Finding the Good - Conference

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About the Conference

Finding the Good is about bringing academics and practitioners together to share ethical international development ideas and practices.  

The event will make a constructive contribution to problems of how to advance social justice, inclusion and human rights in international development efforts.  With escalating challenges to fundamental human dignity and social inclusion, this project will expand the space for communities to find the ‘good’ in the current era.   

Sessions will help to ignite and sustain an ecosystem in which dialogue between scholarly insights and practical development work will, ultimately, improve the participation of people experiencing poverty, social marginalization, discrimination, and oppression.   

  • Women, Gender and Feminism

  • Localizing the SDGs

  • Universal Values and Inclusion

  • Public-Private Partnerships

  • Growth and Innovation

  • International Security

Register Now
Register before April 23rd to be entered into a draw for a free ticket (3 to be made available)!  If registering from outside of the area, please call 1-888-638-0058 (Toll free within BC) 1-877-755-2266 (Toll free outside BC).


Program Note
Finding the Good is a two-day event, with both Days open to public registration.  Day One (Friday June 8th) will be a more in-depth day of thematic workshops, discussions, and networking, with a focus on developing a book project on the theme of Ethics in International Development.  Day Two (Saturday June 9th) will be a more open format with our Keynotes and Breakouts.  Please note the organizers reserve the right to make changes to the schedule of speakers at any time, and that participation in specific sessions may be restricted due to space limitations. It is anticipated that speakers will be actively participating on both Days.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, David Hulme will be unable to join the Conference.

Keynote Speakers

chloe schwenke webChloe Schwenke is the former Director of the Global Program on Violence, Rights, and Inclusion at the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW). She is currently the Interim Executive Director of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP), based at the University of Maryland in College Park. She is a human rights and social inclusion scholar and an international development practitioner with over three decades of international experience – nearly half of it while living in Africa and Asia. Prior to joining ICRW, Chloe served as vice president for global programs at Freedom House in Washington, D.C., and before that she was a political appointee of the Obama Administration as Senior Advisor on Human Rights at the Africa Bureau of the US Agency for International Development (USAID).  Chloe’s scholarship and programmatic work are informed by feminist ethics, the capabilities approach, social inclusion, and human rights moral concepts. Through her work, she addresses the challenges of keeping international foreign assistance grounded in an ethically explicit and justifiable framework – with a focus on achieving pragmatic, measurable results on the ground. Chloe received her Ph.D. in public policy at the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland at College Park, where she was Alumna of the Year for 2013. In that same year she was awarded a National Public Service Award by the National Center for Transgender Equality, and in 2016 she was awarded the Global Advocate Award by DC Center – Global. She is the author of Reclaiming Values in International Development (Praeger 2008), and her memoir will be published by Red Hen Press in 2017.
Building Essential Bridges to Human Dignity

Chloe Schwenke's Keynote address will discuss the changing context in which universal moral values and the recognition of human dignity is increasingly silenced. Her talk will briefly explore the competing notions of how human dignity is being articulated by leading thinkers, and how it remains at best a rhetorical flourish among government policy makers. She will challenge the audience to use the emerging discourse on human dignity as a means through which to proactively bridge between the highly fragmented international development community to build a coalition to defend and promote the premise of human dignity.  

michael simpson headshotMichael Simpson is the Executive Director of the British Columbia Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC). Prior to working for BCCIC, Michael was the Executive Director of One Sky – The Canadian Institute for Sustainable Living. His work with One Sky varied from leading major bilateral projects in West Africa including Nigeria and Sierra Leone to working in Latin America on projects ranging from forest conservation to leadership development. Simpson was an active voice for Canadian civil society at international forums ranging from the World Summit on Sustainable Development to UN meetings on renewable energy. With a keen interest in integral theory, Simpson has been active in exploring the nexus between developmental psychology and social change. Prior to his work with civil society groups, Simpson was an award winning documentary producer who ran a video production company for fifteen years specializing in programming on environment, development and human rights. He spent many years working in conflict and post conflict areas of the world with a special focus on Latin America. His most recent focus has been on leadership development within the context of social movements, including both the private sector and civil society. An avid networker, Simpson is a current director of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC) and currently manages through BCCIC the Inter-Council Network (ICN) of eight Provincial and Regional Councils.

Global Goals 'Talkshow'

What would you like to know most about the Sustainable Development Goals?  Why are they important to you, to the people you work with, to the world?  In this session, everyone will work together to develop meaningful questions and explore answers in an informal conversational format.  Join Michael on June 9th when he will share some personal stories about why the Goals are important to him, how he has travelled on his journey, and how and why we should all care about working towards a better world that leaves no one behind.



"Awareness is foundational to building an equitable, sustainable global community. "Finding the Good” supports this through the range of topics covered by experts from academia, government and private institutions... It will also encourage the conversation about social change to continue beyond the conference and spark inspiration in local residents to connect with local CSOs and enact change."    ~GECCO (Global Empowerment Coalition of the Central Okanagan)


"Approaching global change, with all of it’s challenges and opportunities, requires robust dialogue between all actors involved in international development – public, private, non-profit and academic among others – and will need new streams of research to inform practitioners as they seek to achieve global sustainable development in an effective and ethical way...We are hoping that the “Finding the Good” conference brings a flood of knowledge and new ways of thinking to the Kelowna area."
~ Her International, Kelowna


Sponsorship Opportunities

Contact below if you are interested in supporting this event!

