York presents a symposium about ‘pretty much everything’

What have we learned in the last 50 years and how will it help us in the next 50 years? This is the question at the heart of the 50+50 Symposium, the centrepiece of York University’s celebration of its 50th anniversary in 2009.

To answer this question, York has invited some of the world’s most distinguished thinkers and achievers to a public symposium, "An Interdisciplinary Discussion of Pretty Much Everything". The symposium will consider topics such as justice in the 21st century, the state of the Arctic environment; Canada’s past and present economic policies; the role of technology in our lives; the balance achieved by a healthy mind, body and planet; Canada’s role as a "middle power"; and what we have learned from the past that we can take into the next 50 years.

The 50+50 Symposium will take place March 27 and 28 in the 500-seat Price Family Cinema, 102 Accolade East Building, on York’s Keele campus and promises to be both thought-provoking and stimulating. Tickets go on sale today on a first-come, first-served basis and are available by half-day session or for two full days (which includes all four half-day sessions). For more information on pricing and to purchase tickets visit the 50+50 Symposium Web site. Tickets are also available online through the York University Box Office Web site or by calling 416-736-5888. 

Right: From left, academics Nicholas Negroponte and Arjun Appadurai, Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella and author Margaret Atwood

Confirmed speakers for this interdisciplinary symposium are Canadian Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella; Arjun Appadurai, the Goddard Professor of Media, Culture & Communication at New York University; celebrated Canadian author Margaret Atwood; Lloyd Axworthy, president & vice-chancellor of the University of Winnipeg and member of the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor; Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Canadian Inuit activist; Nicholas Negroponte, founder & chairman of the One Laptop per Child non-profit association; Jeffrey Simpson, The Globe and Mail’s national affairs columnist; and Edward O. Wilson, Pellegrino University Research Professor Emeritus at Harvard University.

Each speaker will be hosted by a York scholar, who will probe the speaker’s thoughts on the topic of discussion. Members of the audience will be invited to submit questions to each speaker, and in the afternoon sessions, the speakers will engage in a round-table discussion with the other speakers and the audience.

Right: From left, University of Manitoba president & vice-chancellor Lloyd Axworthy, Inuit activist Sheila Watt-Cloutier, columnist Jeffrey Simpson and Harvard Professor Edward Wilson

The symposium will be emceed by Seth Feldman, director of York University’s Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies and professor in the Department of Film, Faculty of Fine Arts. Feldman is widely known for his writing on film and media in Canada as well as the 25 radio documentary series he wrote and presented for the CBC program, "Ideas".

For speaker biographies and a detailed schedule of sessions and topics to be discussed, visit the 50+50 Symposium Web site.