Featured Speakers

Sally Armstrong · Margaret Atwood · Dionne Brand · Nicole Brossard · Measha Brueggergosman · Rita Deverell · Mary Eberts · Charlotte Gray · Shari Graydon · Smaro Kamboureli · Antonia Maioni · Lisa Moore · Lorna Marsden · Pam Palmater · Natalie Panek · Judy Rebick · Shelagh Rogers · Naomi Sayers · Janice Stein · Lori Turnbull · Aritha van Herk · Sheila Watt-Cloutier

Discourse and Dynamics welcomes
The Walrus Talks – The Art of Conversation

Thursday 16 October 2014
7:00-9:00 PM | Convocation Hall
Mount Allison University

Confirmed participants:
Sally Armstrong – Journalist, author, human rights activist
Measha Brueggergosman – Canadian soprano
Charlotte Gray – Biographer and historian
Marlene Snowman – Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Lisa Moore – Canadian novelist
Shelagh Rogers – Journalist and Broadcaster
Natalie Panek – Canadian aerospace engineer
Aritha van Herk – Canadian writer

The Walrus Talks is a nation-wide series featuring short presentations by a panel of participants. In collaboration with Discourse and Dynamics: Canadian Women as Public Intellectuals, this The Walrus Talks, the first in Maritime Canada, addresses the many facets of conversation, from dialogue to conflict.

Sally Armstrong

Journalist, Author, Human Rights Activist

Sally Armstrong is a three-time Amnesty International Media Award winner, the author of Ascent of Women, and a former member of the International Women’s Commission at the UN. Armstrong has covered stories in conflict zones, including Bosnia, Somalia, Rwanda, and Afghanistan. She has received seven honorary doctorates and the gold prize at the National Magazine Awards, and she is a member of the Order of Canada.


Margaret Atwood

Best-Selling Author

Author and activist Margaret Atwood is one of Canada’s greatest living writers. Perhaps best known for her novels, she has written over forty volumes of poetry, children’s literature, fiction and non-fiction. As a pioneer of Canadian literature, she has long been a prominent voice on wide-ranging issues of concern to the Canadian public and beyond. Not only is Atwood one of Canada’s best-known public intellectuals, but since the 1970s she has actively shaped public discourse in a changing technological and environmental landscape.


Dionne Brand

Internationally Renowned Writer

Dionne Brand is an internationally acclaimed writer and educator whose work exposes racism, poverty, injustice and sexism. Brand is one of Canada’s strongest and most accomplished poetic voices, with amazing achievements in fiction, non-fiction and film. She writes with passion and honesty, bringing equality to the forefront of the Canadian public sphere. She is also an influential human rights activist who interrogates boundaries of identities. She is currently an English Professor and University Research Chair at the University of Guelph.


Nicole Brossard

Critically Acclaimed Québécoise Writer

Québécoise writer Nicole Brossard has been at the forefront of intellectual discourse and the development of feminist and lesbian writing since the 1960s and her work continues to shape new perspectives on women’s experience of the world. Brossard is a poet, novelist, and essayist who has published more than thirty books. Brossard is internationally-renowned and her work has been translated into many languages. As a feminist activist and a literary activist, she has founded journals and a publishing house, and organized countless literary readings and festivals.


Measha Brueggergosman

Canadian Soprano

Mesha Brueggergosman is a Canadian soprano with a beautiful voice who performs as both an opera singer and a concert artist. Brueggergosman is a magnificent performer with an effervescent personality. Brueggergosman has performed in front of many large crowds, from Canada Day celebrations at Parliament Hill to the opening ceremonies of the XVI International AIDS Conference in Toronto. Off stage, she is a Canadian good-will ambassaor for three international organizations: the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Adrican Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) and Learning Through the Arts. Bruggergosman is a strong, confident, versatile figure who puts just as much of herself into Canadian public life as she gets back in adoration.


Rita Deverell

Journalist, Television Producer and Playwright

Rita Deverell has been working in Canadian theatre, media, and academe for several decades. She has made numerous pioneering contributions to the country’s social and cultural development. Deverell was the first woman to lead a journalism program at a Canadian university. She is the founder of Vision TV, the world’s first multifaith and multicultural television network. She was the News Director at the Aboriginal People’s Network in 2005. Deverell has produced, directed, written and acted in several theatre pieces and television dramas. From 2009 to 2012, she was the Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University.


