The first edition of the Power Race Privilege Symposium will take place on Saturday, the 12th of March, 2016.

The Symposium aims to engage the Quest community through discussion of how manifestations of racial oppression and inequality continue to exert power through structural, institutional and systemic discrimination and in our everyday experiences.

A Keynote address from Dr. Frances Kendall on ‘Whiteness and Antiracism’ will open the symposium at 9AM on Saturday, followed by panel discussions and presentations by the scholars listed below. For more information about the sessions, please see the schedule.

This is an opportunity for members of the Quest community to come together and engage in difficult, thoughtful and honest conversation on issues surrounding race and ethnicity. Students, faculty members, staff members, and members of the Squamish/Vancouver community are invited to attend.


Keynote Speaker

Frances E. Kendall, Ph.D., is a nationally known consultant who has focused for more than thirty-five years on organizational change, diversity, and white privilege. Author of Diversity in the Classroom and Understanding White Privilege: Creating Pathways to Authentic Relationships Across Race, Kendall was recently named a “Pioneer of Diversity” by Profiles in Diversity Journal and a “Legend of Diversity” by the International Society of Diversity and Inclusion Professionals.

Because she believes that personal and organizational change is possible, Kendall is committed to facilitating the core changes necessary to create work and learning environments that are hospitable to all people.
She doesn’t skirt the deeper challenges inherent in helping organizations accomplish that mission, yet she approaches the conversations with warmth and humor in an accessible and approachable manner. One of her long-time clients recently described her style as that of a “seasoned warrior, bringing her experience and wisdom to her interactions with audiences and workshop participants.”

Kendall tailors all of her work to meet the needs of individual clients, which include educational institutions-colleges, universities, and K-12 schools-corporations, and not-for-profits. In the last ten years, she has focused her work on offering workshops and delivering keynote addresses on facilitating and creating intentional organizational change, addressing issues of diversity in organizations, and aiding white people in understanding the impact of their skin color in systemically providing opportunities and privileges not granted to others.

Virgie Tovar, MA is an author, activist and one of the nation’s leading experts and lecturers on fat discrimination and body image. She is a plus size style writer for BuzzFeed and the creator of #LoseHateNotWeight. Tovar edited the ground-breaking anthology Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion (Seal Press, November 2012). She holds a Master’s degree in Human Sexuality with a focus on the intersections of body size, race and gender. After teaching “Female Sexuality” at the University of California at Berkeley, where she completed a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 2005, she went onto host “The Virgie Show” (CBS Radio) in San Francisco. She is certified as a sex educator and was voted Best Sex Writer by the Bay Area Guardian in 2008 for her first book. Virgie has been featured by the New York Times, MTV, Al Jazeera, NPR, Yahoo Health, Yahoo front page, the San Francisco Chronicle, Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan Magazine Online, Bust Magazine, Madame Figaro, Rakontant, as well as on Women’s Entertainment Television and The Ricki Lake Show. Her most recent live engagements have included the Hammer Museum, University of Chicago – Urbana Champaign, Evergreen College, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, University of Oregon at Eugene, UC San Diego, UC Riverside, Napa Valley College, California College of the Arts, Sacramento State University and Humboldt State University. She lives in San Francisco and offers workshops and lectures nationwide.

Peter Wanyenya is a “son of the soil” with roots in eastern Africa. He also calls Toronto, Ontario home and serves as the program advisor for over 90 undergraduate scholars in the University of British Columbia (UBC) International Scholars Programs. He also provides support to the UBC World University Service of Canada Local Committee and Student Refugee Program. Peter also co-manages the UBC “Really?” Campaign, which promotes intercultural understanding and respect for diversity on campus.

Peter is driven by core values of equity, diversity, and intercultural understanding. He is particularly invested in initiatives that foster the wellbeing of children and youth, and leverage their potential. Drawing from his deep commitment and passion for positive social change Peter is a national policy working group member of the National Alliance for Children and Youth and has recently completed a one-year term as co-program coordinator for the B.C. Society for Intercultural Education, Training, and Research. He continues his community engagement as a Board Director for the Access to Media Education Society where he was an active program participant in an art-based media education and community engagement program for marginalized youth and through the organisation coordinated the BC-wide anti-oppression project for children and youth in elementary and secondary schools. Peter is also a Board Director for Kick Starts Arts, a non-profit Arts and Education organisation.

Prior to his current engagements he was actively involved in access to education advocacy for low-income youth and served as an “at-risk” children and youth worker in multiple inner city communities in Toronto, and led educational programming for Indigenous children at UBC and at the Musqueam Nation village.

