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Below is a list of our plenary speakers for the upcoming academic year. Plenary lectures take place on Wednesdays at 4 p.m. We will continue to add new speakers as details become available so please visit this page frequently to learn about our exciting lineup for the 2021-2022 year!

Upcoming Events

Feb. 2, 2022 | Malcom Cecil-Cockwell

The Business & Ethics of Sustainable Forest Management in Central Ontario

Date: Feb. 2, 2022
Speaker: Malcom Cecil-Cockwell

Malcolm Cockwell is the Managing Director of Haliburton Forest, a multi-use private land stewardship company, which owns more than 100,000 acres of timberland in central Ontario, manages 500,000 acres more, and was the first company in Canada to be certified as sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council. Through Haliburton Forest, Malcolm oversees diverse land operations, including an integrated Forest Products division and a diverse Tourism & Recreation division. In addition to his work at Haliburton Forest, he is a Registered Professional Forester (RPF), represents Haliburton Forest at the Ontario Forest Industries Association, and serves as the Chairman of Acadian Timber Corp, a leading supplier of primary forest products in eastern North America. He holds a B.Sc. in Forest Conservation from the University of Toronto, and is a PhD candidate at the same institution’s Faculty of Forestry. 

Feb. 9, 2022 | Program Advising

Program Advising

Date: Feb. 9, 2022

Mar. 2, 2022 | Sunil Johal

Date: Mar. 2, 2022
Speaker: Sunil Johal

Mar. 9, 2022 | Angus McQuibban

Date: Mar. 9, 2022
Speaker: Angus McQuibban

Mar. 16, 2022 | The Hon. Kathleen Wynne

Date: Mar. 16, 2022
Speaker: The Hon. Kathleen Wynne

Mar. 23, 2022 | Rebecca Harrison

Date: Mar. 23, 2022
Speaker: Rebecca Harrison

Mar. 30, 2022 | Year End Dinner

Date: Mar. 30, 2022

Past Events

Sep. 15, 2021 | Welcome Session/Orientation

Welcome Session/Orientation

Date: Sep. 15, 2021

Sep. 22, 2021 | Post-Election Plenary

Post-Election Plenary

Date: Sep. 22, 2021
Speakers: Sunil Johal, Ira Wells, David Wright, the Hon. Kathleen Wynne

Sep. 29, 2021 | Bob Phillips

Date: Sep. 29, 201
Speaker: Bob Phillips

Bob Phillips (Great Bear) is a non-Status Urban Mi’kmaq.

Although a traditional Pipe Carrier, Bob is also very contemporary and holds a PhD in Indigenous Studies from Trent University. He also holds an MA in Fine Art History from York University. Bob Phillips also spent ten years as host of the Aboriginal Voices Radio Arts Review show discussing art, culture and contemporary issues with community members from across Canada and the Far North.

Oct. 6, 2021 | Mary Scourboutakos

Date: Oct. 6, 2021
Speaker: Mary Scourboutakos

Dr. Mary Scourboutakos completed her HBSc at Victoria College followed by a PhD in Nutritional Sciences, and MD at the University of Toronto. Mary is a former Vanier Scholar whose research has informed policy debates at Queen’s Park and Toronto’s City Hall. In addition, she is an avid science communicator who is devoted to spreading the word about the importance of eating-well as a means to live optimally. Mary is currently a resident at Women’s College Hospital and she plans to become a family doctor focused on nutrition and disease prevention.

Oct. 20, 2021 | Keith Davey Forum on Public Affairs

Revitalizing Democracy: How Can We Address Declining Confidence in Liberal Democratic Institutions?

Date: Oct. 20, 2021
Speakers: Suzanne Cowan, the Hon. Jim Cowan, Bhutila Karpoche, moderated by Kofi Hope


Please pre-register for this event


Oct. 27, 2021 | Michael Winter

The Unusual Thing in the Room

Date: Oct. 27, 2021
Speaker: Michael Winter

Michael Winter has published two collections of stories, five novels, and one work of non-fiction. He has won the CBC short story contest and the Engel/Findley award. His novel, Minister Without Portfolio, was a Canada Reads finalist and he’s been twice nominated for the Giller Prize. His most recent book, Into the Blizzard, sets out to retrace the steps of the Newfoundland Regiment during the first world war. He divides his time between Toronto and Newfoundland.

