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Master of ceremonies for the protocol section

Yves-Gérard Méhou-Loko

Secretary-General of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESCO)

Yves-Gérard Méhou-Loko is the Secretary-General of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESCO), which has operated under the aegis of the Canada Council for the Arts since 1957. The CCUNESCO is one of 200 national commissions around the world working to advance the mandate of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). As Secretary-General, Yves-Gérard leads the CCUNESCO in its efforts to engage, support and amplify the work of Canadian civil society organizations and knowledge holders in the fields of education, sciences, culture, communication and information.

A global citizen with a passion for education, equity and diversity, and human rights journalism, Yves-Gérard has lived and worked on three continents. He studied political science at Université Laval and the Université du Québec à Montréal and completed a master’s in Public Administration at the École nationale d’administration publique. Previous roles include host and producer for Radio-Canada, senior investigator with the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario, manager of the Ontario Ombudsman’s French Language Services Unit and Equity and Human Rights Commissioner for the Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario.

Born in France with Beninese origins, Yves-Gérard has been the vice-president of the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadiennes du Canada since June 2021 and is very active in defending minority groups.

Conferences moderator

Catalina Briceño

Professor, École des médias, UQAM and Associated, La Société des demains 

Renowned researcher-practitioner known for her analytical skills, and experienced manager, Catalina Briceño has been interested in the digital transition of cultural and media industries since 1998. Her expertise is based first on extensive experience as an executive producer in audiovisual production, followed by over a dozen years in senior management positions within parapublic organizations. 

Since 2010, she has been dedicated to strategic monitoring and trend analysis, particularly in screen production sectors. As such, she established and led the strategic monitoring department at the Canada Media Fund, and since 2018, she has been a professor at the École des medias/UQAM, where she teaches at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

She is also an associate and co-founder of Société des Demains Inc., a foresight consulting firm whose mission is to help cultural decision-makers detect transformation factors and anticipate the effects of these changes on the culture and media economy. In this role, she has worked with both business leaders and public policy makers within state-owned enterprises or directly with ministries. 

Guest Artist

Steve Gagnon

Actor, author and director

Actor, writer and director, Steve Gagnon is a graduate of the Conservatoire d’art dramatique de Québec.

He has made a name for himself through his roles in the series Ruptures, Plan B, L’échappée, Ma mère and the popular daily STAT, as well as numerous roles in theater, notably in Lysis directed by Lorraine Pintal, Je t’écris au milieu d’un bel orage directed by Maxime Carbonneau, Un ennemi du peuple directed. by Édith Patenaude, and Mody Dick directed by Dominique Champagne.

As an author, Steve Gagnon received the 2008 Première Œuvre bursary for his play La Montagne rouge, also a finalist for the Governor General’s Award in 2011. This was followed by Ventre and En dessous de vos corps, je trouverai ce qui est immense et qui ne s’arrête pas. In 2015, Atelier 10 published the essay Je serai un territoire fier et tu déposeras tes meubles. OS: La Montagne blanche, won the Prix Marcel-Dubé and was a finalist for the 2017 Governor General’s Literary Awards. Pour qu’il y ait un début à votre langue, Les étés souterrains and Anna, ces trains qui foncent sur moi were published by Éditions l’Instant même. In 2023, Éditions La Bagnole published the children’s book 22 guimauves autour du monde.

Passed and Future Perspectives on the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions

Sheila Copps

Former Minister of Canadian Heritage 

Canada

The Honourable Sheila Copps has been a prominent figure in Canadian public life for almost 35 years. Known for being feisty and tough, she entered politics in 1981 by becoming the first Liberal in over 50 years to represent the provincial riding of Hamilton Centre. In 1984, she was elected Member of Parliament for the riding of Hamilton East and was re-elected in five successive elections. Hon. Copps was the first woman to ever hold the position of Deputy Prime Minister and served for ten years in the federal cabinet, both as Minister of the Environment and Minister of Canadian Heritage. Among her achievements, she brought in copyright protection for Canadian recording artists; and led ministers of culture from over 50 nations in the development of the first ever International Network on Cultural Diversity. 

Sheila earned a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in French and English from the University of Western Ontario in London, and pursued further studies at McMaster University in Hamilton and the University of Rouen in France. In 1998, she received an Honourary Doctorate in Law from Université Sainte-Anne in Nova Scotia in recognition of her efforts to promote bilingualism and her commitment to advancing the French language and culture in Canada. 

