

Sam George

Squamish Nation Elder Sam George performs traditional welcome with the Coast Salish Anthem - Chief Dan George Prayer Song.

Mindful Presence in 5 minutes

Wendy Quan

Wendy Quan leads us through a beautiful mindful meditation that creates a keen presence to fully experience the day’s events. Experience Wendy’s expert guidance. Wendy Quan, founder of The Calm Monkey, is the industry leader helping organizations implement self-sustaining mindfulness meditation programs using change management techniques to create personal and organizational change resiliency. She trains and certifies meditators to become workplace and community facilitators through workshops and online training. Wendy is a certified organizational change manager who has been recognized as a pioneer by the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, the global Association of Change Management Professionals and the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources. Her worldwide clients include Google, the government of Dubai and amazing individuals who want to make a positive difference in the world. Wendy has a compelling personal story of how her cancer journey led to her life’s purpose: “To help people create a better experience of life through mindfulness meditation”.

When All Else Is Gone: Story of a Syrian Refugee

Mohammed Alsaleh

What do you do when you face the unthinkable? When all else is gone, what are you left with? In this moving talk, Mohammed Alsaleh answers these questions based on his lived first-hand experiences, from Syria to Canada, he went from being a medical student, to terrorist, to refugee. Mohammed Alsaleh is a Syrian Canadian activist and advocate. During his final years of Med school, he was forced to flee Syria after surviving imprisonment and torture by the Assad regime for his involvement in the peaceful Syrian uprising. Fleeing to neighbouring Lebanon, he had lost all hope facing hardships of forced displacement until hope was restored by Canada. In 2014, he was offered a new opportunity in life as one of the first 28 Syrian refugee arrivals ever resettled in BC. Since then, Mohammed has been building a new life in Metro Vancouver while resuming his activism as a public speaker and volunteer at various public engagements, raising awareness and helping other newcomers settle in Canada. He currently serves as a Refugee Resettlement worker with Immigrant Services Society of BC. His journey from Syria to Canada and his work with refugees was featured in the documentary "Welcome to Canada".

Introduction to Nadine Wildheart's talk

Woodrow Morrison, Jr.

Haida elder and storyteller, Woody Morrison, has been mentoring and teaching Nadine for many years. In this brief introduction to her talk: "Storytelling, Ancient Wisdom and the Human Family", he explains why he chose Nadine to be one of his apprentices. Woodrow (Woody) Morrison, Jr., son of a Haida Father and Cherokee Mother, is Northern Haida from Hydaburg, Alaska. From early childhood he was trained by History Keepers to be a Haida Oral Historian – his last teacher died in 1997. He served as a Cultural/Story Consultant on 19 Hollywood Film and Television productions. He's a graduate, 1982, of the University of New Mexico School of Law (first Haida to earn a Juris Doctor).

Storytelling, Ancient Wisdom and the Human Family

Nadine Wildheart

Who are we? If we don't know our stories, if we're not listening? Nadine's experience listening to Indigenous elders and their stories taught her about her own story. Looking into our own ancestral background through traditional storytelling, Nadine encourages people to return to their own story. Moving forward, collectively remembering we are the human family. Nadine Wildheart is a storyteller, who has been trained by world renowned storytellers Laura Simms and Nancy Mellon. She also sits with Haida History Keeper and Storyteller, Woody Morrison, Ph.D., who was trained by The Old Ones as a little boy. Nadine holds a Bachelor of Education with a teaching philosophy in whole brain thinking and emotional intelligence. She also completed a Bachelor of Arts in Great Books/English with a focus in Spiritual Psychology, the theories of the Western Cannon, Consciousness Studies and Jungian and Freudian Dream Theory. Nadine is a professional trained clown in the Pochinko technique, she studied with the Halifax circus, has hitchhiked across Canada five times and helped edit a textbook on Indigenous Injustices “The Colonial Problem” by Dr. Lisa Monchalin.

Living My Truth

Tru Wilson

Discover the power that is found when a 9-year old girl discovers who she truly is and decides to live as her authentic self – regardless of the Catholic School that denies her identity. Hear Tru Wilson's journey of self discovery and empowerment, in a world that sometimes doesn't know what to do with her... simply because she was born a boy. Tru Wilson is an articulate fourteen-year old transgender advocate from Ladner, BC. Tru first made headlines in 2014 when her family filed a human rights complaint against her local Catholic School for not supporting her transition. In response, the CISVA became one of the first Catholic school boards in in North America to develop a policy to support gender expression. Tru and her family went on to participate in a 2015 Vancouver Parks Board transgender awareness campaign. The same year Tru was recognized by Vancouver Magazine as one of the city's 50 most powerful and influential people. In 2016, Prime Minister Trudeau personally acknowledged Tru for her advocacy in his welcome speech to the visiting Royals. And in 2017 Tru was named “Sexual Health Champion” by Vancouver's Options for Sexual Health Tru is currently an ambassador for Big Love Ball and Out in Schools, and continues to share her story to both educate and inspire others.

