Join us in celebrating Cape Breton University’s 50th Anniversary with a special TEDx event focused on the theme “Perseverance.” In the spirit of TED’s mission to spread ideas worth sharing, TEDx Cape Breton University showcases the incredible stories of perseverance, resilience, triumphs and ideas that pave the way forward for the next 50 years and beyond.

TEDx Cape Breton University Speakers

David C. Dingwall (he/him)

Special Guest Speaker

David C. Dingwall was installed as the 7th President and Vice-Chancellor of Cape Breton University on April 6, 2018. Under his direction, Cape Breton University has achieved many significant milestones including a launching new strategic, research and academic plans,…

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an updated and inclusive executive commitment, a new CBU brand, unprecedented enrolment growth, a revitalized campus with plans for future growth and development, a medical campus at CBU, the School of Nursing and new programs, including a Bachelor of Social Work. He is also no stranger to leading through difficult times and provided a steady hand as he guided CBU through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr. Dingwall is highly regarded for his substantial, in-depth experience in both the private and public sectors, at both the national and international level. In the 1993 Canadian election, under the Right Honourable Jean Chrètien, Mr. Dingwall was appointed to Cabinet as the Minister of Public Works and Minister of Supply and Services, Minister responsible for Canada Post, Minister responsible for Canada Mortage and Housing Corporation, Minister responsible for the Royal Canadian Mint, Minister responsible for Defence Construction Limited, and the Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. Mr. Dingwall also served on several Cabinet committees, including the Treasury Board and Economic Development.

In 1996, Mr. Dingwall convinced Prime Minister Jean Chrètien to host the G7 Summit in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Leaders from the G7 convened in Halifax and Boris Yeltsin, the President of Russia, was a special attendee at that session. In 1996, Mr. Dingwall was appointed Minister of Health and in 1997, he passed the Tobacco Control Act which, at the time, was the toughest tobacco legislation in the world. He was subsequently honoured by the Canadian Cancer Society and the World Health Organization.

Mr. Dingwall also has extensive corporate governance experience. As the Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Canadian Mint, in less than two years, Mr. Dingwall grew its revenue to more than $100 million. Mr. Dingwall was also Co-Director of the Canada China Institute for Business and Development.

Mr. Dingwall holds degrees in commerce and law from Dalhousie University, has studied Corporate Governance at Harvard Law School and is also a graduate of the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD.D), Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. In 1997, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Cape Breton University.

Mr. Dingwall is also a distinguished author, most recently having penned “Negotiating So Everyone Wins” – Secrets you can use from Canada’s top business, sports, labour and political negotiators, the only book of its kind in North America.

He has been an extraordinary mentor to many Cape Bretoners and Canadians from coast to coast, helping them establish their own careers and make a mark across our country. President Dingwall is a member of the King’s Privy Council and is an Honorary Colonel with the Cape Breton Highlanders. He is the proud father of three children and grandfather of four grandchildren.

Amy MacNeil (she/her)

UFOs Have a PR Problem

From childhood, Amy MacNeil embraced the concept of extraterrestrial life through “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” This belief persisted as she pursued formal education, graduating in 2007 with a BA in Psychology (Honours) and spending time across Canada, the United States and Australia before finally settling at CBU in 2020.

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Significant moments, like Paul Hellyer’s 2005 revelation and the 2017 New York Times UFO coverage, deeply influenced her. Disappointed by public dismissal of UFO reports and insufficient investigation, Amy advocates for serious inquiry, bolstered by evidence from diverse sources. She underscores the importance of persistent inquiry, citing recent findings from the American AARO that ignored high-profile public UFO cases. In her presentation, Amy aims to spark curiosity by discussing 50 years of disclosure information in the US and Canada, urging the audience to demand answers from elected officials.

Annie Battiste (she/her)

Rights, Reconciliation and the Role of Universities

Annie Battiste, a proud Mi’kmaw woman from Potlotek First Nation, is dedicated to social justice and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. With a master’s degree in Educational Foundations from the University of Saskatchewan, she excels in public speaking, cultural competency, and program development.