In recent years, Sheila has been working both in French and English as a journalist, broadcaster, and political commentator. She is the author of two books, Nobody’s Baby and Worth Fighting For. 

Bill Skolnik

Co-chair, CDCE and Representative, Screen Composers Guild of Canada (SCGC)

Canada

Bill Skolnik is a representative of the Screen Composers Guild of Canada and the co-chair of the CDCE since 2017.

He previously served as the CEO and Executive Director of DGC Ontario, where he led all collective bargaining, strategic initiatives, and member services alongside the DGC Ontario team. Prior to his role at DGC Ontario, he held leadership positions in the Canadian Federation of Musicians, was a founding member of the Screen Composers Guild of Canada, served as an administrator for the Musicians’ Pension Fund of Canada, and acted as treasurer for the Association of Canadian Radio Producers. Bill Skolnik is an expert in developing innovative dispositions that impact musicians, composers, and producers working in the canadian film and theater industries. 

 

Louise Beaudoin

Former minister and Chair of the Board of the Regroupement des événements majeurs internationaux (RÉMI) since 2014 

Quebec

Louise Beaudoin, holder of a master’s degree in history from Université Laval in Quebec City, has held various positions including Cabinet Director to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs of Quebec (1976-1981), Quebec’s Chief delegate in Paris (1984-1985), Director of distribution, marketing, and international affairs at Telefilm Canada (1987-1990). Elected as a Member of the Parti Québécois for the district of Chambly in 1994 and re-elected in 1998, she held several ministerial positions during these two terms (1994-2003), including Minister delegate for Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs, Minister of Culture and Communications, Minister responsible for the Charter of the French Language, and Minister of International Relations. She then became an Associate Member at the Montreal Centre for International Studies at the University of Montreal (CERIUM). 

She represented the electoral district of Rosemont in the National Assembly from 2008 to 2012. 

She is currently the President of the Board of Directors of RÉMI (Regroupement des évènements majeurs internationaux). 

 

Hélène Messier

Co-chair, CDCE and CEO, Association québécoise de la production médiatique (AQPM) 

Quebec

Hélène Messier is a lawyer specializing in intellectual property and has been working in the cultural sector for over thirty years. 

Since 2015, she has served as President and CEO of the Association québécoise de la production médiatique after more than 17 years at the helm of Copibec, a copyright collective representing the written and visual arts sector. She was Director of the Union des écrivaines et écrivains québécois from 1988 to 1992, and then worked for six years as Head of Copyright and Director of Business Development and New Media for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 

In addition to sitting on the Board of Directors of the CDEC, she is a member of the Board of Directors of the professional representation committee of Québec Cinéma, the Observatoire de la Culture et des Communications and the Société collective des droits de retransmission. 

A member of the Barreau du Québec, she also holds a master’s degree in public administration. 

 

Véronique Rankin

Executive Director, Wapikoni mobile

Quebec

Véronique has been the General Manager of Wapikoni mobile since October 2021. Before joining the Wapikoni team, she was involved in the creation of the Indigenous organization Puamun Meshkenu alongside Dr. Stanley Vollant and served as its general manager. Throughout her career, Mrs. Rankin has mainly worked within Indigenous organizations and the federal government. 

Cultural security and narrative sovereignty of Indigenous peoples are at the core of her organizational management approach. She also serves on the board of directors of Productions Menuentakuan, the Société de la Place des arts, and the Office Québec-Monde pour la jeunesse (the Offices jeunesse internationaux du Québec). Mrs. Rankin holds a master’s degree and a postgraduate diploma in public administration from ÉNAP. 

Keynote on the impact of artificial intelligence on the diversity of cultural expressions: overview of major legal challenges

Casey Chisick

Partner and Chair, Intellectual Property and Entertainment & Media Law 

Canada

Casey Chisick is a partner at Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, serving as a member of the firm’s Executive Committee, and as Chair of its Intellectual Property and Entertainment, Media & Sports practices. Certified by the Law Society of Ontario as a Specialist in Intellectual Property (Copyright), and having worked as a law professor, a jazz producer, a concert promoter, and a musician, Casey offers his clients a rare combination of recognized expertise in copyright and other IP matters and first-hand experience in the business of entertainment. He provides transactional advice and litigation counsel to clients in a wide array of industries and has appeared in seven seminal copyright appeals before the Supreme Court of Canada. For his work, Casey is recognized as a leader in his field by such authorities as Best LawyersLexpertManagingIPLegal500, and Chambers, where clients describe him as “an all-star.”

