Congress 2013 showcases international speakers, public events

Human and Social Development

A world-class event hosted by the University of Victoria from June 1 to 8 will give community members a chance to rub shoulders with leading academics and hear the insights of renowned scholars and public figures. Beyond the academic offerings, a wide range of social and cultural events will be free and open to the public.

Congress 2013, Canada’s largest multidisciplinary gathering of scholars—an initiative of the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences—brings together internationally recognized researchers, policy makers and practitioners to share findings, refine ideas and build partnerships that will help shape the Canada of tomorrow.

“During Congress, UVic will welcome more than 7,000 delegates from 70 academic associations to campus,” says Catherine Mateer, Congress 2013 chair and associate vice-president, academic planning. “Congress is the biggest event of our 50th anniversary year, and we look forward to welcoming the community to campus to enjoy the incredible variety of lectures, exhibits, performances and celebrations.”

In the Big Thinking speaker series, 10 internationally renowned scholars and public figures will present research, ideas and solutions to the critical questions and issues of our time. The lineup features: Louise Arbour, former Supreme Court justice and United Nations commissioner for human rights; award-winning Francophone author Dany Laferrière; Margaret McCain, chair of the Margaret & Wallace McCain Family Foundation; Ben Levin, Canada research chair in education leadership and policy at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education; acclaimed poet and novelist Joy Kogawa; Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, BC representative for children and youth; Doug Saunders, author and European bureau chief of The Globe and Mail; Daniel Weinstock, MacDonald professor of law at McGill University; Judith Heumann, special advisor for international disability rights at the US Department of State; and Richard Sennett, professor emeritus of sociology at the London School of Economics and university professor of the humanities at New York University. For program details visit .

Other Congress signature events open to the public:

  • June 2: WorldFEST@ the Edge - A full day of multicultural performances, food and artisans in the UVic quad
  • June 3: First Peoples Circle Celebration and Dedication Ceremony, followed by a pit cook, artisan fair and performances
  • June 5: Singer-songwriter and activist Buffy Sainte-Marie performs on the outdoor Celebration Stage
  • June 1-8 ongoing: Canada’s largest academic book fair, exhibits and displays, daily outdoor performances by local musicians including Mae Moore, Oliver Swain & the Big Machine, and Paul Wainwright. Visit for details on these and other events.

Congress 2013 is currently looking for volunteers. “I am so excited to introduce UVic to people from across Canada,” says Alannah James, Congress volunteer, political science honours student and vice-president of the UVic 2013 graduating class. “As I anticipate graduation in June, I am grateful for one last chance to connect with scholars who possess limitless curiosity about the world, just as I do.”
To learn more, visit

This is the 82nd annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. Visit for more information. Follow Congress on Twitter at #congress2013.

Note: To interview faculty, staff or volunteers involved with Congress 2013, please contact Melanie Groves in UVic Communications at 250-472-4357. Among those available is Patricia Roy, a UVic emeritus professor who has attended 46 Congress conferences and is now the Congress Local Area Coordinator for the Catholic Historical Association.

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Media contacts

Suzanne Dane (Congress 2013) at 250-472-5897 or

Melanie Groves (UVic Communications) at 250-472-4357 or

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