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SFU Public Square 2017 Community Summit asks Who Needs Canada?

by pmnationtalk on January 31, 20171143 Views

Fifth annual summit explores Canada’s role in the world with key speakers Mark Rowswell “Dashan,” The Independent’s Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk, and, pollster Nik Nanos.

January 31, 2017

On February 27, Simon Fraser University’s Public Square will launch the 2017 Community Summit aimed at thinking and engaging on Canada’s present and future regarding foreign policy, culture and diplomacy, immigration, and trade. The Summit’s inaugural event Who Needs Canada?: Canada’s Role in the World features the prominent foreign policy experts Roland Paris and Sheila Watt-Cloutier. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation correspondent Laura Lynch will moderate the evening.

“This year’s Community Summit asks tough questions about Canada’s role in the world,” says Janet Webber, executive director of SFU Public Square. “With Canada marking the 150th anniversary of Confederation, we want everyone to come think and engage with each other on what the future impact of our country should be on the world stage.”

The Summit will host eight events over 10 days from February 27 to March 8. Highlights include the Metro Vancouver debut of the most famous foreigner in China, Mark Rowswell  “Dashan”, an analysis of the rise of populism in Europe and the United States with pollster Nik Nanos, and, an on-the-ground perspective on the Middle East crisis with award-winning correspondent for The Independent newspaper, Robert Fisk.

The Community Summit aims to convene public dialogue on what Canada’s role should be globally and how best to realize those values.

“Through this forum, we hope to have an important discussion on how current world events are unfolding and how Canada can be a leader,” says Webber. “What are the risks and opportunities that Canada is confronting as we move through this increasingly fragmented time.”

Tickets to Who Needs Canada?: Canada’s Role in the World and other Community Summit events are available through SFU Public Square’s website.


The 2017 Community Summit addresses a confluence of events and factors:

  • 2017 is the 150th anniversary of Canada’s confederation.
  • The recent rise of populist and isolationist movements in Europe (such as Brexit) and the United States (the election of Donald Trump) and Canadians reaction to them.
  • Canada has resettled 39,671 Syrian refugees as of January 2, 2017.
  • China is Canada’s second largest trading partner.


Who Needs Canada?: Canada’s Role in the World – Feb. 27, 2017

The official launch of SFU Public Square’s 2017 Community Summit brings together prominent foreign policy experts Roland Paris (University of Ottawa, former Senior Advisor on Global Affairs and Defence to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) and Sheila Watt-Cloutier (Canadian Inuit activist, Nobel Peace Prize nominee). Panel will be moderated by CBC correspondent Laura Lynch.

Dashan Live at SFU – Mar. 1, 2017

The Metro Vancouver debut of Mark Rowswell “Dashan”. Dashan evokes laughter as he shares his insights on learning Chinese, navigating Chinese media, and being a cultural celebrity in one of the most dynamic, fastest growing economies on the planet. This event is exclusive to students. This event will be in Mandarin.

Culture / Diplomacy – Mar. 1, 2017

This event features three cultural ambassadors, Mark Rowswell “Dashan”, Hank Bull and Zheng Shengtian, who contextualize the longstanding relationship between Canada and China. Speakers will explore the larger role that culture plays in Canada’s global relationships and how cultural exchange influences diplomacy.

City Conversations – Mar. 2, 2017

Around the world, cities are increasingly recognized as transnational actors and Metro Vancouver’s municipalities have an important role to play in this shift.

The Anger of Nations: Trump, Trudeau, Merkel, and Farage in an Age of Voter Rage – Mar. 2, 2017

Pollster Nik Nanos presents his latest research on how Canadian attitudes toward the United States have shifted in recent months following the election and inauguration of President Donald Trump. Audiences will be invited to take part in a moderated discussion with Nanos on how people-driven movements in the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom have major implications for Canada’s role in the world.

Doors Open – Mar. 7, 2017

Trade affects every aspect of Canadians’ lives on a daily basis, but most know very little about how goods, products, and people move around our cities and the world. On March 6th, 150 Surrey high school students will have the unique opportunity to physically see and experience global trade at several of Metro Vancouver’s high-traffic trade hubs.

An Evening with Robert Fisk – Mar. 7, 2017

With an estimated 21.3 million refugees around the world, Canadians are being forced to think about our responsibilities as global citizens: are we doing enough? Or have we already done too much? Robert Fisk, award winning Middle East correspondent for The Independent, will provide an on-the-ground perspective of events in the Middle East and the origins of the refugee crisis. Joining Fisk is filmmaker Nelofar Pazira, and Greek ambassador to the United Nations, Catherine Boura.

Researching the Globe – Mar. 8, 2017

With over 35,000 students, 6,500 faculty and staff, and over 145,000 alumni, SFU is at the heart of a growing network of globally engaged citizens who are mobilizing their ideas to create positive social and economic impact. The evening showcases an interactive public gallery of research from faculty, staff, students, alumni, and the wider SFU community, followed by a series of rapid-fire impact stories. Joy Johnson, SFU Vice-President, Research hosts the closing event of the 2017 Community Summit that celebrates the many ways in which the SFU community is helping to engage the world.


Community Summit

  • Each year, SFU Public Square convenes a Community Summit focused on an issue of public concern offering a series of thematic programs creating space for citizens, the university, and community partners to jointly research, discuss, and identify solutions.
  • Who Needs Canada? is the 5th annual Community Summit exploring Canada’s role in foreign policy, culture and diplomacy, trade, and, research and innovation.
  • This year’s Summit features eight events over 10 days.
  • Since 2012, SFU Public Square Community Summits have produced 41 events with over 15,000 attendees.
  • Former Community Summit topics have addressed: social isolation and civic engagement; the economic future of British Columbia; and, innovation in the economy, environment, health and education, and, city building.
  • Keynote lecturers at past SFU Public Square Community Summits include Google’s Director of Engineering, Ray Kurzweil; renowned urban theorist, Richard Florida; former US Secretary of Labour, Robert Reich; and, Co-Director of Planning for the City of Vancouver, Larry Beasley.

SFU Public Square

  • Started in February 2012.
  • Part of SFU’s Strategic Vision to become the leading engaged university defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement.
  • Mandate to spark, nurture and restore community connections and be the go-to convener of serious and productive conversations about issues of public concern.
  • Involved in over 35 public events per year.
  • Keynote lecturers at past SFU Public Square events include Edward Snowden, Naomi Klein, and Wab Kinew.
  • Current programs include City Conversations, Lunch Poems at SFU, SFU Faculty Lecture Series, and, the SFU Vancouver Speaker Series.
  • Supports and facilitates convening needs of government, businesses and community organizations on a fee-for-service basis.
  • Past clients include the City of Vancouver and the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association.



As Canada’s engaged university, SFU is defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement. SFU was founded more than 50 years ago with a mission to be a different kind of university—to bring an interdisciplinary approach to learning, embrace bold initiatives, and engage with communities near and far. Today, SFU is Canada’s leading comprehensive research university and is ranked one of the top universities in the world. With campuses in British Columbia’s three largest cities – Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey – SFU has eight faculties, delivers almost 150 programs to over 35,000 students, and boasts more than 145,000 alumni in 130 countries around the world.



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