Recent lectures

The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould is not just a leader. She’s a revolutionary and a champion for those that want to make a difference. As the first Indigenous person to serve as Canada's Attorney General and Minister of Justice and the first woman to be elected as an Independent Member of Parliament, she has navigated complex challenges with strength, determination, and an unwavering commitment to justice. In her powerful presentation, Ms. Raybould delved into the principles that have guided her journey: the courage to think, act and be different.

About The Honourable Jody-Wilson Raybould

The Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould Former Member of Parliament | Former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada | Bestselling Author 

The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, PC, OBC, KC, was raised to be a leader. The daughter of a hereditary chief and Indigenous leader, she always knew that she would seek leadership roles and responsibilities. As a lawyer, an advocate, and a leader among Canada’s Indigenous Peoples, she’s built a strong reputation as a bridge builder and champion of good governance and accountability. She shares her unique perspective as both a community and political leader on topics such as Indigenous rights and reconciliation, democracy and governance, leadership, and justice.  

Wilson-Raybould was first elected as a Member of Parliament for the new constituency of Vancouver Granville in 2015. She was then appointed the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada making her the first Indigenous person to serve in this portfolio. In January 2019, she was appointed the Minister of Veterans Affairs of Canada and Associate Minister of National Defence, positions she held until her resignation from cabinet in February 2019.  

During the 2019 election, Wilson-Raybould was re-elected as an Independent Member of Parliament for Vancouver Granville, making her Canada’s first ever female Independent MP elected and the only elected Independent in the 43rd Parliament.  

Prior to politics, Wilson-Raybould was a provincial crown prosecutor in Vancouver and served three terms as an elected Commissioner of the BC Treaty Commission. She was also elected BC Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations in 2009, where she devoted herself to the advancement of First Nations governance, fair access to land and resources, as well as improved education and health care services. She served until 2015, holding responsibilities for governance and Nation building on the Assembly of First Nations Executive.  

Wilson-Raybould is a descendant of the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk and Laich-Kwil-Tach peoples, which are part of the Kwakwaka’wakw and also known as the Kwak’wala speaking peoples. She is a member of the We Wai Kai Nation with her traditional name, Puglaas, meaning “woman born to noble people.” She served two terms as an elected councillor for her Nation and was also a director and chair of the First Nations Finance Authority and a director of the First Nations Lands Advisory Board. 

Wilson-Raybould is the bestselling author of three books, the political memoir “Indian” in the Cabinet: Speaking Truth to Power, which was a finalist for The Writers’ Trust Balsillie Prize for Public Policy and the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing; From Where I Stand: Rebuilding Indigenous Nations for a Stronger Canada; and, her most recent, True Reconciliation: How to Be a Force For Change. 

About the Knight Distinguished Visitors Program

The Knight Distinguished Visitors Program is supported by the R.G. and E.M. Knight Fund (The Knight Fund) to commemorate the lives and achievements of UM alumni Robert Greenwell Knight and Elizabeth Moore Knight, both of whom graduated from our university in the early 1920s. The Knight Fund places emphasis on enhancing the quality of higher education at the University of Manitoba and enriching its academic life by supporting visits from a wide array of outstanding thinkers and innovative leaders. The Knight Fund supports visits to the university by:

  • Scholars in a variety of fields, including commerce, finance, economics, political studies, history, and literature;
  • Leaders in the areas of commerce, industry, and government; and
  • Outstanding achievers from other disciplines who have made distinguished contributions to the advancement of knowledge or to cultural, social, and economic development.

The Program is intended to be flexible with respect to the range of activities in which a Knight Distinguished Visitor may engage while at the university.

Funding and selection

The Knight Fund will defray all costs related to an approved visit. This includes travel, meals and accommodations, an honorarium commensurate with the duration of the visit for the Knight Distinguished Visitor, and the costs associated with the events and activities that are approved elements of the visit. In some circumstances, support for research and administrative assistance may be considered, although normally it is expected that this support will be provided by the nominating unit(s).

The duration of visits may vary from a few days to several weeks and a feature of the program is the delivery of a public lecture. It is customary for the university also to host a dinner in honour of the Knight Distinguished Visitor.

Nominations are adjudicated by members of the Advisory Committee for the Knight Fund, who are appointed by the President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manitoba.

Nominations are assessed on the degree to which the proposed visit is in accordance with the purpose of the fund.

