Poet Maya Angelou. Comedian Joan Rivers. Former First Lady Laura W. Bush. These are just a few of the inspiring speakers who have appeared in Vancouver recently as part of the Unique Lives speakers series. Showcasing the accomplishments of extraordinary women, Unique Lives is just one of several speakers series held throughout the year on subjects ranging from politics to pop culture and art to entertainment.
Provocative figures from diverse sectors are brought together as part of the Sam Sullivan's Public Salon series. Spearheaded by a former Vancouver mayor, the salons gather ten invited experts from a broad cross-section of the community to debate pressing public policy ideas in a public forum. The audience participates virtually through the use of Twitter and text messages. A recent salon featured a brain research scientist, producer of 60 Minutes, celebrity chef, urban planner, doctor and orchestra conductor all on the same stage.
Meanwhile, the Terry Project, organized by the University of British Columbia, hosts academics, activists and global cognoscenti who speak about pressing issues including poverty, conflict and disease. Held at downtown's Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, the talks have featured a leading evolutionary biologist, a global warming activist and a psychologist who studies human destructiveness.