Keynote Speakers

Lieutenant-General, the Honourable Roméo Dallaire (Ret’d) -(August 2) – LGen (Ret’d) Roméo Dallaire is founder of the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, a global partnership with the mission to end the recruitment and use of child soldiers. A celebrated advocate for human rights, veterans, and mental health, General Dallaire is also a respected author, government and UN advisor, and former Canadian Senator. Throughout his distinguished military career, General Dallaire served most notably as Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda during the  1994 genocide.  He continues to work tirelessly with the Dallaire Initiative team to eradicate the use of children as weapons of war.

Dr. Marie Wilson - (July 31) – Marie Wilson served as one of three Commissioners of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada 2009-2015, after 35 years as a journalist and senior executive leader.  Since the TRC, Marie has served as Professor of Practice in International Development at McGill University, Mentor with the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation, board member of the Rideau Hall Foundation, and recently-appointed member of the board of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBC-Radio-Canada. Dr. Wilson is in high demand as a public speaker and thought leader, nationally and internationally, on Truth and Reconciliation and lessons from the TRC. She has been recognized for communications and public service excellence with six honorary degrees, the Order of the Northwest Territories, the Meritorious Service Cross, and the Order of Canada.


Stephen KakfwiStephen Kakfwi – (July 31) -Stephen Kakfwi was President of the Dene Nation from 1983 to 1987, was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the NWT in 1987 and served as Premier from 2000-2003. Stephen currently focuses on achieving a balance of conservation and resource development in the North, focusing on community development in Aboriginal settlements. A Senior Advisor to the Indigenous Leadership Initiative (a group helping strengthen Indigenous nationhood and supporting fulfillment of Indigenous cultural responsibilities to the land), in 2014 he founded (and was President and CEO) of Canadians for a New Partnership – a group that encouraged relationship-building between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

Nakita Valerio -(August 1) – Nakita Valerio is a writer, academic and advocate based out of Edmonton, Alberta. She recently finished Islamic-Jewish graduate studies in History at the University of Alberta where her research focused on the memory of the Jewish departure from Morocco. Nakita now serves as a freelance academic editor and as a research fellow on the subjects of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism with the Tessellate Institute. As the VP External Affairs with the Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council, Nakita is an accomplished community organizer and public lecturer speaking on the subjects of Islam and secularism, Islamic feminism, love-based advocacy, and Islamophobia/anti-Semitism. She also serves her community through the Chester Ronning Center for the Study of Religion & Public Life, and the Young Indigenous Women’s Circle of Leadership Executive Board. 

Shachi Kurl – (August 1 – Banquet) -As Executive Director of the Angus Reid Institute, Shachi Kurl can be found offering analysis on CBC’s “At Issue,” Canada’s most-watched political panel, as well as in The Globe and Mail, the National Post, and other influential forums. At the Institute—one of North America’s premier nonpartisan, not-for-profit research and public opinion polling organizations—she works to further public knowledge, debunk myths, and contribute to debate and discussion in meaningful ways, enhancing the understanding of issues that matter to Canada and the world. She brings nearly two decades of public policy expertise to her role, spending the first part of her career as political reporter.

Rev. Dr. Robert Sellers – (August 3) -Robert P. Sellers earned a PhD in theological ethics and world religions. For 25 years, he taught in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world.  Living on Java, he fell in love with the beauty and diversity of spiritual traditions and their followers. In the United States since 1996, Rob has been a university and seminary professor in Texas and an interfaith leader locally (through the Abilene Interfaith Council), nationally (with the National Council of Churches), and internationally (on the Baptist World Alliance Interfaith Relations Commission). As Chair of the Board of the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago, Rob stays engaged with practitioners of many faiths. He and his wife of 45 years, Janie, have two children and five grandchildren.