Nov. 3, 2021 | Kang Lee

How children’s lies led to the invention of a new technology for artificial intelligence

Date: Nov. 3, 2021
Speaker: Kang Lee

Dr. Kang Lee is a professor & Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in developmental neuroscience at OISE, University of Toronto. For over two decades, he has used behavioral and neuroscience methods (e.g., EEG, fMRI, fNIRS) to examine the emergence and development of social cognition and social behavior and the underlying neural mechanisms. More specifically, he has focused on the seemingly maladaptive behaviors such as lying, cheating, and racial bias as children reach different developmental milestones. Dr. Lee has published over 300 peer-reviewed papers that have been cited over 18,000 times with a H-index of 70 and i10-index of 258. His research has been funded by funding agencies such as NIH and NSF in the US, NSERC and SSHRC in Canada, and NSFC in China. He was also a TED speaker with his talk receiving over 11 million views on and 8 million views on YouTube. Dr. Lee’s work has contributed to the law reforms in Canada. Since 2006, criminal courts in Canada must use a procedure based on his research to qualify children as witnesses to testify. Dr. Lee’s work has been widely reported in news outlets such as New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, and BBC. His work has been featured in several major science documentaries including Nature of Things: Born to be Good (CBC), Babies (Netflix), and Through the Wormhole (Morgan Freeman Productions). He even received the Ig Noble Prize in Neuroscience in 2014. Dr. Lee is also a co-inventor of Transdermal Optical Imaging, a novel contactless technology that uses advanced biosignal processing and machine learning to decode facial blood flow from videos captured by conventional digital cameras. Using this technology, he has developed computational models that are capable of decoding physiological and psychological activities. He holds several patents that use this technology to detect heart rate, stress, blood pressure, and other physiological activities and biomarkers.

Nov. 17, 2021 | Shaftesbury Creative Writer-in-Residence

25 Knocks In The Clock

Date: Nov. 17, 2021
Speaker: Canisia Lubrin

Canisia Lubrin is a writer, editor, critic and teacher. Her books include the awards-nominated debut Voodoo Hypothesis (Wolsak & Wynn, ‘17), Code Noir (Knopf, ’23). Her sophomore poetry collection, The Dyzgraphxst (M&S, ‘20), was listed for nine book prizes, including winner of the 2021 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, the Griffin Poetry Prize, Derek Walcott Prize, and finalist for the Governor General’s Award and Trillium Book Award for Poetry. Lubrin is the inaugural Shaftesbury Writer in Residence at Victoria College, University of Toronto. Poetry editor at McClelland & Stewart, Lubrin studied at York University and the University of Guelph, where she is the incoming MFA in Creative Writing Coordinator and an Assistant Professor in the School of English & Theatre Studies. In 2021 Lubrin was awarded a Windham-Campbell prize in Poetry from Yale University.

Nov. 24, 2021 | Pelham Edgar Distinguished Visitor in the Humanities

Pelham Edgar Distinguished Visitor in the Humanities

Date: Nov. 24, 2021
Speaker: Eleanor Wachtel

Eleanor Wachtel has earned a reputation as one of the world’s best literary interviewers during her more than 30 years as host of Writers & Company on CBC Radio. Five books of her interviews have been published, including Random Illuminations, a collection of reflections, correspondence and conversations with Carol Shields which won the Independent Publisher Book Award; Original Minds, inspired by a series devoted to extraordinary writers from the fields of art, science, economics, anthropology and social policy who have made a difference to the way we understand the world; and most recently, The Best of Writers & Company. She also co-founded and hosted Wachtel on the Arts, featuring conversations with filmmakers, composers, architects, artists, etc. And she's the host of TIFF's popular Books on Film series, now in its second decade. Wachtel has earned numerous accolades for her contributions to Canadian cultural life: nine honorary degrees and Officer of the Order of Canada.

Nobel Prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro has called Wachtel "one of the very finest interviewers of authors I've come across anywhere in the world."

And John le Carre told her, at the end of one of their conversations: "You do it better than anyone I know."

