Shauna Sylvester


Pronouns: she/her

Shauna Sylvester is the Executive Director of Simon Fraser University’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, a Professor, Professional Practice in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, a proud mother and a relationship focused leader.

Shauna is committed to excellence in public engagement and hosting difficult conversations. For over 30 years she has served as a convenor and facilitator to hundreds of citizen, community and stakeholder dialogues at the local, national and global level. She has led several complex global dialogues on climate and peace, dozens of national dialogues on democracy, foreign policy and energy and hundreds of dialogues locally on urban issues such as transportation and housing.

Shauna has written and edited several publications related to foreign policy, social and environmental issues and has provided policy advice to governments and foundations on subjects as varied as climate change, human security, media and democratic development. She is a sought-after speaker and a committed educator and has designed intensive courses for SFU’s Semester in Dialogue on Urban Energy Futures and Democracy.

As a social entrepreneur, Shauna is the Co-founder and first Executive Director of five Pan-Canadian initiatives: the SFU Public Square, Renewable Cities, Carbon Talks, 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.

In addition to her international work, Shauna is involved in her community. She is the current Chair of the Tamarack Institute and served in board leadership positions with Mountain Equipment Cooperative, Vancity Credit Union, Vancity Capital Corporation, the Voluntary Sector Initiative, the BC Assessment Authority and numerous non-profit organizations.

Shauna has been recognized as an SFU Outstanding Alumni, a Simons Foundation Canada Peace Leader, Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 in the Globe and Mail and Top 40 under 40 in Business in Vancouver Magazine in 2000.

Selected Media & Publications

How do we drive change together as a community? (Nov 23 | REN21 Keynote speech, Collective Leadership)

Leadership & Innovation (Nov 6, 2020 | Tamarack Institute Board of Directors Webinar Series)

Moderator: The 2020 Provincial Election All Candidates’ Forum on Mobility & Land Use (Oct 23, 2020 | YouTube)

Dealing with the Present (Oct 9, 2020 | Creative Mornings)

Day of Democracy: Building Resilient and Relevant Public Institutions (Sept 16, 2020 | Massey Dialogue)

Shauna Sylvester: Building a Life by Exchanging Ideas and Dialogue (Dec 24, 2019 | Careers That Matter)

Is Canada’s Democracy in Trouble? (Oct 18, 2019 | Conversations that Matter)

How is nativism and the appeal of populism shaping democracy in Canada? (Aug 28, 2019)

Strengthening Canadian Democracy: What Works, When and Why? (May 17, 2019)

COP 21 in Paris (Dec 4, 2015)

Making Cities Renewable (Sept 19, 2015 | Conversations that Matter)

Moderator: Vancouver’s Story Renewable Cities Global Learning Forum (July 7, 2015)

Plenary, Renewable Cities Powered by PechaKucha (July 7, 2015)

Bright Green Summer Launch Event (June 30, 2015)

From Local to Global Challenges, What Needs to Be Done for a Successful COP21 in Paris? (Mar 31, 2015)

Beyond Harold Innis (2014, The Walrus Talks Energy)

Beyond the Politics: The Benefits of Moving in a Livable Region – Vancouver (Mar 21, 2014)

From Debate to Dialogue (Sept 16, 2013 | Walrus Talk, Victoria BC)

Shauna Sylvester and Edwin Rutsch: How to Build a Culture of Empathy (Aug 29, 2013)

SFU Alumni Annual Gathering (May 30, 2012)

Canada's World: Democracy In The Making (Oct 23, 2007)

Phone: 778.782.7895