Join the conversation at the Global Populism & Democratic Futures Summit

Friday, March 23, 2018

Join the conversation at the Global Populism & Democratic Futures Summit

Summit flyerThe outcome of the Brexit vote, the election of President Trump, the erection of border walls across the European continent, and recent populist gains in Italy, Germany, Austria, and Canada raise important questions about democracy and the power of citizen’s disillusionment with the current state of affairs.

An exciting two-day Global Populism & Democratic Futures Summit will bring together students, academics, practitioners, dignitaries and the broader Waterloo community to discuss the meanings and implications of the global rise of populist movements.

Unlike more conventional scholarly conferences, this summit offers participants the unique opportunity for exchange with a select group of students involved in the Global Engagement Seminar Program, who will bring together their creative and research skills from across the disciplines of Engineering, Math, Health Sciences, and the Arts.

On the first evening of the summit (March 28), Dr. Kurt Huebner, the Interim Director of the European Studies Institute at UBC, will tell us about populist movements and parties across Europe and the challenges they pose to European integration. That same evening, Dr. Ann Komaromi, an Associate Professor at the Centre of Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto, will present a critical cultural analysis of the negative effects of social media on democracy, drawing on her research about Soviet dissident networks.

On the following day (March 29), Dr. Henry Giroux, the University of Waterloo’s 2018 Jarislowsky Fellow and the McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest, will give a keynote presentation on the threats of a Trump presidency for higher education and democracy.  

On the afternoon of March 29, the Global Engagement Seminar Program’s students will showcase a number of interactive exhibits on such topics as The Effects Of Populism On Science And The Effects Of The Anti-Science Movements, M(Other)Land: Cultural Belonging In The Wake Of Populism, and You Don’t Know what Your Social Media is Doing to Your Democracy.    

A panel discussion has also been organized on the topic #Feminism: When a Movement Goes Mainstream. Antonio Brieva, the President of the Feds, and a representative from the UW Equity Committee will join the discussion on university policies and practices to advance gender equality on- and off-campus.

If you can’t join us through the day, you will be able to learn about the students’ ideas in the evening of March 29 when they will deliver formal presentations about their projects.

The Global Engagement Seminar Program is a new pilot-program that brings together a select group of students from across the six university faculties in order to engage with pressing global issues. The program’s Director and this year’s instructor Dr. Jasmin Habib has worked closely with Dr. Henry Giroux to think critically about the global challenges posed by populism and the implications for democratic engagement.

Please reserve your free tickets for both Summit days at and