2018 -19 Speakers & Experts

Speakers & Experts

Each week, the Global Ideas Institute brings specialists in to talk with students about new perspectives, techniques, frameworks, and concerns.

Joshua Folkema is a Business Development Manager at World Vision Canada. World Vision Canada (WVC) is a Christian development, relief and advocacy charity working with communities, families and children around the world to overcome poverty and injustice.
Joseph Wong is the founder of the Global Ideas Institute, Vice Provost and Associate Vice-President at the University of Toronto, and the Ralph and Roz Halbert Professor of Innovation at Munk School of Global Affairs. Professor Wong is the author of many academic articles and several books, and created the REACH Project.
Josie Fung is the chief collaborator, facilitator, and strategist at the Rotman School’s I-Think. She brings together educators and leaders from diverse backgrounds to engage deeply in conversations around education and systems change. Before finding her passion in this field, Josie moved through various industries, including tech and finance. She is curious about how she can help people come up with more creative ideas, more of the time.
Tammara Soma is a food system planner and a Doctoral candidate in urban planning at the University of Toronto with a specialization in food waste. She has extensive experience in food justice advocacy, having worked with organizations such as Sustain Ontario and FoodShare Toronto. She has also worked in the public sector with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing Greenbelt Section and the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
Valerie Tarasuk is a Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto. Professor’s Tarasuk’s research aims to elucidate the scope of household food insecurity, policy, and programmatic responses in Canada. Her work has included: studies of food banks and food bank users; homeless youth and community responses to the food needs of homeless and under-housed individuals; a study of housing, neighbourhood characteristics, and food access among low-income Toronto families; an examination of meal services in Salvation Army shelters; and, analyses of population survey data to elucidate the health, nutritional, and sociodemographic correlates of household food insecurity in Canada.
Sasha McNicoll returned to Food Secure Canada as Coalition for Healthy School Food Coordinator in 2015, bringing with her a passion for national food policy and years of experience working with food and youth. She has a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies from York University. Sasha has worked for Community Food Centres Canada, Sustain Ontario, the West End Food Coop, and Greenpeace International. She has served on the Toronto Food Policy Council and chaired the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council and the Food Secure Canada Youth Caucus.
Rachel Gray is Executive Director of The Stop Community Food Centre. Prior to joining The Stop in 2012, she worked nationally and locally with homeless youth, including as the Director of Eva’s National Program, and also served as a special assistant to Ontario’s Minister of Health.
Benjamin Walters is the Co-Founder and CEO of Feedback App. Benjamin previously worked as a consultant at Carpedia International.
Dr. Lori Stahlbrand, a Health Policy Specialist with the Toronto Food Strategy team in the Department of Public Health, is responsible for the Toronto Food Policy Council. Prior to joining the City, Lori was Food Equity Coordinator and lecturer in food studies at New College, University of Toronto. She has a PhD in Geography from Wilfrid Laurier University, with a research focus on the role of creative public procurement in promoting just and sustainable local food systems in Canada and the UK. As the founder and former president of the non-profit Local Food Plus, Lori promoted local and sustainable food procurement as a tool for social and economic development. Prior to engaging with food issues, Lori spent 15 years as a nationally-recognized journalist and broadcaster with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Melanie Kim is a Research Associate at BEAR and the point of contact for the centre’s activities. She has co-authored white paper reports that look at consumer privacy and online financial behaviour from a behavioural lens. She has a BA in International Development Studies from McGill, and a joint MBA/Master of Global Affairs degree at the University of Toronto.
Adam Sheikh is a third year student studying Peace Conflict and Justice at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto. He also is the Founder of aegis, a non-profit dedicated to protecting Gulf construction workers from the dangers of heat strain. Adam has conducted research surrounding the supply of electricity in the Gaza Strip and on UNHCR cash transfers to Syrian refugees in Jordan. Adam’s past work experience has largely been concentrated in the banking sector having spent time at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Bank Clearly and TD wealth in private investment.


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