Susan Chapelle has been a practicing therapist for over 20 years. She is the recipient of the 2010 award for “registered massage therapist of the year” for British Columbia for her contribution to research in the field of manual therapy. Susan is owner of Squamish Integrated Health, a multidisciplinary clinic in Squamish BC. As a graduate of Simon Fraser University’s Community Economic Development program, Susan is an advocate for equity and social services. Susan was elected to City Council in Squamish, B.C. in 2011, and uses her work as a politician to bring a lens of healthcare to land use issues in municipal politics. Susan currently sits on the board of directors of the Howe Sound Woman’s Centre and Multifaith association, is past VP of the Squamish Chamber of Commerce, and board member of the Community Foundation. Susan continues her work to contribute to the scientific literature for women’s health. As a speaker at international conferences, she has presented her work on woman’s health, active transportation and cities, as well as her published research on mechanisms of adhesion formation. She is currently collaborating with Dr. Geoffrey Bove, D.C, PhD at the University of New England, and is co-investigator on a National Institute of General Medical Science grant on mechanisms of post-surgical adhesion formation.

My areas of teaching focus are: Indigenous Education, Art Education, Ecological Education and Health Education; more specifically: Indigenous knowledges, literacies, and cultures; Indigenous pedagogies or aesthetic and Indigenous ways of knowing; holistic learning as well as integrative art practices and art therapy; spirituality and contemplative inquiry; teacher education and teacher inquiry.

My current research is in: Aboriginal educator professional development and pathways of Indigenous learning; Indigeneity and incorporating Indigenous holistic learning models for Aboriginal and non-aboriginal learners; Two Eyed Seeing approaches to teacher education and curriculum development; ethno-ecology and the integration of Indigenous knowledge practices and pedagogy in environmental education; the role of the arts in human development; Métissage as inquiry and curriculum; place-based performance and art as inquiry.

I am interested in the following research methodologies: Indigenous methodologies, arts-based narrative research, performative inquiry, narrative portraiture, Métissage and autobiographical or life writing, as well as teacher inquiry.

Harsha Walia is a South Asian activist and writer based in Vancouver, unceded Coast Salish Territories. She has been involved in community-based grassroots migrant justice, feminist, anti-racist, Indigenous solidarity, anti-capitalist, Palestinian liberation, and anti-imperialist movements for over a decade. She is formally trained in law, works with women in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, and is the author of Undoing Border Imperialism (2013, 2014).

Brenda Morrison is the director of the Centre for Restorative Justice and an assistant professor in the School of Criminology at SFU.
She is a social psychologist with field experience in outdoor education, government administration, and restorative justice. A particular focus of her work relates to the interplay of individuals and communities, as well as the institutions that serve them.
Her teaching and research interests include transformative and restorative justice, responsive regulation, school violence and safety, conflict and cooperation, shame management and social identity, the self, and self-interest.
Dr. Morrison is the Founding Chair of the Safe Schools and Communities Special Interest Group of the American Education Research Association. She has presented papers at UNESCO, in Paris, and the House of Lords in London, She has also chaired and presented on many international panels on restorative justice.
Nationally, she is a research partner with PREVNet (Promoting Relationships Eliminating Violence Network). In British Columbia, she is a member of the working group for Social Responsibility and Collaborative Learning in Education, and on the advisory board for the Victims of Homicide Support Initiative. She is an active board member for the North Shore Restorative Justice Society and an associate board member of Vancouver Association for Restorative Justice.


General Manager, Squamish Nation – Squamish Valley Operations
Ayas Men Men Child & Families Services and Yuustway Health Services.
Board Member – Vancouver Native Housing Society (18 plus years) & Helping Hands Society (3 yrs).

Christine, mother of four, grandmother of one, who is recognized as a First Generation Survivor of Indian Residential School, as her father and grandparents went to Indian Residential Schools. She lived here in Squamish all her life, traveled to Capilano College, North Vancouver, received her Business Admin Diploma, and tried to find work but to no avail. Moved to North Vancouver for 22 years worked and raised her family. She had a calling to come back to Squamish and is now working here.While in the City, her main focus was Employment and Training fields (15 years) where she also became involved in the Women’s Movement around equality for First Nations Women in the Workforce (non-traditional jobs), partnering with BCIT for FN/Aboriginal Women Exploratory into the Trades program, then eventually her focus was First Nation People into Employment & Training, (ie: First Nation Ironworkers Project – ‘Journey to a good paying job’).

Today, Christine’s focus is on building positive working relationships with the Squamish Nation – Squamish Valley Programs & Service to ensuring that all members have access to all services within Squamish Valley areas.

As a Quest alum (Class of ‘15), founding editor-in-chief of The Mark student newspaper, former volunteer co-ordinator of The Lumen Room and former member of the Diversity and Equity Committee, Tari Ajadi has been deeply invested in helping to create a culture of diversity, honesty and inclusion on Quest’s campus.

Tari was named a 2014 3M National Student Fellow for demonstrating outstanding leadership within his educational community and beyond. When working as a journalist, Tari primarily reported on issues of race, ethnicity and education. Tari’s writing has appeared in the Globe and Mail, The Tyee and University Affairs. Tari is now working for the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and is based in St. John’s.



Ahalya is a dance scholar and dancer who joins Quest as a new faculty member in 2014-2015. Her broader teaching and research interests are in cultural studies, specifically the relationships between aesthetics, embodied forms, and local and global politics. She earned her BA in political science at Loyola University Chicago and her PhD in critical dance studies at the University of California, Riverside.

John’s various teaching concentrations examine the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, race and ethnicity in a variety of spaces and times, environmental sociology, neoliberal governance and globalization, health and environment interactions, theories of the self, post-modernity, post-structuralism, feminism, and qualitative research methods. If he were a Quest student, his question would examine the complex relationship between human health, the environments we live in, and the social worlds we inhabit.

After completing undergraduate and graduate degrees at Fudan University in Shanghai, Fei came to North America to complete a PhD in comparative literature at the University of California at Davis. Fei is an enthusiastic teacher and dramatist. Over the past nine years, in both Shanghai and California, he has taught over 20 different college level courses and directed many theatre productions. His scholarly papers have been published in numerous academic journals and books on both sides of the Pacific.

Jessamyn Smyth is a poet, prose writer, playwright, and teacher with a background in Classics, comparative religion, Holocaust studies, social justice, and community organizing. In the course of her undergraduate honors work, she lived and studied in Thessaloniki, Greece, where she wrote a thesis on the history of the Jews of Salonica. After working for many years in public health and violence prevention as the Director of Community Education for Everywoman’s Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Jessamyn received her MFA in Poetry, Prose, and Playwriting from Goddard College in 2004.


Laura Finkler

Laura Finkler is in her fourth year at Quest, and is from Vancouver, BC. Her studies at Quest have focused on the intersections of maternal health, medical anthropology and social determinants of health. She is currently completing a qualitative research project with Sea To Sky Community Services about pregnancy, breastfeeding and knowledge communities. Beyond her interest in maternal health, Laura is an outdoor enthusiast in Squamish, and is curious in thinking about the relationship between the outdoor industry, race, representations of nature and health. She is currently developing a research project with Parks Canada in Pacific Rim National Park to think about the ways in which conservation bodies balance ideas of conservation and recreation. Her talk will focus specifically on a field course with Quest University in April 2015 in Tofino, British-Columbia, and the relationship between representations of nature, race and conservation.

Mike Allan

Hi, I’m Mike Allan, most people around campus call me Mikey and you can too. I started attending Quest in 2012 after spending two years at the University of Victoria. The switch to Quest was predicated on my need to try and make some form of positive change in this world. At Quest I’ve spent my time trying to learn how to make these changes and for whom they will be positive for. Specifically, I study Urban Studies and Sociology with an emphasis on environmental and social justice.
I would describe myself as a cis-gendered male who views his masculinity as under construction. For the Power, Race and Privilege conference in March, I will be discussing conceptions of masculinity, and how this relates to my story, and what kind of role a man could take in the journey towards a more equitable society.

Mabel Vautravers
Mabel is a fourth year student at Quest whose academic as well as extracurricular activity revolves around troublemaking, trauma, and the body. Mabel is a white, femme, queer witch who uses they/them pronouns (always) and big words (sometimes). Currently they are working on finishing a short collection of poetry and poetic prose for their thesis project (keystone) in the hopes of graduating this April.

Dorah Prieto

Dorah Prieto is a first generation Canadian of USA and Latino descent. At Quest their focuses include political ecology, resource management, anthropology, feminism, and decolonizing methodologies. After doing a resource studies semester on Haida Gwaii, they became interested in how gendered and racialized constructions of nature influence resource policy. After examining the history and politics of resource management in Canada they decided to return to Haida Gwaii to do a strategic planning qualitative research project with the Haida Gwaii Watchmen Program for their keystone project.


Panel descriptions are available here.
Session Time
Welcome & Introductory Remarks from Dr. Peter Englert, President and Vice Chancellor of Quest University Canada 9:00 – 9:15 AM
Welcome and Prayer 9:15 – 9:30 AM
Keynote Address: Environmental Racism and Justice: Overlapping Oppressions with Dr. Frances Kendall 9:30 – 11:00 AM
Coffee Break 11:00 – 11:15
Indigenous Rights with Dr. Vicki Kelly, Dr. Brenda Morrison, & Squamish Nation General Manager Christine Baker (TlatlaKwot) 11:15 – 12:15
Lunch Break 12:15 – 12:45 PM
 State of Diversity and Equity at Quest with Dr. John Reid-Hresko 12:45 – 1:15 PM
Coffee Break 1:15 – 1:25 PM
Body Politics with Dr. Ahalya Satkunaratnam, Dr. Fei Shi, & Harsha Walia 1:25 – 2:25 PM
Coffee Break 2:25 – 2:35 PM
Fitness, Fatness, & Women in North America with Virgie Tovar, Susan Chapelle, & Laura Finkler 2:35 – 3:35 PM
Coffee Break 3:35 – 3:45 PM
Check Your Stoke: White Privilege in Our Community with Mike Allan, Dorah Prieto, & Mabel Vautravers  3:45 – 4:45 PM
Inequality in the Ivory Tower- Toward an Inclusive Education with Jessamyn Smyth, Peter Wanyenya, & Tari Ajadi 4:50 – 5:50 PM
 Closing Remarks from SRC President Aïda Ndiaye & PRP Coordinators  5:50 – 6:00 PM


The event will take place in the Multi Purpose Room, in the University Services Building at Quest University Canada.