Dr. Gwynne Dyer’s “DON’T PANIC” Remembrance Day lecture at the Oshawa Regent Theatre, hosted by Trent University Durham and UOIT, indeed became a poignant evening to remember.
Through poised and intellectual discussion, Dr. Dyer offered a studied perspective surrounding the threat of ISIS and recent tensions between Russia and the Ukraine. In terms of the dire impact of global warming, he offered assurance that governments are taking steady, albeit incremental steps, to reduce environmental impact before it’s too late.
Dr. Dyer said, “Even with the most apparently insoluble problems, time will generally soften the edges of it, if not heal them entirely.”
During the evening’s Q&A session, Derek Giberson of the Oshawa Syrian Refugee Alliance asked Dr. Dyer to address perceived security concerns regarding incoming Syrian refugees to Canada. He feels the discussion affirmed the efforts of the grassroots organization currently working to bring 100 refugees to Oshawa.
“Our initiative is fairly simple,” said Mr. Giberson. “It’s humanitarian. This is the federal government’s intent and we want Oshawa to be as effective as possible in helping these people re-settle. We’re doing the best we can as diplomatically and respectfully as possible to help inform people so they can see there is no reason to be concerned about the humanitarian side of this effort.”
Anna Harrington, a third-year History student at Trent University Durham and research assistant to Prof. Robert Wright, felt the lecture offered a deeper perspective in addition to just reducing panic.
“No matter what your major is or what your job goals are, you’re looking to be involved in the world and make hopefully informed decisions about your life,” said Ms. Harrington. “So this is part of it, being engaged and learning about different things.”
Dr. Dyer’s syndicated column has appeared in over 200 newspapers. He served in several naval reserves and is an Officer of the Order of Canada. The journalist and military historian received an Academy Award nomination and several Genie Awards for his documentary work. Dr. Dyer also holds an honorary degree from Trent University and has lectured previously to Trent students in Peterborough.
“The audience is aware of him as a public intellectual, so as with anyone you admire, meeting him in the flesh and realizing the next time you read his column, that’s who he is,” said Dr. Stephen Brown, professor of English Literature at Trent University.
In a continuing effort to offer resonating voices and foster engagement with the Oshawa community, Dr. Brown and Joe Muldoon, head of Trent University Durham partnered with UOIT to organize the event.
Dr. Brown stated, “The partnership between UOIT and Trent is great in recognizing that role.” He continued, “A good public speaker should convey that he is thinking out loud with you directly. Two of my students here tonight marvelled at that. They were conscious of the fact that what they were hearing tonight, no one was going to hear again. This was intellectual spontaneity.”