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U of M student in Peru.

The power of one: what’s my responsibility as a global citizen?

October 10, 2018 — 

Protectionist laws; anti-immigration sentiments and abuse allegations: one scroll of a feed or flip through the paper can be enough to make you want to shut off and shut down.

But amid this impulse to disengage is a rising movement asking individuals to reach outward, rather than turn inward, and to exercise their global citizenship.

But how can one person make an impact?

On Nov. 1, join President and Vice-Chancellor David Barnard for the latest panel discussion for Visionary Conversations – a series that brings people together to explore tough questions and foster conversations that drive discovery and insight.

Three alumni– Nahlah Ayed [BSc(Hons)/92, MA/02, LLD(Hon)/08], Brenda Gunn [BA(Adv)/02] and Laura Michalchyshyn [BA/89] will share their personal stories and discuss how to empower the individual to affect change in the world.


Nahlah Ayed [BSc(Hons)/92, MA/02, LLD(Hon)/08]

Nahlah Ayed, CBC foreign correspondent, alumna and honorary degree recipient.

Nahlah Ayed is an award-winning foreign correspondent for the CBC, and a first generation Palestinian Canadian. She is a veteran of foreign reportage, covering major world events from the refugee crisis unfolding across Europe, the dying days of Iran under international sanctions, to the attacks in Paris, and the conflict in Ukraine. Ayed also spent nearly a decade in the Middle East, filing extensively for CBC on numerous conflicts, everyday life, and later, the Arab uprisings. In her coverage of the referendum in Alexandria, Egypt in March 2007, she was the first correspondent to use digital video reporting over a webcam-equipped laptop, now a common method of receiving live reports from the field.

Reporting from a part of the world where coverage often lacks depth or content, Ayed challenges the public’s conventional wisdom and broadens our knowledge of the complexities of a region largely misunderstood. Her stories reflect the humanity of the places she visits and tell the tales of the people who are all too often overlooked in the grander scheme of things – the men, women, and children who live in circumstances we could not imagine. Her 2002 series on living conditions in Canadian women’s prisons won a citation for the Michener Award for Meritorious Journalism.

Brenda Gunn [BA(Adv)/02]

Associate Professor of Law Brenda GunnBrenda Gunn is an Associate Professor in Robson Hall Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba and a proud Métis woman. She articled with Sierra Legal Defence Fund (now Ecojustice Canada) and has worked at a community legal clinic in Rabinal, Guatemala on a case of genocide submitted to the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights.

Gunn combines her academic research with her activism pushing for greater recognition of Indigenous peoples’ inherent rights as determined by Indigenous peoples’ own legal traditions. Her current research focuses on promoting greater conformity between international law on the rights of Indigenous peoples and domestic law. She continues to be actively involved in the international Indigenous peoples’ movement, regularly attending international meetings, including the review of Canada before CERD. She provided technical assistance to the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the analysis and drafting of the report summarizing the responses on the survey on implementing the UN Declaration and developed a handbook on understanding and implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that is quickly becoming one of the main resources in Canada on the UN Declaration.

Laura Michalchyshyn [BA/89]

Laura Michalchyshyn.

An accomplished media executive and producer, Laura Michalchyshyn has spent her 25-year career championing for women and other underrepresented talent in the film industry, as well as giving a voice to marginalized groups through bold, distinct content. Since launching a women’s film and video festival in Winnipeg called RE:VISIONS in the 90s, she has gone on to work for the Women’s Television Network, form Sundance Productions along with Robert Redford, and lead cable channels such as Discovery’s Planet Green, Showcase and IFC Canada.

She is an executive producer on the Jigsaw (Alex Gibney) CNN series Death Row Stories and in development on Ten Restaurants that Changed America with Radical Media. Other completed programs include The 4%: Film’s Gender Problem, All the President’s Men Revisited, and To Russia with Love, which documented the impact of Russia’s anti-gay propaganda laws on queer athletes during the Sochi Olympics. Her awards include two Emmys, a GLAAD, Real Screen, Banff TV Award and a Peabody.


DOORS OPEN // 6:30 P.M.
RECEPTION // 8:30 P.M.– 9:30 P.M.

Registration is nearly full and seating is limited. To register,  please contact alumni relations at or call 204-474-9071.

Parking available in U lot. 

If you are unable to attend or would prefer to watch it wherever you are, this event will be streamed through Facebook Live at




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