Keynote Speakers

Dr. James Gilligan

Dr. James Gilligan is on the faculty of New York University where he is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine, Adjunct Professor in the School of Law, and Collegiate Professor in the School of Arts and Science.

For 30 years, Dr. Gilligan was on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School, where he directed the mental health and violence prevention services for the Massachusetts prison system. He has served as a consultant on violent crime and punishment, including war crimes, throughout the United States and around the world.

Dr. Gillligan is the author of several works, including Violence: Reflections on a National Epidemic and Preventing Violence: Prospects for Tomorrow. In his writings, Dr Gilligan argues that overwhelming feelings of shame and humiliation lie at the root of both individual and collective violence; violence in its many forms thus becomes a desperate and risky attempt to gain respect and recognition.

Dr. Gilligan has become one of the leading exponents of shifting our emphasis from punishing violence after it occurs to preventing it before it happens.

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Lieutenant Colonel David Grossman

David Grossman is a former professor of psychology and military science at West Point and a retired Lt. Col. of the US military. This background has given Col. Grossman a unique perspective on the problem of violence. His understanding of how militaries prepare soldiers for combat, and in particular to psychologically prepare them to be able to kill, has led him to reflect on the danger of our increasingly violent culture. Col. Grossman is the author of several books, including the 1995 Pulitzer Prize--nominated book, On Killing: the Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society and On Combat, and the co-author of Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action against TV, Movie and Video Game Violence.

Lt. Col. Grossman continues to train educators and law enforcement officers on school safety issues and has been involved in counselling in the aftermath of several school shootings, including one that affected his family and home community of Jonesboro, Arkansas. Using research-based arguments, he has become a leading critic of our violence-saturated culture and particularly of extremely violent video games, pointing out that this tool is being incorporated into modern military training as a means to train soldiers for combat.

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Bullying Expert Barbara Coloroso

Barbara Coloroso is an internationally known speaker in the areas of education, parenting, bullying, conflict resolution and restorative justice. Ms. Coloroso frequently acts as an educational consultant for school districts, the medical and business community, the criminal justice system and other educational associations in North America and around the world. Her background in sociology, philosophy and special education and her experiences as a classroom teacher, university instructor, mother of three and volunteer in Rwanda have shaped her vision of education. As a parent of sons who attended Columbine High School, she is highly motivated to find solutions to the problems of violence in schools.

Barbara Coloroso is an author of several best-selling books, including The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander, which speaks to how parents and teachers can help to break the cycle of violence, Extraordinary Evil: A Brief History of Genocide and Just Because It’s Not Wrong Doesn’t Make It Right—From Toddlers to Teens, Teaching Kids to Think and Act Ethically.

For Ms. Coloroso, there are clear connections between the small or individual incidents of bullying and the horrors of school shootings and the massive tragedies of genocide that are part of human history. In her closing address, she will explore the power and role of the bystander in the prevention of violence and the need for education to develop an ethic of care.

For more information on Barbara Coloroso, you may consult her website at

Keynote Panel

Dr. Lyne Arcand

Dr. Lyne Arcand has a degree in medicine from the University of Sherbrooke and has practiced emergency medicine for many years. She is currently a medical expert at the Institut national de santé publique du Québec, where she is working on the development and application of effective practices for the promotion of health and prevention throughout the educational system. Her specific areas of interest include the physical, mental, and psychosocial health of youth, student success, cooperative practices in education and interdisciplinarity. She has co-authored many publications with the aim of giving educators practical tools to promote the success, health and well-being of students and worked in collaboration with researchers and public health agencies in France, Quebec, Switzerland and Belgium.

Dr. Elizabeth Meyer

Dr. Elizabeth Meyer, a professor in the School of Education at California State Polytechnic University and writer of numerous books and articles on gender and bullying, has been involved in education and equity work in the US and Canada for the past 15 years, including at Montréal’s Concordia University. While beginning her teaching career as a high school teacher, she learned just how common and destructive homophobic bullying and sexual harassment are in today’s schools. Despite its prevalence, both teachers and administrators are far less likely to intervene in such cases than in other types of school bullying. Dr. Meyer’s research has focused on understanding the obstacles to reducing gendered harassment in schools and examining how both the school climate and our pedagogies need to change to combat this problem. She has written numerous articles and is the author of two books, Gender, Bullying, and Harassment: Strategies to End Sexism and Homophobia in Schools and Gender and Sexual Diversity in Schools.

Dr. Jerzy Nowak

Dr. Jerzy Nowak is the founding director of the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention, established in the aftermath of the horrible tragedy of April 2007. Dr. Nowak, worked passionately at the university to create this student-based, cross-disciplinary center to promote violence prevention and peace at the local and global levels through research, practice and education. He brings much experience to his new role, as a former head and professor of the Department of Horticulture, researcher in sustainable agriculture and educator in Poland, West Germany, Nigeria and Canada, as well as in the United States. He credits his middle daughter for the inspiration for the center, which has taken over the space where most of the horrific events took place as a means to honor the 32 people who lost their lives.

Activist and Educator Karen Ridd

Karen Ridd is an educator in nonviolence and conflict resolution at the University of Winnipeg and has worked in the area of nonviolence throughout North America and abroad. Karen has designed and led workshops for young people, teachers, labor leaders, Cambodian Buddhist monks, Thai farmers, Mohawk activists, and Bangkok human rights workers. She has also worked in El Salvador and Guatemala, where she provided unarmed protective accompaniment for human rights leaders threatened with assassination. Her work with Peace Brigades International has won her numerous awards, including the 1992 Governor-General’s 125th Anniversary Award, the 1990 Canada YM/YWCA Peace Medal and the 1989 Manitoba International Human Rights Achievement Award.