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Learn how Queen's is planning for our safe return to campus.


Queen’s partners with international charity to provide new educational opportunities

Queen’s University has signed a long-term agreement with The Karta Initiative, which will enable talented, low-income youth from rural India to study at Queen’s.

The Karta Initiative works to transform the futures of students from developing and emerging economies. The global initiative runs an on-the-ground access program for students in rural India – providing career exposure, skill development and community building – as well as powering Karta Connect, their online learning platform.

“We look forward to welcoming Karta scholars to Queen’s and we are committed to supporting their success,'' says Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs. “This partnership is part of our wide-ranging efforts to promote increased access to Queen’s for youth across Canada and around the world.”

Karta scholars will be connected to staff in the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC), who will provide information and guidance throughout their studies about programs and services, including peer mentoring, academic advising, experiential learning opportunities, and social activities.

The Karta Initiative, in partnership with Queen’s, will support up to five academically-eligible Karta Scholars each year across a range of undergraduate programs. The first Karta Scholar will begin studying at Queen’s this fall.

“Talent exists everywhere, but opportunity is not equally available,” says Karta Initiative Founder and Trustee Ranjita Rajan. “The Karta Initiative is pleased to be working with Queen’s University to advance our joint mission: bridging the divide between under-resourced youth and leading educational and professional opportunity. These Scholars are lodestars who impact and uplift entire communities.”

 The agreement will be in effect through to August 2033.

Welcoming international students to campus

[International students tour Queen's University campus]
A group of international students tour the campus of Queen's University, guided by a Queen's University International Centre (QUIC) volunteer. 

With the start of a new academic year fast approaching, the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC) in Student Affairs is preparing to welcome over 1,400 international students to campus.

In 2018-19, 11.9 per cent of the full-time undergraduate Queen’s student population and 27.2 per cent of the full-time graduate population were international students from more than 90 countries. In 2019-20, that is expected to increase slightly.

As they arrive on campus QUIC is offering a variety of activities and resources to ensure that all new international and English as an Additional Language (EAL) students make a smooth and successful transition to Queen’s.

“We are looking forward to welcoming our new international students to Queen’s. The QUIC team has put together an excellent orientation program for early arrivals to support international students with their transition to Kingston,” says Sultan Almajil, Director of QUIC. “Orientation is an opportunity for us to ensure that international students take full advantage of all that Queen’s has to offer, and it is also an opportunity to build relationships and learn about our students’ journey and their cultures.” 

For those arriving early in Kingston, QUIC will be hosting a week of welcome sessions, Aug. 26-30, giving students the opportunity to visit QUIC, meet their peers, and discover useful resources – all before Orientation Week.

From Aug. 26 to Sept. 13, QUIC will operate on extended hours: from 8:30 am-7:30 pm on weekdays and from 1-7:30 pm on weekends and Labour Day.

International and EAL students can also take advantage of the many pre-arrival webinars available online. The webinars, which are a part of the Student Experience Office (SEO) Summer Webinar Series, provide useful information on topics from the Canadian education system to visas and study permits.

QUIC’s Fall Orientation and Welcome Programming begins on Monday, Aug. 26 and continues until Saturday, Sept. 14, in collaboration with university orientation programs. Participants will have additional opportunities to tour campus, attend information sessions, and participate in games and movie nights at QUIC’s new space in Mitchell Hall, and a trip to Niagara Falls.

“Coming to Queen’s University as an international student, I was filled with excitement but also a bit of trepidation on coping with the new environment, different culture and education system,” says Abirami Katlathy, a Master’s of Science student. “At QUIC, my social circle widened and I found myself getting more comfortable with my new life. It was like a second home where I met people from different backgrounds, engaged in quite a few enlightening conversations and spent time with my friends.”

To learn more about QUIC’s Welcome and Orientation fall program and to register, visit the QUIC website.

