Panel to talk about social justice for a more empathetic world

A CFI panel will engage young adults in reflecting on the importance of humanities and social sciences research in solving global challenges

Researchers Lindsay Galway, Lesley Gittings, Manu Sharma, and Rinaldo Walcott

OTTAWA, May 11, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Young adults are navigating a rapidly changing world where climate change, social justice, and the economic and societal aftermath of the pandemic will be the defining events of their youth. But with change comes an extraordinary opportunity for this generation to embrace a more empathetic value system and define their own futures.

To help mark its 25th anniversary, the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) will be holding a panel May 16, 2022 (from 3 to 4:30 EDT), as part of the 2022 Congress of the Federation for Humanities and Social Sciences (FHSS).

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The panel hopes to engage young people in answering the question, “What does social justice mean for you today, and how can research help advance it to forge the future you want?

Four experts will address this question by sharing their research in fields ranging from climate activism, social justice learning, queer and gender difference, and health and well-being.


Lesley Gittings, University of Toronto

Lesley Gittings is a postdoctoral research fellow with an interest in social justice, and the social and structural factors that shape health across the life course. Her research focuses on understanding and addressing gender inequities and social determinants of health for HIV and sexual and reproductive health (SRH)-related outcomes; and engaging participatory and community-based research approaches for the empowerment and well-being of adolescents from marginalized communities.


Lindsay Galway, Lakehead University

Lindsay Galway is an interdisciplinary health researcher trained in public health and environmental health. Her work spans the social, natural and health sciences, and aims to bring together multiple perspectives to comprehensively understand and collaboratively address complex social-ecological challenges, with a focus on climate change. Dr. Galway’s areas of expertise include: planetary health, ecological determinants of health, climate change and health, and environmental justice.

Manu Sharma, Thompson Rivers University

Manu Sharma is an Assistant Professor at Thompson Rivers University in the Faculty of Education and Social Work, where she teaches foundational courses in the Masters of Education program. Dr. Sharma’s research interests and publications in the field of education are based on equity initiatives, critical curriculum studies, social justice pedagogy, deficit thinking, action research, educational law and international teaching experiences. She is currently working on a project that analyzes social justice initiatives in six Canadian secondary schools.

Rinaldo Walcott, University of Toronto

Rinaldo Walcott is Professor of Black Diaspora Cultural Studies in the Women and Gender Studies Institute, and a member of the Graduate Program at the Institute of Cinema Studies at the University of Toronto. From 2002-07 he held the Canada Research Chair of Social Justice and Cultural Studies at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Dr. Walcott’s teaching and research is in the area of Black diaspora cultural studies and postcolonial studies, with an emphasis on questions of sexuality, gender, nation, citizenship and multiculturalism.

The panel will include short presentations followed by a moderated open discussion among attendees and researchers about the importance of social sciences and humanities research in solving global challenges that matter to young people now, and in the future.

While geared for young adults, the invitation to attend this panel session is open to everyone.

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For updates, follow us on Twitter @InnovationCA, LinkedIn, Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel to find videos about the CFI and its transformative research projects. Follow our 25th anniversary activities through #PromisingFutureNow.

About the Canada Foundation for Innovation

For 25 years, the Canada Foundation for Innovation has been making financial contributions to Canada’s universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research organizations to increase their capability to carry out high-quality research. The CFI invests in infrastructure that researchers need to think big, innovate and push the boundaries of knowledge. It helps institutions to attract and retain the world’s top talent, to train the next generation of researchers and to support world-class research that strengthens the economy and improves the quality of life for all Canadians.

A promising future, now
25 years of investing in ideas that change our world

For more information:
Benoît Clément
Media Relations and
Social Media Specialist
Canada Foundation for Innovation
C: 613-943-2580

Photos accompanying this announcement are available at

Lindsay Galway, Lakehead University Lesley Gittings, University of Toronto Manu Sharma, Thompson Rivers University Rinaldo Walcott, University of Toronto