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Image of a crowd walking in opposite directions

I had job options in US. But I decided to join the University of Toronto; one of the main reasons was CIFAR.

Hae-Young Kee
Senior Fellow, Quantum Materials

About Ideas Exchange

CIFAR’s IdeasExchange platform creates opportunities for CIFAR to share novel insights from the work of its fellows directly with entrepreneurs, social innovators, business leaders, policy-makers, educators, clinicians and other members of the knowledge community who can best act and innovate on that knowledge. From special white papers and case studies, to workshops and symposiums, IdeasExchange provides tailored experiences and resources that will inform and inspire sector leaders and connect them with the best researchers in relevant fields. By creating two-way dialogues and networks centred around common interests, IdeasExchange enriches the ongoing research process and ultimately its economic and societal outcomes.


FALL 2015


Tuesday, April 21, 2015
From evidence to action: inspiring ideas for happier communities

In partnership with the Museum of Vancouver, the BC Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, and BC Partners for Social Impact, CIFAR brought together international researchers and community leaders for a symposium dedicated to exploring the evidence and developing ideas about how to build happier communities. Three leading experts in the field of happiness research provided insights on building happier communities. The speakers were Meik Wiking, CEO, The Happiness Research Institute, Denmark, Grant Schellenberg, CIFAR Associate Fellow and Acting Director of the Social Analysis Division at Statistics Canada and John Helliwell, CIFAR Senior Fellow and Professor Emeritus, University of British Columbia. The afternoon discussion at the museum was moderated by Al Etmanski and took place in conjunction with the exhibition "Stefan Sagmeister: The Happy Show".

The presentations were followed by a moderated Q&A panel and a networking reception.

In partnership with:

Museum of Vancouver

Government of British Columbia

BC Partners for Social Impact

This event was part of Change Makers: Catalyzing Innovative Ideas for Social Challenges - A CIFAR Social Innovation Series

Thursday, February 5, 2015
Social Identity: The Creative Power of Groups to Improve Community Well-Being

Having a sense of social identity has been shown to enhance our resilience to life challenges, benefiting our overall health and well-being – an outcome that is particularly evident among vulnerable populations.

Three leading experts from CIFAR’s program in Social Interactions, Identity and Well-being presented insights from their latest research on how we can think strategically about the power of belonging to develop strategies for tackling some of our toughest social challenges. In addition, three community leaders provided their insights based on experience mobilizing community action. The CIFAR fellows were Alexander Haslam (University of Queensland), Catherine Haslam (University of Queensland) and Robert Oxoby (University of Calgary). The community panelists were Martin Garber-Conrad (CEO, Edmonton Community Foundation), Allan Undheim (VP Community Building and Investment, United Way of Alberta Capital Region) and Franco Savoia (Co-Chair – Alberta Inter-Agency Council on Homelessness & Director of Vibrant Communities Calgary).

Presentations were followed by a moderated Q&A panel and focused breakout sessions where community leaders and researchers explored more deeply how to turn insights into action on the ground.

In partnership with: The Alberta Centre for Child, Family & Community Research

Event and Webcast Information

This event was part of Change Makers: Catalyzing Innovative Ideas for Social Challenges - A CIFAR Social Innovation Series

Belonging matters: Identity, Health & Sustainable Development

On June 2, Aga Khan Foundation Canada and CIFAR hosted an interactive evening of ideas exchange that explored the power of identity in sustainable development and that marked the opening of the Second International Conference on Social Identity and Health.

A panel of experts, including CIFAR Senior Fellow Alex Haslam and CIFAR Advisory John Berry, both from CIFAR's Social Interactions, Identity and Wellbeing program, presented their latest insights on the importance personal and group identity plays in promoting health and wellbeing within plural and developing societies.

"One of the best conferences I have attended on the power of identity, and wonderful insights from the feature presenters."
- symposium attendee
In partnership with:
Aga Khan Foundation Canada

The 2nd International Conference on Social Identity and Health: Building Resilience by Mobilizing Connections

On June 3 and 4, 2014, members of the Social Interactions, Identity and Well-Being program presented at the 2nd International Conference on Social Identity and Health: Building Resilience by Mobilizing Connections. This conference brought together international experts from multiple disciplines and health professions to shed light on how social identities diminish, or sometimes exacerbate, risk of illness, and to identify strategies to mobilize social connections in the face of life challenges in order to build resilience.

