18th LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecture: A Response

Join us online on October 15 for the response to the 18th LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecture to hear from diverse leaders from Canada and around the world on paths to moral and civic renewal following the COVID-19 crisis. This dynamic discussion will respond to the 18th LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecture, and share new ideas for the path forward, what the pandemic has revealed about the divide between insiders and outsiders, as well as what it will take to emerge from this crisis as more just, inclusive societies.


Robin Arens (Germany) is the program organizer and one of the co-founders of the Young Transatlantic Leadership (YTL) Initiative. YTL brings together German and Canadian young professionals who share a vision for a true transatlantic relationship between both countries. The YTL members are from civil society, the private sector, and government.   

Renata Ávila (Guatemala) is a lawyer, author and advocate. She brings more than 15 years of experience in technology and human rights, advocates for the right to publish, and defends whistleblowers and journalists speaking truth to power. She founded Progressive International together with Yanis Varoufakis and Jane Sanders in 2018. Progressive International is gathering progressive organizations and change-makers around the world to effect policy at the core. 

Jessica Bolduc (Batchewana First Nation, Anishinaabe Aki /Canada) is the executive director of the 4Rs Youth Movement. She works to centre the needs and role of Indigenous young people in moving forward reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada.

Michael Hart (Fisher River Cree Nation/ Canada) is the first vice-provost of Indigenous engagement at the University of Calgary, serving as a key champion and advocate for ii’ taa’poh’to’p, the University’s Indigenous strategy. From a career in social work, Hart’s ongoing scholarship is broad; his primary focus remains on contributing to the well-being of Indigenous Peoples and challenging the barriers they face.

Rafael Heiber (Brazil/Spain) is co-founder and CEO of the Common Action Forum, which connects people and organizations globally to develop ideas to address the most urgent issues of our time. Heiber currently publishes in the international media, and is editor-in-chief of Metapolis, a newly launched online journal (metapolis.net).

Antonia Hemberger (Germany) is 22 years old and the deputy federal chairwoman of Jusos Germany, the youth organization of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) with about 80,000 members. The focus of her political commitment is on international affairs, Europe and equality. 

Nicolas Langelier (Canada) is the editor-in-chief of Nouveau Projet and the director of Atelier 10, both of which he founded. His novel Réussir son hypermodernité et sauver le reste de sa vie en 25 étapes faciles (Boréal) was a finalist for the Prix des libraires du Québec in 2011. Nouveau Projet has grown to be one of the most sought-after magazine publications in Montreal and Quebec.

Abdul-Rehman Malik (Canada) is an award-winning journalist, educator and cultural organizer. He is a lecturer and associate research scholar at the Yale Divinity School, serves as the program coordinator at Yale University’s Council on Middle East Studies. In addition to providing curation and content guidance to a variety of cultural and literary institutions, Malik works to create platforms at the intersection of arts and social change.

Ruth Mojeed Ramirez (Canada/Nigeria) is the founder and chief equity officer of The Inclusion Project. She brings extensive lived experience and grounded expertise to her work in equity, diversity and inclusion across public and private sectors.She is a director on the national board of the Canadian International Council where she leads efforts on inclusive policy development.

Yasir Naqvi (Canada) is the CEO of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC). Pro-democracy advocates, Naqvi’s family emigrated from Pakistan to Canada in 1988. While attorney general of Ontario, he championed new laws to prevent sexual violence and help survivors, increase respect for the rights and cultures of Indigenous peoples, expand access to restorative justice, and promote multiculturalism.

Jana Pareigis (Germany) is a journalist and main anchor of the news program Mittagsmagazin at ZDF, Germany’s national public television broadcaster. In 2017 she wrote and directed the Deutsche Welle television documentary Afro.Germany, in which she interviews Black people in Germany on racism and empowerment. Pareigis is rapidly becoming one of Germany’s most influential voices pushing for inclusive societies. 

Samantha Perlman (U.S.) is the youngest woman ever elected to the Marlborough City Council, and the first first-time candidate to top the ticket in a Council race. She currently works at a non-profit dedicated to evidence-based policy and is a 2020 fellow at The Philanthropy Connection.

John Ralston Saul (Canada) has written 14 books that have influenced political and economic thought around the world. As international president of PEN, he took a new approach to activism, negotiating with dictators and speaking out for endangered languages. He is a leading voice in the international movement supporting immigrants and refugees. 

Mariko Silver (U.S.) is the president and CEO of the Henry Luce Foundation. She was previously the president of Bennington College. During the Obama administration, she served for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as acting assistant secretary and deputy assistant secretary for international policy.

Zaakir Tameez (U.S.) has two chief passions: inclusive economic growth and educational equity. Tameez is a senior fellow for Humanity in Action, and Fulbright scholar at Queen Mary University of London, where he is studying law and economics and focusing on competition policy in digital markets.

Gabriela de la Torre García (Mexico) is the general director of the Adopt a Talent Program, a non-profit organization at the Nuclear Science Institute of the National University of Mexico (UNAM). She is part of the BMW Responsible Leaders Network, working towards a more peaceful, just, and sustainable future.