Chinese delegates and scholars visit Queen’s for collaborative research and training

A series of summer meetings, workshops, and study opportunities strengthen knowledge-sharing relationship.

Officials and scholars from China made Kingston their summer destination of choice this July – with a number of international training and partnership events taking place on the Queen’s campus.

Representatives of China’s Ministry of Natural Resources attended a training program from July 7-20, organized by the Queen’s School of Urban and Regional Planning. A delegation from Shanghai’s Municipal Government Foreign Affairs Office met with Queen’s faculty and staff to discuss their continued collaboration, and the Queen’s Department of Biology welcomed researchers from Shanghai’s Tongji University to the Queen’s University Biological Station (QUBS) for their annual environment and sustainability workshop.

“Queen’s is working to strengthen existing partnerships with China and to develop new opportunities with leading universities,” says Sandra den Otter, Associate Vice-Principal (Research & International). “The recent visits, programs, and workshops highlight the importance of collaborative research and training in several key areas, including the environment and public policy.”

Members of Shanghai's Foreign Affairs Office visiting Queen's.
Members of Shanghai's Municipal Government Foreign Affairs Office visiting Queen's.

Since 1995, Queen’s School of Urban and Rural Planning (SURP) has been hosting two yearly training programs for members of China’s Ministry of Natural Resources (formerly the Ministry of Land and Resources). One program sees up to 50 Chinese delegates partake in a two- or three-week training with presentations from SURP, Canadian federal and provincial representatives, and private sector speakers.

The second program sees five to eight young members of the ministry complete a five-month internship program administered by Queen’s. After an on-campus orientation, SURP places each intern with partner organizations in government, and the non-profit and private sectors, to facilitate the sharing and exchange of knowledge, ideas, and practices. This program is supported by Natural Resources Canada; Ontario’s Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, Ministry of Natural Resources, and Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing; and the municipalities of Kingston and Hastings.

From July 16-17, the Queen’s Office of the Associate Vice-Principal (International) hosted a delegation from Shanghai’s Foreign Affairs Office, and discussed an ongoing relationship between the group and the School of Graduate Studies (SGS). Since 2001, Shanghai has sent staff to partake in 12-month Master’s Degree programs at Queen’s, within the Department of Political Studies and School of Policy Studies. The delegation and Queen’s groups expressed to continue this relationship and also discussed possible collaborations on professional short-term training in the future.

Participants attend the Sino-Canada Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development workshop
Participants attend the 5th annual Sino-Canada Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development workshop at Queen's.

Between July 18-20, scholars from Tongji University visited Queen’s Department of Biology for the 5th Sino-Canada Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development workshop. Twenty Chinese participants, including scholars, post-doctoral students, PhD candidates and Master's candidates from Tongji; World Wildlife Fund representatives from their Shanghai programs office; Queen’s; and St. Lawrence River Institute. Among topics covered by the group was ongoing research comparing the Yangtze River and St. Lawrence River waterways and ecosystem health, as well as bilateral education and student exchange possibilities.

These recent research and training programs build on Queen’s well-established engagement with China. 

Queen’s was the first Canadian university to open an office in China (2007) and the Queen’s China Liaison Office continues to work closely with Queen’s faculty and staff to support current and new activities.

Learn more about Queen’s University’s research, learning, and other collaborations with China.

Mobilizing international academics

Program at Queen’s University welcomes scholars from around the world to work in collaboration with local researchers.

Top row left to right: Lévis Kahandukya Nyavanda, Nuworza Kugbey, Ryenchindorj Erkhembayar. Bottom row left to right: Phidelia Doegah, Munkhzaya Mandakh, Masauso Chirwa, Gantuya Dorj

Seven international scholars travelled to Canada this summer to participate in the Queen Elizabeth Scholars program and work with researchers based at Queen’s University. Hailing from Mongolia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, and Ghana the team is working to address factors that contribute to maternal and child health inequities among disadvantaged groups within the Kingston area.

