A cross-disciplinary creative visionary with groundbreaking insights on the environment, innovation, discovery and leadership, Dr. Roberta Bondar is one of North America's most sought-after and respected presenters.
Dr. Bondar draws on her remarkable depth of expertise as an astronaut, physician, scientific researcher, photographer, author, environmental interpreter and team leader to stimulate, motivate, educate and inspire.
Each customized audio-visual presentation reflects her maturity, wisdom gained from life experiences, broad educational background and depth of personality. She is a valued partner in planning and delivering special presentations that consistently move audiences to the next level, thereby ensuring that the event is an extraordinary experience.
The perspective of Earth as seen from space is a reality check that indeed we live on a planet. It also can open the mind and heart to the interconnectedness of its natural resources, including the most precious of which is life. Great principles of philanthropy include helping others to survive the many challenges facing us on the planet, and to reduce poverty while promoting excellence through education. This is accomplished best through volunteerism and or financial support. Volunteers are a source of inspiration and have the passion and commitment to move society forward. The Roberta Bondar Foundation, a charitable organization, implements programming through a strong volunteer base that seeks a better society by connecting all generations to our natural world through the coupling of art and science.
Life is a series of moments, any of which can change the course of personal, professional and world histories. Random things can happen and they do, all of the time. Far better to embrace change than to fear it. Far stronger to examine fear and how to overcome it. The danger of spaceflight makes it unnerving for many and for others it is a source of inspiration – that human beings are destined for something greater beyond Earth life. Fear unexamined is risk undetermined. Risk becomes a force for change and all change bears risk, with the balance of risk and change set by personal passions and goals. Dr. Bondar discusses the possibilities and inspiration derived from actively seeking opportunity once risk is considered.
The nucleus of shifting one’s point of view is having an opportunity to see and experience things in a completely different way. Sometimes it takes dismantling the known and other times it is the unknown that thrusts us into a new view of the old. Spaceflight gives us images and ideas plus the potential of emotional and natural connections to our life on planet Earth. Dr. Bondar integrates her perspective from space with her Earth exploration through still and video imagery to stimulate others to think differently.
Curiosity is linked to exploration. It is also about what we might be missing, or what might be important to our safety and health. Without curiosity, creativity would live in exile and we would be limited to our immediate life with no real potential for true growth. We can change how we view the world around us by awakening our senses to explore what lies beyond the human eye or personal experience. Revelation becomes relevance and the more investment in the connection, the more powerful the outcome. Dr. Bondar combines her expert knowledge in her specialty of neuro-ophthalmology (how we see and view the world around us) and professional training in landscape/nature photography with her experience of spaceflight to seek new worlds and ideas.
They inspired her to fly when she was a little girl. Now, Dr. Roberta Bondar strives to protect the precious and threatened avian heritage of Earth. As astronauts fly across political boundaries without seeing divisions from space, so do birds, especially migratory birds that are declining in numbers at an alarming rate. They have much to teach us about flight and feathers, navigation and habitat health. Most of all, they are extraordinary life forms that we cannot create or replace. When birdsong was noticeably missing during her spaceflight, Dr. Bondar grew wary of what Earth would be like if birds vanished as a life form because of changing climates or habitat degradation from human activity. Dr. Bondar created Protecting Space for Birds, a multi-year project to document threatened and endangered species internationally from three points of view: from the surface of Earth, aerial images and from the space perspective. Her fine art photography is featured in exhibitions, social media and published works.
COVID is affecting all of us— our personal and professional spaces, our lives and how we live them. It is a stress test for more than economics. Relief can seem short-lived, with gathering clouds of fear with rain that might promote seeds of doubt. But, as we know from viewing things from the distance of time and space, there is abundant energy from the light that lives beyond us and within the best of human behavior. Aspirational becomes inspirational. Change delivers opportunity—a deep dive with a good light.
The world’s first neurologist in space, Dr. Roberta Bondar is globally recognized for her pioneering contributions to space medicine research, fine art photography and environment education. Aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery mission STS-42 in 1992, she conducted experiments for 18 countries in the first International Microgravity Laboratory, a precursor to the International Space Station.
For over a decade after her spaceflight, she headed an international research team working with NASA on neurological symptoms seen after spaceflight, and their connections to neurological diseases on Earth.
Trained as a member of NASA’s Earth Observation Team, Dr. Bondar expanded her professional photographic expertise as an honors student in Professional Nature Photography. Her fine art photographic works are held in private, corporate and institutional collections in Canada, the U.S. and England. She is the author of four best selling books featuring her writing and photography.
Dr. Bondar continues to use fine art photography to explore and reveal Earth’s natural environment from the surface, seeing the world through the creative lenses of medical doctor, scientist, photographer, astronaut and writer. In her current project Protecting Space for Birds, Dr. Bondar is integrating three views of migratory bird corridors in the Americas and Asia-Europe-Africa—space, surface and aerial— to give us insight into the habitats needed by and to protect endangered and threatened birds.
Dr. Bondar’s distinctions are diverse and include: Companion of the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario, the NASA Space Medal, induction into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame and into the International Women’s Forum’s Hall of Fame, 28 honorary doctorates from Canadian and American Universities, Chancellor of Trent University 2003-2009, six Canadian schools in her name, a Specially Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, an Honorary Fellow and Honorary Vice-president of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and her own star on Canada’s Walk of Fame.
"Fascinating, innovative, creative and pushing forward with new directions requiring leadership."
"She drew upon that rare combination of intelligence, creativity, and humour to keep us thinking and laughing throughout her address."Cath KenneySchool of Media and Design, Algonquin College
"“My thanks to Dr. Roberta Bondar for her contribution to IAGLR 2008 (International Conference on Great Lakes Research). I had several people comment to me that she gave the best conference dinner presentation that they have ever heard. It struck just the right chord in terms of the content and of course, the images were spectacular.”"Chris MetcalfeTrent University
"Dr. Bondar's moving keynote was a bright point in the evening. Looking around the room at all the faces who were riveted by her talk, we know all youth in attendance were captivated by her words."Jon-Erik LappanoEcoMentors Program Manager, Earth Day Canada
"Thank you to Dr. Bondar for a wonderful experience. I believe she 'hit the nail on the head' with her talk on change and there were many present who walked away feeling more empowered because of her words."Tracy CunliffeRTV President, Ontario Association of Veterinary Techinicians
"Her warmth, passion, knowledge and experiences certainly made an impact on me and our audience."Michele ParkerCoordinator, Student Engagement, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology