TD Presents

The Walrus Talks Cities of Migration

Surrey 7:00 p.m. PST, Thursday, September 29, 2016

In Defence of Ghettos Kamal Al-Solaylee
Beyond the Keys to a Successful Welcome Queenie Choo
Migration: Our Collective Story Mary Clare Zak
Inclusive Design Michael Heeney
A Voice for the Voiceless George Abraham
Dance! Carmen Aguirre
Flow, Rhythm, and Migration Big Love and Kalvonix
TD Presents The Walrus Talks Cities of Migration (Surrey 2016) FULL SHOW


  • George Abraham, founder and publishing director, New Canadian Media
  • Carmen Aguirre, actor, author, and playwright
  • Kamal Al-Solaylee, author and university professor
  • Queenie Choo, CEO, S.U.C.C.E.S.S.
  • Michael Heeney, principal, Bing Thom Architects
  • Rick “Big Love” Kumar and Calvin “Kalvonix” Tiu, rappers
  • Mary Clare Zak, managing director, social policy & projects, City of Vancouver
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George Abraham has been a journalist in five countries, adapting his craft to suit local conditions. He is the founder of New Canadian Media, which offers an immigrant take on Canadian current affairs and has the support of the mainstream media, journalism schools, and think tanks.


Photo credit: Alejandra Aguirre


Carmen Aguirre, a Vancouver-based award-winning theatre artist, wrote The Trigger, The Refugee Hotel, and Blue Box. She is currently working on three new plays: Anywhere but Here, The Trial of Tina Modotti, and Broken Tailbone. Her bestselling first book, Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter, won CBC’s 2012 Canada Reads competition. Carmen has eighty film, TV, and stage acting credits and is a Theatre of the Oppressed workshop facilitator. She is a graduate of Studio 58.

Photo credit: Gary Gould


Kamal Al-Solaylee is an associate professor at Ryerson University’s School of Journalism. He holds a Ph.D. in English and is the author of Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes, which won the Toronto Book Award and was a Canada Reads finalist. The Globe and Mail called his second book, Brown: What Being Brown in the World Today Means (to Everyone), “essential reading.” @KamalAlSolaylee


Queenie Choo is the CEO of S.U.C.C.E.S.S., one of the largest non-profit social-service agencies in BC, where she brings a results-oriented approach and a genuine sensitivity to people. Queenie received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and she was a nominee for Canadian Immigrant’s Top 25 Canadian Immigrants list and the YWCA’s Women of Distinction Award. @queeniechoo


Michael Heeney has worked for over twenty years with Bing Thom Architects, helping clients make decisions about responsible design. Michael is also engaged in theatre, and he explores the connections between producing great plays and creating great architecture. He served on the boards of the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Downtown Vancouver Association, and the Vancouver chapter of Lambda Alpha International. He is a member of the Vancouver Economic Commission and the PuSh Festival board.

Rick bio pic

Rick “Big Love” Kumar is a philanthropist, an outreach program presenter, and a winner of the Surrey Board of Trade’s Top 25 Under 25 Award. He is now working in education, where he hopes to inspire young people to embrace their creative potential. @OneLonelyPoet

calvin bio pic

Calvin “Kalvonix” Tiu is a rapper, songwriter, motivational speaker, and aspiring counsellor. Calvin was born with cerebral palsy but hopes to live his dreams despite daily challenges. He has a professionally produced music video, an album, and a published essay, and he won the Surrey Board of Trade’s Top 25 Under 25 Award. @Kalvonix

Mary Clare Zak

Mary Clare Zak has worked for all three levels of government as well as the non-profit sector, and has experience in immigration, multiculturalism, anti-racism, programs for women and people with disabilities, children’s rights, and reconciliation with Aboriginal communities. She is a part-time master’s student at Simon Fraser University, studying how local governments can address urban inequality, chronic disease, and climate change.

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Questions about the Walrus Talks? Read our FAQs here.

The Walrus Talks is a national series of events produced by the Walrus Foundation. Each event offers thoughtful, inspiring thinking from scholars, writers, performers, scientists, artists, and business leaders.