Mary Eberts

Lawyer and Professor

Mary Eberts is a lawyer, professor and equality activist. Eberts co-founded the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) and has been litigation counsel to the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC). Eberts played a key role in shaping the equality guarantees of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. She specializes in public law and Aboriginal litigation as well as constitutional equality. She is the recipient of the Governor-General’s Award in commemoration of the Persons’ Case and Law Society of Upper Canada Gold Medal. Eberts is a professor at the University of Saskatchewan, where she held the Ariel F. Sallows Chair in Human Rights.


Charlotte Gray

Award-Winning Bibliographer and Historian

Charlotte Gray is the author of nine non-fiction bestsellers and was recently described as an “intellectual ninja” following her spirited participation in CBC’s Canada Reads 2013. A native of Britain, Gray came to Canada in 1979 and quickly began making regular appearances on both television and radio as a cultural and political commentator. Her work goes back in time to write women into history, which in turn positively reflects the socio-political and cultural changes that have helped to define the lives of Canadian women and their ongoing presence in society today. Her passion for history continues to inform her published works and public engagements.


Shari Graydon

Award-Winning Author and Journalist

Shari Graydon is an award-winning author and educator. She is the founder and Catalyst of Informed Opinions, a non-profit initiative working to bridge the gender gap in Canadian public discourse. Previously, Graydon was the President of MediaWatch (now renamed Media Action), a non-profit women’s organization advocating for improvements to the portrayal of women in the media. She has given hundreds of lectures and has taught public speaking and media literacy to diverse groups across the country. Her work consistently promotes gender equity, cultural literacy, social entrepreneurship, effective communication skills, and the engagement of public audiences in diverse and complex discussion.


Smaro Kamboureli

Prolific Canadian Cultural Scholar

Smaro Kamboureli is a professor at the University of Toronto, where she holds the Avie Bennett Chair in Canadian Literature. She is a prolific scholar who has spoken and published extensively on contemporary Canadian literature and criticism. Before joining the University of Toronto, Kamboureli was a Canada Research Chair at the University of Guelph, where she founded and directed the TransCanada Institute. She edits book series with NeWest Press and Wilfred Laurier University Press. Her book Scandalous Bodies: Diasporic Literature in English Canada received the Gabrielle Roy Prize for Canadian Criticism. Her most recent publication is a co-edited volume (with Christl Verduyn) entitled Critical Collaborations: Indigeneity, Diaspora, Ecology in Canadian Literary Studies.


Antonia Maioni

Public Policy Scholar

Antonia Maioni is a professor of Political Science, Health and Social Policy at McGill. She currently serves as President of the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences. Maioni is a political analyst and media commentator with CTV News. Maioni’s insightful contributions regarding health care reform and public policy have extended from academic and popular analysis of Canadian and Quebec politics to participation in transnational policy discussions. Maioni was named CIBC Scholar-in-Residence for the Conference Board of Canada and McGill’s Top Newsmaker in 2006.


Lisa Moore

Canadian Novelist

Lisa Moore is a Canadian short-story writer and novelist. Moore was born in St. John’s Newfoundland, a frequent setting for her fiction. Her ability to put forth such an intimate and expressive vision of Newfoundland has made her one of the country’s best comtemporary writers. Moore is a three-time nominee for the Scotiabank Giller Prize (2002, 2005, 2013), the winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and her work has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.


Lorna Marsden

Canadian Sociologist, Academic and former Politician

Lorna Marsden began her career at the University of Toronto as a Sociology Professor in 1972. In 1975, Marsden joined the Liberal Party of Canada, acting as national policy chair and later as vice-president. She was appointed to the Senate in 1984 by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and chaired the Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology (1989-1991). Following her time as a Senator, she was President and Vice-Chancellor of Wilfred Laurier University and later York University. She was named one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network.


Pam Palmater

Social Justice Leader

Mi’kmaq lawyer, professor (Ryerson University), activist and politician, Pam Palmater is a vocal advocate for Indigenous peoples and communities across Canada. Her leadership has advanced public awareness of social justice in significant ways, most recently as a key spokesperson for the Idle No More movement. Palmater has extensive experience working with a range of social and legal issues facing First Nations, such as off-reserve First Nations housing, child and family services, as well as treaty rights, education and legislation impacting First Nations populations. She engages with Canadian society on these issues by speaking and delivering training sessions in a variety of public spheres.


