The Salt Spring Forum Year in Review

As we approach our eighth year, our little organization is thriving.
This year we presented 24 thought-provoking speakers, strengthened our partnership with the Student Council at the Gulf Islands Secondary School (GISS), and offered our first continuing education course.

Youth participation has increased at all Forum events too. This year, we hosted four daytime events at GISS together with the Student Council. The most recent event drew 900 youth and adults.

This important engagement with youth comes at considerable financial cost to the Forum. Please consider donating to our Youth Development Fund. All donations received are tax-deductible and go towards programming that engages and empowers local youth. 

And, if you haven't already done so, please purchase a 2019 Salt Spring Forum membership. By becoming a 2019 Forum member, you'll help us continue to present world-changing speakers on Salt Spring Island.

Thank you for your generosity and support — and for another inspiring year!

VIDEO: Proportional Representation & Electoral Reform with Professor Max Cameron

In the lead up to the provincial referendum in British Columbia on proportional representation happening this fall (2018), the Salt Spring Forum hosted University of British Columbia Professor Max Cameron, a world-leading expert on democratic theory and electoral design.

The discussion took place at the Gulf Islands Secondary School on Friday, September 21st at 7:30 PM and was moderated by BC Youth for PR founder Fraser Byers. Learn more about proportional representation and electoral reform in this video with Professor Max Cameron.


Congratulations to Forum Youth Graduates!

Last Saturday, the Gulf Islands Secondary School (GISS) held its annual graduation ceremony. The gymnasium was filled with graduates and all those who came to support them. The ceremony included five graduating Salt Spring Forum volunteers, two of whom (Junan Adam Gordon and Sef Everest) were awarded the 2018 Forum Youth Scholarship. The award is for outstanding work with the Salt Spring Forum. Last year's scholarship recipient was Tamaki Yoshihara, who is also graduating this year. 

We will greatly miss our graduating student volunteers and are thankful for all they've contributed to the Forum during their high school careers. We wish them all the best on their new adventures!

*Photos by Billie Woods Photography

Laughing our Way (with Charlie Demers) to a Better World

For the final event of the 2017-18 school year, the Salt Spring Forum partnered with the GISS Student Council to present Charlie Demers, a Vancouver-based comedian, author, playwright and voice actor.

Demers is a regular on CBC Radio's The Debaters and a star of the Emmy-winning children's animated Netflix program Beat Bugs. His recent comedy album Fatherland was nominated for a Juno.

Demers’s most recently published novel is Property Values, a crime satire that uses comedy to explore themes of urban gentrification, gang violence and the challenges of purchasing a new home in the modern world. 

The morning discussion, moderated by GISS drama teacher Jason Donaldson, explored the important role of comedy in society. Both high school students and members of the general public attended.

This event was dedicated to the memory of Arthur Black, who, in addition to being a treasured Salt Spring community member, was a humourist, author and former CBC Radio host.

The event was full of laughs – and heartfelt moments too. It was a great way to begin the week and end the school year!

VIDEO: Cannabis Legalization with Kirk Tousaw

From THC tests for drivers to the big business of cannabis, Corona’s marijuana-infused beer, and Jean Chretien’s near decriminalization of pot – the Salt Spring Forum's discussion with lawyer Kirk Tousaw was fascinating. Tousaw has devoted decades to campaigning for the legalization for cannabis. In fact, he became a lawyer because of this issue.

On Friday, February 16, 2018 at ArtSpring, the Forum hosted Tousaw, who is the go-to person in Canada for litigation concerning marijuana. A long-standing and influential proponent of law reform, he is a founding board member of Sensible BC and a former board member of the BC Civil Liberties Association.

UBC Students at Forum for Canadian Foreign Policy Conference

This past weekend (Saturday, March 17 and Sunday, March 18) the Salt Spring Forum hosted nineteen students from the University of British Columbia to present research papers on Canadian foreign policy. The event took place at the Salt Spring Island Public Library and members of the public attended.

Presentations covered a wide range of topics such as "Canadian Immigration Policy: From Integration to Assimilation?” and "Canada and China in the Arctic". All those who attended learned from the smart young presenters who come from around the world! 

*Photos by Madhumita Varma

VIDEO: "Disease Detective" Dr. Jennifer Gardy

Dr. Jennifer Gardy – a trailblazing scientist and science communicator who was dubbed by The Globe and Mail as “the new Suzuki” – joined the Salt Spring Forum in conversation on March 13, 2018 at the Gulf Islands Secondary School (GISS).  The discussion covered everything from outbreaks and infectious diseases to vaccines and antibiotics. 

Dr. Gardy is a Senior Scientist in Genomics at the BC Centre for Disease Control. Gardy also works in science media. She regularly hosts episodes of CBC’s The Nature of Things and has guest-hosted Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet.

The Forum partnered with the GISS Student Council, who co-organized the event. The event was moderated by former GISS student and Forum volunteer Maddee Nash who is a graduate student at McGill University studying Epidemiology and Biostatistics. 


VIDEO: Climate Journalist Geoff Dembicki Jumpstarts 2018!

To bring in the new year, we started off our 2018 season with a new kind of Forum event. On January 13th, in partnership with the Gulf Islands Secondary School (GISS) Student Council, we welcomed internationally successful 31-year old climate journalist/author Geoff Dembicki to discuss how youth around the world are fighting climate change.

Approximately two hundred students and members of the public attended this youth-led discussion. Dembicki spoke about how millions of youth can and are radically changing the world.

This was the first Salt Spring Forum event in partnership with the GISS Student Council. It will hopefully be one of many more to inspire, engage and empower young people to lead!


Fall Forum Season: That's a Wrap Folks!

The 2017 Fall Forum season culminated with a final event this past Friday, December 1st at the Gulf Islands Secondary School with guest speaker Michael Doyle, who joined us to discuss world issues. Doyle was former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan's most important advisor from 2001 to 2003, holding the title of Assistant Secretary-General. 

Audience members asked Doyle many questions ranging from the role of the United Nations in global governance to Russia's role in influencing elections in various countries such as the United States. The discussion – moderated by Forum board chair Michael Byers - was thought-provoking and shed light on many of the major issues facing the world today. 

The Forum will be back in the new year with a stellar lineup of 2018 guests, so stay tuned!

Youth Volunteers Engage with Big Issues

Salt Spring Forum is very proud of our longstanding partnership with the Gulf Islands Secondary School (GISS). Every year, several GISS students become Forum volunteers, such as the students in the photo below who were volunteering at our recent event on November 13th at ArtSpring with cognitive scientist Stephan Lewandowksy. The event explored the psychology and science of climate change denial -- and was fascinating! 

Our student volunteers love learning. Each is bright, passionate, engaged, and deeply concerned about the world. And with good reason. The youth of today face massive challenges, with climate change key among them. At the Forum, we want to help our youth engage with and improve the world. Stay tuned for exciting news about our GISS-Forum partnership in 2018!

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