TEDx Cape Breton University Celebrates 50 Years of ‘Perseverance’

On April 30, 2024, TEDxCape Breton University: Perseverance unfolded as a celebration of resilience and the power of perseverance, marking Cape Breton University’s 50th Anniversary.

The theme Perseverance reflects CBU’s motto ‘Theid Díchioll Air Thoiseach,’ a Gaelic idiom meaning ‘Perseverance Will Triumph.’ From humble beginnings, CBU has grown and evolved into the vibrant institution it is today. In line with TED’s mission to spread ideas worth sharing, TEDxCape Breton University showcased the incredible stories of perseverance, resilience, triumphs and forward-thinking ideas, setting the stage for the next 50 years and beyond.

TEDxCape Breton University was honoured to have President and Vice-Chancellor, David C. Dingwall, open the event and set the tone for the evening. Renowned for his groundbreaking work and visionary leadership, President Dingwall delivered a thought-provoking address, highlighting the significance of perseverance in both individual and collective journeys within the University.

Hosted by Dr. Scott Thomas, Human Rights and Diversity Officer, and Shivani Negi, Study Abroad Specialist, the event took the audience on a journey of perseverance and transformative ideas, paving the way forward for the University and its community. Below you will learn more about our captivating speakers and thought-provoking topics discussed by each:

Amy MacNeil – UFOs Have a PR Problem

Amy MacNeil, a passionate advocate for UFOs/UAPs (Unidentified Flying Objects/ Unidentified Aerial Phenomena) and disclosure of extraterrestrial existence, captivated the audience with her exploration of decades of research and inquiry. Leveraging her expertise as a Content Strategist at CBU, Amy examined the public relations challenges faced by UFOs/UAPs. She shed light on five decades of disclosure data from across the United States and Canada, urging the audience to demand answers from elected officials.

Annie Battiste – Rights, Reconciliation and the Role of Universities

Annie Battiste, a proud Mi’kmaw woman from Potlotek First Nation, introduced the concept of bright glowing neon yellow backpacks passed down by Indigenous ancestors to protect future generations. Drawing on her expertise as an Assistant Professor in L’nu Studies at CBU and her master’s degree in Educational Foundations from the University of Saskatchewan, Annie navigated the complex and evolving journey of reconciliation within the Canadian context. She highlighted foundational actions for creating more inclusive and equitable workplaces in academia, emphasizing the role of universities in this important endeavour.

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

Christina Lamey, President and founder of the Cape Breton Blizzard Female Hockey Association, leads one of the fastest-growing and most diverse hockey associations in Canada. Under her leadership, Blizzard Hockey and the CBU Capers women’s hockey team won Kraft Hockeyville and will soon open the first arena in Canada designated as a home ice for girls’ and women’s hockey. In her talk, Christina examined the systemic barriers facing grassroots girls’ hockey and advocated for transformative action, inspiring a bold, new approach to unleashing the full potential of girls’ hockey in Canada. 

Paige Cox – What Is Your Story Unscripted?

Currently working on her third degree at CBU, Paige Cox embodies the University’s anthem – We Rise Again. Despite facing multiple cognitive disabilities and living with mental illness, Paige, at 27 years old, navigates her education with great determination. In her talk, Paige advocated for recognizing individual potential beyond perceived limitations. With humility and strength, she highlighted the transformative power of perseverance, showing that every individual has a valuable story to share.

Wesley Colford – Theatre for Everyone Everywhere All at Once – Radical Access

Wesley J. Colford, a distinguished playwright and theatre artist from Cape Breton, introduced an unprecedented solution that the Highland Arts Theatre (HAT) developed during the COVID-19 pandemic, Radical Access. This inventive theatre funding model mixes crowd-sourcing with radically accessible admission and serves as a means to ensure everyone has access to world-class local theatre. Their innovative work has earned them recognition as one of the Globe & Mail’s Canadian Arts Heroes of 2020. In their talk, Wesley explored how inclusivity reshapes the theatrical landscape, inspiring the audience to create the future they want to see in their community and how that dream can change the world.

As the evening came to an end, TEDxCape Breton University served as a reminder that every journey of perseverance is unique and sparked the inspiration in all those who attended.

TEDxCape Breton University was proudly sponsored by the Cape Breton Partnership, Cape Breton Connector Program, Cape Breton Regional Municipality Regional Enterprise Network (CBRM REN), Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development (CEED), Cape Breton University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre, Cape Breton Influencers and Sydney Makerspace.

This independent TEDx event is operated under license from TED.

To stay up to date on the 50th celebration, visit cbu.ca/50.