x = independently organized TED event

This event occurred on
March 3, 2011
12:00am - 12:00am EST
(UTC -5hrs)
Kitchener, ON


So many aspects of our world today seem headed on an unknown course. Each week and every day sees new discoveries, inventions, geopolitical events, achievements and ideas that can radically change our world, and the pace of change is only accelerating. The challenges presented by this uncertainty are immense. But so are the opportunities. What does it take to navigate this shifting landscape? How do we stay true to our course in uncharted seas? How can each one of us push ourselves to rise to the challenges we face each and every day, and together create our shared future?

Our day includes three sessions, each with its own sub-theme:

101 Queen Street North
Kitchener, ON, N2H 6P7
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Shelley Ambrose

Calgarian Shelley Ambrose is the Executive Director of The Walrus Foundation and Co-publisher of The Walrus. She worked as a reporter for the Globe and Mail and the Windsor Star before serving for more than a decade as a producer for CBC Radio’s Morningside and later for The Pamela Wallin Show. After three years in public affairs at the Canadian Consulate in New York, organizing media and events and building the Canadian brand, she returned to Canada in 2006. Shelley has produced hundreds of events, including forums, lectures, festivals, book tours, Arctic tours, royal visits, and Bill Clinton’s 60th birthday celebrations in Toronto and New York.

Miriah Meyer

Miriah Meyer is a computer scientist who is changing the way other scientists see the world of data. As a postdoctoral research fellow in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University, Miriah is a pioneer in the emerging field of visualization, which uses graphic computer representations to help scientists envision, manage and interact with large quantities of complex data in ways that would otherwise be impossible. Working closely with research scientists, Miriah’s interactive tools now pinpoint patterns and trends. Miriah has degrees in astronomy and astrophysics from Penn State University, and earned a PhD in computer science from the University of Utah where she worked in the Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute. Miriah is the recipient of a NSF/CRA Computing Innovation Fellow Award and also awarded an AAAS Mass Media Fellowship that landed her a stint as a science writer for the Chicago Tribune. At the Harvard/MIT Broad Institute, she is a cofounder of the Data Visualization Initiative.

Abby Sunderland

Abby Sunderland,17, is an experienced American sailor who attempted to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world in 2010. Sailing her specially outfitted 40-foot sloop, Wild Eyes, Abby, then 16 years old, departed Marina Del Ray, California on January 23, 2010. Eight days into the journey, her yacht experienced insurmountable difficulties, forcing her to scuttle her attempt. She elected to restart her solo, non-stop, unassisted circumnavigation attempt on February 2, 2010. On March 31, Abby became the youngest solo sailor to round Cape Horn. On April 24, she was forced to land at Cape Town to repair two broken autopilot systems. Intent on solo circumnavigation if not non-stop, Abby continued her journey after the repairs. Disaster struck on June 10 in the Indian Ocean, where her boat was demasted in high seas. Emergency beacons pinpointed her location, and a dramatic air and sea rescue was initiated. Her second circumnavigation attempt had come to an end. Abby is currently writing a book about her experience.

Ben Grossman

Ben Grossman is a busy musician: improviser, studio musician, composer, noisemaker and audio provocateur. He works in many fields, having played on over 80 CDs, soundtracks for film and television, sound design for theatre, installations, work designed for radio transmission, and live performances spanning early medieval music to experimental electronica. Ben’s tools of choice are electronics, percussion, and, especially, the hurdy gurdy (vielle à roue), a contemporary electro-acoustic string instrument with roots in the European middle ages. Through extended techniques, live-looping and processing, Ben seeks to use it as a physical interface into improvised sound creation, spontaneous composition and the exploration of acoustics, form and extended aesthetics. In 1997 Ben studied Turkish music in Istanbul and has done vielle workshops and lessons with Valentin Clastrier,Matthias Loibner, Maxou Heintzen and Simon Wascher as well as working on Deep Listening and improvisation with Anne Bourne. With an abiding interest in pushing the limits of his instruments and pushing the boundaries of whatever venue or medium in which he works, Ben’s only solo CD, Macrophone was released in 2007 and features a unique two disc form for simultaneous, aleatoric playback.

Shawn Qu

Shawn Qu follows the light – actually he follows sunlight and turns it into electricity that powers homes and businesses around the world. As the chairman, president and CEO of Canadian Solar, Shawn is a leader in the fast growing solar energy market and putting Canada on the map for Canadian Solar’s innovative technology. Shawn, armed with a PhD in material science from the University of Toronto, began his career as a postdoctoral research fellow at the university. He then joined the Ontario Hydro, working on next generation solar cells. In 1998 he moved to ATS in Cambridge, ON holding various strategic roles in the Photowatt (solar power) division. In 2001, he left ATS to launch Canadian Solar, which posted $600 million in revenue in 2009. The company currently has seven manufacturing facilities with 8,000 employees worldwide. In December 2010, Canadian Solar opened its first North American plant in Guelph, employing up to 500 people.

