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Nobel Laureate Maria Ressa, to Headline DemocracyXChange in Toronto, March 25th

Jan 17, 2023

Canada’s Top Democracy Summit Returns in March 2023

After two-and-a-half years apart, we’re excited to announce that Canada’s DemocracyXChange (DXC) Summit returns to Toronto this March with Nobel Peace Prize-winning laureate, press freedom fighter and author of a new memoir, How to Stand Up to a Dictator: The Fight for Our Future, Maria Ressa. 

Ressa spent decades exposing state-sponsored corruption in South-East Asia as an investigative journalist for CNN. She is an expert on the weaponization of social media, and she touches down in Toronto to kick off Canada’s marquee conference on democracy, which takes place at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) and OCAD University, from March 23-25, 2023. 

Co-presented by OCAD University, the Leadership Lab at Toronto Metropolitan University, and Open Democracy Project, the fourth DemocracyXChange Summit will bring together students, researchers, practitioners, public servants, community organizers, and leaders from the private, public and not-for-profit sector to connect, learn and emerge with new partnerships, plans and actions to strengthen democratic institutions and civil society.

In their report, Rebuilding Canada’s Public Square, research from the Leadership Lab found that more than one in three Canadian residents report encountering harmful content online at least weekly, and that number rises to about half of those who regularly use social media for news and current events. Social media platforms are having a toxic influence on society and democracy, enabling hate speech and harassment, and fueling real-world violence and exploitation.

To beat back this trend and mobilize new solutions, DemocracyXChange 2023 will include live talks, hands-on workshops, networking opportunities, and special guests, with a focus on three core themes: 

  1. Integrity of information

  2. Economic and social inequality, and 

  3. Trust in governance

We'll look at democratic resilience —- the ability of our democracies to withstand threats from the outside and the inside —- throughout the Summit.

#DXC23 is the event of the year for change-makers who care about defending democratic values, and want to help tackle some of the most pressing problems of our generation - from countering far-right extremism to rampant nationalism, growing disinformation online, and a lack of representation at today’s tables of power. 

Register Now A special discounted rate is available for students who are essential voices in the fight for democracy. More speakers and event details will be added in the coming weeks. Sign up here to get #DXC23 community news and updates. 



“With so many forces challenging the idea of democracy globally and within Canada, it is critical that we bring together a multi-stakeholder group which includes public and private sector leaders, students, community organizers, artists and designers to work collectively to protect democratic practices and reimagine our future, ” said Ana Serrano, President and Vice-Chancellor at OCAD University, and Co-Chair of Open Democracy Project, “This work includes foresighting activities such as the vibrant Democracy Futures workshops planned and facilitated by OCAD U’s Super Ordinary Lab where invited summit participants will address how we intentionally design our sustainable, equitable and just futures.”

“We’re at a pivotal moment for democracy in Canada and democracies around the world,” said Karim Bardeesy, Executive Director of the Leadership Lab and the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship at TMU. “It’s time to re-connect pro-democracy voices, confront the corrosive forces that erode public trust, and reignite progress that delivers positive change for people.” 


OCAD University (OCAD U) is a vibrant community of bold, curious and compassionate artists, designers and scholars who are imagining and creating a joyful, equitable and sustainable world. OCAD U is Canada’s oldest and largest art, design and digital media university whose artists, designers, makers, scholars and creatives are shaping conversations about the present and future of Canadian society and reimagining a world in flux through art and design practices and scholarship.

OCAD U embraces collaborative and interdisciplinary approaches to change-making through art, design-thinking curriculum and research making OCAD U a local, regional, national and global leader in art and design.

For inquiries or an interview, please contact Karen McCarthy at

Web: OCAD University | Twitter: @OCAD Facebook: ocaduniversity  Instagram: @ocaduniversity TikTok: @ocaduniversity 

Toronto Metropolitan University is Canada’s leader in innovative and career-oriented education. What our students learn in the classroom is enhanced by real-world knowledge and experience. Urban, culturally diverse and inclusive, the university is home to more than 44,600 students, including 2,600 master’s and PhD students, 3,100 faculty and staff, and nearly 185,000 alumni worldwide.

The Leadership Lab is an action-oriented think tank at Toronto Metropolitan University that develops leaders and solutions to make progress on our most pressing civic challenges. Through leadership development and policy and research activation, we are building a new generation of skilled and adaptive leaders and change-makers to build a more trustworthy, inclusive society. 

For inquiries or an interview, please contact Karim Bardeesy, Executive Director, Leadership Lab, at 416-556-1490 (phone / text) or

Leadership Lab at TMU | @TMULeadLab

Open Democracy Project is working to strengthen and evolve the practice of democracy in Canada through contributing to the growth of Canada’s democracy sector. It is a not-for-profit incorporated in Canada and governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. Open Democracy Project’s goal is to foster collaborative and sustainable multi-stakeholder programs that convene, connect and share knowledge to build democratic resilience and protect democratic values. | @OpenDemocracyCA

Presented by

DemocracyXChange is a collaboration of:
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