The better way
to get new perspectives

The better way to get new perspectives

The better way
to get new perspectives

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2016 Speaker Line Up

Yoshua Bengio

Head of the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA) and Professor at U. Montreal, Yoshua Bengio is one of the pioneers of Deep Learning and member of the NIPS board. With a PhD from McGill University (1991, Computer Science) and postdocs at MIT and AT&T Bell Labs, he holds the Canada Research Chair in Statistical Learning Algorithms, is a Senior Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and co-directs its program focused on deep learning. He is best known for his contributions to deep learning, recurrent nets, neural language models, neural machine translation and biologically inspired machine learning.

Susan Wener

Susan Wener had a happy marriage, three daughters and the grace of Audrey Hepburn. Then, she received the first cancer diagnosis, heralding a battle that began with one goal – to see her children finish high school. With dismal odds of surviving her second cancer, Susan had one lung removed and refused chemo-therapy. Twenty years later and cancer-free, she released her memoir, Resilience, which became an overnight Canadian best seller. Susan is a therapist for people struggling with life-threatening illness. Susan sits on the Gynecological Oncology Tumor Board at the Montreal Jewish General Hospital. She is the proud grandmother of nine.

Stéphanie Alyson Gravel

My name is Stéphanie Alyson Gravel: transgender woman. How can I be described? Intellectual without a diploma? Specialist without a specific expertise? In my case, it’s virtually impossible to assign titles; I see ideas as blocks of materials first and foremost, from which we can bring forth solutions. I’ve been through many walks of life: ex-military, restaurant employee, IT specialist, electrical apprentice, construction worker, blogger, board member, conference keynote speaker and many more. Throughout these roles, many people develop their unique ways to view the world. I’d like to share mine.

Pierre-Majorique Léger

Professor Pierre-Majorique Léger is a researcher, inventor and entrepreneur. His research seeks to improve the user experience while learning or using technology. He does this by analyzing massive amounts of bio-physiological data that are generated during human-IT interactions, which allow him to qualify emotion and cognitive responses in users. He is a professor of IT at HEC Montreal, as well as invited professor at the prestigious Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College and the Henry B. Tippe School of Management at the University of Iowa. He is the author of over 50 scientific articles, he holds at least 10 invention patents and has also been involved with several start-ups.

Alexis Charpentier

Alexis Charpentier is the founder of the Music Is My Sanctuary website, dedicated to the discovery and sharing of “Forgotten Treasures & Future Classics”. Established in 2007, it is now a highly influential and trusted source for the more adventurous music lovers worldwide. “MIMS” has also introduced side projects like the 24 Hours of Vinyl event series, an artist agency, regular events and weekly radio sessions in partnership with the Phi Centre. For the past 15 years, Alexis has been a pillar of the Montreal scene as a DJ (Lexis) and event organizer. He also tours for worldwide shows and festivals.

Margaret Magdesian

Dr Margaret Magdesian is a neuroscientist studying the mechanism of neuronal degeneration and repair. In collaboration with the Montreal Neurological Institute and the McGill University Department of Physics, she developed a new technique to reconnect neurons 60 times faster than previously reported. In the future, similar techniques may even allow surgeons to reestablish connections after injury. Dr Magdesian’s innovation is one of the latest in the organ-on-a-chip movement, which has the potential to dramatically accelerate biopharmaceutical research. Recently, Dr Magdesian launched a company called ANANDA Devices ( to extend the use of the developed devices and techniques to other fields in medicine.

Lisbet Haglund

Lisbet Haglund is a scientist and holds a position of Associate Professor in the division of Orthopaedics at McGill University. Her research focus is on understanding how back pain arises and how it can be prevented. Lisbet is part of a multidisciplinary team of basic scientists, engineers and spine surgeons; a critical combination to address all aspects of this condition. They have together developed bioreactors where live human tissue can be maintained in an environment mimicking that found in the body. This system opens endless possibilities to learn more about how back pain occurs, and provides a platform to evaluate potential treatment strategies.

Graham Calder

Graham Calder’s formative years on a farm instilled in him a lasting devotion to ecological preservation. Dissatisfied with mainstream environmentalism, Calder gravitated towards the holistic approaches of permaculture, and the broad spectrum of solutions it proposes. In 2009 Calder received a Bachelor’s of Geography and Ecology from Concordia University, and completed his Permaculture Design Certification (PDC) at Pacific Permaculture. Later that year he apprenticed under Geoff Lawton at the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia, where he completed certifications in Earthworks and Permaculture Teaching. In 2009 Calder founded P3 Permaculture: a social enterprise seeking to make permaculture accessible. P3 Permaculture provides permaculture courses and design consultation in Eastern Canada.

