To find out more about the individuals who have inspired, informed and influenced our thinking and actions, see inspiring people.

Read more about individuals who reflect the Philia values in their personal and professional lives. We are honoured to call them ‘Ambassadors’.

Definitions    Our Beliefs  •  PHILIA Steering Committee  •  Ambassadors  

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Philia Steering Committee

Since the Philia Dialogue is, well, a dialogue, and since by its very nature a dialogue assumes others have pieces of the answer and that other people’s thinking can improve one’s own, we do not want to draw too much attention to ourselves.

At the same time we don’t want to hide. We have thought a lot about these issues and we do have a point a view. Actually we have points and views and opinions and assumptions. And perhaps that’s the most important thing you should know about us.

We are a diverse group representing at least three distinct voices – the voice of people who have been labelled or marginalized at some point in their life; the voice of parents who have a family member who has been labelled and the voice of people who are interested in restoring the role of citizen to its rightful place in our society.  There is one belief that permeates everything we do.  It is our conviction that welcoming the presence and participation of individuals with disabilities in community life will transform our society.

During the time we have been together we have integrated our individual viewpoints into a broader perspective; increased our mutual understanding; and earned each other’s trust and respect.  And we want you to join us.

As a Steering Committee we maintain this website; sponsor and conduct seminars, workshops and dialogues; consult with organizations who want to integrate Philia values into their operation; coordinate our ambassador program; and produce an e-zine.  Our contact information and links are at the bottom of this page.

Jacques and Helene are philosophers in the old fashioned sense.  They are public thinkers, writers, speakers who add depth and understanding to just about any issue you can think of; water; love; insurance; life; food; death; law…  They produce a journal and maintain a spectacular website based in their home province of Quebec.  They have brought their love of the classics and appreciation for European thought to our dialogues.  

Sam is a politician, advocate and social inventor. He has created enough new organizations that he won the Peter Drucker innovations award.  He has a thirst for music, language, sports, gizmos and reading Greek texts.  

So does Dominique when he is not practicing his violin or providing creative leadership in the form of new aboriginal business enterprises in his role as a federal civil servant.  Dominique also translates our texts from French to English and English to French, in the spirit of dynamic bilingualism we have adopted.

Vickie is an educator, trainer, author and inspirational speaker who manages to maintain an active yoga practice.She runs an international institute focusing on leadership, mentoring and citizenship. 

Al does his best thinking on his bicycle usually in the rain and on the hills.  He has an interest in innovative, non-government solutions to social problems and likes to read, talk and write about them. 

Jack is an independent Canadian book publisher and catalyst for inclusion, diversity, teamwork and change.  He leads and creates workshops, seminars, institutes around the globe, that help people and organizations move fully into the 21st Century.

Ted credits his son, Joshua, for being his greatest teacher and inspiration.   Ted’s community activism is legendary.   Marriage and family counselling is his profession which are extensions of his interest in promoting peace in our schools.  

Ray publishes the finest and widest circulated magazine on ‘ability’ issues in Canada – a container for his experience and expertise in communication and public policy.  The magazine is not quite large enough to contain his curiosity and passion for travel and the arts.

Here’s how to contact each of us directly.

Al Etmanski at   Also see:

Dominique Collin at

Jack Pearpoint at Also see

Jacques Dufresne at  Also see

Helene Laberge at Also see

Ray Cohen at:  Also see: and

Sam Sullivan at

Ted Kuntz at

Vickie Cammack at  Also see:

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