New Brunswick to host stellar line up of influential Canadians

April 27, 2011

The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean and M. Jean-Daniel Lafond join David Adams Richards, Antonine Maillet and National Chief Shawn Atleo as Big Thinkers addressing the 2011 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

April 27 - Fredericton, NB - The University of New Brunswick, St. Thomas University and the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences are pleased to announce that Rt. Hon. Michaëlle Jean and her husband M. Jean-Daniel Lafond have joined the list of world-class speakers set to address the 2011 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences as part of the Big Thinking lecture series.

Open both to Congress delegates and the public, the Big Thinking lectures bring together leading researchers and influential intellectuals from Canada and around the world to explore some of the most pressing issues of our time.

"We are tremendously excited to be bringing together Atlantic Canadian luminaries with such a stellar group of Canadian and international intellectuals" says Linda Kealey, Academic Convenor for Congress 2011. "The Big Thinking lectures offer the opportunity to hear some of today's best minds as they share their insight on important issues such as climate change, Aboriginal education as well as cultural and linguistic pluralism. This speaker series will draw the public into the heart of the Congress experience."

Conveying the vision of their new foundation, the Michaëlle Jean Foundation, Rt. Hon. Michaëlle Jean and, Jean-Daniel Lafond, discuss the ways in which the arts can be used to foster social harmony, civic engagement, inclusion and innovation.

Canadian author, and New Brunswick native, David Adams Richards will ask ‘what do we lose when we lose a sense of place?'

Critically acclaimed Acadian novelist, playwright and scholar, Antonine Maillet will speak about the extraordinary role that she has played as an author giving a voice to the dispersed Acadian community.

National Chief Shawn Atleo will speak to the Assembly of First Nations' recent call-to-action on Aboriginal education.

One of Canada's leading climate scientists, Dr. Andrew Weaver will speak to the confusion and misinformation complicating the public's understanding of global warming and address how Canadians can make better choices about their future.

Canadian ethnomusicologist, Trudeau Fellow and Canada Research Chair in Traditional Music at Memorial University, Dr. Beverly Diamond will draw on her extensive experience working with indigenous communities and ask how contemporary artists can successfully evade the "re"creation of new and old cultural stereotypes. This Big Thinking event is presented in partnership with the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation.

Ontario's first Aboriginal Lieutenant Governor, James Bartleman will address the impact of the residential school experience on Aboriginal youth and how Canada can start to address this crisis.

Renowned philosopher, cultural theorist, novelist and Chair of the board for the American Council for Learned Societies, Dr. Kwame Anthony Appiah, will explore the need for a rich new narrative for the humanities. This Big Thinking event is presented in partnership with the Royal Society of Canada.

The chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Justice Murray Sinclair will reflect on the commission's successes and challenges and how Canadians can learn from its legacy.

Dr. Gerard Bouchard, an eminent Canadian historian and sociologist noted for his role in the Bouchard-Taylor Commission, and Graham Fraser, Canada's Commissioner of Official Languages, will come together in conversation to discuss the challenges of cultural and linguistic pluralism in our society.

The local community will be able to attend the Big Thinking, thanks to the generous support of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, which is celebrating 100 years as the voice of Canadian universities this year.

"We are proud of the contribution the university community makes to the intellectual life of New Brunswick, and of Canada as a whole. The 2011 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences is an outstanding example of just how substantive that contribution is. This public sharing of new ideas from some of the world's top thinkers demonstrates the real value that university research, teaching and learning make to Canadian communities" says Paul Davidson, AUCC President.

About the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences

Organised by the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, the 80th Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences will bring together upwards of 6,000 researchers, scholars, graduate students, practitioners, and policy makers to share groundbreaking research and examine the most important social, economic, political and cultural issues of the day. University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University are co-hosting the 2011 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences May 28 to June 4.

The Congress program includes original research from across disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences, providing a great collection of expert sources and innovative story leads. Journalists interested in being accredited should email email to be added to the Congress 2011 media list.

For more information or to obtain media accreditation, contact:
Ryan Saxby Hill
Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences