Briony Penn – Writer & Activist

“When you grow up on the edge of a shifting active tectonic plate, you can’t for a moment forget that we are part of a dynamic natural world. To quote Ed Ricketts, another coastal author who had no trouble finding content and metaphor in tide pools, “Who would see a replica of man’s social structure has only to examine the abundant and various life of the tide pools.” The Salish Sea has always informed and enriched those that live or visit here and the Forum helps bring national conversations into our rich tide pools where we get wet and real. What I love about the Forum is that we lure the world to us and a little bit of Saltspring goes back to the world.”

Derek Lundy – Writer (Forum Secretary)

“I moved to Salt Spring Island from Toronto for a quieter life and discovered quite the opposite. True, it was quieter in the sense of less traffic and shouting. It was also beautiful, Edenic. But the sound of informed, exuberant discussion, of ingenious creation, and of community conversation was loud and clear. That’s become even more the case over the years I’ve been here, and it’s nowhere more apparent than through the events and engagements of the Salt Spring Forum. It seems odd to leave the centre of Canada for its fringe and yet to be more engaged with the world than ever before. That’s what the Forum helps happen here, and why I’m honoured to be part of it.”

George Sipos – Writer & Former Executive Director of ArtSpring (Forum Treasurer)

“In Prince George I ran a small independent bookstore, which was for many years a labour of love and an act of faith in the power of the written word to enrich and transform the lives of human communities. As the former Executive Director of ArtSpring here on Salt Spring, I remain committed to a vision of the arts as central to a community’s collective understanding of itself and of the larger world of ideas. What I like about the Salt Spring Forum is that it is a venture governed not by a political agenda but by openness toward and curiosity about the world of ideas, facts and feats of imagination, particularly as they play themselves out in a public context.”

Jason Mogus – Consultant and Campaigner

“My work as a consultant for social and environmental advocacy organizations takes me all over the place, but it’s the stillness of Salt Spring that grounds all that I do. After 22 years in Vancouver we moved our young family here in 2014, and we couldn’t now imagine living anywhere else. Sometimes I feel a little out of place, working a fast paced “city job” from the quiet country, but I know there are more than a few of us living this dual life dotted across this rock. I was amazed at the quality of the speakers and the depth of the conversation at Forum events. The Forum helps us connect with other thinkers and do-ers from all walks of life, people engaged in solving the “wicked problems” of our times, and that feeds me, as I know it feeds everyone who comes.”

Jean Gelwicks – Retired High School Teacher & Active Salt Spring Community Member (Forum Vice-Chair)

“Most of my life has been spent in the field of education: Starting at ten teaching my younger brother and sister arithmetic and reading, and becoming a secondary school teacher/counsellor for 40 years. I retired (sort of) to Salt Spring where I chaired the Education Committee of the SSI Conservancy for a number of years and started, with others, their Stewards in Training Schools program with which I am still involved. I also sit on the Transition Education Committee. I believe that knowledge is the beginning of everything and that learning should be a lifelong pursuit. The Forum has brought to our community the opportunity to learn from the most incredible folks, who each come with a wide breadth of experiences and knowledge. These events help to keep me open to questioning, reevaluating and acquiring a deeper understanding of issues. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to hear from so many interesting people. I learn something from each, including our very own Salt Spring moderators, who have all been brilliant.”

Jennifer Abbott – Filmmaker, Director & Editor

“Living within the beauty and stillness of the Gulf Islands is central to my inspiration and resilience as a social justice documentary filmmaker. I moved to Galiano almost 16 years ago when I was just starting to co-direct and edit The Corporation. Now on Salt Spring, I’m currently co-directing The Corporation II: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel! I’m also deep in the creative process for a film with the NFB about climate change through the lens of grief called The Magnitude of All Things: Grief and Loss in Changing Times. Look for both in the next few years! I live on a small permaculture farm with my family where we’re experimenting with geothermal heat, solar hot water and an electric vehicle. I consider the Salt Spring Forum an essential contributor to an informed citizenry in our small but extraordinary part of the world and am honoured to be a member of the board.”

Jennifer Breakspear, Executive Director of the Portland Hotel Society

“My parents instilled in me the importance of making a difference and this value guides me through life and career. I’m proud to be Executive Director of PHS Community Services Society, an innovative non-profit housing, health care, harm reduction, and community development agency providing public benefit services in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and beyond. PHS operates 20 low barrier social housing facilities and shelters in Vancouver and Victoria, co-manages Insite (North America’s first supervised injection site), and will soon open a second supervised consumption facility in Victoria. Previous to PHS, I led Options for Sexual Health (Opt), the largest sexual and reproductive health care provider in Canada, and QMUNITY – BC’s Queer Resource Centre. I thrive on the challenges of my work in Vancouver and offset that pace with time that my wife and I spend on Salt Spring. I appreciate that the Forum offers opportunities to engage with issues, spurs discussion, and incites reflection. For a number of years we’ve come over to the island for Forum events and now I’m honoured to join the board.”

Jim Erickson – Oscar-winning Set Director

“In 1974 I immigrated to Canada seeking a more tolerant society that would be accepting of my homosexuality and a country that believed a healthy society is a more content and productive society. This I found here. Canada allowed me to grow and embrace the challenges of life with confidence, health and through a serendipitous timing of being in the right place at the right time, I found myself invited into the film industry. This career satisfied my curiosity of life. The Salt Spring Forum continues to do this. It is a welcome privilege to be part of this group of smart forward-thinking men and women who really care about lives, the role of government and contemplate our response and responsibility to this island rock on which we live, this northern half of the continent, this blue orb spinning in the blackness of space, the water we drink, the air we breath, and the children we love.”

Michael Byers – Political Science Professor, University of British Columbia (Forum Chair)

“I moved to Salt Spring Island for its beautiful beaches, parks and vistas — and soon found that the true beauty of this place lies in its cohesive, compassionate, internationally-oriented, highly engaged community. My next book is dedicated to the “Queen of Nanaimo”, the grand old ferry that takes me to – and from – a teaching job at UBC.”

Tony Kennedy – Internationalist

“Thirty years with UNICEF made up the major part of my formal career. My five years at United Nations headquarters in New York were followed by twenty years living and running UNICEF offices in developing countries: Pakistan (where our children were born), Guatemala (dealing with the seven countries of Central America and Panama), Bangladesh and Indonesia; followed by a five year return to New York. The welcoming and interesting range of people on Salt Spring spurred my wife Wendy and me to move here in 2001. Nourished by varied interests in which the Forum stands out, our love for this place and its sense of community has only deepened.”