From Dialogue to Action — with Shauna Sylvester

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Shauna Sylvester
SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre For Dialogue
SFU's Vancity Office for Community Engagement
Am Johal
Urban Sustainability
community development
social justice
community dialogue
renewable cities
Mike Hurley
City of Vancouver
City of Burnaby

Shauna Sylvester is the former Executive Director of the SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue and is moving on to be the Executive Director of the Urban Sustainability Directors’ Network. Shauna has also been involved in various organizations, such as the Social Planning and Research Council of B.C., the Institute for Media, Policy and Civil Society, Canada’s World, among others. This episode explores the impacts and changes made through these organizations, as well as how Shauna developed an interest for promoting community dialogue.

Am and Shauna also discuss Shauna’s concerns with Canada’s changing place in the world, her focus on getting cities to 100% renewable energy, and her 2018 mayoral run in the City of Vancouver.



Shauna Sylvester is a graduate of McGill University and Simon Fraser University and until recently, served as the Executive Director of the SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue. Currently she is Professor of Professional Practice at SFU Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and in September she is delighted to be moving into a new role as Executive Director of Urban Sustainability Directors’ Network for the US and Canada.

She has co-founded and led five initiatives: the SFU Public Square, Carbon Talks, Renewable Cities, Canada’s World, and IMPACS – the Institute for Media, Policy and Civil Society and has worked with colleagues in launching consortiums like Moving in a Livable Region and Canadian Cities + COP26. Shauna has years of experience working globally, in conflict and post-conflict zones, with incredible women's initiatives, media groups, multilateral processes and civil society organizations.

In the early 1980s and 90s, she was active with HIV/AIDS, disability, peace and environment organizations. She also worked at IDERA – the International Development Education Research Association, CUSO, Community Living Society and Canada World Youth. Shauna co-chaired SPARC BC's first Community Development Institute, the Civicus World Assembly, led the Canadian forestry working group for the EarthSummit, organized the Canadian meeting for the Beijing Women’s conference in 1994 and participated in three COP processes. She has published widely in mainstream newspapers, provided commentary to national and local TV and radio and authored her own climate blog.


The SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue:

The Social Planning and Research Council of B.C. (SPARC BC):

Institute for Media, Policy and Civil Society (IMPACS):

Cuso International:

Canada World Youth:

CIVICUS World Assembly:

Imagine Canada:

Canada’s World:


Fossil of the Year Award:

Carbon Talks:

Renewable Cities:

SFU Public Square:


Semester in Dialogue:

Ecotrust Canada:

The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada (The Circle):

Urban Sustainability Directors Network:

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Johal, Am. “From Dialogue to Action — with Shauna Sylvester” Below the Radar, SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement. Podcast audio, June 7, 2022.