Speakers

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St. Michael’s Junior Choir

The Junior Choir at St. Michael’s Choir School is made up of students from grades five and six. They sing Mass at St. Michael’s Cathedral every Sunday at 10:00am from September to June. The Junior Choir performs across the city at special events and can be seen at the school’s annual Massey Hall Christmas concert, the autumn Founder’s Day concert and the spring concert. They tour yearly in Ontario and beyond, and are under the direction of Mr. André-Louis Heywood.

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Michael Landsberg

One of the best-known personalities in Canadian broadcasting, Michael Landsberg has been with TSN since the network’s inception in 1984. Landsberg has hosted TSN’s OFF THE RECORD (OTR) since its debut in September 1997. The highly acclaimed 30-minute daily sports debate show is one of Canada’s longest running talk shows. Always trying to see the world of sports through the fans’ eyes, Landsberg asks his guests tough, thought-provoking and controversial questions on the day’s hottest sports topics. Twice nominated for the Gemini Award for Best Host or Interviewer in a Sports Program or Sportscast, Landsberg was the Whistler Host for Olympic Daytime on CTV during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games

Landsberg speaks publicly about his personal battle with depression and considers his ability to help reduce the stigma of mental illness as his most important professional calling.

In 2013, Landsberg’s documentary, “Darkness and Hope: Depression, Sports and Me,” was nominated for a 2013 Canadian Screen Award for Best History or Biography Documentary Program or Series. In 2012, the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health also named Landsberg one of its Champions of Mental Health. Landsberg also takes to Twitter, using the hashtag #sicknotweak to encourage discussion around mental health and creating a forum for those needing help.

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The Water Brothers

Alex and Tyler Mifflin are the creators and hosts of the award winning travel-adventure documentary series, The Water Brothers. Over the past four years Alex and Tyler have travelled all around the globe, from the highest peak in Africa, to the the bottom of the Ocean, exploring some of the most important water challenges we face in the world today.

We can learn quite a bit from ancient civilizations about the importance of water technology and management to a functioning society. If we fail to fully respect these lessons and the looming threat of rising populations and climate change to water systems today, we risk the collapse of our own global civilization.”

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Dr. Alex Russell

Dr. Alex Russell is a clinical psychologist who helps children develop resilience and their own personal relationship with school and achievement. At the heart of his message is that children learn by experiencing non-catastrophic, painful failure—and it is through the process of these failures that they mature into resilient, resourceful and emotionally balanced individuals.

Dr. Russell has addressed many parent and counsellor groups over the years. He is a research affiliate with the Hincks-Dellcrest Institute where his activities include the development of an early intervention family therapy program serving families with children at risk, articles on children’s emotional development, and serving on the editorial board of Ideas: Emotional Well-Being in Child Care, a nationally circulated journal for early childhood educators.

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Cheryl Charles

Cheryl Charles is an innovator, entrepreneur, educator, author and organizational executive. Cheryl is Co-Founder and Principal of Hawksong Associates, a consulting firm focused on organizational development and diffusion of innovation. She is also Co-Founder, President and CEO Emerita of the Children & Nature Network, a non-profit organization she and Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, founded with others in 2006, dedicated to building a worldwide movement to re-connect children and nature.

Cheryl has worked internationally since the 1970s; beginning with teacher education she later was instrumental in bringing the innovative interdisciplinary environment education curricula, Project WILD, to the nation of India

A frequent keynote speaker, Cheryl speaks about the growing disconnect between children and nature, the indicators of what Richard Louv calls “nature-deficit disorder”. Her talk will focus on connecting and returning children to the simplicity of nature and its importance on cognitive, social and physical development in the age of “screens” and children’s obsession and perceived dependence on technology.

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Geoff Roberts

Geoff Roberts was appointed Headmaster of Crescent School in Toronto, Canada in 2000. He has enjoyed 36 years of experience as an educator of boys. Geoff has served on the Board of the Conference of Independent Schools as Chair of Heads of School, and served on the External Relations sub-committee. For over a decade he was the lead presenter for the Conference of Independent Schools at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education annual teacher recruitment forum to attract new teachers to independent schools. He was also a co-convenor and host for the national Canadian Association of Independent Schools conference held in Toronto and he currently serves on the Board of the International Boys’ Schools Coalition.

Geoff has been published in Education Leadership, Teachers College Record, The Canadian Independent School Journal, and has had numerous articles featured in Dialogue. He has also had articles published and been quoted in local and national newspapers on the topic of boys’ education. Today he is asking the question, “what is the purpose of education and where does it end”. He believes there is a compelling answer that promises to leave you with a sense of what is truly important when educating for life.

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Susan Ormiston

Susan Ormiston has reported from 25 countries, including many of the world’s hotspots; places like Syria, Afghanistan, Egypt and Libya. She recently covered Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

She’s been at the frontlines of history as world leaders fell, and royal babies were born; as soldiers battled the Taliban and as protestors fought austerity cuts.

She’s interviewed Presidents, Prime Ministers, Generals, and rock stars – Sting…but far more, ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances: a typhoon, a civil war, a violent election. She covered Nelson Mandela’s election and his funeral.

Her career spans more than 25 years – with awards from her peers – 3 Canadian Gemini awards and a Foreign Press Award.