JF Carrey

Ever since Jean-François Carrey was a young boy, he wanted to climb Mount Everest. On May 18th, 2006, at 24 years old, he became the youngest Canadian to have climbed to the Top of the World. JF’s passion for the arctic, mountains and rivers extends back to his youth. As a young guide, JF led a number of expeditions in the Northwest Territories and Yukon, and trekking and sea kayaking on Ellesmere Island and Baffin Island. Before Everest, JF had successfully climbed Mount Imja Tse (6189m) in Nepal, Mount Aconcagua (6968m) in Argentina, Mount McKinley, Alaska (6 300m), Mount Baker, USA and Pico de Orizaba, Mexico (5 636m). When JF Carrey achieved his dream, he saw the sunrise on the horizon from the summit of Everest and realized that his dream was not the 20 minutes that he spent on the Top of the World, but rather the journey he took to get there. With over 12 years of guiding experience, JF is now Canada’s foremost wilderness guide for the arctic and sub-arctic regions, and a trusted guide for trekking and mountaineering in the Himalayas, Andes and Mexico’s Volcanoes. JF Carrey speaks internationally on leadership and inspires others to embrace change, introducing the perspective gained by leading expeditions in these immense and uncontrollable environments.

Roberta Bondar

As the world’s first neurologist in space, Dr. Roberta Bondar is globally recognized for her pioneering contribution to space medicine research. For more than a decade at NASA Dr. Bondar headed an international research team, continuing to find new connections between astronauts recovering from the microgravity of space and neurological illnesses here on Earth such as stroke and Parkinson’s disease. As an author, environmental educator and celebrated landscape photographer, Dr. Bondar has also earned a reputation as a leading speaker and consultant within the medical and scientific communities, and in the field of corporate social responsibility and care for the Earth’s environment. Through 2010 Roberta Bondar was the Honorary Patron for Canada of UNESCO’s International Year of Planet Earth. Recently created, The Roberta Bondar Foundation has been formed to improve knowledge of the environment in a way that stimulates interest, excitement, creativity, responsibility, and for some, the desire for focused study in this area of science. It aims to help people to see their environment in a positive light, to become more attuned to its characteristics and factors that influence change. A true renaissance woman, Dr. Bondar is an acclaimed photographer of the natural wonders of our planet. She is the author of four best-selling photo essay books featuring her stunning photography of the Earth. Her photographic works may be found in private, corporate and institutional collections in Canada, the U.S. and England. Dr. Bondar is a recipient of the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario. Roberta Bondar has been inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame and into the International Women’s Forum Hall of Fame for her pioneering research in space medicine and recognized with the NASA Space Medal. In addition, she has received 24 honorary doctorates from Canadian and American universities. In 2003 TIME magazine named her among North America’s best explorers. Roberta Bondar continues to explore the planet, camera in hand.

Colin Ellard

Colin Ellard is an experimental psychologist at the University of Waterloo, the director of its Research Laboratory for Immersive Virtual Environments and an international expert in the psychology of navigation. The results of his research in the areas of animal behaviour, cognitive mapping, human navigation and neuroscience have been published in scientific journals for more than 20 years. His book “You Are Here: How we can find our way to the moon but get lost at the mall” describes how our mental relationships with physical space relate to the design of the built environment. His most recent work concerns the connections between space and emotion.

Vicki Keith

Vicki Keith is the most successful marathon swimmer in the history of the sport, holding an unprecedented sixteen world records. Her most recognized accomplishments include becoming the first person to swim across all five Great Lakes in 1988 and for being the only person to complete the 104 km double crossing of Lake Ontario. In 2005 Vicki spent 63 hours and 40 minutes in Lake Ontario, completing 80.2 kilometres butterfly, setting 2 world records and raising over $260,000 for the Kingston Family YMCA. This brought her lifetime fundraising total to over one million dollars. After her marathon swimming career, Vicki began coaching competitive and marathon swimming to athletes with physical disabilities. Vicki has coached 15 athletes with a disability to the national level and two athletes to the international level in competitive swimming, 6 athletes to world records in marathon swimming, and an athlete with a disability to the podium in triathlon on the world stage. In recognition of her outstanding achievements and service, Vicki has been appointed as a member of the Order of Canada, was inducted into the Terry Fox Hall of Fame and had the headlands of the Leslie Street Spit in Toronto renamed to Vicki Keith Point.

