A graphic novelist, Waterloo native Scott Chantler’s books have become favourites in the library world as well as with students. The graphic novel Two Generals, which depicts his grandfather’s experiences in Europe during the Second World War, was nominated for the Ontario Library Association's White Pine Award and was voted into the Top 40 of Canadian non-fiction books by the CBC's Canada Reads: True Stories. The American Library Association and the Junior Library Guild have recommended his books, which include Northwest Passage and the Three Thieves series, which won the Shuster Award, as the best comic for children.
Scott is a successful commercial illustrator for Fortune 500 companies and his work has also appeared in The New York Daily News, The National Post, The Toronto Star, and Maclean's.
Bilge Demirköz is a TED Fellow and a Turkish particle physicist who is making significant contributions to our understanding of the universe we live in. In her experiments and her role as a faculty member of Middle East Technical University in Ankara, she inspires the next generation of scientists and makes science more accessible to the general public. Through her work searching for anti-matter and dark matter in space and her many years conducting particle physics experiments at CERN, Dr. Demirköz has come to believe that science needs to re-connect with the arts, and ultimately with people.
Mathew Ho, a Grade 12 student at Agincourt Collegiate Institute in Toronto, Ontario, has a thing for high places. Last summer he climbed to the top of Mt Kilimanjaro and then a few months later, he and his friend Asad Muhammad became "the teens who sent a Canadian Lego man into space and videotaped it” – just for fun. Mathew's passions are for hands-on projects that require him to build things from scratch, and the visual arts. He is a competitive hockey and lacrosse player, and says, “I have given up on trying to find my niche, and rather accepted the fact that there are just so many interesting things in this world, it would be futile to focus on just one.” This summer he plans on summiting Mt Elbrus, before heading off to university to study commerce.
Originally from Kitchener, Shannon Blake is the founder and artistic director of The Bench Theatre Initiative, a gracious, hospitable, trust-risking organization designed to connect street-involved adults with aesthetically excellent theatre. She is a playwright, director and community arts practitioner with a Master of Arts in English from the University of Toronto and has extensive experience with theatre creation and facilitation in a variety of community and professional settings. Her arts practice focuses on seeking alternative narratives, creative third options, and artist-community interdependence. She is the writer and director of Transient Voices; Wonderful; Before, During and After: Stories from the Iranian Prison Journey and Of Boots and Birds, and the writer of Factory and The Passages of Everett Manning. She has also directed Michael Healey’s The Drawer Boy and been published in Geez, Geist and The Hart House Review. Shannon co-operates extensively with Sanctuary, a drop-in centre for homeless and marginalized adults, and has also worked with Nightwood Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille and Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.
Never let it be said that physicists are boring. Or that they can’t dance. Krister Shalm proves they aren’t, and they can. He is a physicist who is using light to study the quantum world. As a postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo, Shalm is working to develop the technologies of tomorrow based on today’s breakthroughs in quantum mechanics. While his work can seem mind boggling, Shalm has teamed up with a magician, musicians, entertainers, and dancers to make quantum concepts more approachable. An avid swing dancer, in his spare time Krister can be found Lindy Hopping to the tunes of the 20s, 30s and 40s.
His story is remarkable. He is the man who walked around the world. In August 2000, Quebecois Jean Béliveau, 45, experiencing a mid-life crisis, chose to shut down his successful factory and leave a loving family to embark on an adventure of learning. It became an odyssey of over 11 years that would see him walk 75,000 km through five continents and 64 countries. Dedicating his walk to peace, Béliveau says, “This is not my walk but the walk of Humanity. I am only a tool for a collective aspiration.”
Roberta Hunt is an exhilarating jazz and blues musician – she is a piano player, a singer and currently fronts the band Red Hot Ramble. With her signature rootsy and blues style, one music critic wrote, "Mix big piano with beautiful voice. Add some attitude and a lot of charisma. With a penchant for those you-done-me-wrong songs and her musical roots in the jazz and spirituals of New Orleans: a picture of Roberta Hunt starts to emerge..."
“Now and then you hear a story that restores your faith in the internet, both as a global sharing tool that can be used as a force for good and as a means by which a moment of serendipity and a good idea can bring fame and fortune to an individual,” said the UK Huffington Post.
That individual is Taylor Jones. As the 22-year-old founder of the worldwide phenomenon dearphotograph.com, he is responsible for a site that has, in just six short months, become a conduit for the memories and emotions of millions of people. CBS named Dear Photograph the #1 website in 2011, and TIME Magazine included it as their #7 pick of the top 50 websites favorites. Now Taylor has a book deal with HarperCollins for the first Dear Photograph book, with never-before-seen photos, to be published later this year.
Sarah Williams is a pioneer of using mapping and data visualization techniques to uncover hidden and often surprising facts about the contemporary city. Her work exposes social ills in desperate need of design solutions. With expertise spanning the representation of digital information, mapping, ecological design and urban planning, her research focuses on the intersection of technology and the urban realm, with a particular focus on using mobile computing to help better understand urban spaces.
As the director of Columbia University's Spatial Information Design Lab (SIDL), Sarah connects mapping and representation techniques to highlight urban issues. Her team's innovative work has been widely exhibited, including recent shows at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (MoMA) and the Venice Biennale.
Singer/songwriter Peter Katz is a remarkable recording artist who is connecting Canadian contemporary folk music to a new, highly appreciative international audience. Accolades are piling up for this young troubadour, as he was named winner of the CBC Galaxie Rising Star Award, grand prizewinner of Toronto's IndieWeek, and nominated as the Emerging Artist of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards. His warm voice and poignant lyrics stay with the listener, opening hearts and minds to new ways of seeing the world.
Alicia Raimundo has been a mental health advocate since she was 13, after she experienced serious bouts of suicidal ideation as the result of her depression and anxiety. She knows she came perilously close to being part of Canada’s grim suicide statistics. Ten years later, she spends her days finishing her undergrad degree in psychology, while volunteering at half a dozen mental health-related causes. She co-founded the online portion of Almond Health emotional wellbeing community website and is a member of a young adult team that works to translate academic mental health information into language that resonates with young people. She is also a facilitator of a “young survivors of suicide loss” group and takes every opportunity to speak publicly about mental health. Last October, she was on a panel of speakers for Canada AM’s Speak Out On Suicide program and contributed to MTV's Let’s Talk mental health campaign. Alicia’s goal is to make people more connected to mental health issues while helping to eliminate the stigma attached to it.
In Karen Morris' own words, she has been “a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king. Mix and match them at your discretion to my life-phases, teenage wordsmith, lover, international lawyer, executive, friend, investor, mother and survivor.”
Yet the woman described in her C.V. is that of a scholar, English barrister, M.A., L.L.M, Professor, Chief Innovation Officer of a global corporation, General Counsel, innovation architect and writer. Her broad experience and international background in law, management and multinational business inspire her insight on product, service and business model innovation. She is a frequent speaker on the topics of innovation and leadership at global forums and conferences around the world.
Izzeldin Abuelaish, known as "the Gaza Doctor" and author of I Shall Not Hate, is a Palestinian doctor and infertility expert who was born and raised in the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. Tragically, his three daughters and a niece were killed in January 2009 during the Israeli incursion into Gaza, yet this devastation did not harden Abuelaish's heart. Instead, he has directed his energy toward spreading the doctrine that from tragedy can come good; from conflict and hardship can come peace and well being in hopes that the lives lost during this time would be the last. Nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 and winner of humanitarian awards around the world, he now lives with his family in Toronto, where he is an associate professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.