Finding the Good - Conference

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Read the Conference Communique 
Read the Conference Proceedings


Finding the Good brought academics and practitioners together to share ethical international development ideas and practices.  

For two intensive days participants grappled with the abiding questions of how to realize universal values like human dignity, equality of opportunity, mutual respect and sustainability.  We heard from experienced professionals on a range of topics from gender, to peace, to corporate social responsibility.  

This event would not have been possible without the support and engagement of many people.  Special mention goes to the following:

Andrew Irvine
Angie Marsh
Bobbi Wyatt
Charlotte Kushner
David Sandberg
Elder Grouse Barnes
Elise Tung
Giulio Piccioli
Holly Stevens
James Maguire
Joanne Schumm
John Cameron
Joyce Brinkerhoff
Keira Neibuhr
Linda Dyck
Linda Elmose
Marie Bartlett
Marni Esson
Nicole Rustad

Amanda Shatzko
Cole Hickson
Daria Zavarzina
Gord Stefansson
Keira Neibuhr
Len Nickel
Meaghan Doner
Michael S. Zaitlin
Nicardo Lawrence
One Big Table
Phil Ashman
Robert J. Hanlon
Robert Huxtable
Samara Geering
Shawna-Rae McLean
Tanya Tarlit
The Bread Company
Tyler Finley

Marie Visual


Program Notes for Participants. List of Abstracts and Biographies


"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


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 a Continuing College Professor at Okanagan College, in BC, currently researching the intersection of energy and environmental policy and ethical perspectives in our dominant neoliberal era. Recently prepared papers cover the issues of “good green jobs”, the emerging issue of “social license”, and the global impacts of Canada as a purported Energy Superpower. Other research pursuits in the development ambit involve exploring the impacts of new, non-OECD-DAC donors on the foreign aid regime, and the wider development-related impacts – political, economic, legal and ethical – of emerging Asia. 

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.

Dan Harris is the Program Officer with the BC Council for International Cooperation. A New Zealander with over 10 years’ experience in the field of international community development, Dan has worked throughout Latin America and the United States including with local NGOs in El Salvador, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru. Dan’s background is participatory approaches to community engagement and change leadership and he has applied these skills in projects ranging from climate change adaption and water management to community conservation and sustainable agriculture. With a Masters in Development Studies, Dan’s current focus is the role of networks and networked collaboration for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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. 

Shawna McLean has collaborated with David Suzuki to bring a lecture on global environmental impacts to Thompson Rivers University, as well as worked with Al Gore at the Climate Reality Conference in Washington, where she organized a live Q&A with Gore at TRU around his latest film. She has presented in a panel discussion with Maude Barlow about the Kinder Morgan Pipeline, acted as chair of the Philosophy, History, and Politics Conference, Canada's largest undergraduate research conference for two years running. In addition to being President of the Political Science club for three years, Shawna also co-Chaired the 2017 Model United Nations, acted as the TRU faculty of Arts Student Ambassador, TRU faculty of Arts work study student, and Research Assistant to Dr. Robert Hanlon. Shawna is a University of Toronto alumna, and has an early childhood education diploma, and a diploma in Fashion Management and Design from George Brown College in Toronto.  Shawna is looking forward to graduate school to complete her Master's in Political Science. 

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 a 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 Co-Vice-President of 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.

Chloe 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. 

Michael Simpson is the Executive Director of the British Columbia Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC). 

Jennifer Temmer is a Project Officer with International Institute for Sustainable Development's SDG Knowledge group. She brings her background in agriculture, rural planning and international development to the team. Jennifer has worked with many First Nations communities in Manitoba, developing northern garden projects and compost programs, organizing land-use mapping workshops, helping to develop a business plan for a Fishery Co-op, researching Metis Population health data, developing capacity and training youth. Jennifer also spent time in Honduras working with a micro-credit program for indigenous women and doing research in technology transfer for sustainable agricultural techniques.

Rebecca Tiessen is University Chair in Teaching and Professor in the School of International Development and Global Studies, University of Ottawa.  She previously worked at the Royal Military College (2007-2013) where she was Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Global Studies. 

Rafael Villarreal is the manager of the strategic visioning project for the City of Kelowna (Imagine Kelowna) and manager of the integrated transportation department.


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

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