Dr. Samantha Nutt | Humanitarian, Founder of War Child Canada and War Child USA, and Bestselling Author of Damned Nations

Dr. Samantha Nutt is an award-winning humanitarian, bestselling author and acclaimed public speaker. A medical doctor and a founder of the renowned international humanitarian organization War Child, Dr. Nutt has worked with children and their families at the frontline of many of the world’s major crises—from Iraq to Afghanistan, Somalia to the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sierra Leone to Darfur, Sudan. 

A leading authority on current affairs, war, international aid, and foreign policy, Dr. Samantha Nutt is one of the most intrepid and recognized voices in the humanitarian arena. With a career that has spanned more than two decades and dozens of conflict zones, her international work has benefited hundreds of thousands of war-affected children. 


Dr. Nutt is a respected authority for many of North America's leading media outlets. She is a regular panelist on Canada’s premier nightly news show, CBC's The National with Peter Mansbridge, where she debates foreign policy and current affairs. Her written work has been published by Maclean’s Magazine, Reuters, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, the Ottawa Citizen, and The Huffington Post, among many others. She has been profiled by Time Magazine, More Magazine, Marie Claire, and has appeared on NBC Nightly News, BBC World News Service, CBC, CTV, Global Television, WGN, and NPR, to name just a few.


Damned Nations is excellent. The writing style is free from NGO jargon and Dr. Nutt’s storytelling is engaging.”

The Huffington Post

Dr. Nutt’s critically acclaimed book, Damned Nations, was a #1 bestseller in Canada. Lewis Lapham declared it a “brave and necessary book,” while the Literary Review of Canada called it a “brilliant polemic.” Damned Nations is a bracing and uncompromising account of Dr. Nutt’s work in some of the most devastated regions of the world.


Dr. Nutt was named one of Canada's 25 Transformational Canadians by The Globe and Mail, and has been recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. Time Magazine has featured her as one of Canada's Five Leading Activists. In July 2011, Dr. Nutt was appointed to the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest civilian honour, for her contributions to improving the plight of young people in the world's worst conflict zones. 


Dr. Nutt graduated summa cum laude from McMaster University, earned an M.Sc in Public Health with distinction from the University of London, and holds a Fellowship in Community Medicine (FRCPC) from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. She is further certified by the College of Family Practice and completed a sub specialization in women’s health through the University of Toronto as a Women’s Health Scholar. Dr. Nutt is the recipient of more than a dozen honorary doctorates from universities in Canada and the U.S.A. She is also a staff physician at Women's College Hospital and is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto. She is a Senior Fellow at Massey College, University of Toronto, and is on the board of the David Suzuki Foundation. 


“[Sam] was a huge success and our members are posting extremely positive comments about her presentations. You know you have a powerful and commanding speaker when you could hear a pin drop during the presentation, and when the speaker receives a long standing ovation.”

ETFO Waterloo Region Teacher Local

“Thank you for joining us at the BCSTA 2016 AGM and sharing your insightful knowledge and information. Your keynote presentation was dynamic! I heard from many trustees how much they appreciated your session and the opportunity for new learning. You managed to stretch our thinking and inspire us to new understandings!”

BC School Trustees

“I have, personally, never before been awestruck by a conference speaker. Dr. Nutt’s enthusiasm for her purpose was palpable.”

Service Canada

“The event could not have gone better. Sam was fantastic, the speech got a standing ovation and absolute silence from over 700 students in the gym. She stayed for over an hour after the event to talk to students, sign autographs and pose for pictures. I’d like to thank everybody involved for helping to inspire Sinclair’s students.”

Sinclair Secondary School

“Samantha Nutt’s presentation was fabulous. It was the highlight event of our conference! Her speech was very inspiring and touching, and it resonated tremendously with our conference participants.”

Canadian Bureau for International Education

“Great, great, great presentation! I am so proud to be Canadian right now! You are an inspiration to us all!”

Trinity College School

“First of all, I wanted to congratulate you on all of your efforts. I was really inspired by you as well as your speech. I’ve never seen the crowd so moved by the keynote speaker.”

Model United Nations of the University of Chicago

“Samantha Nutt was absolutely incredible. Hands down the best inspirational guest speaker we’ve had. She is my new role model.”

Grant MacEwan College

Speech Topics

Politics & Society
Conflicted? The World of War

In this talk, Dr. Samantha Nutt takes a compelling look at the impact of war—the truth, the lies, and the reality on the ground—and the major events currently shaping our world. Geared towards students, educators, and general audiences, this captivating presentation examines our growing global economic and security inter-dependence, and explores the meaning of social justice and community in the 21st century.

Leadership It’s Within Us All

Leaders have strength, courage, and conviction. Were they born with these elusive qualities, alongside a perfect balance of knowledge and charisma, or have they simply learned to communicate their experience and ideas more effectively than the rest of us? Leaders encourage us to inspire, to think, and to demand more of ourselves and of our society. They connect us to something larger than ourselves. But is leadership just ingrained in certain people, or can it be acquired? Can we all be leaders?

In this presentation, Dr. Samantha Nutt looks at the meaning and significance of leadership. She maps out ways in which we can all be more effective leaders—in the world and in the workplace—because the capacity to lead exists in each and every one of us.

Gender & Sexuality
When Women Lead

A popular choice for International Women’s Day and other events celebrating women’s leadership, this presentation combines humour and personal reflections on women in the 21st century and why the women’s movement is unfinished everywhere. Dr. Samantha Nutt’s often satirical take on hot topics such as “Lean In” and whether “women can have it all” offers an engaging, thought-provoking, and entertaining examination of the challenges women still face in the world and how women (and men) can advocate for change. This presentation is also suitable for businesses and other groups looking to promote diversity and strengthen gender equality at the senior management and executive levels, as well as on boards.

Why the World Needs More Lawyers

Geared towards lawyers, civil society organizations, and justice advocates, this presentation explores the importance of the rule of law and access to justice in promoting a more peaceful and sustainable world. Dr. Samantha Nutt talks about her experiences developing and promoting access to justice programs that strengthen the rights of women and children, with a view to tackling the climate of impunity that exists in many corners of the world. She explains why the rule of law and its champions can and must be the next frontier of international humanitarian assistance.

Taking Your Vision to Action

Do you have an idea you’d like to see realized? A change you’d like to promote within your business or organization? A vision for creating something new? In this presentation, Dr. Samantha Nutt reflects on the fifteen years she has spent transforming her vision for a new approach to humanitarian aid into an internationally acclaimed organization that assists half a million children and their families every year in some of the world’s most challenging environments. Blending humorous anecdotes with powerful storytelling, this keynote offers practical tips and inspiring lessons for individuals and organizations seeking to implement any kind of change or to launch something new.