Round table on the discoverability of national and local cultural content

Iban Garcia del Blanco

Pre-recorded video

Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and S&D Coordinator on the Legal Affairs Committee  (Alliance of Socialist and Democrats at the European Parliament)

Spain

Ibán García del Blanco is a lawyer majored in cultural management. Before his election as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) he was the Executive President of Acción Cultural Española (AC/E). 

At the European Parliament, García del Blanco has played an instrumental role defining cultural policies and AI. He is the S&D group coordinator on the Legal Affairs Committee, responsible for the protection of intellectual property rights and the ethics in new technologies. He was a member of the EP team negotiating the European AI Act, and he co-leaded an initiative report on virtual worlds. 

In the Culture & Education Committee, he was the EP rapporteur on a report entitled cultural diversity and the conditions of authors in the European music streaming market. He is also S&D co-chair in the Cultural and Creators Friendship Group in the European Parliament. 

 

Renaud Lefebvre

General Manager, French Publishers Association (SNE)

France

Renaud Lefebvre has been the General Manager of the SNE since January 2023. He has consistently been involved in SNE committees, facilitating dialogue between public authorities and private publishing operators for many years. He notably served as the chairman of the legal group from 2012 to 2017, before joining the board and assuming the role of treasurer of the Syndicate.

Renaud Lefebvre has spent the majority of his career in the book and publishing industry. A graduate of HEC, he began his journey in the team of the French Publisher Association before becoming the Sales Director for Balland et EJA (Associated Legal Editions). Joining Éditions Dalloz in 1998, he successively held positions as Director of University Editions, Editorial Director, and from 2006, Deputy General Manager. He navigated the industry’s digital transformations by being at the forefront as the Managing Director of la maison Dalloz in 1998, eventually becoming its President and CEO from 2009 to 2012. At that time, he assumed the presidency of Éditions Francis Lefebvre. Appointed Deputy CEO of the Lefebvre-Sarrut group in 2018, he led the convergence of EFL, Dalloz, and Editions Législatives until 2021 to strengthen their leading position in the French legal publishing market.

 

Jérôme Payette

General Manager, Professional Music Publishers’ Association (PMPA) 

Quebec

Jérôme Payette has been the general manager of the Professional Music Publishers’ Association (PMPA) since 2015. In 2014, he was sent by the Government of Quebec to UNESCO (Paris) to work at the Secretariat for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. Previously, Jérôme held the position of Director of Development for the Orchestre symphonique de Laval and undertook various consulting mandates in the cultural sector for ArtExpert, Torrentiel, and independently. 

 

Carol Ann Pilon

Executive Director, Alliance des producteurs francophones du Canada (APFC)

Canada

Carol Ann Pilon has been the Executive Director of the Alliance des producteurs francophones du Canada (APFC) since 2016. She sits on Telefilm Canada’s Industry Panel and Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, and is a member of the Ontario Film and Television Production Advisory Committee. 

She has served as Executive Director of the Fédération culturelle canadienne-française (FCCF) and the Front des réalisateurs indépendants du Canada (FRIC). Carol Ann holds an Honours B.A. in Communications, Media & Culture from the University of Ottawa. She has also had a career in audio-visual production for over 20 years, during which time she scripted and directed several programs broadcast on Radio-Canada, TFO, TV5, Canal Vie and Bravo. 

 

Claire Pullen

Group CEO, Australian Writers’ Guild & Australian Writers’ Guild

Australia

Claire is the Executive Director of the Australian Writers’ Guild and the Group CEO of the Guild’s group of companies, including AWGACS. AWGACS is the collecting society for royalties for Australian and New Zealand Screenwriters, which distributes millions every year to writers. Prior to working at the Guild, Claire was a Director at several large trade unions, both private and public sector. She began her career as a union organiser, becoming an Industrial Officer and Senior Industrial Officer ensuring fair treatment for workers including paramedics, teachers aides, waitresses, train drivers, public servants, and firefighters.

During her time in the union movement Claire drafted the landmark firefighter occupational cancer list now in place in every state and territory in the country, and completed her Masters of Labour Law from Sydney University. 

Claire has begun her Masters of Copywright Law, but as yet there are no signs of her finishing it. 

