Upcoming Events

2022 International Day of the Girl Child Celebration
Friday October 14 | 9:00am – 1:00pm | Virtual, Microsoft Teams

The Alexa McDonough Institute for Women, Gender, and Social Justice (AMI) is organizing a free virtual event on 14th October 2022 to celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child. This day was created by the United Nations in 2012 to celebrate the achievements and potential of girls. The conference theme this is, She-roes: The Power to Change the World.

Register for this free event through EventBrite »

AMI Open House: Cookies and Coffee
Thursday, October 22 | 12:00-1:00pm | McCain 201-B

Come meet the AMI Team for AMI Open House – Sept 22-22, and learn about our upcoming programming for 2022/23. We are also holding an Instagram contest where you can win a prize – see our social media channels for more details!

Key events hosted by the AMI

Annual Girls Conference

In March 2012, the Alexa McDonough Institute for Women, Gender, and Social Justice held its first annual Girls Conference in celebration of International Women’s Week. This March 2019 was the eighth annual conference which hosted over 350 girls from junior high and high schools across the province.

Each year, the AMI proudly hosts and co-sponsors research wine and cheese events, writing workshops, conferences, and performances.

AMI Spotlight: Threat to Education of Women & Girls in Afghanistan

To mark 2021’s International Day of the Girl, and launch the global 16 Day Campaign to eliminate gender-based violence, the Alexa McDonough Institute for Women, Gender & Social Justice casted a light on the human rights of women and girls in Afghanistan and the impact by the Taliban’s recent return to power.


Past events hosted by the AMI


To help this generation of Nova Scotian girls develop, appreciate and celebrate their own abilities and talents and those of other girls and women, to help them to empower themselves, build confidence, and be a positive influence in their communities.

2021 Girls Conference
Girl Power In A Digital World

On Friday, March 5th, 2021 – Mount Saint Vincent University and the Alexa McDonough Institute for Women, Gender, and Social Justice (AMI) welcomed junior and senior high school girls from across the province to the 2021 Girls Conference. This online virtual conference took place from 10 am – 2 pm.

Young women at the conference had the opportunity to participate in various workshops and activity sessions which include confidence building, leadership skills, personal and professional growth, and developing stronger minds and bodies. They also shared their ideas and opinions while learning effective strategies for expressing themselves and new ways to explore making a difference in their communities.

Workshop and activity sessions gave young women the opportunity to tell their stories, share their ideas and advice with each other while pushing boundaries in new areas and having some fun in a gathering that is a safe space for girls to explore new horizons and new challenges.

We invite you to watch the virtual keynote performance and address featuring the fantastic musical stylings and inspiring words of Reeny Smith.

Girls Conference Program

SuperNova Dalhousie University LogoThe Wonders of Coding

10:00 am – 10:55 am
Led by Ellen Lewis (SuperNOVA)

Session Description

In this interactive space-themed workshop, participants will create their own webpage game and discover the world of web creation while coding with HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

Ellen LewisPresenter

SuperNOVA is a not-for-profit initiative of Dalhousie University that provides youth in Atlantic Canada with fun, educational, and inspiring experiences in science, engineering, technology and mathematics (STEM).

Through exciting classroom workshops, high-impact clubs and events, and SuperNOVA’s amazing summer camp programs, youth explore the importance of STEM in their lives, interact with inspiring mentors, and develop critical skills and attitudes for lifelong learning.

Indigenous Girls & Allies

10:00 am – 10:55 am
Led by Savvy Simon

Session Description

Savvy SimonThis session will provide an opportunity for Indigenous girls and allies to think about their world views, learn about allyship, and get inspired! Savvy will share her incites and experiences, touching particularly on the ways she has used social media to reach out with her positive messages.


Among her accomplishments, Savvy is the only First Nation to speak on stage in front of 12,000 at WE DAY Halifax, she has been named as one of the Top 40 Female Change Makers in Canada, and she is a popular TedX Speaker. Savvy is a rising star who’s a part of the International Indigenous Speakers Bureau among many accomplished speakers across the world. A single mother of 2 boys, she is creator of the #SpeakMikmaq Language revolution from the Mi’kmaq tribe of Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick, residing in Halifax, NS. Savvy’s approach to sharing positive vibes in a real and authentic way has gained a following of over 45,000. Listen to Savvy and her amazing co-host Roxanne on their podcast Shift The Vibe.

Anti-Oppression & Anti-Racism

11:00 – 11:55
Led by Kate MacDonald (Magic Project)

Session Description

This workshop will explore topics of anti-oppression and anti-racism. Together we will think about how we can apply these frameworks in navigating our lives and the world around us. Kate Macdonald will be facilitating this conversation, but it should be noted that this will be a collective and shared learning space. We can all learn from each other and have important pieces of this work to share. We will be embarking on this conversation on unceded, un-surrendered Mi’kmaq territory.

