Spring Lectures 2019

April 10th to May 22nd
10 am to noon

The Auditorium, The Royal Botanical Gardens
680 Plains Rd W
Click on Location Map

Understanding the 21st Century

How do we begin to understand the 21st century? Our world is a very complex and confusing place where change is happening at an ever faster pace. The speakers will cover a range of topics providing insights into this century’s problems and possibilities.

April 10th

Steven Buist

This large investigative project, which began in 2010, has examined and mapped the connections between health and socioeconomic status at the neighborhood level in Hamilton. It has helped to change and shape the ongoing discussion in the city about the impacts of poverty and income inequality.
Steve Buist is an investigative reporter and feature writer at the Hamilton Spectator. Over the past 17 years he has produced the equivalent of almost 1,000 full pages of investigative series and news features on a wide variety of subjects and complex topics. His highly-acclaimed Code Red project on Hamilton has won four National Newspaper Awards and been nominated six other times. He has been named the Canadian Association of Journalists’ Investigative Journalist of the Year three times and Ontario’s Journalist of the Year five times. In 2014 he was the winner of one of the world’s most prestigious cancer journalism awards, the Best Cancer Reporter Award from the European School of Oncology. He has a degree in human biology from the University of Guelph, a Master’s degree in journalism and a longstanding interest in science and science journalism.

April 17th

Vivian Lewis

2018 marked the fiftieth anniversary of Nobel laureate Bertrand Russell’s archive coming to McMaster. How was ‘Mac’ able to beat out some of the most prominent universities in the world to acquire the papers of the 20th century’s most eminent philosopher, mathematician, social critic and peace activist?  The collection has become the foundation of one of Canada’s great research archives. In this age of social media and breaking news, the archives of extraordinary historical figures such as Russell remain vital to scholars and to society as a whole.
Vivian Lewis has held the position of University Librarian at McMaster University since August 2013.  During that time, she has been actively involved in acquiring some extraordinary collections for the university, including both the papers of social critic Dr. Henry Giroux and iconic Canadian storyteller and radio host Stuart Mclean. Vivian currently sits as a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Research Libraries (Washington, D.C.).  She is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, former President of the Ontario College & University Libraries Association and former Chair of the Ontario Consortium of University Libraries.  Vivian has been a member of the executive of the Hamilton Association for the Advancement of Art, Literature and Science (HAALSA) for many years, having served as President from 2013-2018. She holds a B.A. from Western University, a M.A. from York University, and a Masters of Library Science from the University of Toronto. Vivian lives in Hamilton (a stone’s throw from the University) with her husband, son and very rambunctious golden retriever puppy.


May 1st

Manzoor Qadir

 While the world is embarking on the Sustainable Development Agenda to ensure access to safe water for all by 2030, more than two-thirds of the global population is expected to face water scarcity by that year. Conventional approaches relying on rainfall and river runoff are insufficient to meet growing freshwater needs in water-scarce areas as unprecedented climate change triggers rainfall uncertainties and frequent droughts. A radical re-think of planning and management is needed that includes the creative exploitation of a growing set of viable but unconventional water resources.
Manzoor Qadir is Assistant Director at the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH), Hamilton, Canada. He is an environmental scientist with interests in policy, institutional and biophysical aspects of unconventional water resources, water recycling and safe reuse, water quality and environmental health, and water and land management under changing climate. He has implemented multidisciplinary projects and directed research teams in different regions of the world, particularly in Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. Before joining UNU-INWEH in Canada, Manzoor previously held professional positions as Senior Scientist jointly appointed by the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Visiting Professor at the Justus-Liebig University, Giessen, Germany, and Associate Professor at the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan (from which he earlier obtained a Ph.D.) He is a fellow of the Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation and serves on the Editorial Boards of several international journals.

May 8th

Sunil Johal


This presentation will explore key trends in Canada’s labour market and economy, such as wage stagnation, income inequality and the growth of precarious work. It will also look at the impacts of disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence on the labour market. These trends will then be discussed in the context of what they mean for workers, employers and policymakers, and potential steps forward to ensure an inclusive, prosperous economy for Canada.
Sunil Johal is Policy Director at the Mowat Centre, an independent public policy think tank at the University of Toronto. He leads the Centre’s research activities, manages the research team and teaches a variety of executive education courses. He is frequently invited to advise governments and international organizations about disruptive technologies and regulatory and policy issues. Previously, he was a Director with the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation where he led the government’s efforts to modernize its regulatory environment. He has also held senior management and policy roles with the Cabinet Office, Ministries of Finance and Intergovernmental Affairs and federal Treasury Board Secretariat. He joined the federal civil service through the Recruitment of Policy Leaders initiative in 2003. He is frequently invited to speak about the future of work, technology and social policy at conferences in Canada and abroad. He has contributed expert commentary and advice on regulatory and policy issues to a range of organizations and media outlets, including the G-20, World Economic Forum, Brookings Institution, Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, CBC Radio and Television, CTV News, The Guardian, Maclean’s, Ottawa Citizen, Policy Options, TVO and the OECD. Sunil has been a lecturer with Ryerson University’s Department of Politics and Public Administration since 2009, and has taught executive education courses on change management, public policy and disruptive technologies to senior public sector officials from countries including Canada, China and Russia. He holds degrees from the London School of Economics, Osgoode Hall Law School and the University of Western Ontario.

