In Defense of Democracy 2022

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Friday, October 14, 2022 View Count = 724

In Defense of Democracy 2022

2022 - Public Lecture (10) 

The Samara Centre for Democracy celebrated our 15th anniversary by welcoming former Mayor of Calgary Naheed Nenshi for the In Defence of Democracy public lecture. 

After 15 years of studying, defending, and strengthening Canadian democracy, the Samara Centre is looking ahead to its next chapter. Partisan division, civic alienation and regional disparities continue to perpetuate barriers to meaningful democratic engagement and political representation. This event aimed to answer: how can we respond to these new and emerging challenges?

To inspire this reflection, Naheed Nenshi shared his story of courage, public service and kindness. In conversation with host of CBC Radio’s IDEAS, Nahlah Ayed, Mr. Nenshi discussed the importance of local democracy, the impact of online toxicity as a barrier to civic engagement, and what we can do to build democratic capability in Canada. Introductory remarks were provided by Sabreena Delhon, Executive Director and Zain Velji, Board Member at the Samara Centre for Democracy.

A recording of the event was featured on an episode of CBC Radio's IDEAS. Listen now.

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Sabreen Delhon on stage at In Defence of Democracy

Naheed Nenshi on stage at In Defence of Democracy

Naheed Nenshi in conversation with Nahlah Ayed
Photographer: Michael Pereira


Naheed Nenshi, Keynote Speaker

Nenshi served as Calgary’s mayor for three terms between 2010 and 2021, during which Calgary was named one of the best cities to live in the Western Hemisphere. In recognition of his leadership, Nenshi was awarded the World Mayor Prize in 2014 by the City Mayors Foundation. He is also the recipient of the President’s Award from the Canadian Institute of Planners and the Humanitarian Award from the Canadian Psychological Association for his contribution to community mental health.

Today, Nenshi is an intentionally known voice on urban issues. He has presented to audiences across Canada and the world, including the World Economic Forum. He is a proud first-generation Canadian of Indian ancestry, whose parents immigrated from Tanzania. His family and his Ismaili Muslim faith instilled in him the ethic of seva, or service to the community, something he tries to live every day.

Nahlah Ayed, Moderator

Nahlah Ayed is the host of CBC IDEAS and an award-winning veteran of foreign reporting: first, in the Middle East where she spent nearly a decade covering the region's many conflicts. And later, while based in London, she covered many of the major stories of our time: Russia's annexation of Crimea, Europe's refugee crisis, the Brexit vote and its fallout.

A former parliamentary reporter for The Canadian Press, Nahlah is a graduate of Carleton University's Master of Journalism program. She also holds a Master's degree in interdisciplinary studies (Philosophy, English and Science) and a Bachelor of Science in genetics from the University of Manitoba.

Thank you to our event sponsors

2022 - Public Lecture (11) 

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