Volunteerism and Civic Engagement Among New Canadians

On April 4, 2014, CIFAR and Manulife Financial, in collaboration with the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, hosted a luncheon entitled Volunteerism and Civic Engagement Among New Canadians. CIFAR Senior Fellow Irene Bloemraad (University of California, Berkeley) and Fellow Lara Aknin (Simon Fraser University) from CIFAR’s Social Interactions, Identity & Well-Being program presented leading ideas and insights from their research. <br>

The luncheon engaged and informed representatives from governments and immigrant and non-immigrant-serving organizations in the Greater Toronto Area on leading ideas about immigration and volunteerism, while enabling dialogue among them and the research community.

In partnership with:

In collaboration with:
Institute for Canadian Citizenship

From Cell to Society: Creating a world where all children can succeed

On February 6, 2014, members from CIFAR's Successful Societies and Child & Brain Development programs as well as other renowned international experts, presented a symposium in honour of the late Clyde Hertzman that delved into the biological effects of early experience and the related implications on policy and practice. The day brought together, both in person and via webcast, a diverse group of leading researchers and knowledge users from across Canada and around the world. The symposium closed with a keynote address by program Co-Director Tom Boyce from the University of California, San Francisco entitled "From Science to Action: Clyde Hertzman's vision for a more just and generous world."

Social resilience: Creative responses to social change

On October 17, 2013, three members from CIFAR's Successful Societies program, Michèle Lamont, Will Kymlicka and Arjumand Siddiqi shared insights into questions presented in their new book, Social Resilience in the Age of Neoliberalism.

In partnership with:
Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP)
School of Population and Public Health UBC

Building Better Lives & Communities. New insights into social identity, opportunity & happiness

On September 19, 2013, CIFAR's Social Interactions, Identity and Well-being program presented a half-day symposium at the MaRS Collaboration Centre in Toronto. share insights into the power of identity, groups and the pursuit of happiness. The day was organized into three panels: The challenges of group identity, The pitfalls of imperfect decision-making, and The power of positive social experience. CIFAR researchers presented TED-style presentations along these themes after which a prominent member of the community provided an on the ground perspective about the themes presented.

Following the panel discussions, John Helliwell, delivered a fascinating keynote address on happiness and well-being, focusing on the six primary factors that drive life satisfaction.

Neuroscience Accelerator Workshop: Autism

On February 19 - 21, 2013, CIFAR, in partnership with the Ontario Brain Institute, brought together international experts from diverse areas of neuroscience for a high-level meeting in Toronto. Researchers shared their latest research findings and knowledge of autism to elucidate new ways of thinking and cutting-edge approaches that would lead to a better understanding of the root causes of this life-long brain disorder.

In partnership with:
Ontario Brain Institute

Cracking the Autism Enigma

On February 20, 2013 CIFAR and Ontario Brain Institute presented an evening in Toronto with Dr. Stephen Scherer who presented some of his latest research on Autism. The lecture was complimented with a moderated discussion with Dr. Marla Sokolowski (Co-Director, CIFAR program in Experience-based Brain and Biological Development; Co-Director, Fraser Mustard Institute in Human Development, University of Toronto) and Dr. Evdokia Anagnostou (Clinician Scientist, Bloorview Research Institute; Assistant Professor, University of Toronto) hosted by OBI's President Dr. Donald Stuss.

In partnership with:
Ontario Brain Institute

Cyber-Infrastructure in Advanced Research: Needs, Challenges and Opportunities

On May 14 and 15, 2012, CIFAR hosted a small and focused workshop on cyber-infrastructure in advanced research in Ottawa, Ontario. This workshop, entitled “Cyber-Infrastructure in Advanced Research: Needs, Challenges and Opportunities” brought together a multi-disciplinary and selected group of CIFAR and external researchers, policy makers and a few international thought leaders on this topic to discuss how the Canadian advanced research community is currently being served in terms of computational resources, what the future computing needs are for advanced researchers across a broad range of disciplines and what the opportunities are for Canada in successfully positioning itself in order to meet those needs. The discussions and ideas that arose from this workshop were developed into a report which will add significant value to the on-going national dialogue on this important topic.