Their work will result in new research dedicated to understanding barriers to accessing maternal and child health among equity-seeking groups; strategies for addressing these barriers; development of a network focused on equity, and improved research capacity and strengthened relationships in and across all partner institutions.

The aim of the Queen Elizabeth Scholars program is to mobilize a community of young global researchers through inter-cultural exchanges comprising international education, discovery and inquiry, and professional experiences so they can bring those experiences back to their home countries.

Ryenchindorj Erkhembayar (l) and Lévis Kahandukya Nyavanda work together on a project.

“The program is very useful and for me as a lecturer and researcher,” says Munkzaya Mandakh, a PhD candidate from Mongolia. “First off, I have strengthened my command of the English language, then I have enhanced my knowledge studying in a developed country like Canada. For me it was the personalized approach of training and responsiveness of all staff to the needs of each trainee which I think are unique characteristics of Queen’s.”

At Queen’s, the QE Scholars are hosted by ARCH -  A Research Collaborative for Global Health Equity  which includes Queen’s professors Heather Aldersey, Eva Purkey, Colleen Davison, and Susan Bartels.

 “The QES project has presented amazing opportunities for collaboration with international partners,” Dr. Purkey says. “It has built my own research capabilities and allowed me to practice mentoring colleagues across cultures and geographic locations. It is my hope that this will produce ongoing partnerships not only with existing scholars, but with their institutions, as well as possibilities for further network development.”

The group has been working with the Street Health Centre in Kingston. The facility is a 365-days-a-year harm reduction health centre that specializes in providing accessible, responsive, health services to communities that are marginalized from mainstream healthcare services. 

Along with academic work (l to r) Phidelia Doegah, Nuworza Kugbey, Masauso Chirwa, Lévis Kahandukya Nyavanda enjoyed their first strawberry picking trip.

“Having QES scholars and mentors has been an amazing opportunity for Street Health Centre,” says Meredith MacKenzie, who works at the centre. “This has given us a chance to have resources to investigate some growing areas of practice that may influence policy and program development for clients in Kingston.”

Leaving at the end of August, the scholars have received a number of benefits from their time at Queen’s and in Kingston.

“Most importantly I have gained the knowledge of writing winnable grant proposals and the professional networks I have formed will definitely be very important for my career development,” says Masauso Chirwa, a scholar from Zambia. “I have received tremendous support from Queen’s, an ideal place for professional development through seminars and paper presentations. I’m the coordinator for postgraduate studies in my home country, thus, this will give me a platform to share the acquired knowledge not only with the academic staff but also postgraduate students.”

Learn more about the Queen Elizabeth Scholars program.

Students explore global Indigenous histories and resilience

Fourth annual Matariki Indigenous Student Mobility Program brings international group to Queen's for discussions on issues facing Indigenous land, language, and learning.

2019 Matariki Indigenous Student Mobility Program participants.
This year's Matariki Indigenous Student Mobility Program participants at Queen's University.

Students from around the world gathered at Queen’s University recently for an immersive, two-week exploration of Indigenous histories and resilience in the face of centuries of colonial oppression. The fourth annual Matariki Indigenous Student Mobility Program (MISMP) brought together 21 participants from universities in the U.S., New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, and Canada, to discuss issues facing Indigenous land, language, and learning.

“We covered a lot of ground, both figuratively and literally, over the course of this year’s program,” says Lindsay Morcom, Assistant Professor of Aboriginal Education and MISMP faculty lead at Queen’s. “I’m very proud of how this wonderful and diverse group of students continually sought the deep, meaningful discussions required when learning about the breadth of issues facing Indigenous communities worldwide.”

The program opened with a welcoming ceremony inside a traditional longhouse on Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory – an area not far from Kingston. The gathering provided students and community attendees with an opportunity to share knowledge, song, and language, as well as explore how Indigenous experiences in Canada connect with Indigenous experiences globally.