Jan. 12, 2022 | Jill Heinerth

The Exploration Mindset

Date: Jan. 12, 2022
Speaker: Jill Heinerth

Jill Heinerth is an underwater explorer, writer, photographer, speaker, and filmmaker. A pioneer of technical rebreather diving, she has led expeditions into icebergs in Antarctica, volcanic lava tubes, and submerged caves worldwide. Jill is the first Explorer-in-Residence of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Her memoir, INTO THE PLANET, has been lauded by the Wall Street Journal, Oprah Magazine, and the New York Times. Her children’s book THE AQUANAUT is a Blue Ribbon Selection for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Jill is a Fellow of the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame, Underwater Academy of Arts and Sciences, Women Divers Hall of Fame, and the Explorers Club, which awarded her with the William Beebe Award for ocean exploration.

Jan. 19, 2022 | Judy LaMarsh Lecture Celebrating Women in Leadership

Judy LaMarsh Lecture Celebrating Women in Leadership

Date: Jan. 19, 2022
Speaker: Jill Andrew

Dr. Jill Andrew, PhD is the MPP for Toronto-St. Paul’s. She was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as an Ontario NDP Member of Provincial Parliament in 2018. Jill serves as the Culture Critic, Heritage Critic and the Women's Issues Critic for the Official Opposition. Jill is the first Queer Black person to be elected to the Ontario Legislature and reportedly in any legislature across Canada.

Jill is also a founding member of the Ontario NDP Ontario Black Caucus a first of its kind in the province. Since in office Jill has hosted several initiatives including culture and arts deputations and the creation of an ad hoc arts and culture advisory council, a women's issues listening tour, Ontario’s first Eating Disorders Awareness Week roundtable, several youth civic engagement events and housing, education, health care, gender equity, and environment summits among other initiatives to stay connected with community. Early in her term and in response to significant cuts to culture, Jill tabled motions calling for the Ford government to reinstate funding previously cut back into libraries, the Ontario Music Fund and the Ontario Arts Council.

Recognizing the significant value of provincial funding to cultural workers and entrepreneurs, Jill has demanded that the province recognize comedy and fashion as part of the culture sector therefore making provincial funding opportunities accessible to creators in those fields as well as a motion calling for financial support for small businesses such as those located in “Little Jamaica” that have been disproportionately hit by disruptions caused by transit construction and COVID-19. In response to the pandemic and the increase in food insecurity felt by many community members in Toronto-St.Paul’s during this period, Jill called for a provincial food strategy.

Jill has also co-sponsored legislation demanding a universal protocol for quality and consistent care for Ontarians, predominantly Black and racialized, living with Sickle Cell Disease and she tabled a motion in 2019 demanding an intersectional gender equity strategy be adopted by the Ford government to ensure every piece of legislation is analyzed through an intersectional gender lens to evaluate its impact on women-identifying community members and other equity-seeking community groups made most marginalized by systemic discrimination and institutional violence. Her first Private Member's Bill, Bill 61, passed in December last year, creating an Eating Disorders Awareness Week the first week of February across Ontario.

Jill was named First Runner-Up in NOW Magazine’s Reader’s Choice best MPP vote in both 2019 and 2020.

Outside of politics, Jill is also co-founder of Body Confidence Canada and an award-winning educator, equity, human rights and body-image advocate. Jill’s co-edited anthology: Body Stories: In and Out and With and Through Fat was recently published through Demeter Press in 2020.

She holds a Child & Youth Worker diploma from Humber College, a Masters’ degree in women and gender studies from the University of Toronto New College, her undergraduate education through York University, a BEd from York University and a PhD from York University’s Faculty of Education. Jill's dissertation, “Put Together” Black Women’s Body Stories in Toronto: (Ad) dressing Identity and the Threads that Bind explores the ‘trifecta of anti-Black racism, sexism and fat hatred experienced by Black women and their accommodation and resistance of dominant body ideals through fashion and dress, activism, self-valuation and social interactions.

She is a community co-owner of Glad Day Bookshop – the world’s oldest LGBT bookstore and has been an avid volunteer and donor supporting organizations across the GTA that prioritize Black and racialized communities, youth, women, the arts, LGBTQ2+ communities and chronic health advocacy among others.

Jill is also a graduate of the Women Win TO political training series and in her own words she has described herself as a Black, Fat, Queer, Feline-Loving feminist passionate about documenting, celebrating and advocating for people's rights to their own bodies, human rights and their right to self-definition and self-valuation. Jill lives in Toronto-St.Paul’s with her partner and their cats Josephine Baker and Dorothy Dandridge.