Thursday, May 7, 2020
6:40 PM Pre-event concert; 7:00 PM speakers
Live webcast event

What we learn and how we learn shapes almost every dimension of a society. At this symposium we tackle another big theme: quality education.

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Meet the Speakers

Dobijoki Emanuela Bringi is a Learner, Educator, Speaker, Social Service Worker and Personal Development Mentor. She is a lover of soulful music, strong friendships and progressive collectives. One of her most favourite things to do include travelling; travelling physically, mentally and emotionally. For Dobijoki, travelling and reaching her destination is a metaphor for growth. As she travels and navigates the gift of life, Dobijoki makes many stops – some of these locations are revisited, while others are merely a layover for a certain period of time. She is currently pursuing her Doctor of Education at Western University with a focus on Indigenous African-Centred Education as Decolonization.

Amanda L. Kennedy is Haudenosaunee from Oneida First Nation, Bear Clan. Amanda is a Indigenous Social Innovator, Leader, Youth Advocate and the Founder of Kuwahs^nahawi Social Enterprise where she Consults, Educates and holds space for both Indigenous and Non—Indigenous people to learn, heal and grow. Focusing on the truth and history of the Indigenous People and their families, creating inclusiveness through social innovation and storytelling. Amanda is the Founder/Project Director of Yotuni Charitable Initiative, under Tides Canada Charitable Society and Shared Platform. Through innovative education and culture Yotuni empowers the Indigenous youth on their healing journey.

Rick Pardo was Coordinator for the Culture of Innovation for the Thames Valley District School Board. His challenge was to create the conditions for continuous improvement, creativity and innovation. There is much to learn from his “School in a School” initiative where students achieve regular school credits while teachers co-teach using an integrated problem based approach, all day and everyday. In just 3 years the initiative grew from 8 programs in 8 secondary schools to 45 integrated teams running in 30 schools from grades 1-12 – engaging over 2500 students annually. Rick returned to the classroom this past September to “put his money where his mouth is.” He continues to support an ever increasing network of teachers in their quest to become designers, drivers and owners of educational change.

Susan Rodger is a Psychologist and Associate Professor at the Faculty of Education at Western University, a Research Associate both at the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children and the Centre for School-Based Mental Health, and a member of the Gender, Trauma and Violence Knowledge Incubator at Western. Her research focuses on mental health literacy and wellness for educators and trauma-and-violence informed care in the classroom.

Meet the Musician

Influenced by many genres and fascinated with the endless creative opportunity that music provides, Noelle Coughlin writes in a way that is not bound to one particular style. Lyrically Noelle taps into the angst and beauty of life. The music she writes is anthemic. Each song has a soul and largely speaks to the resiliency of human beings. In addition to her solo performances Noelle brings her unique style to London based band The Pairs as one of three lead vocalists alongside her twin sister Renee Coughlin and lifelong friend Hillary Watson.

Meet the Host

Dr. Melanie-Anne Atkins is a proven education innovator with a heart for holistic student development, anti-oppressive practices, and mental health literacy. Melanie-Anne brings her background as an accomplished performing artist and educator to every new opportunity as a sought-after public speaker and interdisciplinary collaborator.


(Photo by Ben White on Unsplash)