CNA News Room

Inspirational speakers from across the globe to headline ICN Congress 2023

Geneva, Switzerland; 21 December 2022 – The International Council of Nurses (ICN) and the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) are proud to announce an incredible line up of inspirational speakers from across the globe for its 29th Congress to be held in Montreal, 1-5 July 2023. Many more speakers will be announced in 2023!

Simon Sinek, best known for his books Start with Why, Leaders Eat Last and The Infinite Game and for his TED Talk on the Concept of Why, which has been viewed over 60 million times, will have a moderated conversation on How great leaders inspire action. A trained ethnographer, Sinek is the founder of The Optimism Company, a leadership learning and development company and is the host of the podcast A Bit of Optimism. His inspirational work has led him to collaborate with a broad array of leaders and organisations in nearly every industry.

Dévora Kestel, Director of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at the World Health Organization (WHO), will address participants at the ICN Congress on the world’s largest pandemic – mental health and substance use.  An Argentinian national with more than 25 years’ experience in the design of health policies and the formation of teams related to mental health and substance use, working in countries as diverse as Italy, Kosovo, Albania and the Caribbean, Kestel has advised governments on public policy related to mental health.

Mawahib Wang, Chief Nursing Officer in the Medical Service Division at the Ministry of Defense and Executive Director of Nursing Administration at the Saudi Nurses Association, will participate in the Main Session at the ICN Congress entitled Nursing leadership: shaping the future of healthcare. Currently responsible for 25 hospitals and over 15’000 nursing staff, Wang has worked directly with the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties to establish Armed Forces Hospital as a Post Graduate Training Center for both Midwifery and Critical Care. Wang has also worked at military hospitals in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the past 15 years, where she has frequently participated in improvement of quality programmes and is currently leading in the nursing transformation in Armed Forces Hospitals.

Melanie MacKinnon is the head of the Indigenous Institute of Health and Healing  (Ongomiizwin) at the University of Manitoba's Rady Faculty of Health Sciences. As a proud First Nation nurse leader/health care executive, MacKinnon has worked throughout her career for the right of equitable access to quality health and social programmes and services for Indigenous peoples in Manitoba, and around the world. As a senior healthcare administrator and advocate, her work has informed regional and national policy shifts and generated new program mandates that seek to improve and protect the health and well-being of the communities she serves. MacKinnon will also participate in Main Session on Nursing leadership: shaping the future of healthcare.

In partnership with CNA, the ICN 2023 Congress will bring together the powerful force of the 28 million nurses worldwide to learn, share and network under the theme Nurses together: a force for global health. This face-to-face event will unite nurses from around the world with renewed strength and energy to make a difference. It will look at how the world can build on the lessons learned from the pandemic, from protecting nurses rights, ensuring decent working conditions, optimizing nurses’ scope of practice, and fair pay, to driving nursing leadership, respect for the profession, and a greater impact on health policies at all levels.

Early bird rates for registration to Congress are open until 31 January. Participants will receive full access to all official Congress sessions; e-posters; partner and industry symposia; master classes; a vibrant exhibition space; networking opportunities; and continuing education credits (ICNECs). To register, go to

Further information and regular updates on the Congress programme are available on the Congress website:

* * *

Note to Editors

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) is a federation of more than 130 national nurses associations representing the millions of nurses worldwide. Operated by nurses and leading nursing internationally, ICN works to ensure quality care for all and sound health policies globally.

For more information please contact Gyorgy Madarasz, Press Officer at
Tel: +41 22 908 01 16

The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) is the national and global professional voice of Canadian nursing. We represent registered nurses, nurse practitioners, licensed and registered practical nurses, registered psychiatric nurses, retired nurses, and nursing students across all 13 provinces and territories.

For more information please contact Lucas Veiga, Public Affairs Lead at
Tel: +1 613 697 7497