May 15th

Anne Martin-Matthews

More people are living longer to old age and living longer in old age. The co-longevity of generations is historically unprecedented.  Science is changing, in order to advance understanding of the complexities of aging. Older people themselves are challenging conventional understandings of later life,  as societies adapt to population aging. This presentation considers these issues, framed with insights – both personal and professional — from a 40 year career in social gerontology.
Anne Martin-Matthews received her B.A. from Memorial University and her M.A. and Ph.D. from McMaster. As a Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of British Columbia, she has served as Associate Dean Research, Associate Dean Strategic Initiatives and Dean pro tem in the Faculty of Arts. Prior to joining UBC, she was the founding Director of the University of Guelph’s Gerontology Research Centre and a member of that university’s Department of Family Studies. She served two terms as the Scientific Director of the Institute of Aging, one of 13 national Institutes of the CIHR and was subsequently Acting Vice-President, Research, Knowledge Translation and Ethics for CIHR. Under her leadership, the CIHR Institute of Aging led the development of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA), a 20 year study of 50,000 Canadians aged 45-85, launched in 2009. The Institute of Aging has also developed strategic initiatives on Cognitive Impairment in Aging, on Mobility in Aging, and on Health Services and Systems for an Aging Population.
Her publications include two books, Aging and Caring at the Intersection of Work and Home Life: Blurring the Boundaries (2008) and Widowhood in Later Life (1990); three edited volumes and over 180 professional papers.
She was President of the Research Committee on Aging of the International Sociological Association (2010-14), Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Journal on Aging (1996-2000), and is a member of the editorial boards of Ageing and Society (UK) and the Journal of Aging Studies (US).  She has served on review and scientific advisory committees for Ontario and British Columbia, Health Canada, and Veterans Affairs Canada. She is a member of the International Scientific Advisory Council for AGEWELL- the Network of Centres of Excellence in aging and technology; the Research Council of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research; and the Laureate Selection Committee of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. She serves on scientific advisory boards for EXTEND: Social inequalities in extending working lives of an ageing work force, European Commission Joint Programming Initiative, hosted by the University of Dortmund, Germany; and for the Centre of Excellence in Research on Ageing and Care, Academy of Finland.
Anne Martin-Matthews is a Fellow of the (U.S.) Gerontological Society of America and of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. She holds a Distinguished Alumnus Award from McMaster University, and Commemorative Medals for the Golden Jubilee and Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. She received an Honorary Degree in Civil Law from Newcastle University (UK) in 2010, and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Memorial University in 2018.  She is a Distinguished Member of the Canadian Association on Gerontology, and in 2017 was inducted as an Officer of the Order of Canada.

May 22nd

Mark Poznansky

In 2019, human life on earth faces increasingly complex challenges in terms of our health, the security of our food supply and the integrity of our environment; most brought on by massive increases in population and industrialization. Fortunately, we are at the start of a 4th industrial revolution which is beginning to yield critical solutions to those challenges. Steve Jobs says it best: “I think the biggest innovations of the 21st century will be at the intersection of Biology and Technology”. That will be the essence of my talk.
Mark Poznansky is the former CEO of Ontario Genomics – a provincial genomics-focused enabler – which he led from 2010 to 2017. During his tenure, he established the organization as a visionary and forward-thinking advocate for genomics-enabled technological and industrial transformation. He established a pioneering demand-pull model to facilitate the uptake of academic genomics innovations into local and global health, agriculture, water, mining, forestry and energy sectors and established mechanisms for securing millions in federal and industry funds in support of Ontario’s genomics research.
Previously he ran his own consultancy group offering a range of services including program reviews, strategic planning, change management and leadership training to clients in government, hospitals, universities and the private sector. He served as President and Scientific Director of Robarts Research Institute (London, Ontario) from 1993 to 2007, over which time the institute increased its staff from 100 to over 600, increased its annual research funding from $10 million to over $40 million, and developed a reputation for business development by spinning out seven different companies, including Viron Therapeutics, where Dr. Poznansky served as President and CEO. He has also served on the Merck USA Scientific Advisory Leadership Team, acted as Associate Dean of Medicine for Research at the University of Alberta and held faculty positions at the University of Western Ontario, University of Alberta and Harvard University.
Dr. Poznansky has published over 100 research papers. He has served as Chair of Let’s Talk Science, Chief Science Advisor to the CEO of the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute and on the board of the Innovation Institute of Ontario. He was a founding member and past chair of the Council for Health Research in Canada, and chaired the Scientific Advisory Boards of the Canadian Medical Discoveries Fund and MDS Capital Corp. He has also served as a member of numerous science-related committees including the Science Advisory Committee of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Dr. Poznansky was made a member of the Order of Ontario in 2004 and the Order of Canada in 2005.
Earning his bachelor’s degree and PhD at McGill University, Dr. Poznansky completed postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School.

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