Note on Accommodation

An accommodation arrangement for stay in Kelowna is in place for this event, however, you must book by April 23rdContact for details on how to secure your spot.

Call for Volunteers


Experts bring extensive background in multilateral institutions, governmental and nonprofit agencies, research institutes, and national policy advisory bodies.    

David Black is Lester B. Pearson Professor of International Development Studies, and Professor and Chair of Political Science at Dalhousie University in Halifax.

John Cameron is Associate Professor of International Development Studies at Dalhousie University.

Kenneth Christie is the program Head of Royal Roads University, Human Security and Peacebuilding Programme in Victoria, BC, Canada, and author, co-author, editor and co-editor of 10 books, the most recent being Freedom From Fear, Freedom from Want: An Introduction to Human Security (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016) with Robert Hanlon.

Jay Drydyk is Professor, Department of Philosophy, Carleton University, and President of the International Development Ethics Association. In 2007 he was elected a Fellow of the Human Development and Capability Association.

Alistair D. Edgar is Executive Director of the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS), Faculty Associate and Advisory Board member at the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies, and is Associate Professor of Political Science at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Linda Elmose is Continuing College Professor in the Department of Political Science at Okanagan College.

Marc Epprecht is Professor and Department Head, Queen’s University Department of Global Development Studies.  

Natalia Peñuela Gallo is a Graduate Student at the University of British Columbia in Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies within the theme of Latin American Iberian Studies. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from the University of British Columbia Okanagan and an International Development diploma from the Okanagan College. Her research and thesis topic are centered in the current situation of Social Leaders and Human Rights Defenders in the context of the Peace Accords in Colombia. 

Robert J. Hanlon is Assistant Professor in Political Science at Thompson Rivers University and an associate faculty member in the School of Humanitarian Studies at Royal Roads University.

Janice Larson is a policy, planning and partnerships consultant focused on strategic planning, regulatory and economic development, community and international relations.  Janice was from 2014-2107 the Executive Director, Regional Innovation Initiatives with the BC Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services, based in Kelowna at UBC’s Okanagan campus. 

Michael MacLeod is Associate Professor of Political Science and Chair of Social Sciences at St Mary's University in Calgary, Alberta.

Jane L. Parpart is Professor Emeritus at Dalhousie University as well as Adjunct Professor in International Development at the University of Massachusetts Boston, the University of Ottawa and Carleton University.

Nicole Rustad is formerly the Corporate Citizenship Director for the tech division of Disney, for almost ten years she drove the corporate social responsibility vision, strategy, and programming across multiple lines of business including Disney’s Club Penguin.  Nicole vetted charitable projects in over 40 countries and worked with non-profit partners to develop projects driving grassroots change in rural, developing communities.  Now, through VortoVia, Nicole consults to businesses, non-profits, and individuals who want to make a lasting difference and speaks to groups on driving impact.

Mitu Sengupta is an Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at Ryerson University, and a full member of the Yeates School of Graduate Studies.  

Amanda Shatzko
is a board director for the Vancouver Branch of the United Nations Association in Canada, and BC Alliance for Arts and Culture. She is vice-chair for the cultural advisory committee for the Regional District of the North Okanagan, and current graduate student at Royal Roads University in Intercultural and International Communication.

Timothy M Shaw holds degrees from Sussex, Makerere & Princeton & has recently directed graduate programmes in London (Commonwealth Studies), Trinidad (IR) & Boston (Global Governance). He previously taught at Dalhousie for three decades & has been visiting professor in China, Japan, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia & Zimbabwe.

Rebecca Tiessen is Associate Professor in the School of International Development and Global Studies at the University of Ottawa. 

Jeanette Vinek, RN, BScN, MHScN is a tenured Senior Instructor in the School of Nursing at UBC Okanagan.  Her teaching focuses on relational practice, with a particular emphasis on cultural safety, power and privilege, and equity and inclusion. She is co-chair of the School of Nursing Global Health Committee and have been involved in Global Health Initiatives with the School of Nursing for many years.  She supervises fourth year BSN students in their Global Health Practicum in Ghana, West Africa, where we work with our community partners to teach and learn from each other.  Our focus is on community development.  We work with communities using a lens of health equity to identify barriers, build on strengths, and create capacity.


For nonprofit groups or businesses, this event will explicitly incorporate opportunities to co-create new research projects with experts in the field, ensuring that future research more closely reflects their needs and experiences. Finding the Good will facilitate networking, knowledge advancement and access to the most innovative ideas emerging within the sector. It will help to inform policy, planning, and leadership at local, regional and global levels. For students, Finding the Good offers an unrivalled opportunity to learn from some of the most experienced thinkers and practitioners in the field.

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Dr. Rosalind Warner, BA (SFU) MA, PhD (York)
Professor of Political Science
Okanagan College

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