The multifaceted nature of global health welcomes diverse perspectives and changes the light in which they are viewed. An “unconventional” outlook prompts insightful discussions and emergence on innovative approaches to studying and discussing global health. The Pegasus Conference held on May 2-4 in Toronto, Ontario was of such caliber. Centered on themes of Peace, Global Health and Sustainability, it allowed platform for enticing discussions on disaster, war, violence, equity, culture, natural resources and more. Flavoured with personal accounts, brave leadership, intelligent approaches and sacred humbleness, it created a unique momentum, seldom seen.
Bringing together exemplary speakers, the conference truly portrayed the multidisciplinary landscape of examining global health issues. Day 1 was propelled by a plenary on sustainability with discussions around advocacy, water crisis and indigenous rights; this included an inspiring talk by Elizabeth May, an environmentalist and leader of the Green Party in Canada. Concurrent symposia centered on themes of migrant health, refugee health, interfaith peace and entrepreneurship left attendees muddled. Compensation through active tweeting (Official hashtag on Twitter: #Pegasusconf) by both by conference organizers and attendees however, allowed for catching up on intellectual exchange.
Day 2 was a big one is several ways. It was kick started by a panel on international work force combining both clinical and professional perspectives. Mid day was filled with an impactful plenary by Setsuko Thurlow, Order of Canada who shared her personal accounts on the nuclear attack at the Hibakusha, Japan. Knowledge powered by emotions left the audience in awe – silence in conference hall was evidently submerged in horror and wonder at the same time. This was followed by an intriguing presentation by Rachel Thibeault on social healing through community-based rehabilitation. Her innovative ideas fostered critical discussion via questions by conference attendees who saw aspects of social healing in their current work. This plenary was wrapped up by a videoconference by Hatin Kannaneh on health and politics, with focus on Palestinian citizens of Israel.
Busy afternoon was filled with the poster session including presence by MentorNet. Presenting results from the past 2 years, this session (and the conference!) provided platform for partnership, reconnection with mentors and most importantly, opportunity for dialogue with our target audience – Students and Young professionals! We were extremely pleased with the interest, inquisitiveness and passion for engagement in global health.
Poster presentation by Katia Wong (right), Co-director, CSIH MentorNet and Shweta Dhawan (left), Program Liaison, CSIH MentorNet
CSIH MentorNet Poster at Pegasus Conference, May 2014
Excitement for THE presentation of the night was evident at the booking signing by Ziauddin Yousafzai, father of Malala Yousafzai. Attendees, particularly students and young professionals, gathered around the table to converse, take a picture or and get their personal book copies signed by him (I sure had my fan girl moment!). The evening was capped off with an incredible talk coupled with reflections from personal life, insight into Malala’s upbringing, and the Malala Movement for Girls’ education. Among several emotions, he certainly touched our hearts with his humbleness, intelligence and social awareness. Welcoming questions from intrigued minds, he spoke about his passion for girls’ education, politics, religion and what the future holds for the inspiring Malala.
Ziauddin Yousafzai, father of Malala Yousafzai at the Pegasus Conference
Albeit short, day 3 provided a power packed closing to what was an enriching learning experience. Connecting conversations to local issues such as poverty, discussion on international issues through lens of creative arts and wrap up discussion on lessons from the past 50 years on the topic of chemicals and radiation.
Like it’s very name, The PEGASUS conference was coupled with inspiration, knowledge and wisdom for all. A conference that is likely to evolve the way you see global health!
This post was written by Shweta Dhawan (@ShwetaDhawan1), Program Liaison, CSIH MentorNet.