Keynote Speaker

ShawMUN 2019 Keynote Speaker to be announced soon!


Elaine Gibbons
The need is there. The move is happening. We have to continue to ensure that we are ready as organizations to create these shared structures and develop impact and value as a result of that. But it’s hard, ‘Roll your sleeves up.’ work.

Vice President, Global Engagement and Communications PATH

Elaine Gibbons is Vice President for Global Engagement and Communications at PATH, where she leads a team that engages donors, partners, and peers in mobilizing resources to solve the world’s most challenging health problems.

With more than 15 years of experience leading international teams and executing major strategic initiatives, Ms. Gibbons joined PATH in 2013. She created PATH’s global corporate engagement strategy and hired a team to develop industry engagements rooted in corporate responsibility and shared value. A thought leader on multisector partnerships, Ms. Gibbons is a founding member of the Forum on Public-Private Partnerships at the National Academy of Medicine.

A native of the United Kingdom, Ms. Gibbons earned her BA from Nottingham Trent University. She is a passionate human rights advocate, a lifelong member of Amnesty International, and a board member of WithinReach.

Learn more about PATH - "Driving transformative innovation to save lives".

Dennis Edney, Q.C.

We were honoured to host Sir Dennis Edney as our Keynote Speaker. Currently, he is likely most well known for his high profile, pro bono defense of Guantanamo Bay detainee (since the age of 16), Omar Khadr. Mr. Edney has had many achievements in his life including receiving Alberta's Top 50 Most Important People in 2008, the human rights medal in 2009, and the honorary title of Queen's Counsel for exceptional merit and contribution to the legal profession.

Mr. Edney spoke movingly about meeting Mr. Khadr as a young man and understanding himself as the sole window to the outside world throughout Mr. Khadr's ten years in virtual solitude. Lending an enormous of amount of humanity to a very high profile and controversial case, Mr. Edney gave us all the opportunity to challenge ourselves to think deeper and more broadly and with both conviction and empathy.

Please find a full interview with Dennis Edney at CBC Ideas.

Dennis Edney at Shawnigan Lake School
In all the years I went to Guantanamo, he was always chained to the floor. And so I saw my job as trying to keep him alive, and I talked to him about hope. And I used to keep pointing to the steel door and I said ‘Behind that door is light.’

Ingrid Vanderveldt at Shawnigan Lake School ShawMUN
The power of choice is, I realized that I could have chosen that I was going to live my life being what everybody said I was or I was going to choose that I was special and unique and that I was going to go out and do big things in the world.


Ingrid Vanderveldt (iV) is a tech entrepreneur, media personality, investor and philanthropist. She is the Founder and Chairman of Empowering a Billion Women by 2020 (EBW2020), MintHER™ (The Engine Powering a Billion Women by 2020) and Vanderveldt Global Investments.

Ms. Vanderveldt is a powerful speaker who carefully, enthusiastically and with an endearing charm shared her path from struggling school kid to bold businesswoman who has handily run $100 million funds for the UN among others. Adapting through a misdiagnosed disability to be guided by several essentials concepts, Ms. Vanderveldt conveyed both how positivity, perseverance and a healthy lack of patience has the potential to take you however far you want to go and how the route to creating a global sustainable future flows through empowering women and uncovering opportunities to uplift people.

Watch Ingrid Vanderveldt's entire keynote address to ShawMUN.


Sonia Furstenau is now the MLA for Cowichan Valley wherein the Shawnigan Lake School campus resides. But her story in our area began 15 years ago as a summer visitor and grew ever the more prominent in the face of a local controversy - the threatening of the Shawnigan Lake watershed and, potentially, the safe future of our entire community. Through advocacy, community engagement, deft work down legal avenues, and plain old, tireless 'boots on the ground' gumption, Ms. Furstenau, alongside droves of equally devoted supporters, secured the overturning of a permit for the contaminated landfill ensuring clean, safe drinking water for residents.

Watch Sonia Furstenau's PowHER Talk, "Saving Our Water, Saving Ourselves".

Sonia Furstenau, MLA Cowichan Valley
In standing up... against a great injustice we found ourselves standing together and cultivating tolerance, compassion, and dignity while we affirmed our own human rights, in particular our right to clean, safe water.