Susan spent a decade as an investigative correspondent for CTV’s W-Five and is now a guest host on CBC’s The National, CBC Radio’s The Current, and As It Happens , as well a guest on BBC Radio and TV news programs.

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Sami Jo Small

Sami Jo Small is a three time Olympian and five time world champion hockey player. She grew up on the outdoor hockey rinks of Winnipeg, MB while her passion for the game was honed in the boys’ minor hockey system. As the only girl she was forced each and every day to prove that she belonged through hard work and determination.

She accepted a scholarship to Stanford University for track and field but found her passion on the Stanford Men’s Hockey team. While earning a mechanical engineering degree she earned herself a PAC-10 MVP Honours.

In 1998 she accepted a spot on the Women’s Olympic hockey team traveling to Nagano, Japan. She has since won five World Championships and has twice been named Championship MVP. She is a three time Olympian and has been a member of two Olympic Gold Medal Winning teams.

Sami Jo has been a Right To Play Athlete Ambassador since 2006 and is actively involved raising awareness and funds to support Right To Play’s sport and play programs across Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and South America.

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Dr. Ann E. Lopez

Dr. Ann E. Lopez is the Academic Director of Initial Teacher Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. Born and raised in Jamaica she completed her undergraduate studies at the University of the West Indies. She completed her Masters of Education at Brock University and later earned her PhD in curriculum studies at the University of Toronto. A faculty member in the Department of Leadership Higher and Adult Education her research focuses on culturally relevant and responsive practices in schools, equity and diversity, and critical approaches to teacher education. Her teaching is in the areas of leadership, student engagement, school improvement, and teacher development. She currently serves as a board member of the National Association of Multicultural Education (NAME) and is the Regional Director for Region 8. Her most recent publication is entitled Re-conceptualizing Teacher Leadership Through Curriculum Inquiry in Pursuit of Social Justice in the International Handbook of Educational Leadership and Social (In) Justice.

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Evan Solomon

A two-time Gemini Award-winning broadcaster and journalist, Evan is the host of the number one cable news program in the country, CBC News Network’s Power and Politics with Evan Solomon. He is also the host of the most listened to political affairs program in the country, CBC Radio’s The House.

From Prime Ministers and political leaders around the world to CEO’s , Evan is widely known as the tough but fair interviewer who holds people’s feet to the fire.

Solomon was the co-founder and for eight years the editor-in-chief of Shift magazine, an award-winning international magazine about technology and culture.

A published author, Solomon’s books include the bestselling Fueling the Future: How the Battle Over Energy Is Changing Everything, which was nominated for the National Business Book Award, and the National Science Book of the Year, and Feeding the Future: From Fat to Famine: How to Solve the World’s Food Crisis. Both books were recently re-released as Food and Fuel.

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John Tory

John knows how to successfully lead, manage and obtain results from large, complex organizations. His proven ability to bring people together is evident throughout his career as the former CEO of one of Canada’s largest publishing and broadcasting companies and the previous Commissioner and Chairman of the Canadian Football League. John is a founding member and former Chair of the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance and has championed the causes of organizations such as the Canadian Paraplegic Association, Crimestoppers, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto Association for Community Living, the United Way, and the Women’s Legal Education & Action Fund (LEAF). John is most recently known for being the host of Live Drive with John Tory and is a currently running to be the Mayor of Toronto.

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R.H. Thomson

R.H. Thomson is a Canadian actor and director and has worked for decades in Canada, the United States and the EU. He graduated with a BSc from the University of Toronto and has since worked in theatre, film and television. Throughout his career, he has earned a Gemini, Genie, Dora and Merritt awards for his work as well as the Gascon-Thomas Award and the Barbara Hamilton award for activism in the arts.

In 2010, he co-produced Canada 1914-1918 Ypres, a history and remembrance project involving 150 schools across Canada and the city of Leper, Belgium. He is currently producing The World Remembers, a multi-nation WWI centenary project that will take place in Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, Turkey, Serbia, Belgium and other WWI nations.

His work on this project aligns well with Sankofa as it demonstrates our need to look to our collective past to remind us that our way forward has been paved by the sacrifices of others throughout history.

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Cathy Mines-Britt

Cathy is the Founder and Director of Wellness at Reach Yoga, organizing and facilitating yoga, meditation, and corporate health programs across the GTA and beyond. She is a graduate of the Transformational Arts College: Spiritual Psychotherapy Program, and a member of the Association for Integrative Psychology and Clinical Hypnotherapists. Outside of yoga, Cathy is co-creator and facilitator of the Making Wealthy Choices Program.

With the perspective of living in the moment, Cathy gets us thinking about how Sankofa relates to the here and now moments in life. She spirals up from her ancestry all the way to the present moment and shares her thoughts on how each word we speak creates a history of its own and gives us the opportunity to go back and learn from it.

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Eytan Millstone

Eytan Millstone is an award-winning spoken word artist, comedian and published writer. He was a finalist at the 2010 Canadian Individual Poetry Slam and came runner up in the Toronto Star Short Story Contest. His work as a comedic rapper has been featured on the front page of comedy video website, Funny or Die. His performances evoke a strong and emotional response from all audiences. He currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.