Breaking Our Silence: Healing Thrives in Community

Jodie Ortega

Jodie Ortega’s 2017 TEDx appearance is a mix of rap performance and presentation that vividly portrays the healing power of connection and the corrosive effects of secrets. Through her own journey out of abuse, she reaches out to those who still suffer in silence. Jodie Ortega has taken childhood trauma and intergenerational cultural shame and turned it into a powerful tool for disrupting the damaging social narrative and belief systems that contribute to rape culture and the culture of shame. She uses a distinctive brand of storytelling characterized by rap and spoken word and she has taken that performance to Victor Walk, TEDxRenfrewCollingwood, and Pecha Kucha as well as to various educational and community settings. She believes that in sharing our stories, we create community and in empowering our children, we raise children that will tell. Jodie is committed to encouraging parents to engage in continuing dialogue around body autonomy with their children to help remove the stigma of cultural silence around sexual violence. She has been a contributor to two anthologies: “The Hero’s Journey”, Restoring Hope, Australia and “Trigger Points Anthology”, Canada/USA. She was also a nominee in the 2016 Courage to Come Back Awards (Social Adversity category). Jodie is a champion for survivors of sexual trauma and is committed to shining a light, not only on sexual and social injustice, but also the stories of triumph, like her own.

Human Movement

Lynne Laporte

Lynne will take you through a series of simple stretches that will focus on connecting with yourself, your neighbours and your breath. This activity is standing or sitting friendly. A former National Triathlon Team member and Varsity Cross Country Athlete, Lynne moved to BC almost 10 years ago and is now a converted BC Mountain Biker and Yoga enthusiast. She has owned and operated her own gym, Enhanced Performance with husband, Cian Lanigan in East Vancouver for the past 3 years. For Lynne, training and moving her body has always been a part of who she is and how she interacts with the world. She believes that those who move and play, learn skills beyond the gym that translate to happiness and personal connectedness.

Could Virtual Reality make us more human? 

Bernhard Riecke

How we could use the potential of virtual reality to go beyond entertainment and gaming, for creating positive or even transformational experiences we might otherwise not be able to have? And how could we democratize the medium and put this powerful technology into the creative hands of more people? Virtual reality is becoming increasingly powerful and accessible, and offers the unique opportunity to provide first-hand interactive and embodied experiences. Bernhard paints a vision of how we could use this potential for empowering people to create positive experiences worth spreading. Bernhard is Associate Professor and directs the iSpace Lab at Simon Fraser University’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT). He likes to go beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries, combining natural sciences approaches (being a physicist by training) with human-centered and creative approaches (drawing from Psychology, Cognitive Science, Meditation, HCI, Design, and Art) using immersive Virtual Reality. Starting off researching how we orient and move through real and virtual space, he is increasingly interested in exploring how we could utilize the potential of multi-sensory media like Virtual Reality to foster meaningful or even pivotal experiences and profound emotional shifts that we might otherwise never be able to experience. After researching for a decade in the Virtual Reality Group of the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, Germany and working as a post-doctoral researcher at Vanderbilt University and UC Santa Barbara, Bernhard joined SFU in 2008.

Screen Based Technology: The Human Experiment?

Dr. Mari Swingle

This talk asks us to consider if our relationships to or through screens are now presiding over our relationships with each other - and, if the price of constant connectivity is fast becoming a new human disconnect? Dr. Mari Swingle is an active writer, researcher and practitioner who has been working in collaborative clinical practice with adults, children and families for over twenty years. She is author of i-Minds: How Cell Phones, Computers, Gaming and Social Media are Changing Our Brains, Our Behavior, and the Evolution of Our Species and a 2015 recipient of a prestigious Federation of Associations in Brain and Behavioral Sciences Foundation (FABBS) Early Career Impact Award for her major research contributions to the sciences of mind, brain, and behavior and increasing awareness of research through media and public outreach. She is unabashedly committed to champion Health & Happiness in the digital age: Her message is strong; speaking to the need for balance between our relationship(s) with technology and with each other. She preaches and practices a balanced life enjoying singing, painting and is a passionate, albeit not particularly talented, skier.

Shadow History: Using Ghost Towns to Understand Our Own Cities

Laura Cuthbert

Join Laura to learn more about cultural erasure, ghost towns, and how history really does repeat itself as she shares her insights after documenting the shadow history of British Columbia. Laura Cuthbert is an Anthropologist and has spent the past eight years looking deeply at British Columbia’s History. She’s made it her mission to provide a more intersectional story of our past and open access to the tools and research methods she uses. This broad focus has turned into her project Populous Map, which is a still in development website and storytelling series in Vancouver. Her research has brought her to over 130 abandoned towns across BC and into rural areas to document history with the people who have lived it. Laura has also used her anthropology and community mobilization skills through her work at Kudoz,. A startup where she curates a catalogue of learning experiences that enables adults with cognitive disabilities to get out and meet people in their community. She's found that Populous Map has given her a local perspective on the global issue of historical erasure, while Kudoz has encouraged her to celebrate learning, rigour, intentionality, and reflection in everything she does. Both projects rely on the power of people and their stories, Laura is looking forward to sharing a few of her own.

