VIU Nanaimo campus aerial view

Engaged Citizens Speaker Series

VIU's Engaged Citizens Speaker Series is a forum designed to provoke intellectual, engaging and meaningful dialogue about social challenges, opportunities and the community around us while advancing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Talks take place at least twice a year on timely, relevant and thought-provoking topics aimed at engaging community members in a wider discussion around understanding the responsibilities of good citizenship.

Upcoming speaker: TBC

The next Engaged Citizens Speaker Series event will take place in October. Stay tuned for more details! 

Past speakers

Bryce speaks at the podium

Herring and the health of the Salish Sea

What does the future hold for the Salish Sea in a time of climate change? Humpback whale and Pacific white-sided dolphin populations are increasing; however, Pacific herring – a cornerstone species for all marine biodiversity – are on the verge of collapse. Featured speaker Bryce Casavant, Director of Conservation Intelligence with Pacific Wild, presented on Fighting Fish: herring/fisheries management in the context of Canadian laws.

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Portrait of Sheila Watt-Cloutier

Sheila Watt-Cloutier

Sheila Watt-Cloutier Siila, one of the most influential Indigenous environmental, cultural and human rights advocates in the world, was VIU’s sixth keynote speaker in the Engaged Citizens Speaker Series. On Tuesday, February 8, 2022, she expanded upon her own experiences and personal stories to put a cultural face and human voice on climate change and talk about meaningful actions.

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Leilani Farha portrait photo

Leilani Farha

Leilani Farha, is Global Director of The Shift, an international movement to secure the right to housing. On October 14, 2021, she outlined the nature of the crisis, including in the context of COVID-19, and expand on appropriate government responses, particularly city governments. Learn more about Leilani.

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Dawn Thomas portrait

Dawn Thomas Aa ap waa iik

Dawn Thomas Aa ap waa iik, Associate Deputy Minister for Indigenous Health with the BC Ministry of Health, presented An Island Response to In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism and Discrimination in BC Health Care on February 10, 2021. Learn more about Dawn

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Dr. Evan Fraser

Dr. Evan Fraser

Food Security in the age of COVID-19: Toward more resilient regional food systems was presented on October 8, 2020, by Dr. Evan Fraser, Director of the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph, and featured discussion with local food system experts:

• Jennifer Woodlawn, CEO of Nuu-chah-nulth Seafood LP
• Jen Cody, Executive Director of Nanaimo Foodshare Society
• Christopher “Farmer” Brown, a permaculturist, agricultural activist, entrepreneur and farming educator

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Trevor Hancock

Trevor Hancock

The world faces massive and rapid human-induced global ecological changes, of which climate change is but one. Trevor Hancock presented on the need to engage citizens in understanding the problem so that we can begin to imagine a better future. February 3, 2020. 

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Philip Oxhorn speaking at the Engaged Citizens Speaker Series

Dr. Phillip Oxhorn

How and why is citizenship critical to democracy and civil society? Does corporate citizenship exist? What rights and responsibilities should citizens have? Dr. Philip Oxhorn, former dean of International Education at VIU, explored these questions and more in the inaugural Engaged Citizens Speaker Series talk on September 11, 2019.

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