Opening Session Speakers

Her Honour, the Honourable Salma Lakhani was installed as Alberta’s 19th Lieutenant Governor in August 2020. She was born and raised in Kampala, Uganda and pursued post-secondary studies at the University of Manchester in the UK. Her life took an unforeseen turn during a summer visit home to Kampala in 1972, when it was announced that the country’s entire Asian minority population was to be expelled. Salma’s parents pressed her to return immediately to England, but within three months her family would be stripped of virtually everything and Salma would be stranded in England with no funds and no valid passport. She had become a stateless person. Thankfully, Salma and her fellow exile and future husband, Zaheer Lakhani, learned their tuitions would be covered by the British government, and Salma completed her Honours degree in Clinical Biochemistry at the University of Manchester while Zaheer graduated in Medicine from the University of Leeds. In 1977, the University of Alberta accepted Zaheer’s application to continue his postgraduate studies in Edmonton and the Lakhanis moved to Canada.

Once in Edmonton, Salma became one of the first mentors in NorQuest College’s Youth in Transition program, providing guidance for students learning English as a second or additional language, and she was a founding member of the college’s “1000 Women: A Million Possibilities” movement. Salma has also shared her skills, energy and passion for service with the Lois Hole Hospital for Women, Kids Kottage, Sorrentino’s Compassion House, the Alberta Cancer Board, the Zebra Foundation, and the Aga Khan Foundation Canada. She has further demonstrated her commitment to fostering diversity and understanding through her work as a board member of the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights.

Lieutenant Governor Lakhani has received the Alberta Centennial and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medals in recognition of her services to community and civil society. NorQuest College awarded her an Honorary Diploma in Community Services Leadership in 2019 and, upon her installation as Alberta’s vice-regal representative, she became a member of the Alberta Order of Excellence and Chancellor of the Order. Her Honour is Vice-Prior of the St. John Council for Alberta and a Dame of the Order of St. John. She received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Alberta in 2021.


Chancellor Peggy Garritty was elected to her position at the University of Alberta in March 2020. Chancellor Garritty served as Chief Reputation and Brand Officer for ATB Financial for more than ten years, where her focuses were corporate responsibility, community engagement and investment, and program and sponsorship initiatives. Chancellor Garritty is past chair of the board for the Winspear Centre and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, and she now chairs the board for the Edmonton Screen Industries Office, is a member of the board for the Art Gallery of Alberta and serves as an Executive Fellow for the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary. She previously served as a member of the Advisory Board for the Children’s Wish Foundation and the Alberta Mental Health Foundation, and was a founding member of the St. Albert Community Foundation. Chancellor Garritty holds two degrees from the University of Alberta – a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and a Master of Arts degree in Sociology. She also is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD.D). In 2013 she was awarded a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal. 


Dr. Bill Flanagan is the 14th President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Alberta. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and Philosophy from Carleton University, a JD from the University of Toronto, a DEA in International Economic Law from Université Paris I-Sorbonne, and an LLM from Columbia University. After joining Queen’s University’s Faculty of Law in 1991, he concentrated his scholarly interests on corporate law, international trade law, and property law. From 2005 to 2019, Dr. Flanagan served as Queen’s Dean of Law, where he oversaw the establishment of the Law faculty’s PhD program, an innovative online undergraduate Certificate in Law Program, and the university’s Centre for Law in the Contemporary Workplace. Dr. Flanagan was born and raised in Alberta, and so his return to his home province was a welcome and familiar change. Outside of his academic career, Dr. Flanagan is a widely-recognized supporter of HIV/AIDS research and initiatives and he is the current chair of the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research’s National Working Group.


Dr. Pierre-Yves Mocquais is the current Dean of Campus St-Jean at the University of Alberta. His research has concentrated on French Canadian literature, the experiences of francophonie in minority language contexts and Francophone culture of the Canadian prairies. He has been a prolific editor of western Canadian literature collections, including Langages et écritures de l’exil: L’ouest canadien, terre d’asile, terre d’exil, published in 2018. Dr. Mocquais is a recipient of the prestigious French Order of Academic Merit, Officier dans l’Ordre des Palmes académiques, in recognition of his contributions to research on the francophonie.


Dr. Steve Patten was appointed Interim Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta in July 2020. As a Professor in the Political Science Department at the University of Alberta, he has produced extensive research on contemporary Canadian partisan conservatism and how party-oriented political ideologies shape the quality of democracies. Having received his PhD in Political Science from York University, Dean Patten has been at the University of Alberta since 2001. In 2018 he helped to establish the Signature Areas of Research and Creative Collaboration to support existing and emerging networks of interdisciplinary research across the Faculty of Arts.


A lifelong educator, Dr. Florence Glanfield is currently the Vice-Provost (Indigenous Programming and Research) and Professor of Mathematics Education in the Department of Secondary Education at the University of Alberta. A Métis woman who calls northeastern Alberta her home, Dr. Glanfield has been a leader in exploring how math education is taught and experienced, and her work has been recognized with awards including the 1995 Alberta Mathematics Educator Award from the Mathematics Council of Alberta Teachers’ Association, the 2017 Kay Gilliland Equity Lecture Award from the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics, and the 2018 Special Award Recognition from the Mathematics Council of Alberta Teachers’ Association. Her perspectives on the connections between Indigenous ways of knowing and learning success in the STEM fields has made her a sought-after presenter in conferences across North America. She has been with the University of Alberta since 2007.


Dr. Raymond Théberge took office as Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada in January 2018. Commissioner Théberge holds a PhD in linguistics from McGill University in Québec. He held a number of leadership positions before coming to the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, including President and Vice Chancellor of the Université de Moncton in New Brunswick and various senior-level public servant positions in Ontario and Manitoba. He has significant experience with official language minority communities and extensive experience in academia, which have given him the opportunity to work across Canada.The Commissioner is a well-known published author on the subject of official language minority communities. Commissioner Théberge has served on Boards of Directors of a number of organizations, including the Association des collèges et universités de la francophonie canadienne and the Agence universitaire de la Francophonie. He was previously Director General of the Société franco manitobaine and President of the Centre d’études franco canadiennes de l’Ouest.