Medal, lecture & forum

Symons presentation/lecture and an inaugural event

Forum speaker Elamin Abdelmahmoud

Two national events featuring leaders in politics, journalism, and the arts will be hosted by Confederation Centre of the Arts in November. The long-running Symons Medal Presentation and Lecture and inaugural Charlottetown Forum will take place from November 8–10 and allow for the public to convene for discussions on matters of importance to all Canadians. 

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.

Forum speaker Jesse Wente

This year’s Symons Medal Lecture will be given by Michael Ignatieff, a writer, historian, and former politician known for his time as the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. 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.

The lecture will be followed by the Charlottetown Forum—a new event that seeks to promote open learning and sharing of diverse perspectives about the evolving identity of Canada. The Forum will feature three panels and post-panel discussions on the topics of immigration, economic reconciliation, and finding shared national narratives in a fractured time. 

Forum speakers include Jesse Wente, journalist, author, and chair of the board of the Canada Council for the Arts; Naheed Nenshi, political commentator and former mayor of Calgary; Kateri Coade, executive director of the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI; and Elamin Abdelmahmoud, author and journalist. 

Charlottetown Forum passholders receive two full days of programming. Alongside the panels are networking opportunities with speakers, a guided tour of Confederation Centre Art Gallery, and a historic walking tour of downtown Charlottetown. 

The Symons Medal Presentation and Lecture will be held in the Sobey Family Theatre on November 8 at 1 pm and will also be livestreamed on the Centre’s Facebook and YouTube channels. Admission is free, but a ticket is required. 

The Charlottetown Forum will be held November 9 and 10. Visit for a full schedule of events. 

Tickets for both events can be booked online at, via phone at 1-800-565-0278, or in person at the Centre’s box office.