The Centre for All Canadians

Topic announced for 2023 Symons Medal Presentation and Lecture

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– Tickets available now for lecture given by Michael Ignatieff –

September 12, 2023 – One of Canada’s most esteemed academics will give his take on the state of Canadian Confederation on November 8 as the recipient of the 2023 Symons Medal.

Earlier this year, Confederation Centre of the Arts announced that Michael Ignatieff will be the 23rd recipient of the prestigious honour. Ignatieff is a writer, historian, and former politician known for his time as the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. He has worked in teaching and leadership roles at Harvard University, the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia, King’s College Cambridge, and Central European University (CEU). He currently teaches history at CEU in Vienna. Ignatieff has also worked as a freelance journalist for the BBC, The Observer, and other outlets in London, UK. He is the author of eighteen books and holds honorary degrees from fourteen universities as well as the Order of Canada.

The Symons Medal recognizes an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to Canadian life. Held annually, the medal presentation and its associated lecture offer a national platform for an eminent Canadian to discuss the nation’s current state, shared histories, and prospects using themes related to their professional pursuits.

Michael Ignatieff

The title of this year’s lecture is “Canada in the World: Hope, Optimism, and the Human Project”. Ignatieff will discuss issues such as the climate crisis, artificial intelligence, and nuclear war. The lecture asks how we can revive hope in the human project as these issues raise the spectre of humanity’s end, and explores whether Canada is meeting these challenges.

“As the world grapples with overlapping crises, events like the Symons Medal Presentation and Lecture provide the opportunity for reflection and discussion on Canada’s role and how we are doing as a nation,” says CEO Steve Bellamy. Robert Sear, chair of the board of Confederation Centre of the Arts, and co-chair of the Symons Medal Committee, adds, “As a historian, political leader, and expert on international affairs, Michael Ignatieff is well suited to speak on how Canada arrived at this point and how the country can move forward.”

Ignatieff follows a formidable line of Symons Medallists, which also includes diplomat Bob Rae, former Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed, broadcast journalist Shelagh Rogers, environmental activist Dr. David Suzuki, and current Governor General Mary Simon.

The 2023 Symons Medal Presentation and Lecture will take place at Confederation Centre of the Arts in the Sobey Family Theatre on Wednesday, November 8 at 1 p.m. and will also be livestreamed on the Centre’s Facebook and YouTube channels.

Tickets can be booked online at or through the box office at 1-800-565-0278. There is no cost to attend the lecture, but donations can be made to the Symons Trust Endowment Fund of the Confederation Centre of the Arts Foundation. Patrons must have a ticket to enter the lecture and quantities are limited.

The Symons Medal Presentation and Lecture precedes the inaugural Charlottetown Forum, an event that brings together artists, leaders, and the public to convene for discussions on matters of importance to Canadians. More information is available at


Media Contact:  Emily McMahon, Communications Manager, Confederation Centre of the Arts
[email protected] | 902-628-6135

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