Panel discussion on the importance of increased and meaningful transparency of digital platforms around cultural issues

Pierre Trudel

Professor at the Centre de recherche en droit public (CRDP), Faculty of Law, Université de Montréal

Quebec

Pierre Trudel has been a full professor at the Centre de recherche en droit public (CRDP) of the Faculty of Law at the Université de Montréal since 1979. He served as the research director of the Task Force on Broadcasting Policy from 1985 to 1987. He is the co-author of the treatise Droit de la radio et de la télévision (1991). From 2018 to 2020, he was a member of the expert group responsible for reviewing broadcasting and telecommunications laws. In 2022, he co-chaired the expert group on harmful online content established by the Government of Canada. He is a regular columnist for the newspaper Le Devoir. His latest book, Droits, libertés et risques des médias, was published in 2022 by Presses de l’Université Laval. His activities are reported on the website https://pierretrudel.openum.ca/.

 

Sara Bannerman

Professor, Canada Research Chair in Communication Policy & Governance, Department of Communication Studies & Media Arts, McMaster University 

Canada

Sara Bannerman, Canada Research Chair in Communication Policy and Governance, is Professor of Communication Studies at McMaster University. She is the author of Canadian Communication Policy and Law (Canadian Scholars, 2020) and co-editor,  with James Meese, of The Algorithmic Distribution of News: Policy Responses (Palgrave, 2022). She has published two books on international copyright: International Copyright and Access to Knowledge (Cambridge University Press, 2016) and The Struggle for Canadian Copyright: Imperialism to Internationalism, 1842-1971 (UBC Press, 2013)—a history of Canadian international copyright.   She has published in journals such as New Media & Society, Communication Theory, New Political Economy, the Canadian Journal of Communication, Futures,and Information, Communication & Society. 

Round table on promoting linguistic diversity in cultural content

Michael Running Wolf

Technical Lead, Mila – Institut québécois d’intelligence artificielle

Canada

Michael Running Wolf, Lakota and Cheyenne, was raised in a reservation village in Montana with intermittent water and electricity; naturally Michael has a MS in Computer Science, was an engineer for Amazon’s Alexa, taught at Northeastern University, a PhD student at McGill University, and a tech lead at Mila. Michael is researching Indigenous language reclamation using AI and has been awarded an MIT Solve Fellowship, the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, and the Patrick J. McGovern AI for Humanity Prize for his work. 

 

David Adelani

Senior Research Fellow, University College London

Nigeria

Dr David Ifeoluwa Adelani is an DeepMind Academic Fellow/Research Fellow at University College London, an incoming Assistant Professor at McGill School of Computer Science in Canada, a Core Academic Member at Mila – Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute, and a Canada CIFAR AI Chair. Dr. Adelani is also actively involved in Masakhane, a grassroots organization dedicated to advancing natural language processing (NLP) research in African languages.  

He received his Ph.D at Saarland University’s Department of Language Science and Technology, Dr. Adelani’s research primarily focuses on NLP for under-resourced languages, particularly those of Africa. His interests extend to multilingual representation learning, machine translation, and speech processing.   

Peter Kurzwelly

Head of Operations, AI Sweden

Sweden

Peter Kurzwelly is Head of Operations for AI Sweden in Canada. 

AI Sweden is the national center for applied AI and brings together more than 100 partners across the public and private sectors as well as academia. Peter was a part of the founding team when the governmental initiated the initiative back in 2018.  

Peter has been working with innovation and digital technologies for 15+ years in multiple roles as founder of startups, business developer, strategist and advisor/consultant. In his current role he helps organizations create value with the AI toolbox and serves as a bridge between the Canadian and Swedish AI ecosystem. Leveraging the world leading AI-research in Canada with the Swedish public and private sector. 

Interview on the diversity of French-language content in the digital age

Marie-Philippe Bouchard

President-CEO, TV5 Québec Canada

Quebec/Canada

Marie-Philippe Bouchard has been serving as the President and Chief Executive Officer of TV5 Québec Canada since February 8, 2016. She is responsible for all aspects of managing TV5 and Unis TV channels, as well as the subsidiary Épilogue Services Techniques Inc. Since September 2019, she has also held the position of President and CEO of TV5 Numérique. She is the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Centre de recherche en droit public (CRDP), of the Université de Montréal, a board member of the Société de développement commercial du Vieux Montréal (SDC), a board member of the Festival international de Lanaudière, a member of the Assembly of Leaders and Vice-President of Les Médias Francophones Publics (MFP), and Chair of the Philanthropy Advisory Committee of the Faculty of Law at the Université de Montréal. From 1987 to 2016, she held various management and senior executive positions at Radio-Canada in legal services, strategic planning and regulatory affairs, news, digital services, and music. A member of the Quebec Bar since 1985, she holds a Master’s degree in public law from the Université de Montréal and a Certificate in ethics and compliance from the École des dirigeants HEC Montréal.