New Brunswick

TEDxUNBSaintJohn brings diversity to a DIVERSEcity

TEDxUNBSaintJohn is an independently organized TED event. Nine speakers take the stage to present on a number of different issues and initiatives taking place not only in our community, but around the world.

Nine individuals take a journey to the stage with their talks in Saint John on Sept. 28

Nine dynamic speakers will take their journey to the stage with "ideas worth sharing" at TEDxUNBSaintJohn on Saturday, Sept. 28 at the New Brunswick Museum

With talks about everything from self-care to loving relationships, inventions to whales, and even emotional literacy, this eclectic group will wrap these issues and initiatives around the theme of DIVERSEcity, as they take place not only in our community, but around the world.

Here are some of the speakers you'll hear at TEDxUNBSaintJohn.

Dima Abou Chaaban

(Mike Heenan / CBC)

Dima Abuo Chaaban is a psychology and cognitive neuroscience graduate. Dima's cultural background is Lebanese, and before finding her home in Saint John, N.B., she grew up in Dubai, UAE.

On Sept. 28,  she'll deliver a talk about the importance of practicing self-care.

Sure, self-care can be a trendy topic these days. But, Dima says, it can too often be overlooked when it comes to actually practicing it.

Dima will dig deep during her talk to discuss the role neuroscience plays in self-care, and the negative side effects people experience when they don't take care of themselves.

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"A burnt out individual is like an uncharged phone," Dima says. "I am passionate about this subject because I want to encourage people to take care of themselves while they are too busy taking care of others."


Jill Corey

(Mike Heenan / CBC)

Jill Corey will take the stage to talk about whales, their importance to our ecosystem, and how climate change is threatening them.

Jill loves the ocean, and she especially loves marine megafauna like whales.

Jill is from Harvey, New Brunswick, and is a marine biology student at UNB. During summers, she works as a marine biologist on whale watching tours. Her signature whale call is famous for never failing.

Jill hopes her TEDx talk will "inspire others to find the love for these animals as I have, and help them to understand why it is imperative that we find a way to save these animals and in turn save our earth!" 

Samuel Crete

(Mike Heenan / CBC)

Sam is from Florenceville-Bristol, N.B. and currently lives in Fredericton. He'll be delivering a TEDx talk alongside his intellectual partner, Sebastian.

The pair of philosophers are going to discuss the theatricality of love, love aesthetics, and how to diversify loving relationships.

"Love is inherently passionate, so it was easy to become passionate about the ideas surrounding love," says Sam.

The pair has been through many drafts of their talk, as it constantly evolves based on their life experiences.

Sam told us he was working at a children's camp this summer, and one teenage camper's musings on love ended up making it into the script for the talk. 


Dahlia Das 

(Mike Heenan / CBC)

When Dahlia Das heard that this year's TEDxUNBSaintJohn event theme was "DIVERSEcity" it inspired the framework for her own talk topic.

Dahlia grew up in Kolkata, India, and now lives in Saint John, N.B. Dahlia will talk about what she thinks cultural diversity really means to the new and long term residents of Saint John.

"As an Indian-Canadian who moved to Saint John (not once, but twice) from Kolkata, halfway across the globe, I call both these starkly contrasting cities home," she says.

"I have absorbed and experienced diversity first-hand - arriving alone, adapting to a new place and steadily making it my own.

"As our city grows, I am ever fascinated by the latent potential of true multicultural integration - an exposure to different ways of life, an exchange of thoughts and values that provide eye-opening insights into the rest of the world, right from our home city. This can really be an enriching growth experience, for those who care to seek beneath the surface."


Nasiyr McGill

(Mike Heenan / CBC)

Nasiyr McGill has had a lot of jobs. He grew up in the United States, between Virginia and Georgia.

He's worked as a model and actor, and now calls Saint John, N.B. home. Here, he's an entrepreneur and creative.

Nasiyr will hit the TEDx stage to talk about the importance of emotional strength and vulnerability in becoming who we are meant to be in this world.

"This message is important for everyone, of course," Nasiyr says. "But being a man myself, it will really address the importance of emotional literacy and expression which seem to be deemed taboo in the current masculine culture."

When he heard that this year's theme was "DIVERSEcity" Nasiyr thought it over and realized, "It's me. I live it."

By sharing his unique perspective with the Saint John community, Nasiyr hopes it will embody the theme. 

Cait Milberry

(Mike Heenan / CBC)

Cait Milberry is a marketing strategist and podcast host from Saint John, N.B. If you think she looks familiar, perhaps it's because you've passed her blue-haired graffiti portrait in downtown Saint John.

Cait will take to the TEDxUNBSaintJohn stage at the New Brunswick Museum to deliver her TEDx talk.

Her goal?  Showing the audience, and Saint John, that they're not alone.

"I want people to know that there are people in this community that care," she says. "I care deeply about people, and about my community. I often think of how big the world is, and yet how lonely it can be."

Her goal is a lofty one: connect with the audience at TEDxUNBSaintJohn so that they stay, in some way, connected forever.


Mark Rector

(Mike Heenan / CBC)

​​​​Mark Rector is an author and professor who splits his time between Ontario and Nova Scotia.

He'll deliver a TEDx talk that's inspired by his recent book, called "OH CANADA! Our Home and Inventive Land".

It's a guide to the history of Canadian inventors, inventions, and firsts.

Ask him about it, and he'll quickly rattle off a list of inventions that, you might be surprised to learn, originated right here in Canada. The list includes the WonderBra, the BlackBerry, the Canadarm, and of course, the telephone.

"I am very passionate about how great and innovative and brilliant this country has been," Mark says.

And he wants other people to be inspired by the stories. 

For more information about these TEDx talks or to get tickets visit the TEDxUNBSaintJohn website.