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As an Assistant Professor in L’nu Studies at Cape Breton University, she is passionate about raising awareness of historical and social issues affecting Indigenous peoples. Her work navigates deep reflection and advocacy for empowerment and inclusivity. Through an antiracist, anticolonial Indigenous lens, she supports sectors and institutions in Indigenization, reconciliation, and Treaty education.

Christina Lamey (she/her)

On Thin Ice: Grassroots Girls’ Hockey Needs a Power Play

Christina Lamey is the President and founder of the Cape Breton Blizzard Female Hockey Association. Her 24-team-member association is one of the fastest-growing and most diverse hockey associations in Canada.

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Blizzard Hockey and the CBU Capers women’s hockey team won Kraft Hockeyville and they will soon open the first arena in Canada designated as a home ice for girls’ and women’s hockey. She is a past-president of the Nova Scotia Women’s Hockey league, the largest women’s league in Atlantic Canada. Christina has been building girls’ and women’s sport for over 20 years and is not at all surprised that women’s sports are now selling out arenas around the world.

Paige Cox (she/her)

What Is Your Story Unscripted?

Paige Cox is currently enrolled in the Master of Education program at Cape Breton University, which is her third degree from the University. She is the recipient of the 2023 Cape Breton Vital Excellence Award.

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Paige’s commitment to her studies and community has earned her the opportunity to represent her program at conferences in Charlottetown in August 2023, Ottawa and Halifax in early 2024, which were partly and fully funded by organizing institutions. Despite facing multiple cognitive disabilities and living with mental illness, Paige, at 27 years old, is navigating her education with great determination. She uses her voice to promote inclusivity and accessibility in all aspects of life, and her accomplishments extend beyond academia. Paige is a board member of the Cape Breton University Alumni Association Board of Directors, Dance Nova Scotia Board of Directors and Young Canadian Roundtable on Health.

Wesley Colford (they/them)

Theatre for Everyone Everywhere All at Once – Radical Access

Wesley J. Colford is a Dora and Merritt Nominated playwright and theatre artist from Cape Breton who currently resides in Sydney, NS where they operate as the inaugural Artistic & Executive Director of the Highland Arts Theatre (HAT).

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They studied theatre performance at Sheridan and George Brown College and spent eight years working in Toronto’s independent theatre scene, working as a writer, director, actor and producer for multiple companies, as well as box office manager for Tarragon Theatre. Their plays have been produced in three provinces and have won national awards, been published and adapted for film. Under their leadership, the Highland Arts Theatre has produced more than 100 mainstage theatrical productions in the past ten years and has been nominated for Dora, Merritt, Excellence in Business, and Nova Scotia Music Industry Awards. They are a recipient of a 2015 Cape Breton Vital Excellence Award, the 2016 Jack Yazer Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, The Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medal, and have been nominated for “Business Person of the Year” from the Sydney and Area Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Business Awards. They were recently honoured as one of the Globe & Mail’s “Canadian Arts Heroes of 2020” for their work developing the HAT’s bold new funding model, Radical Access.

Thank You to Our Sponsors

Frequently Asked Questions

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDx Cape Breton University, where x = independently organized TED event. At our TEDx Cape Breton University event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.

The theme of the TEDx event is ‘Perseverance.’ This theme aligns with Cape Breton University’s 50th anniversary and invites speakers and attendees to explore the concept of perseverance in the face of various challenges and realities. From advocating for public UFO cases to empowering women in sports, redefining potential, enabling financial inclusivity in arts and fostering reconciliation in academia, these topics collectively showcase the transformative impact of perseverance and inspire individuals to embrace challenges, push boundaries, celebrate resilience and generate ideas that pave the way forward for the next 50 years and beyond.

TEDx Cape Breton University will be held in-person at the Boardmore Playhouse, Cape Breton University campus. As seating is limited, general admission guests are encouraged to RSVP by Friday, April 26.

Admission is free. As seating is limited, general admission guests are encouraged to RSVP by Friday, April 26.

The TEDx Cape Breton University takes place from 5:00-8:00pm on Tuesday, April 30, 2024. Doors open at 4:30pm, event starts at 5:00pm. Please note that no entry will be permitted after 5:00 pm until the intermission at 6:15 pm.

This independent TEDx event is operated under license from TED.