Past visitors

BASS, Dr. Hyman
Professor of Mathematics
Columbia University

BOYLE, Dr. Phelim
Professor of Finance
Wilfrid Laurier University

BRENNAN, Dr. Geoffrey
Professor of Economics at Australian National University (ANU)
Research Professor of Political Science at Duke University and
Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

RBC Professor
Telfer School of Management

National Science Reporter
Toronto Star

Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor in History
University of Chicago

Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium.

Affiliate Associate Professor of Education 
University of Washington

FISHBEIN, Dr. Martin
Harry C. Coles Jr. Distinguished Professor in Communication
and Director of Health Communication Program
Public Policy Center of the Annenberg School for Communication
University of Pennsylvania

ELSON, Dr. Diane
Centre for Research in Economic Sociology and Innovation
Department of Sociology
University of Essex
and Member of the Human Rights Centre
University of Essex

National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations

FOX KELLER, Dr. Evelyn
Professor of History and Philosophy of Science
Department of Science, Technology, and Society
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Canada's First Astronaut in Space

HÖhle, Dr. Barbara
Professor for Psycholinguistics
Language Acquisition Department of Linguistics
University of Potsdam

KAMBA, Dr. Walter
University of Zimbabwe South Africa

LEGGETT, Sir Anthony
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Chair
University of Illinois
Nobel Laureate in Physics

MARTIS, Eternity
Assistant Professor of Journalism
Toronto Metropolitan University
Journalist and author

MINDESS, Dr. Sidney
Professor of Civil Engineering
University of British Columbia

MUSTARD, Dr. Fraser
Founding President and Fellow
Canadian Institute for Advanced Research

Professor of Civil Engineering
and Professor of History
Duke University

RICE, Dr. Eugene
Director of the Forum on Faculty Roles and Rewards
American Association for Higher Education

SINCLAIR, The Honourable Justice Murray
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

SORENSEN, Professor Vibeke
Professor of Film and Media Studies
and Fellow in the Center for Film and Media Research
Arizona State University

Director at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Physics Stuttgart
Nobel Laureate in Physics

WILLIAMS, Professor Jody
Founder, International Campaign to Ban Landmines
Founding Chair, Nobel Women’s Initiative and
Sam and Cele Keeper Endowed Professor of Peace and Social Justice
University of Houston
Nobel Peace Laureate

First Indigenous person to serve as Canada's Attorney General and Minister of Justice and first woman to be elected as an Independent Member of Parliament.

WOLFE, Dr. Alan
Professor of Political Science
and Director, Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life
Boston College

ZEMON DAVIS, Dr. Natalie
Professor of History
Princeton University

Call for nominations

Nominations for the 2024-2025 Knight Lecture are now open until May 22, 2024.

Nomination process

Nominations of individuals as possible Knight Distinguished Visitors may be made by any member of the university but must include a signed endorsement letter provided by the head of the unit (dean, director, department head) in which the nominee’s expertise lies. Joint endorsement by two or more units would be appropriate where the nominee’s expertise and interests cross disciplinary boundaries.

The complete nomination procedure involves two steps as follows:

a) Submit a preliminary nomination

Complete the preliminary nomination form in full and submit supporting documentation required, as identified below and in the form. The preliminary nomination should include:

  • Endorsement letter(s) from the head or heads of units in which the nominee’s expertise lies;
  • Biographical background of the nominee, including a description of the distinctive nature of their achievements;
  • The specific objectives and duration of the proposed visit and the benefits to be derived from it;
  • A proposed program of activities and events; and
  • An initial estimated budget for the visit, including the anticipated honorarium for the nominee.

Preliminary nominations will be reviewed by the Advisory Committee. Following a review of the preliminary nominations, the Advisory Committee may request further information. Nominators should not inform nominees of their selection until they have receive approval from the Advisory Committee.

If you have questions about the nomination process or need this information in a different format, please contact Kelsey Evans at or 204-430-1846.

b) Submit a final proposal

When timing becomes more certain, the nominators of an approved nominee will be asked to submit a final proposal, setting out in more specific terms the details of the visit, including the dates of the visit, updated budget, and a schedule of activities.

Please note, nominators should not inform nominees of their selection until they have received approval from the Advisory Committee. Invitations to persons selected by the Advisory Committee as approved prospective visitors will be issued by the President who may, if appropriate, enlist the assistance of the nominator. The timing of visits will be determined based on dates that are mutually acceptable to the President and the Knight Distinguished Visitor.