2023 Symons Medal

Michael Ignatieff receives honour and gives lecture

Michael Ignatieff

One of Canada’s most esteemed academics will give his take on the state of Canadian Confederation on November 8 as the recipient of the 2023 Symons Medal.

Earlier this year, Confederation Centre of the Arts announced that Michael Ignatieff will be the 23rd recipient of the prestigious honour. Ignatieff is a writer, historian, and former politician known for his time as the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. He has worked in teaching and leadership roles at Harvard University, the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia, King’s College Cambridge, and Central European University (CEU). He currently teaches history at CEU in Vienna. Ignatieff has also worked as a freelance journalist for the BBC, The Observer, and other outlets in London, UK. He is the author of eighteen books and holds honorary degrees from fourteen universities as well as the Order of Canada.

The Symons Medal recognizes an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to Canadian life. Held annually, the medal presentation and its associated lecture offer a national platform for an eminent Canadian to discuss the nation’s current state, shared histories, and prospects using themes related to their professional pursuits.

The title of this year’s lecture is “Canada in the World: Hope, Optimism, and the Human Project”. Ignatieff will discuss issues such as the climate crisis, artificial intelligence, and nuclear war. The lecture asks how we can revive hope in the human project as these issues raise the spectre of humanity’s end, and explores whether Canada is meeting these challenges.

Ignatieff follows a formidable line of Symons Medallists, which also includes diplomat Bob Rae, former Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed, broadcast journalist Shelagh Rogers, environmental activist Dr. David Suzuki, and current Governor General Mary Simon.

The 2023 Symons Medal Presentation and Lecture will take place at Confederation Centre of the Arts in the Sobey Family Theatre on November 8 at 1 pm and will also be livestreamed on the Centre’s FB and YouTube channels.

There is no cost to attend the lecture, but donations can be made to the Symons Trust Endowment Fund of the Confederation Centre of the Arts Foundation. Patrons must have a ticket to enter the lecture and quantities are limited.