We Are What We Build

Max Richter

We currently build without being fully aware of the health impacts the materials we use have on people and environmental systems, and there is a growing body of research that proves that many of the building materials we use have unintended and negative impacts on our health. I would like to offer another option: that buildings can have a positive effect on both the environment and human health. Max is a Senior Architect and Associate in the Vancouver office of Perkins+Will. Since joining the firm in 2010, he has worked on a number of the firm’s most innovative projects, including the Van Dusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre, which is the first building in Vancouver to earn Petal certification for the Living Building Challenge, and the Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability, which was designed to be ‘net positive’ in seven different ways. Max regularly speaks and writes about sustainable design and healthy materials, and he recently co-authored an article on integrating academic research into the architectural design process.

Jazz/Folk Duo | 'Ruby & Smith' | perform "Fare Thee Well" 

Daphne Roubini

The Ukulele, the voice of the Human Heart. This small unassuming instrument continues to captivate the hearts and minds of people from all walks of life around the world. Simple to play, diverse in genre, it is able to express emotions of joy to sorrow, heartfelt romance to poignant tragedy. Presented tonight by Jazz/Folk balladeers Ruby & Smith. Daphne Roubini is a vocalist, ukulele player, educator, writer, songwriter, healer, ukulele school owner, and producer of the Vancouver ukulele festival. Music and healing has always been the backbone of her life. She has worked in the healing field for over 20 years, supporting patients suffering from professional burnout. And as a professional musician, she has trained with London’s finest jazz musicians, and presently leads two bands: Ruby & Smith and Black Gardenia. She is recording two albums to be released this fall. She is also the founder of Ruby Ukes, Vancouver”s Ukulele school that now supports the strumming of over 1000 students a year.

How AI + IA can help us grow clean food

Dr. Saber Miresmailli

Saber will show you how we can merge artificial intelligence, intelligence augmentation, robots and evolutionary biology to produce clean food for all and democratize food quality. Dr. Saber Miresmailli is an award-winning biologist, entrepreneur, startup CEO and foodist. Saber’s mission in life is to change the way we produce and protect our food. He received his Ph.D in Plant Science from the University of British Columbia and conducted his post-doctoral studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He studied plant signalling and behaviour for well over a decade and published several articles and book chapters. Saber received the Award of Excellence in Innovation in Agriculture from the BC Investment Agriculture Foundation and the Award of Innovation Excellence from the North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of BC Minister of Agriculture Advisory Council; the United Nations’ Climate Technology Centre & Network and served at the Vancouver Food Policy Council. He also collaborated with the Bill & Melinda Gates’ Foundation to help farmers in West Africa.

Psychedelics: Past, present and future

Mark Haden

This TEDx talk explores psychedelics in history, the current research and a possible future model of post prohibition regulation based of the model of public health. Mark Haden has worked in the field of addiction services for 28 years and is an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia in the School of Public and Population Health. He is an instructor at the University of British Columbia and has published studies on drug control policy in several Canadian and International academic journals. He works closely with the Health Officers of British Columbia on position papers related to market regulation of illegal drugs and in 2013 was awarded the Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal for his work on drug policy reform.

“Sex & the Strongman” fundamentalism, femicide & security of states

Patricia Leidl

A discussion about the link between the subjugation of women, the security of states and the rise of autocracies. Patricia Leidl is a Senior International Communications Advisor who specializes in strategic communications, political/security analysis and reputational risk management. In addition to more than 20 years experience working within the International Development sector, Leidl is also an author and former journalist. Issue areas include HIV/AIDs, armed conflict and peace building, climate change, gender and organized crime. Clients and former employers include various international think tanks and non-governmental and multi-lateral agencies—such as the International Federation of the Red Cross, Red Crescent Societies and a variety of United Nations agencies, including the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Health Organization. Leidl has also consulted with various United States International Development Agency (USAID)-funded projects in Afghanistan, Yemen and Africa. Her 2015 book, The Hillary Doctrine: Sex and American Foreign Policy examines the relationship between the subjugation of women and the security of states.

To Be Seen and To Be Heard

Meharoona Ghani

In today’s world people are too busy on their cell phones to see or hear another person. Meharoona Ghani’s central belief is every human being wants to be seen and heard and this is a fundamental aspect of feeling human. Imagine a scribe. Ready and equipped with pencil and paper in hand. Deep listening is practiced to capture the wisdom that's shared in a room from beginning to end. Then - an artistic transformation occurs right before your eyes and a poem is revealed. The Art of Listening: Spoken Word Facilitation is Meharoona’s way. Meharoona Ghani holds a Master of Arts degree in Gender and International Development with a specialty in gender analysis and race theory from the University of Sussex, Institute of Development Studies. After a 20-year B.C. provincial government career, she launched M. Ghani Consulting. Today, she wears many hats: a Community Engagement and Diversity Specialist, Spoken Word Artist, and Educator with M. Ghani Consulting; a Manager with the North Shore Multicultural Society; and a published writer working on her forthcoming book: “Letters to Rumi” – an autobiographical account about identity and belonging.