Keynote Speakers

David Suzuki

Dr. David Suzuki

David Suzuki Foundation

Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. He is Companion to the Order of Canada and a recipient of UNESCO’s Kalinga Prize for science, the United Nations Environment Program medal, the 2012 Inamori Ethics Prize, the 2009 Right Livelihood Award, and UNEP’s Global 500. Dr. Suzuki is Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and holds 29 honorary degrees from universities around the world. He is familiar to television audiences as host of the CBC science and natural history television series The Nature of Things, and to radio audiences as the original host of CBC Radio’s Quirks and Quarks, as well as the acclaimed series It’s a Matter of Survival and From Naked Ape to Superspecies. In 1990 he co-founded with Dr. Tara Cullis, The David Suzuki Foundation to “collaborate with Canadians from all walks of life including government and business, to conserve our environment and find solutions that will create a sustainable Canada through science-based research, education and policy work.” His written work includes more than 55 books, 19 of them for children. Dr. Suzuki lives with his wife and family in Vancouver, B.C.

Read more at the David Suzuki Foundation website.

A portrait head shot of Gregory A. Cajete​

Prof. Gregory Cajete


Gregory Cajete is a Native American educator whose work is dedicated to honoring the foundations of Indigenous knowledge in education. He is a Tewa Indian from Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico. He has pioneered reconciling indigenous perspectives in sciences with a Western academic setting. His focus is teaching “culturally based science, with its emphasis on health and wellness. He has served as a New Mexico Humanities scholar and as a member of the New Mexico Arts Commission. He worked at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for twenty-one years, and is a is a practicing ceramic, pastel, and metal artist. He is the former Director of Native American Studies and currently a Professor in the College of Education at the University of New Mexico. 

Dr. Cajete is also a scholar of herbalism and holistic health. In this capacity, he has researched Native American, Chinese, and Ayurvedic healing philosophies and the cultural perspectives of health and wholeness. Dr. Cajete also designs culturally responsive curricula geared to the special needs and learning styles of Native American students. These curricula are based upon Native American understanding of the “nature of nature.” Dr. Cajete has also authored seven books which includes Look to the Mountain: An Ecology of Indigenous Education (1994) and Indigenous Community: Rekindling Teachings of the Seventh Fire (2015).

A portrait head shot of Scott Frickel

Prof. Scott Frickel


Scott Frickel is Professor of Sociology and the Institute for the Study of Environment and Society. He holds a Ph.D. from University of Wisconsin-Madison (2000). Before coming to Brown he held faculty appointments at Tulane University and Washington State University, where he was the Boeing Distinguished Professor of Environmental Sociology. His research and teaching interests center on the intersections of nature, knowledge, and politics. A growing feature of his current research involves developing new approaches for identifying and measuring socio-environmental change and developing theories to explain those patterns. He also studies inequality in science and technology and chemical residues as cultural, material, and political objects – both subjects of current book projects.

Professor Frickel is the author of five books, mostly recently with James R. Elliott, Sites Unseen: Uncovering Hidden Hazards in American Cities (Russell Sage Foundation and ASA Rose Series in Sociology, 2018) and an edited volume, with Matthew Albert and Barbara Prainsack, Investigating Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Theory and Practice across Disciplines (Rutgers University Press, 2016).

He is founding editor of the Nature, Society and Culture book series published by Rutgers University Press.

A portrait head shot of John Holmberg

Prof. John Holmberg


John Holmberg is a professor of physical resource theory and he also holds Sweden’s first UNESCO chair in education for sustainable development. His background is in physics and in his doctoral dissertation he developed principles for a sustainable future, which received international dissemination through the Natural Step Foundation. His current research focuses on sustainability transitions and he is one of the founders of Chalmers Initiative for Innovation and Sustainability Transitions.

He founded the world’s first master’s programme in Industrial Ecology as well as the Challenge Lab, which won the GUPES Green Gown Award in 2016. Much of his time is devoted to more overall university development, for example, in the role of Vice President of Chalmers 2007-2016.

He has been an active advisor and expert at the international level, working with the United Nations headquarters in New York in the preparation of Agenda 2030, with UNESCO in Paris in the expert group for the decade of education for sustainable development and with the Swedish government in the Swedish Environmental Technology Council (Swentec) for instance. He has also advised various management groups in business and the public sector in sustainability transitions and is frequently invited to give presentations in the field.

Headshot of Erisilia Serafini

Ersilia Serafini


Ersilia Serafini has been President of Summerhill since 2009. Ersilia leads a team of over 100 individuals across Canada and focuses Summerhill’s commitment to deliver impactful, results-oriented programs that achieve measureable reductions in energy use.

At the community level, Ersilia acts as the President for the Clean Economy Fund; is a former Director of the Board of Ontario’s Independent Electricity Systems Operator (IESO); is an active member and Regional Forum Officer for the Young Presidents Organization. She also volunteers her time with the Parent Council at St. Cecilia Catholic School and the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research Canada.

Ersilia was recently ranked #14 on the list of Top 100 Female Entrepreneurs in Canada by Profit Magazine. She was also the recipient of the Next Generation Award at the 2012 Italian Chamber of Commerce of Ontario’s Business Excellence Awards. Ersilia was named a marketing icon in the making by Strategy Magazine in September 2007. She is also a member of the Climate Project, having been trained by Al Gore.

Ersilia completed an Honours Bachelor of Science at the University of Toronto with a double major in Biology and Environmental Science.

Square headshot of John Cartwright

John Cartwright

President of the Toronto & York Region Labour Council

John Cartwright is the President of the Toronto & York Region Labour Council, representing 200,000 union members in every sector of the economy. A carpenter by trade, he has led numerous campaigns for social, economic and climate justice. He is Chair of the Council of Canadians, Vice-Chair of the United Way of Greater Toronto and co-chairs the Toronto Community Benefits Network.

John has been deeply involved apprenticeship and training issues, as well as crafting the “Green Jobs Strategy” with the Environment Committee of the Canadian Labour Congress. He recently authored the Greenprint for Greater Toronto, a plan for climate action and equity in Canada’s largest urban centre.

Read more about John’s work at



Fatima and Amna Sultan holding their book cover and standing in front of the Dragon's Den logo.

Fatima and Amna Sultan

Two Sisters on a Mission

Fatima & Amna Sultan are 10 and 8-year-old founders of Two Sisters on a Mission and authors of the book “Anything is Possible”. The book has a deeper purpose of inspiring others to follow their dreams regardless of their age. They have faced the Dragons in Dragons’ Den (season 14) and inspired thousands through over 40 keynotes in major conferences and business competitions. Their speeches are not about their accomplishments but rather the idea that anything is possible if you care enough about your purpose and are willing to take action on behalf of those that need your help. Canada’s Youngest Social Entrepreneurs are on a mission to make a real difference.

Fatima & Amna run an online art store with a mission to bring the stories, the struggles and the talent of artists from remote parts of the world to life. Their social business pitch and model has been ranked among the top presentations in multiple startup competitions against serial entrepreneurs three times their age. They believe that every single person on the planet has the power to make a difference and anything is possible if you lead with love and work hard.