Vincent John Vincent

Vincent John Vincent is the co-founder & creative force behind GestureTek Inc., the inventors, pioneers and world leaders for over 24 years in video gesture control computing devices. Along with Francis MacDougall they invented and patented “full body immersive virtual reality”, in the late 1980s, where the user’s image appears on screen and interacts with the surrounding animation. Vincent has been instrumental in running the company, finding new markets, and the creation applications for the technology. Thousands of systems have been used in public video games, entertainment & education environments, as well as rehabilitation. Vincent also used the technology as the world’s first VR performer; performing extensively worldwide, from 1986 onward. Technology & patents were licensed to Sony’s EyeToy & Move camera systems, and to Microsoft’s XBOX Vision & Kinect camera system. In 2000 they invented GestPoint, with 2D & 3D depth cameras, the point and control technology, the inspiration for the movie “Minority Report”. In 2001 they invented the GestureFX system that turned any surface (floors, walls, tables, windows) into interactive gesture controlled displays for entertainment & digital signage around the world. From this Illuminate System evolved, the first multi touch system for tables and vertical panels. Today’s leading edge innovations are with the 3D depth camera gesture control technology they invented in 2001. Vincent who holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Waterloo, was honoured in 2003 with a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Canadian New Media Awards.

Edwin Outwater

One of North American’s most creative, dynamic, and engaging conductors, Edwin Outwater is Music Director of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony in Ontario, Canada. His innovative programming has earned him international acclaim, in particular for his Intersections series. With a goal of reinventing the orchestral experience, Outwater has sold out concerts in KW and Toronto, collaborated with artists from composers Mason Bates, Gabriela Lena Frank, Nicole Lizeé and Nico Muhly, to authors Daniel Handler and Daniel Levitin, to rock musicians Dan Deacon and Richard Reed Parry. Mentored as Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony and assistant conductor of the YouTube Symphony by Michael Tilson Thomas, the Harvard-educated conductor with a degree in English Literature is a versatile and sought-after conductor, Mr. Outwater travels frequently, leading orchestras all over the world. He has conducted the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the San Francisco Opera, the symphonies of Chicago, Columbus, New Jersey, Memphis, Toronto, Victoria, and many others. Before joining the San Francisco Symphony, Mr. Outwater served as Resident Conductor and Associate Guest Conductor of the Florida Philharmonic. He has also held posts as Associate Conductor of the Festival-Institute at Round Top, Principal Conductor of the Adriatic Chamber Music Festival in Molise, Italy, and Assistant Conductor of the Tulsa Philharmonic.

Michael Nielsen

Michael Nielsen is one of the pioneers of quantum computation. Together with Ike Chuang of MIT, he wrote the standard text in the field, a text which is now one of the twenty most highly cited physics books of all time. He is the author of more than fifty scientific papers, including invited contributions to Nature and Scientific American. His research contributions include involvement in one of the first quantum teleportation experiments, named as one of Science Magazine’s Top Ten Breakthroughs of the Year for 1998. Michael was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of New Mexico, and has worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory, as the Richard Chace Tolman Prize Fellow at Caltech, as Foundation Professor of Quantum Information Science at the University of Queensland, and as a Senior Faculty Member at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. Michael left academia to write a book about open science, and the radical change that online tools are causing in the way scientific discoveries are made.

Organizing team


Toronto, Canada


Waterloo, Canada
  • Maria Arshad
    Attendee Relations
  • Amy Vandenberg
    Logistics Lead
  • Jennifer Janick
    Production Lead
  • Martin Kihle
  • Kevin Thomason
  • Mitch Blaine
  • Naman Kumar
  • Darryl Kraemer
  • Angela Pause
  • Gabriel Tomescu
    Marketing Lead
  • Jennifer Gough
  • Tareq Ismail
    Mobile Apps
  • Janet Kennedy
    Volunteer Coordination
  • Rahul Shahani
    Volunteer Coordination
  • Stephanie Rozek
  • Keyleigh Platz
  • Ronak Patel
  • Alain Gauldrault
  • Christine Hamon
    Catering Lead
  • Dana Finestone
  • James Crear
    University Relations
  • Kate Kennedy
    University Relations
  • Syd Salmon
  • Cheryl Ives
    Community Relations
  • Linda Carson
    Community Relations
  • Rebecca Blackburn
    Community Relations
  • Megan Summers
    Social Media
  • Joanna Woo
    Social Media
  • Becky Young
    Social Media
  • Brian Clemens
    Video Lead (Conostoga College)
  • ..... .....
    Over 75 other volunteers