Big Thinking - Azar Nafisi - Humanities and the future of democracies

Azar Nafisi is an Iranian-American author, professor, and director of Cultural Conversations at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. Her best-selling memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran made a passionate case for the imagination’s role in preserving the soul and combating totalitarian ideology. Her new book, The Republic of Imagination: America in Three Books, explores fiction’s role in a democratic society. Her lecture addresses why we need humanities at times of crisis, the extent to which the imagination opens the spaces that totalitarian regimes close, and whether democracies can thrive without a democratic imagination.


Big Thinking - Justice Murray Sinclair - What do we do about the legacy of Indian residential schools?

The Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC), presents Congress 2015’s introductory Big Thinking lecture. Justice Sinclair was appointed Associate Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of Manitoba in March of 1988 and to the Court of Queen's Bench of Manitoba in January 2001. In Ottawa to preside over the TRC’s closing events and the release of the Commission’s final report, Justice Sinclair discusses the legacy of residential schools and offer a call for action towards reconciliation in Canada, including the role of universities and academics in this process.


Big Thinking - Jean Leclair - Imagining Canada in a disenchanted world

The discourses of “authenticity,” “multiculturalism” and “nationalism” have jeopardized the Canadian State’s attempts to act as the anchor of a national political community. The question, then, is upon which principle can we build an inclusive national political community—one that is ready to make the compromises necessary to meet the demands of individuals and groups and improve relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples? Jean Leclair, Trudeau Fellow and Professor of Constitutional Law at the Université de Montréal, discusses how a renewed understanding of federalism could offer a solution.


Big Thinking - Irene Bloemraad & Thomas Faist - Integration and citizenship in North America and Europe: Different paths, similar outcomes?

Irene Bloemraad, Thomas Garden Barnes Chair of Canadian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley and Senior Scholar with the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, and Thomas Faist, Dean of the Faculty of Sociology and Professor of Sociology at Bielefeld University, Germany discuss immigration and belonging in North America and Europe. They compare insights across borders on issues such as multiple membership, citizenship, national identities and social inequalities.


Big Thinking - His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada - Innovation in learning

His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, speaks on innovation in learning. His talk was followed by a panel of discussants on this theme.


Big Thinking - Monique Proulx - Extremely vast and incredibly near: The inner world of Montreal

Montreal still pulses to the heartbeat of the city’s founders who brought it into being some 373 years ago. Though hidden by concrete, this history is alive and well, and the city’s early heroes shape us to this day. Monique Proulx, author, Quebec screenwriter, and a literature and theater graduate of Université Laval, describes how her investigations of Montreal’s historic roots inspired the writing of her new novel, Ce qu'il reste de moi, in unsuspecting and sometimes dizzying ways.


Big Thinking - Joseph Yvon Thériault -  Whither francophone cultures in America?

What challenges do Quebec and minority Francophone communities face today? In this Big Thinking event, Joseph Yvon Thériault, Canada Research Chair in Globalization, Citizenship and Democracy at the Université du Québec à Montréal and Royal Society of Canada Fellow, discusses current realities for Francophones in the Americas. Presented in an interview format hosted by Ici Radio-Canada's Daniel Mathieu, the discussion touches on the origins of French America while also emphasizing the distinct evolution of Francophone communities throughout the region (including French-Canada, Louisiana and Acadia). This event is presented in the context of the celebration of 400 years of francophone presence in Ontario.


Ottawa Tourism

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