International Speaker Series
The 2016 Speaker Series focuses on the digital age and how young people, families, and relationships are affected by the ubiquitous nature of technology. In the documentary film Screenagers, physician and filmmaker Delaney Ruston takes a deeply personal approach as she probes into the vulnerable corners of family life, including her own, to explore struggles over social media, video games, academics, and internet addiction. This film explores how learning, playing, and socializing online affects teens' developing attention span, fragile self-esteem, and moral instincts. It contains poignant and unexpectedly funny stories, along with surprising insights from authors, psychologists, and brain scientists. Screenagers reveals how 'tech time' impacts kids' development and offers solutions on how adults can empower young people to best navigate the digital world and find balance.
The idea for a speaker series first came to light in the fall of 2003, when Kuper staff members attended a regimental lecture at the Cote des Neiges Armoury. From that day on, the Kuper administration began toying with the idea of inviting notable speakers, on an annual basis, to address the high school student body. As a result of this deliberation, the creation of an independent transparent organization was accomplished and quickly began the important task of fundraising, which was instrumental to making the Speaker Series a success. Officially beginning in 2005 as a joint school and parent initiative, the International Speaker Series was created to expose students to Canadians who have had an impact on the world stage.
The impact of the Speaker Series cannot be overestimated. High school students and parents alike have had the exceptional opportunity of sharing Romeo Dallaire's experience as a witness to the Rwanda genocide, as well as David Frum's unique view from Washington as the events of the 9/11 tragedy unfolded. In addition, Dr. Somerville provided a deep understanding of scientific ethical issues forcing everyone to revisit his/her beliefs; while Marc Kielburger's stirring narrative of the 'Me To We' mantra touched students and parents alike.
In February 2010, as Dick Pound placed the gold medal around our Canadian athlete's necks, it was heartwarming to think back that we had the opportunity to share in his wisdom in our Kuper community. In 2010, Mr. Jacques Menard provided the Kuper community with insight into the challenges that future generations will be facing and how education will help prepare students to overcome these. In 2011, Mr. Hermann Gruenwald, the last prisoner to walk through the gates of Auschwitz, shared his life motto of "It's not what life does to you, but rather what you do with your life," inspiring words that stressed the importance of overcoming hardship and nurturing resiliency.
During the 2011-2012 academic year, we invited Molly Stroud and Lauren Parsekian, the creators of a documentary entitled "Finding Kind", to share with us their insight into bullying, one of the existential problem facing girls and young women today. The goal behind the film was to make amends, to mend bridges, and to recognize that hurting others does not create a world that we want to share and grow within. This message was disseminated and discussed with the entire high school student body, in addition to all grade five and six classes.
During the 2012-2013 academic year, Kuper Academy hosted Canada’s premier news anchor, Lloyd Robertson. Mr. Robertson attended a student-run press conference in the morning before speaking to the larger student body (grade six through to grade eleven) in the later morning. Mr. Roberston shared his thoughts about life and spoke about some of his memorable experiences as a national television anchor.
In April of 2014, Kuper welcomed the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, Canada’s 18th Prime Minister. Mr. Mulroney shared his thoughts about an era spent in Canadian politics while also giving advice and encouraging students to listen, to work hard, and to remain open-minded over the course of their lives and throughout their education.