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Forward Thinking Speaker Series

The Forward Thinking Speaker Series reflects EPL’s rich history of taking risks, trying new things and redefining the modern library. EPL invites thought-leaders from a variety of industries to share their insights, ideas, experiences and viewpoints. Its purpose is to help build better organizations, neighborhoods and communities.

Is there a speaker that you would like to see at a future Forward Thinking Speaker Series presentation? Please send us your recommendations to events@epl.ca.

Stream Building a City for 2 Million People

The first Forward Thinking Speaker Series event of 2020 is sold out but you can watch Mayor Don Iveson's presentation from the comfort of your home on January 30. The live webcast starts at 7:00 p.m.

Featured Speaker

Event Details

Thursday, January 30, 2020
Triffo Theatre (MacEwan University) at 7 p.m. (doors open 6 p.m.)

Please note that all tickets to this event are now sold out. You can watch this event live online.
General Admission tickets - $10 each
Preferred Seating tickets - $99 each (tickets include front of the theatre seating and admission to a post event reception with the speakers)
Tickets are now available on Eventbrite. 

Mayor Don Iveson: Building a City for 2 Million People

In a few decades, over two million people could be calling Edmonton home. Our growth is a reflection of our economic strength and quality of life, but growing sustainably, not just growth itself, should be our main goal. That is where Edmonton’s City Plan comes in. Join Mayor Don Iveson and youth leaders as they discuss what it takes to build the Edmonton of tomorrow, including how we can plan for a city that will attract talent and offer generations of Edmontonians a good quality of life and a bright economic future.

Listen to our interview with Mayor Don Iveson on our podcast, Overdue Finds

This event is presented in partnership with:


About Mayor Don Iveson

Since his election as Edmonton's 35th Mayor in 2013, Mayor Iveson has led Edmonton's transformation into a more uplifting, resilient, and globally competitive city. Alongside his remarkable partner Sarah Chan, they both serve our community while raising two young children, working to make things better for all our kids and grandkids.

Harnessing a new confidence among Edmontonians, he is focused on the priorities of growing an opportunity economy, building a more family-friendly city, accelerating our leadership on energy and climate, and planning for a million people - all while strengthening integrity and performance at City Hall.

Prior to entering public life, Iveson studied Political Science at the University of Alberta, then served as president of Canadian University Press in Toronto. He returned home to a city that appeared to be exporting young, smart leaders, thinkers, creators, and entrepreneurs faster than it could attract them. As a proud Edmontonian, the challenge of attracting and retaining more people inspired Iveson to run for City Council in 2007. As a result, one of his key performance indicators - as both a Councillor and Mayor - is to build the kind of city that, when the time comes, his children will never want to leave.

Future Speakers

Season Passes are now sold out!

Mayor Don Iveson - Thursday, January 30
Tanya Talaga - Wednesday, April 22
Monica Lewinsky - Tuesday, May 19
Terry O'Reilly - Tuesday, September 15
Michael Landsberg - Tuesday, November 3

Tanya Talaga - All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward

Wednesday, April 22, 2020 at 7 p.m.
Venue TBD

General Admission tickets - $10 each
Tickets are available on 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 4 on Eventbrite

Stemming from her award-winning book Seven Fallen Feathers, the story of seven Indigenous high school students who mysteriously died in Thunder Bay, Tanya Talaga creates an intimate experience for her audiences. She imparts audiences with in-depth knowledge on Indigenous culture and history, while leaving them empowered through a hopeful message that we can learn from our past and set forward on a new path for our nation based on inclusivity and equity.

An award-winning journalist and author, and the First Ojibway woman to deliver the CBC Massey Lectures, Tanya Talaga is an acclaimed storyteller. Her book Seven Fallen Feathers, a national bestseller that introduced us to seven Indigenous high school students who mysteriously died in Thunder Bay, won the 2018 RBC Taylor Prize. In her powerful keynotes, Talaga shares Indigenous stories from across Canada and the world, humanizing the legacy of residential schools and colonization and sharing her hope for a more inclusive and equitable future.