Natalie Panek

Rocket Scientist

Natalie Panek is a robotic operator and aerospace engineer at MDA (MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates) Space Missions. She has twice interned at NASA and currently works in robotic operations. She is a passionate advocate for increasing opportunities for young women to enter tech professions along with generating more visibility in the Canadian media for female role models and mentors in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) careers. Panek is an avid adventurer and explorer who encourages all women to step outside of their comfort zones, wherever they may be.


Judy Rebick

Social Justice Activist and Journalist

After years of activist work Judy Rebick gained national prominence in the 1990s as a champion of women’s rights and has continued to dedicate her voice to social justice causes across multiple public spheres, including the founding of independent new site rabble.ca. Rebick was also publisher of rabble from 2001-2005. She contributes commentaries to a host of newspapers and magazines, and hosted two national TV shows on CBC: Face-off and CBC Newsworld. Rebick is a journalist, feminist and political activist who works to engage, educate and empower women as well as society as a whole.


Shelagh Rogers

Journalist and Broadcaster

Shelagh Rogers is a well-known Canadian journalist and broadcaster, and a passionate promoter of Canadian culture. Rogers has been an integral part of a number of the CBC’s flagship programs. Currently, she hosts The Next Chapter, a CBC program devoted to Canadian writers and songwriters. She is also known for her volunteer work in adult literacy, fighting against stigmas surrounding mental illness, and working toward reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations in Canada.


Naomi Sayers

Indigenous Feminist

Naomi Sayers is an Anishinaabe-kwe from the Garden River First Nation just east of Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. She recently completed her undergraduate degree in criminology with a minor in women’s studies from Western University and is attending the Common Law (JD) program at the University of Ottawa. Naomi is a former indoor sex worker with experience working in Northern Ontario, Southern Ontario and across Canada. Naomi founded the South Western Ontario Sex Workers (SWOSW) in response to the lack of sex worker voices in the South Western Ontario region following the Bedford decision. SWOSW is composed of various individuals who live in London and surrounding area, who have experience working in the sex trade in London and the surrounding area or experience working with people who are in the sex trade in London. She previously sat on a board as a director for an organization that assisted brain injury victims and their families. As a brain injury survivor, she has volunteered her time as a peer mentor to other brain injury survivors. Naomi has also worked with organizations like the Native Youth Sexual Health Organization, POWER (Ottawa), and Maggie’s (Toronto). She defines herself as a fierce indigenous feminist and she is also the creator of www.kwetoday.com.


Janice Stein

World Renowned Political Scientist

Janice Stein is a world-renowned political scientist who has authored over 80 scholarly publications on global affairs and public policy. She shares her knowledge through regular media appearances. She was awarded the Molson Prize by the Canada Council for an outstanding contribution by a social scientist to public debate. Stein’s ongoing role as a public political and international relations specialist has been vital to her written work, public speaking and teaching.


Lori Turnbull

Public Policy Scholar and Commentator

Lori Turnbull is an Associate Professor in Political Science and Canadian Studies at Dalhousie University. Her important research on Canadian parliamentary governance won her the 2011 Donner Prize for best public policy book in Canada. Turnbull’s commentary also appears regularly in popular print media and academic journals. Her interest in the structure, development and function of the Canadian government is at the forefront of her work, coupled with research in Canadian parliamentary governance, political ethics, elections, electoral systems, and public engagement. Turnbull finds immeasurable value in the interdisciplinary nature of Canadian Studies, as it attempts to build a well-rounded sense of understanding about the public nature of Canadian life.


Aritha van Herk

Canadian Writer

Aritha van Herk is an award winning Canadian novelist, whose work has been acclaimed internationally. Van Herk’s work often focuses on Alberta, her native province, as well as Canada’s far north. Her work has been translated into ten different languages. Van Herk is a public intellectual, motivational cultural speaker and a professor. She gives workshops, lectures and readings world-wide. Van Herk’s writings (articles, essays, short stories and book reviews) can also be found in various national and international periodicals and newspapers.


Sheila Watt-Cloutier

Advocate for Canada’s North and Sustainable Leadership

Canadian Inuit Sheila Watt-Cloutier is a leader in international discussions about environmental preservation and in the protection of Canada’s North and its peoples. Her work focuses on combating the many issues Indigenous peoples continue to face today, including environmental protection and sustainable development. Watt-Cloutier’s academic background is rooted in counseling, education and human development. Her work sheds light on the interconnectedness of Canadians despite differences in their landscapes. In 2007, Watt-Cloutier was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, a true testament to her global leadership, passionate focus on urgent issues facing Canadians, and commitment to developing solutions for those facing challenges in Canada’s North.