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Creating space for transformative conversations


Staff and faculty manage and deliver the core educational and public programming for the Centre for Dialogue, and provide support for affiliated initiatives.


Shauna Sylvester

Director, SFU Centre for Dialogue & Co-Founder and Senior Advisor, SFU Public Square

Shauna is a skilled facilitator, an award-winning social entrepreneur and a passionate public speaker on urban issues, democratic development and climate solutions.  Shauna has founded four organizations including Carbon Talks and Renewable Cities, Canada’s World and IMPACS—the Institute for Media, Policy and Civil Society, a media and democracy organization that operated in Canada and in conflict and post-conflict zones around the world.

Shauna is a Professor of Professional Practice in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, was the co-creator and first Executive Director of the SFU Public Square and serves as the Director of the SFU Centre for Dialogue.

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Grace Lee

Assistant to the Director

Grace Lee joins the team as the temporary Assistant to the Director. Her curiosity and passion to explore has lead her to diverse experiences in the past including Event Planning, Project Management, Public Relations, Communications, Non-Profit Management and Fundraising. Before joining the Centre for Dialogue, Grace worked as a Corporate Events Coordinator at Canadian Tire Corporation in Toronto and Projects Assistant at Maureen McKinnon Consulting. She is a graduate of Simon Fraser University with major in Communications and minor in Print and Digital Publishing.

Kala Harris


As Manager, Kala is responsible for overseeing the business operations for the Centre for Dialogue and Semester in Dialogue. Kala leads a team that oversees finance, human resources administration, and communications for the Centre for Dialogue, including Fellow program streams: Civic Engage, Climate Solutions, Inter-Cultural Interpretation, and International Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution; as well as the Semester in Dialogue undergraduate program and associated project, CityStudio.

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Robin Prest

Program Director, Civic Engage

Robin Prest is the Program Director for Civic Engage, an initiative designed to strengthen the capacity of governments and citizens to work collaboratively on policy decisions. He regularly supports elected officials and senior decision-makers to improve the clarity and impact of public engagement initiatives, and to embed engagement within organizational cultures.

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Jenna Dunsby

Dialogue and Engagement Convenor, Civic Engage

Jenna has spent nearly a decade supporting a wide range of environmental and community development initiatives and offers a strong skill set in public and stakeholder outreach and engagement, group facilitation and event organizing. Her work focuses on strengthening relationships through dialogue, creating space for the transformative conversations needed for us to move forward, together.

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Sebastian Merz

Dialogue and Engagement Analyst, Civic Engage

Sebastian is part of a team to build out the Centre's Civic Engage Program, an initiative designed to strengthen the capacity of governments and citizens to work collaboratively on policy decisions. His approach to dialogue-based engagement is inspired by his background in peace research, conflict resolution, and the study of democracies.

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Linda Bannister

Undergraduate Secretary

Linda Bannister is the Undergraduate Secretary for the Semester in Dialogue and the Centre for Dialogue. From meeting and greeting Semester in Dialogue students, to organizing their reading material, Linda keeps all aspects of the office in good working order and brings a friendliness to all of her work and interactions.

Kelvin Chan

Budget Assistant

Kelvin holds a bachelor’s degree in Geography with a Minor in Communications in Dialogue. He assists in managing the financial processes for the various programs at the centre, and reports to the Manager of the Centre for Dialogue. Kelvin sees dialogue and engagement as an opportunity to be part of a medium that helps us wonder, discover, and be inspired by an individual’s unique narrative.

Gerilee McBride

Design & Communication

Gerilee McBride has a BFA in Visual Arts in the discipline of painting from Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design, a Post Baccalaureate in Communication from SFU and a Master of Publishing from SFU. She provides web and design services and is responsible for developing a variety of print and web-based communication and marketing materials for both the SFU Centre for Dialogue and the SFU Semester in Dialogue.

Brenda Tang

Administrative Manager (on maternity leave)

Brenda Tang started her work with the Centre for Dialogue in 2004 with Dialogue Programs. After a brief stint working in real estate marketing, Brenda returned to the Centre working under the Academic Director managing department and project budgets, marketing and website updates, event planning and logistics as well as all aspects of administration. Brenda has been employed in numerous departments within SFU and also has a background of working in the downtown eastside, marketing for the non-profit arts and teaching English in Guangzhou, China. She holds a BA in Communications from SFU.