Talaga is of Polish and Indigenous descent. Her great-grandmother was a residential school survivor and her great-grandfather was an Ojibwe trapper and labourer. For the past 20 years, Talaga has worked as a journalist, and is now a columnist for The Toronto Star. She has been nominated five times for the Michener Award in public service journalism. From 2017-2018, Talaga was the Atkinson Fellow in Public Policy through The Canadian Journalism Foundation.

Talaga is also the bestselling author of two books All Our Relations: Finding The Path Forward and Seven Fallen Feathers. In addition to the RBC Taylor Prize, Seven Fallen Feathers also won the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing, and the First Nation Communities Read: Young Adult/Adult Award. It was also a finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Nonfiction Prize and the BC National Award for Nonfiction, and was named CBC’s Nonfiction Book of the Year and a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book.

In addition to the CBC Massey Lectures — a renowned lecture series that travels to cities across Canada — Talaga has also spoken to diverse audiences ranging from university students and school children to corporate and non-profit organizations.

Past Speakers

John Douglas

JonBenet Ramsey, Amanda Knox, and Charles Manson—what could these three possibly have in common? They are all cases investigated by our next Forward Thinking Speaker, John Douglas. As the youngest instructor to join the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit, Douglas’ keen eye to identify key characteristics and patterns of criminals quickly led him to become widely recognized as a top authority in criminal profiling.

Since his retirement from the FBI in 1995, Douglas has remained active as an author, speaker and independent investigator. His book Mindhunter was recently made into a Netflix series. On Monday, Oct. 28 John Douglas will joined us for our fifth Forward Thinking Speaker Series event of 2019, The Mindhunter's Journey.

Dr. Chris Nowinski

Former WWE wrestler Dr. Chris Nowinski suffered a serious concussion that threatened his health and cost him his career. After visiting with Dr. Robert Cantu, Dr. Nowinski realized there was a lack of awareness among athletes, coaches, and even medical professionals around concussions and brain trauma. This led him to write the critically acclaimed book, Head Games: Football's Concussion Crisis in an effort to educate the world about this serious public health issue. In 2012 the book was adapted for the popular documentary film of the same name, Head Games. As the co-founder of the Concussion Legacy Foundation with Dr. Cantu, Dr. Nowinski aims to solve the sports concussion crisis through education, awareness, policy and research. On Tuesday, Sept. 17 Dr. Nowinski joined us us for our fourth Forward Thinking Speaker Series Event of 2019

Anthony Ray Hinton

Anthony Ray Hinton was released in April 2015 after spending 30 years on death row for crime he did not commit. He was released with the help of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), of which he is currently a Community Educator. Mr. Hinton was one of the longest serving death row prisoners in Alabama history and among the longest serving condemned prisoners to be freed after presenting evidence of innocence. Mr. Hinton is the 152nd person exonerated from death row since 1983. On Wednesday, June 12, Mr. Hinton joined us for our third Forward Thinking Speaker Series event of 2019.

It's Time: A Conversation about Domestic Violence in Edmonton

With the Edmonton Community Foundation and in partnership with the City of Edmonton, It's Time: A Conversation about Domestic Violence in Edmonton began with a screening of the CBC documentary The War at Home. The film was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Ward 2 Councillor Bev Esslinger and featured:

  • Executive Director of Aboriginal Counselling Services Association of Alberta, Sue Languedoc
  • Community Advocate and survivor, Johanna Baynton Smith
  • City of Edmonton’s new Branch Manager and previous CEO of YWCA Edmonton, Jackie Foord
  • Co-founder and Executive Director of the Women's Centre for Social Justice, Nneka MacGregor

Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism

Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble is an assistant professor at University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communications. Dr. Noble’s academic research focuses on the design of digital media platforms on the internet and their impact on society. Her work is both sociological and interdisciplinary, marking the ways that digital media impacts and intersects with issues of race, gender, culture, and technology design. Dr. Noble’s best-selling book on racist and sexist algorithmic bias in commercial search engines is entitled Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism.

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