Vancouver Island University’s Faculty of Education is pleased to confirm the following keynotes for WestCast 2017:

  • Shawn Atleo
  • Shelley Moore
  • Rick Scott
  • Chantal Stefan
  • Special Presentation by Gerben van Straaten

Shawn_Atleo_rndShawn Atleo

Shawn A-in-chut Atleo is a Hereditary Chief from the Ahousaht First Nation. Traditional teachings have guided A-in-chut to serve First Nations as a leader, facilitator, mediator, planner, and teacher.

Advancing a vision of supporting and enabling the success of every First Nation on the basis of their rights and responsibilities, A-in-chut has been a tireless advocate for First Nations in every region of the country especially in the area of education, with federal, provincial and territorial leaders, corporations and civil society, nationally and internationally.

A-in-chut was first elected in 2009 as National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. He was re-elected in 2012 receiving an overwhelming majority of support for a second consecutive term. Previously, A-in-chut served two terms as Regional Chief for First Nations across British Columbia. Committed to the principles of working together through inclusion and respect, he forged the historic Leadership Accord among First Nation leadership in B.C. in 2005 as well as advancing and achieving the Transformative Change Accord between First Nations and both the federal and provincial Governments.

In 2008, A-in-chut’s commitment to education was recognized in his appointment as Chancellor of Vancouver Island University, becoming B.C.’s first Indigenous Chancellor. He has been deeply honoured to receive twelve Honourary Doctorates of Laws from universities throughout Canada. He also received the University of Technology (Sydney) Alumni Award for Excellence 2011 in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. In February, 2012, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his advocacy work on behalf of First Nations across Canada. He holds a Masters of Education from the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia (in partnership with the University of British Columbia, University of the Western Cape South Africa, and University of Linkoping Sweden).

In 2014, A-in-chut was named the first Distinguished Fellow of the William A. MacDonald, Q.C Fellowship in Indigenous Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto as an Adjunct Professor. He was also appointed to the important academic role of Shqwi qwal for Indigenous Dialogue at Vancouver Island University, appropriately housed in the Centre for Pre-Confederation Treaties and Reconciliation.

A-in-chut began his career as a facilitator, trainer and entrepreneur working with and for First Nations peoples. He has recently returned to his entrepreneurial roots as co-founder, partner and Executive Chairman of A-in-chut Business Group, which is a First Nation business and investment group focused on supporting and empowering First Nations to create and build sustainable economic development based on rights and title. He is also a partner and current CEO of Gitpo LP, which is a First Nations procurement and construction management contractor.

shelly_moore_rndShelley Moore
Based in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada, Shelley Moore consults locally, provincially and beyond. Her presentations include school, district and provincial professional development days throughout British Columbia, as well as various leading conferences throughout North America, including CEC, IRA and NCTE. Her interactive presentations are constructed based on contexts of specific schools and communities  and integrate theory and effective practices of inclusion, special education, curriculum, and technology. She completed an undergraduate degree in Special Education at the University of Alberta, her masters at Simon Fraser University, and is currently a PhD student at the University of British Columbia.

Rick_Scott_rndRick Scott
“The arts aren’t a frill and shouldn’t be something that you pass or fail. You try things out, you learn how to trust and express yourself, to take risks and be your own judge. Socrates said musical training is most potent because rhythm and harmony fasten onto the inward places of the soul, imparting grace. This is why I make music with children.”

Rick Scott combines music, storytelling and humour to inspire and strengthen community. He’s performed his lively, original music in nine countries and presented inspirational keynotes in Canada, the US and Southeast Asia. His 18 recordings include 8 children’s albums honoured with three Juno nominations, Parents’ Choice and Canadian Folk Music Awards. Rick is Goodwill Ambassador for the Down Syndrome Research Foundation. His 1995 video, ‘Angels Do’, starring his granddaughter Mielle, played for 10 years on Treehouse TV and became an anthem for the Down syndrome community. Last year his wife and creative partner Valley Hennell published a book based on Mielle’s life, ‘Snapshot of a Soul Place in the land of special needs’, written and illustrated by her mother Kari Burk.  Rick performs solo at house concerts, schools, folk clubs and festivals. Feb 17 with the Vancouver Island Symphony he presents his educational concert introducing Grade 4s to orchestra, featuring 47 musicians and 50 voice children‘s choir.

“His gift for enriching and healing the human spirit will not soon be forgotten.” Rogue Folk Review

chantal_rndChantal Stefan

Chantal Stefan is a French Immersion teacher in the Comox Valley and resides in Cumberland, British Columbia.  She is the Founder of Everybody Deserves A Smile (EDAS), a Not-For-Profit Organization that teaches compassion education to local school communities across Vancouver Island and beyond, and leads them in local service learning projects that inspire their communities to help the homeless. Her presentation is rooted in purposeful leadership that stems from one powerful, personal moment in the back streets of downtown Edmonton 13 years ago. Chantal carries a deep belief in her calling and a passionate drive for “Difference Making” as an educator and as a local and global citizen. Her determination to lead in the world is fuelled by her equally passionate EDAS Team of educators and difference makers, the teachings of her powerful mentors and by her students and staff as she watches them own their steps towards leadership. She has completed an undergraduate degree in Sociology and her teacher preparation in Elementary Education at Vancouver Island University, and has been recognized as Comox Valley’s Hero of the Year, one of the Island’s Top 20 under 40, and has been recognized by Rotary as a Paul Harris Fellow Plus. EDAS was awarded the BC’s Principal’s and Vice Principal’s Partnership Award for their dedication and “difference making” in local school communities.

Proud to announce our special guest…

Gerben van Straaten

Gerben van Straaten is founder and CEO of World of Walas, a global group focused on comprehensive sustainable urban development solutions, new innovations and techniques. With over 30 years of industry experience in sustainable urban development, Gerben leads international platforms for change in North America, Europe, China and Latin America. He works with academia and researchers, governments and innovative partners and is a signatory partner of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. His involvement with the Earth Charter, UNESCO, UN Habitat3 and the New Urban Agenda, and other organizations provide a platform to push for change. Gerben believes that with collective and collaborative efforts, we can solve many of the Earth’s problems around environmental, social and financial sustainability.

Gerben studied general law, economics and philosophy at the National University of Groningen, in the Netherlands. He worked his way through school as a professional artist and professor, and is a published author of “Nieuwe Ideeën voor Oude Gebouwen” (New Ideas for Old Buildings), a series of childrens books and poetry. He is an internationally renowned keynote speaker, an affiliate of Earth Charter International and author of the Earth Charter Cities Manifesto. He has ‘radical hope’ for the future, and believes that it starts with one.