Science Centre Leaders Collaborate at the 5th Science Centre World Congress in Toronto



    The Ontario Science Centre welcomes counterparts to discuss the power of
    Science Centres as Agents of Change

    TORONTO, June 16 /CNW/ - Over four hundred delegates from six continents
are converging at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from June 15 to 19, 2008
for the triennial 5th Science Centre World Congress, hosted by the Ontario
Science Centre. The world's top science centre leaders along with colleagues
from academic institutions, corporations and government are meeting to explore
the theme of Science Centres as Agents of Change.
    "The Congress theme, Science Centres as Agents of Change - Locally,
Nationally, and Internationally, addresses the role science centres play
around the world to inspire and actively engage people in new ways of seeing,
understanding, and thinking about themselves and the world around them," said
Lesley Lewis CEO of the Ontario Science Centre and Congress Chair. "To
stimulate our thinking we have invited respected international leaders, from
within and outside our field, to provide insight and inspiration."
    The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Federal Minister of Finance, the Honourable
Aileen Carroll, Ontario Minister of Culture, and Deputy Mayor of Toronto Joe
Pantalone joined Ontario Science Centre CEO Lesley Lewis to officially welcome
delegates from 51 countries at the opening ceremony. Ontario Premier Dalton
McGuinty and the Honourable John Wilkinson, Minister of Research and
Innovation, both out of town, sent greetings via video.
    "The Ontario Science Centre and Science North are two of the world's
leading science centres," said Ontario Culture Minister Aileen Carroll. "The
McGuinty Government is proud to foster a culture of innovation by sponsoring
the first Science Centre World Congress in North America. I warmly welcome the
delegates and hope they take the time to discover Ontario while they are
here."

    Keynote Speakers

    Each day, the congress will host provocative keynote and plenary sessions
uniquely designed to stimulate discussion. Keynote speakers are selected from
outside the science centre field while plenaries involve leaders within the
field responding on the same topics.
    One of the conference highlights is an address on Social Responsibility
and Science Centres by Stephen Lewis, former United Nations Ambassador, and
Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa. Considered one of the world's most
influential speakers on international development, human rights and social
justice, Lewis was named by TIME magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential
People in the World in 2005, sharing company with such figures as the Dalai
Lama and Nelson Mandela. He is also a Companion of the Order of Canada, the
country's highest honour for lifetime achievement.
    Other keynote speakers at this congress include:

    
    -   Jennifer Corriero, an Ontario Science Centre School alumna, is
        co-founder and executive director of TakingITGlobal, a non-profit
        organization that provides an online portal for young people to find
        inspiration, access information and get involved in improving their
        local and global communities. Her topic: Creating the Future.
        Corriero was named "Youth Global Leader" by the World Economic Forum,
        and was identified as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada by
        the Women's Executive Network in 2005.

    -   Dr. Mohamed H.A. Hassan, Executive Director of the Academy of Science
        for the Developing World, and Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Inuit leader,
        advocate/activist Arctic climate change and 2007 Nobel Peace Prize
        nominee. They will be speaking together at a session entitled: Planet
        Earth: Living on It, Changing It, and Sustaining It.
    

    At the Congress participation by science centre leaders from every
continent will provide new insights and opportunities for learning and ongoing
collaboration. Science Centres stimulate curiosity and develop enquiring
minds. They change people's lives, influencing their attitudes and thinking.
They foster positive attitudes towards science, help people to appreciate the
context of scientific advances and understand how science affects their lives.
    At the end of the congress, a new benchmark for Science Centre World
Congresses will be established. For the first time, the global science centre
community will make a shared statement of beliefs and commitment. The Toronto
Declaration will review the role of science centres in the world today and set
an inspirational agenda for the future. The Declaration will be signed at the
Congress by the leaders of regional science centre networks on every
continent. As delegates leave the Congress, they will be invited to add their
signatures; science centre leaders who were unable to come to Toronto can
signal their support through the congress website. At the next World Congress,
to be held in South Africa in 2011, delegates will assess progress towards the
goals of the Toronto Declaration.

    A Green Congress

    The Ontario Science Centre has made a commitment to environmental
sustainability by delivering a green congress. Registration fees include a
"green levy" to be applied to the cost of carbon offsetting. Congress
organizers chose Offsetters Climate Neutral Society, a Canadian non-profit
organization that invests in projects using the next generation energy
sources. Projects include the replacement of charcoal burning stoves with
solar powered ones in West Africa; building groundsource heat pumps to produce
energy at a school in the Secwepemc territory of British Columbia; and using
waste wood to fuel an energy efficient boiler to heat a green house--the
amount of C02 emitted into the air is equal to what would be released by
natural decomposition.
    Other measures include extensive use of electronic communications,
post-consumer paper goods and vegetable inks, and selection of the Metro
Toronto Convention Centre, a facility designed for energy efficiency and waste
reduction, and situated near public transit, as the venue. For further details
visit the congress website www.5SCWC.org.

    Sponsors

    The government of Ontario is the lead sponsor of this congress. Other
partners come from an impressive range of leaders in innovation, including
Presenting Sponsors Nortel and Siemens Canada; Plenary Sponsor Natural
Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada; and IMAX Corporation as
Sponsor of the Keynote speech Creating the Future.

    About the 5th Science Centre World Congress

    The Ontario Science Centre is hosting the 5th Science Centre World
Congress from June 15 to 19, 2008 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in
Toronto. Themed Science Centres as Agents of Change - Locally, Nationally and
Internationally, this is the first time that the congress is being held in
North America. This triennial international congress brings together CEOs and
senior decision makers from the world's leading science centres to discuss
issues and opportunities in the field, and the central role science
organizations play in increasing the public's engagement with science.





For further information:

For further information: or to arrange interviews, please contact: Anna
Relyea, Assoc. Director, Strat. Com., T: (416) 696-3273,
anna.relyea@osc.on.ca, Cell: (416) 668-1967; OR Christine Crosbie, Media
Relations Officer, T: (416) 696-3191, christine.crosbie@osc.on.ca, Cell: (416)
895-5482


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