Joint Meeting with the Royal Society of Canada on “How Early Experience Affects Lifetime Health”

In March 2011, CIFAR Fellow Clyde Hertzman, a member of the Experience-based Brain and Biological Development program and the Successful Societies program, gave a private briefing to heads of public and private organizations involved in the delivery of health care and social services in Ottawa, Canada. His key messages were that data now show that the experiences of children prior to formal schooling already define the developmental vulnerabilities they must overcome to be successful students and be productive members of the workforce. Investments in early development have a return-on-investment of approximately 10-to-1, but have to be deployed with the appropriate mix of coordinated interventions.

In partnership with:
Royal Society of Canada

Seminar on Building Resilience in an Age of Crisis

In November 2010, CIFAR hosted in collaboration with York University's Hennick Centre for Business and Law a seminar addressing how organizations deal with and attempt to manage crisis. When Lehman Brothers failed, was it a failure of corporate risk management, or corporate crisis management, or both? Did BP properly plan for the crisis created by the run-away Macondo Well in the Gulf of Mexico? It has become clear that not having adequate risk-management systems and acting accordingly can lead to a downturn in public confidence, and can easily become viral. This event involved a public seminar drawing 150 participants, and then a private consultation involving Daniel Diermeier, Fellow of CIFAR’s Institutions, Organizations and Growth program and several key public figures with a number of private and public sector leaders.

In partnership with:
York University's Hennick Centre for Business and Law

Book Launch and Symposium at the World Bank

In May 2010, Fellows Peter Hall, Michele Lamont and Peter Evans of CIFAR’s Successful Societies program took part in a panel discussion at the World Bank to launch the program’s collaboratively written book, Successful Societies: How Institutions and Culture Affect Health. The standing-room-only audience was comprised of interdisciplinary academics, practitioners, and members of NGOs. Reaction to the group’s presentation revealed that many policy makers continue to view culture as a set of values, rather than a dynamic process that people use to construct meaning in their everyday lives. Likewise, policy makers tend to view institutions as sets of rules, as opposed to ritual systems of interaction that determine legitimacy. The lively discussion raised questions about whether policy makers can or should take actions to change culture and institutions.

In partnership with:
World Bank

Symposium on Learnings from the Global Economic Crisis

In March 2010, CIFAR joined forces with the Centre for Global Challenges to present After The Meltdown: The Limits and Possibilities of Economics. The symposium brought together three of CIFAR’s preeminent economists – Pierre Fortin (Canada), Tim Besley (UK), and Nobel Laureate George Akerlof (US) – to discuss what the world has learned from the global economic crisis. The event was attended by more than 150 invited senior academics, government officials and business leaders.

In partnership with:
Centre for Global Challenges

Special Lecture on Multiculturalism Policy

In September 2009, Irene Bloemraad, a Scholar in CIFAR’s Social Interactions, Identity and Well-Being (SIIWB) program, presented her recent work on multiculturalism policy at a special lecture in Halifax co-sponsored by The Metropolis Centre in Atlantic Canada. The Centre is a consortium of academic researchers, government representatives, and non-governmental organizations dedicated to pursuing policy-relevant research related to immigration, population migrations, and cultural diversity. Thirty people attended Dr. Bloemraad's talk entitled “Canadian Exceptionalism? Multiculturalism and Immigrants’ Political Integration in Comparative Perspective.” The diverse audience included members of the Atlantic Metropolis Centres at both Dalhousie and St. Mary’s Universities, representatives from Citizenship & Immigration Canada, the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration, and the Maritime Immigrant Settlement Association, and faculty members and students from Dalhousie’s Departments of Economics, Sociology and Political Science.

In partnership with:
The Metropolis Centre in Atlantic Canada

Research Symposium on Seniors, Social Connections and Health

In August 2009, CIFAR co-sponsored a half-day research symposium with the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging, held at the University of Waterloo. The symposium focused on research exploring how and why social activity improves and protects health and well-being for seniors. Alex Haslam, a Fellow in CIFAR’s Social Interactions, Identity and Well-Being (SIIWB) program, and his colleagues shared their latest research on “the social cure.” More than sixty people attended, including academics from the Departments of Health Studies and Gerontology and other disciplines, practitioners from long-term care facilities, public health workers, representatives from the local Community Care Access Centre, members of the philanthropic community and interested members of the public.

In partnership with:
Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging

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