Keynote Presenter:  Ovide Mercredi
Thursday, May 28
9:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

cauce_leaf Keynote Presenter:  Stephen Murgatroyd
Friday, May 29
9:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.


Ovide Mercredi

Addressing Diversity and Creating Equitable Access to Post-Secondary and Adult Education            DSCF0115_2

Ovide Mercredi is a Cree born in the northern community of Grand Rapids in 1946. He served his community as Chief of Misipawistik Cree Nation from 2005 to 2011. He was a councillor for three years after his term as chief.

A graduate of the University of Manitoba with a Law degree he practiced criminal law and later specialized in constitutional law as an advisor to Manitoba Chiefs.   Mercredi has worked tirelessly for the rights of First Nations people throughout Canada. He is known as a First Nations leader that speaks eloquently with great passion and clarity.

In 1989, he was elected Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations for Manitoba. He became a key strategist for the Assembly during the time of the Meech Lake Accord constitutional reform discussions. He also had a strong leadership role in helping to resolve the Oka Crisis in 1990.

Ovide Mercredi was elected as National Chief for the Assembly of First Nations in 1991. During his first term he led the negotiations for the First Nations in the Charlottetown Accord. He was re-elected in 1994 and served as National Chief until 1997. He addressed the United Nations in Geneva and New York. He led a human rights delegation of Canadians to the troubled area of the Mexican state of Chiapas.

In addition to serving as a lawyer and politician he co-authored “In the Rapids: Navigating the Future of First Nations” with Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond in 1993. He has contributed articles to other publications. In his spare time, he enjoys painting and writing poetry. Ovide is an advocate of non-violent methods for change and travelled to India when he was nominated for the Gandhi Peace Prize.   He has received honorary degrees from Bishops University, St Mary’s University, The University of Lethbridge and Athabaska University. He received the Order of Manitoba in 2005. In 2010 the Peace and Justice Studies Association awarded him their Social Courage award. In 2013 he was selected as the Distinguished Alumni of the University of Manitoba. He is currently a Senior Advisor to the President of the University of Manitoba.

He was the National Spokesperson for Treaties 1 to 11 from 2006 to 2014, having been chosen in a traditional and customary manner. As National Chief he worked closely with Elders from all regions of Canada. As a Treaty Spokesperson, he continued his practice of seeking the advice and support of traditional Elders.

Ovide serves on the board of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Winnipeg Boldness Project.

Ovide Mercredi is a strong believer in a positive future for all First Nations communities and recognizes the inherent strength and talents of First Nations people. He has always maintained that his people possess the answers to their needs and aspirations. To him healing can be accomplished by the simple application of traditional values such as respect and kindness.


Stephen Murgatroyd
Our High Education System – Our Future: Equity, Innovation and Change.

Stephen has worked extensively with public and private education institutions in Canada (Athabasca University), the US and the UK (Open University), was a former Vice President of a technology company (Axia NetMedia) and has undertaken quality reviews and assessments of online and educational organizations around the world. He recently completed an assessment of the impact of the Commonwealth of Learning in the developing nations of the Commonwealth. He has also worked extensively in health care, over 100 of the Fortune 500 companies and many non-profit organizations. His expertise is as a consultant on organizational change and transformation.

His most recent publication (with Janet Tully) is the  book Rethinking  Post-Secondary Education – Why Universities and Colleges Need to Change and What Change Could Look Like (New York: Lulu Press – it is also available on He is an excellent trainer, facilitator, workshop leader and strategist.

Some Career Highlights Connected to Education

  • Chief Innovation Officer, Contact North I Contact Nord
  • He designed, developed and deployed the world’s first online MBA as Executive Director, Centre for Innovative Management at Athabasca University.
  • Developed a Masters in Leadership using work-based learning for Middlesex University, UK
  • Evaluated online learning and flexible learning designs and strategies for College Boreal, Ontario
  • Assisted seven colleges and three universities in Ontario with respect to flexible and modular learning.
  • Assisted and ran faculty development workshops for the University of Winnipeg Faculty of Business
  • Assisted with and designed learning programs for Industry Canada, Environment Canada and other federal government agencies – some involving 2500+ individuals.
  • Consulted for 100 of the Fortune 500 companies
  • Author of over 40 books, 150 peer reviewed papers, 250 book chapters, articles and magazine contributions
  • Designed quality assurance frameworks for the Maritime Provinces’ Higher Education Commission and undertaken program and institutional reviews across Canada and in Europe.
  • Developed and delivered faculty development programs on online learning for Contact North
  • Undertaken a range of research and evaluation projects on appropriate technologies for learning, innovation systems, and strategic foresight
  • Facilitated collaborative projects between Alberta and Finland and Alberta, Ontario and Norway on K-12 teaching (especially in mathematics)

Stephen’s varied career is summarized at and his profile is also available on Linked In at