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Keynote Speakers


The Honourable Wanda Thomas Bernard, Ph.D, C.M., O.N.S.

Senator - Nova Scotia (East Preston)

Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard who was appointed to the Senate on November 10, 2016 is a highly regarded social worker, educator, researcher, community activist and advocate of social change.

In 2016, she was appointed Special Advisor on Diversity and Inclusiveness at Dalhousie University and is the first African Nova Scotian to hold a tenure track position.  Senator Bernard is a founding member of the Association of Black Social Workers who has also served as an expert witness in human rights cases and has received many honours for her work, including the Order of Nova Scotia and the Order of Canada.

Senator Bernard is the Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights (RIDR), and a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology (SOCI). She is also Vice-Chair of the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association. 


Danielle Griffin

Danielle Griffin lived much of her life misdiagnosed and labeled as a ‘difficult child’ at school. She has faced numerous challenges including bullying, mental health, and misunderstanding. Danielle was only diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of 17, leading to a greater understanding of herself and the importance of self-advocacy. Danielle completed the IB Diploma Program at Park View Education Center, achieving the highest average in the school’s history. Currently, she is studying Materials Engineering at Dalhousie University. 

Danielle Griffin has become an advocate for individuals on the autism spectrum, and for mental health awareness. Danielle volunteers at Autism Nova Scotia, and has frequently educated parents, teacher, and students about autism through speeches and presentations. For her work with the autism community, Danielle has won a certificate of outstanding achievement from Autism Nova Scotia. Additionally, Danielle is part of a team at the IWK researching the lives of individuals living on the spectrum. 

Hasmeet Singh

Hasmeet Singh is an unabashed optimist who is known for his work as an activist and catalyst for social change. He holds an undergraduate degree in Computer Science and is currently completing his Master’s in Computer Science at Dalhousie University.

Hasmeet Singh has been recognized by many Canadian and International organizations for his initiatives to help the underprivileged. Hasmeet Singh has been honoured with many different awards for his academic and non-academic achievements including the Board of Governors Award in 2016, the highest student honour at Dalhousie University. He is a serial social entrepreneur, and his most recent initiative Maritime Bhangra Group has been making headlines across the world. 

Mr. Singh, along with his team were listed as one of the world’s most influential South Asians by Anokhi Media in Toronto, Canada. He also had the honour to speak at Canada’s 150th Celebration at Parliament Hill, Ottawa. In the year 2016, Hasmeet Singh was the commencement speaker at NSCAD University’s convocation ceremony.

Recently, Hasmeet Singh has been appointed to sit on the UN World Interfaith Committee, and he looks forward to share his experiences and journey with a focus on change of attitude, one person and step at a time.