Frédéric Berard

Mr Frédéric Bérard, constitutionnalist and political scientist, is Co-Director of the National Observatory on Language Rights as well as lecturer at the Université de Montréal (UdeM) and McGill University. He is the author of the bestselling book “La fin de l’État de droit? (Coup de coeur Renaud-Bray, Gaspard prize list) and co-author of “Précis d’interprétation législative et de l’essai Droit à l’indépendance (booksellers prize, Gaspard prize list). He is, according to the Revue des libraires, one of the « 10 essayists under 40 that is transforming Quebec ». Me Bérard is a septuple recipient of the André-Morel professoral excellence prize (UdeM), as well as recipient of the excellence in teaching prize – doctoral and postdoctoral lecturing (UdeM) and of the Excellence in teaching award (McGill). He is a partner and legal-councillor with the Lex Operandi legal firm, and has recently defended his doctoral thesis in constitutional law, with a unanimous mention of excellence and recommendation to the dean’s honor list.

Amir Raz

Professor Amir Raz is the Canada Research Chair in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University, Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology & Neurosurgery, and Psychology, and Senior Investigator in the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research of the Jewish General Hospital, and a member of the Montreal Neurological Institute in Montreal, Canada. As Canada Research Chair in the Cognitive Neuroscience of Attention, he heads both the Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at McGill University and the Clinical Neuroscience and Applied Cognition Laboratory at the Institute for Community and Family Psychiatry. Dr. Raz is a leader in unlocking the brain substrates of attention and consciousness. Founding Editor-in- Chief of the Journal of Mind-Body Regulation, he is the academic protégé of the legendary Michael Posner, and a former member of the McGill Board of Governors.

Philippe Demers

Philippe Demers follows one principle in all events and brand strategies he develops: the creation of value via art. As an entrepreneur and visionary, Mr. Demers created MASSIVart in 2009, a team of passionate folks who connect artists and companies who share a common vision for artistic content. As the founder of the Chromatic Art Festival, now in its 7th year, he develops opportunities for the public and the arts to meet, and to do so in an immersive experience. Over the years, the festival has gathered over 70,000 people from Montreal, Paris and Toronto, and has included over 500 artists.

Alex Parker

As an associate professor in the department of neuroscience and researcher at the Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal, Alex Parker and his team are working to find new ways to combat neurodegenerative diseases like ALS and dementia. To do this they have enlisted the help of a common worm, C. elegans, to make miniature models of these terrible diseases. A. Parker and collaborators have discovered new ways to cure these animals that may help patients.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I become a speaker for TEDxMontreal?

    Our selection process usually begins with an online form open to all on our website. People can submit their ideas for conferences or speakers. We receive hundreds of suggestions each year!

    A committee dedicated to the programming of the event then reviews the applications and establishes a top 50 of the most interesting suggestions. Subsequently, the 50 candidates are interviewed in order to learn more about their idea.

    Once their ideas have been more deeply explored, a second selection committee – this time consisting of professionals from a variety of fields – examines the applications. The programming committee presents each application to the selection committee and the latter eventually votes to choose the speakers that will be part of the next TEDxMontréal edition.

    Speakers are then coached all year long in order to prepare their talk, not only to make it a success on the day of the event but also to make it even more likely to be shared online in the TED community after the event. The speaker selection and the coaching of the happy few will therefore spread over several months. Currently, the application form is not yet online… But keep an eye out for it on our website or subscribe to our newsletter… The selection for next year should start in January 2016!

  • How do I stay informed about upcoming events?

    Easy: just subscribe to our newsletter. We will send you all the necessary information relative to our future events.

  • How can I attend TEDxMontreal conferences?

    You can apply to attend our 2016 Conference now by filling out an application from here. It will be held on Nov. 12th 2016.

Other questions?

For any other inquiries, please contact us with the form below.

About us

TEDxMontreal is the better way to get new perspectives.

  • About TED

    TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 25 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. The annual TED Conference invites the world’s leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes. Their talks are then made available, free, at TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Al Gore, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The annual TED Conference takes place in Long Beach, California, with simulcast in Palm Springs; TEDGlobal is held each year in Oxford, UK.

    TED’s media initiatives include, where new TEDTalks are posted daily, and the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as the ability for any TEDTalk to be translated by volunteers worldwide. TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world are given the opportunity to put their wishes into action; TEDx, which offers individuals or groups a way to organize local, independent TED-like events around the world; and the TEDFellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to become part of the TED community and, with its help, amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

    Follow TED on Twitter, or on Facebook.

  • About TEDx

    x = independently organized event
    In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. For more information, visit

  • About TEDxMontreal

    TEDxMontreal is a vibrant and stimulating platform for ideas to clash and connect in unexpected ways. On this day, a dozen speakers are given 18 minutes to present the talk of their life. From scientists to engineers, to artists and entrepreneurs, speakers from an array of fields share their perspectives and ideas. TEDxMontreal is much more than a one ­time event. With the talks published online for free, TEDx talks have triggered innovation in all corners of the globe. More than anything, TEDxMontreal aims at sparking genuine curiosity and initiating a love of learning in its most fundamental way. The TED movement has a vibrant presence in Montreal. We catalyze our city’s vitality into an immersive, face-­to-­face, day ­long bilingual experience.