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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.

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Featured Speaker

Irshad Manji - Moral Courage for Messy Times

Moral Courage means listening instead of labelling those with whom we disagree. Irshad Manji believes listening to opposing views is important to better understand who we are as individuals. If you missed her thought-provoking talk on Thursday, Feb. 18, watch it here.

Thank you to our event partners for making this event a great success.

Every February, libraries across Canada celebrate Freedom to Read Week, opens a new window. This annual celebration encourages Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom and access to information. Edmonton Public Library and the Peter Lougheed Leadership College, opens a new window are participating in Freedom to Read Week by welcoming Irshad Manji, opens a new window for the first Forward Thinking Speaker Series event of 2021. Her presentation, Moral Courage for Messy Times is a free virtual event that will take place on February 18, 2021

With Canadians reeling from ill-preparation for a global pandemic, cynicism about political corruption, heartbreak over continued racial injustice, and noise from the media left and right, what can we expect of our public institutions?

That's the wrong question, says Irshad Manji. The better question is: What can Canadians expect of ourselves? Since institutions reflect culture, and culture is the way we do things, it's "we" who need to change. And that change comes in the form of moral courage.

Manji should know. As a young Canadian, she set out to help reform how her faith of Islam is practised. Manji spoke truth to power. But she also made monumental mistakes that taught her something crucial: Moral courage doesn't mean slapping the label "inferior" on those who disagree with you. Rather, moral courage means listening instead of labeling. When she finally applied that insight, her efforts at religious reform gained more traction than she ever thought possible.

Now, as the bestselling author of Don't Label Me and founder of Moral Courage College, Manji will take us on a wild personal journey -- revealing pivotal lessons for our messy times. Backed by scientific research and driven by the need for solutions, she will offer transformational guidance for any of us who believe that we, the public, can be braver. Irshad Manji will show us how.

About Irshad Manji

Recipient of Oprah Winfrey’s first Chutzpah Award for boldness, Irshad Manji is the author of Don't Label Me: An Incredible Conversation for Divided Times and is the founder of Moral Courage College, opens a new window, which teaches people how to do the right thing in the face of fear. She is also the Director for Courage, Curiosity, and Character at Let Grow, opens a new window, a New York-based nonprofit that builds intellectual independence and emotional resilience in kids. A prize-winning professor, Manji currently lectures with Oxford University’s Initiative for Global Ethics and Human Rights.

Event Partners

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Future Speakers

Tanya Talaga - All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward

Wednesday, March 10, 2021
This event will be hosted online.
Tickets are $5 and are available on Wednesday, January 27, 2021 at 10 a.m. on Eventbrite, opens a new window.

Stemming from her award-winning book Seven Fallen Feathers, opens a new window, 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.

About Tanya Talaga

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.

Event Partners





Past Speakers

Mayor Don Iveson

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. Mayor Don Iveson was joined by young Edmonton leaders Kaelin Koufogiannakis and Robyn Taylor to  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. This presentation can also be viewed online:

You can also listen to our interview with Mayor Don Iveson on our podcast, Overdue Finds, opens a new window.

Thank You to Our Partners



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