Kate MacdonaldPresenter

Kate Macdonald was born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Kate is proudly African Nova Scotian. She studied Performance Acting at Ryerson University in Toronto, ON. At the end of 2016 with the political climate swiftly changing around her she new her reaction had to be radical. Out of this desire to make change she Founded and Co Created The Magic Project, which focuses on bringing marginalized brilliance to the forefront of social media using the arts. Kate is also a Community Facilitator and Youth Programmer. She hopes to continue creating workshops, holding space for community discussions and empowering youth through celebration. Kate currently works as the Branch Manager at the North Branch Library.

Body Positivity

11:00 – 11:55
Led by: Alicia McCarvell

Session Description

Alicia McCarvellDuring this exciting session, Alicia will share experiences and reflections from her own journey of body positivity. She will offer five fantastic and practical suggestions for how girls (and everyone else!) can learn to love their bodies more. There will be opportunities for delegates to ask questions, and to chime in with their own body-positive thoughts.


Based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Alicia uses humour to tackle conversations around body image, worth, and self-love. Sharing everything from workout outlines and dance videos to updates on her relationship with her husband. Alicia hopes to relate, inspire laughter, and break down barriers.


Mental Health/Isolation

12:00 – 12:55pm
Led by: Gillian Roy and Samara Luprypa (Manitoba Sexual Education Resource Centre)

Session Description

This workshop helps youth to understand that we all have mental health and, like our physical health, have to work towards mental wellness. We will explore different ways stress, the impacts of Covid-19, and trauma impact our wellbeing. We will discuss coping strategies, including stress reduction activities, to get through hard times. This workshop highlights resources and supports while emphasizing help-seeking strategies.

Manitoba Sexual Education resource Centre logoPresenter

Sexuality Education Resource Centre (SERC) is a community-based, non-profit, pro-choice organization. We are dedicated to promoting sexual health through education. provides inclusive, non-judgmental education about sexuality. We believe that people have the right to accurate information on all their choices.

LGBTQ+ Youth and Allies

1:00 – 1:55pm
Led by: Maxie Janes (Youth Project Halifax)

Session Description:

Youth Project LogoStrong allies make strong leaders, and allyship is a practice that needs to be grown on purpose. In this workshop, you will learn some basics related to gender and identity, why knowing these things is important, and how you can support those in your life experiencing difficulty related to their gender identity.


Maxie JanesMaxie Janes is the Support Services Educator for The Youth Project, an organization that works to make Nova Scotia a safer, healthier, and happier place for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth through support, education, resources expansion and community development. Maxie has a background in community education, organizing, and psychology. Maxie is published in the queer comic anthology Rainbow Reflections, a text designed to bring health information to the masses in an accessible context. They obtained their Bachelor of Science from Acadia University in 2017 and are currently working on an MA in Counselling Psychology through Yorkville University.

Climate Crisis: Our Future, Our Story

Free writing and publishing workshops for youth aged 14-19

Date: Sunday, January 19th & Saturday, February 8th, 2020

Time: 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Location: January 19th – The Bridge Community Room, 5553 Bloomfield Street, Halifax
February 8th – BMO Community Room, Halifax Public Library

**Option to attend one or both of the workshops.

Good writing tells a story. Stories create change.

The world is waking up to the climate and ecological crisis. Youth are leading the way – but mainstream media has lagged behind.

We need more writing and reporting on the climate crisis!

We need journalists to explain the science and politics in everyday terms. We need essayists in town halls and schools, on beaches and mountaintops. We need fiction-writers to craft unforgettable plots and characters. We need poets to create metaphors that sting and motivate.

We need you!

Join Understorey Magazine and the Alexa McDonough Institute for Women, Gender and Social Justice for a two-day workshop on writing and publishing about the climate crisis. Work with authors, editors, journalists, and poets to learn the craft of writing, including journalism, memoir, essay, fiction, and poetry.

Participants will have the opportunity to continue working with facilitators after the workshop to edit their work and create an online space for publishing.

Organizers & Facilitators

Katherine Barrett is editor-in-chief of Understorey Magazine. She has a graduate degree in environmental ethics and is a writer of short fiction and creative nonfiction.

Susie Brigham is chair of the Alexa McDonough Institute. She specialises in lifelong learning and works closely with the African Nova Scotia community, women’s refugee groups and other community organizations for women and girls.

Erica Butler researches and writes on transportation and urban issues for the Halifax Examiner. She also studies economics.

Cassandra MacDonald is a graduate student and the organizer of the annual Girls Conference at Mount Saint Vincent University, as well as many other events.

The Alexa McDonough Institute for Women, Gender and Social Justice organized an independent TEDx event at Mount Saint Vincent University

Date: Thursday, December 5, 2019

Time: 4:00 – 8:00 pm

Location: Mount Saint Vincent University, Rosaria Student Centre

TED is an annual event that brings together the world’s leading thinkers and doers to share ideas that matter in any discipline — technology, entertainment, design, science, humanities, business, development. The talks at the conference, called TED Talks, are then made available to watch for free on TED.com.

In the spirit of “ideas worth spreading,” TED has created TEDx, a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.

At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connections. Our TEDx event is not organized by TED Conferences but is operated under a license from TED.

Fascinating and engaging presenters, artists, and thinkers came together for one evening on Thursday, December 5th to share their passions and discuss their visions for the world on our TEDxMSVU Women 2019 theme: Fearless and Forward Thinking.