Trust Me: Navigating Disinformation in the Digital Age

Event Overview

Today, the credibility of knowledge, facts, and truth is being fiercely challenged. Disinformation and fake news are being used by individuals, organizations, and even state actors to undermine societies, erode public trust, and attack fundamental values such as freedom, equality, and human rights.

We are pleased to invite you to explore the complex issue of disinformation and its far-reaching impact. Our team of experts will provide valuable insights and research from the Trust Me documentary on timely topics such as cyberbullying, media literacy, election interference, and health care disinformation. Join the conversation and deepen your understanding of this critical issue. 

Light refreshments will be provided.

Trust Me is a feature-length documentary exploring human nature, information technology, and the need for media literacy to help people trust one another, bring them together and create a more resilient population. Trust Me covers emotional stories, interwoven with science and expert interviews to show us where the world really stands and the right way to consume and share media. 


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David L. Cohen, United States Ambassador to Canada

Before his appointment by President Biden and unanimous confirmation by the U.S. Senate as U.S. Ambassador to Canada, David L. Cohen served as Senior Advisor to the CEO at Comcast Corporation as of January 1, 2020. He was previously Senior Executive Vice President at Comcast, where his portfolio included corporate communications, legal affairs, government and regulatory affairs, public affairs, corporate administration, corporate real estate and security, and community impact. Cohen also served as the company’s first chief diversity officer.

Before starting with Comcast in July 2002, Cohen served as a partner in and Chairman of Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP, one of the 100 largest law firms in the country. From January 1992 to April 1997, Cohen served as Chief of Staff to the Honorable Edward G. Rendell, the Mayor of the City of Philadelphia.


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Rosemary Smith, Managing Director, Getting Better Foundation, Impact Producer of “Trust Me” award-winning documentary.

Along with Getting Better’s Founder & CEO, Joe Phelps, Rosemary believes it’s a great time to be alive, although not everyone believes that to be the case. Could media “ill literacy” be part of the dilemma affecting mental well-being, polarization of communities, racism, anxiety, depression, and suicidology? The non-partisan Foundation’s mission of “building trust through the truth about the positive evolution of human progress” supports media & information literacy (MIL) education and has produced the award-winning documentary “Trust Me” to bring awareness of what may be the most important topic of our time.

Rosemary was Vice President & National Sales Manager for Eagle Radio Group, headquartered in Northern Michigan. She did everything from copywriting to advertising sales & community involvement, while managing sales and creative staff. Rosemary and her husband, Kent built their media group from the ground up, including towers and transmitters, buildings, and talent. In one of the worst economic downturns the state of Michigan ever faced, Eagle Radio became the “go-to” for listeners and media clients in dozens of markets. They were named “The Voice” of Northern Michigan for their award-winning morning shows in each of the markets they served. Their motto of “take care of our communities and they’ll take care of us” set the bar for service above self.


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Joe Phelps, Chairman and Founder, Getting Better Foundation

Father of two and an avid tree planter, Joe is also a former recording studio engineer, musician and founder of The Phelps Group, a renowned California marketing communications agency. Phelps started his agency in 1981 with Fender Guitars and grew to many years of service for Tahiti and Swiss Tourism, Fairmont Hotels, Public Storage, Bushnell Optics, City of Hope, Blue Shield and LAX, among others. He was named ‘Entrepreneur of the Year” by Western States Advertising Association is a Belding Award-winning writer and was featured on the cover of “Inc” magazine. Joe’s “client-facing teams in a full-feedback environment” business model has been used as a case study at several universities, including Northwestern, University of Colorado, UCLA, and USC. In 2005 he authored “Pyramids are Tombs” -- a book on how organizational design affects behaviour -- which instructs business leaders how to empower workforces in a flat organization using trust as the accelerator.

In 2015, Joe founded the Getting Better Foundation (GBF), with the objective of “Building trust through truth” with the strategy of helping people understand how to properly consume media. Media literacy helps to find the truth and protects us from mis-and disinformation. He says, “The more people trust one another, the more they are willing to help one another. Trust is the foundation of civilization and creates upward spirals.” In 2020 GBF finished the production of “Trust Me,” a feature documentary about the problems caused by media ill literacy and the solutions at hand. The plan is for the film to be GBF’s calling card by helping to raise the awareness of the need for media literacy. Joe is a thinker, sharer, and is passionate about inspiring growth in others.


Thomas Juneau

Thomas Juneau, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa

Thomas Juneau is an assistant professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa. His research focuses mostly on the Middle East, in particular on Iran and Yemen. He is also interested in Canadian foreign and defence policy, in the relationship between intelligence and policy, and in international relations theory. He is the author of Squandered Opportunity: Neoclassical realism and Iranian foreign policy (Stanford University Press, 2015), editor of Strategic Analysis in Support of International Policy-Making: Case studies in achieving analytical relevance (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017), co-editor of Iranian Foreign Policy since 2001: Alone in the world (Routledge, 2013), and co-editor of Asie centrale et Caucase: Une sécurité mondialisée (Presses de l'Université Laval, 2004). He has also published many articles and book chapters on the Middle East, international relations theories and pedagogical methods, notably in International Affairs, International Studies Perspectives, Political Science Quarterly, Middle East Policy, Orbis, International Journal, and Canadian Foreign Policy Journal. Prior to joining the University of Ottawa, he worked for the Department of National Defence from 2003 to 2014, chiefly as a strategic analyst covering the Middle East. He was also a policy officer and an assistant to the deputy minister.

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Carolyn Wilson, Executive Director of the McLuhan Foundation

Carolyn Wilson is the Executive Director of the McLuhan Foundation, a foundation dedicated to leveraging Marshall McLuhan’s legacy to advance and strengthen digital media literacy. She is also an award-winning educator, author and consultant, and a Lecturer at the Faculty of Education, Western University, Canada.

Carolyn has over 30 years of experience in media literacy, and for the last 15 years has been leading international initiatives in media and information literacy for UNESCO headquarters, Paris. Carolyn was the founding Chair of UNESCO’s global Media and Information Literacy Alliance, and a Chair of the first UNESCO/UNAOC International University Network on Media and Information Literacy and Intercultural Dialogue. Carolyn has worked extensively with educators, governments and media industries in the Asia-Pacific Region, in South Africa, in Latin America and the Caribbean, and across Europe and North America. Carolyn has also held leadership positions in Canada, serving as the President of the Association for Media literacy for 14 years, and as a board member for Media Smarts. For the Ministry of Education in Ontario, Carolyn led the development of media literacy policy and curriculum documents which have become foundational in the field.

Carolyn has received numerous awards for her work, including: the Jesse McCanse Award from the National Telemedia Council in the U.S.; an award of Special Recognition from the University of Sao Paolo, Brazil; the Distinguished Contributions Award from the University of Toronto, Canada; and the Prime Minister of Canada Award for Teaching Excellence.

black calendarMay 31, 2023

Black clock3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET


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black location pin55 Laurier Avenue East, 12th Floor, Ottawa