“Languages hold so many unique ways of understanding and expressing ideas, so it was inspiring to see students, elders, and community members speaking and sharing insights in their heritage languages,” says Dr. Morcom, who was recently named the Canada Research Chair in Language Revitalization and Decolonizing Education. “Educating in culturally relevant ways not only helps boost self-esteem in students, it also contributes to building their capacity as the next generation of scholars.”

Over the following two weeks, students visited Indigenous educational centres in the region, including the Quinte Mohawk School and the First Nations Technical Institute, and spent time at Elbow Lake Environmental Education Centre engaging in discussions with experts and researchers on issues ranging from Indigenous land relations, treaties, feminism, and food sovereignty.

Students also learned about Canada’s assimilative policies and the social impacts of its past residential school program. They visited Kingston Penitentiary as well, learning about and discussing the effects of the penal system on Indigenous communities, and participated in a walking tour of the Queen’s campus that highlighted areas of significance to the university’s own Truth and Reconciliation efforts.

“I felt seen and I felt loved,” says Queen’s student participant Caleigh Matheson about her MISMP experience. “I didn’t feel the need to make myself and my opinions smaller, but instead felt reinvigorated. It gave me a bit more faith in academia.”

Many participants expressed feelings of acceptance, enlightenment, and inspiration during the program.

“Just being able to know that we are not alone was powerful,” added Queen’s student Brittany McBeath. Matheson and McBeath took part in the MISMP alongside four fellow Queen’s students.

The program culminated in a trip to Ottawa – during which MISMP students visited the First Nations exhibits at the Canadian Museum of History – and field outings to Petroglyphs Provincial Park and Curve Lake Whetung Art Centre.

“It was a great pleasure to host the MISMP group this year, as it provided an opportunity for our experts to share much of the great Indigenous research being done here at Queen’s,” says Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill), Queen’s Associate Vice-Principal (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation). “It also gave students a hands-on experience through which to develop their understanding of our local Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe perspectives, and time to nurture important global relationships and partnerships through this learning.”

The Matariki Network of Universities (MNU) facilitates the MISMP, and hosting rotates through member institutions year by year. The program, held June 23 to July 6, was the first hosted at Queen’s University.

Silver celebration at The Castle

  • A plaque was unveiled to honour philanthropists Alfred and Isabel Bader. (Photo by Alex Read)
    Chancellor Jim Leech and BISC Executive Director Hugh Horton unveil a plaque honouring philanthropists Alfred and Isabel Bader. (Photo by Alex Read)
  • People attending the BISC 25th anniversary enjoy a falconry demonstration. (Photo by Alex Read)
    People attending the BISC 25th anniversary enjoy a falconry demonstration. (Photo by Alex Read)
  • Many people toured the Bader International Study Centre's beautiful gardens. (Photo by Alex Read)
    Many people toured the Bader International Study Centre's beautiful gardens. (Photo by Alex Read)
  • NASA astronaut Drew Feustel is congratulated by Principal Daniel Woolf following his talk about his mission to the International Space Station. (Photo by Alex Read)
    NASA astronaut Drew Feustel is congratulated by Principal Daniel Woolf following his talk about his mission to the International Space Station. (Photo by Alex Read)
  • The Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, left, and BISC Executive Director Hugh Horton open the new science labs. (Photo by Alex Read)
    The Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, left, and BISC Executive Director Hugh Horton open the new science labs. (Photo by Alex Read)

More than 175 alumni and Queen’s community members, some travelling from as far away as Hong Kong and Singapore, helped celebrate the past, present, and future of the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) during its 25th anniversary celebration on June 29-30.

Sunny weather greeted former students as they returned to Queen’s international campus at Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex, England, to reconnect with old classmates and participate in a number of activities that paid homage to the castle’s 15th-century roots, including falconry and archery. Guests were also invited to explore the BISC’s new state-of-the-art science labs.

The weekend was also a time to pay tribute to philanthropists Drs. Alfred Bader (BSc’45, BA’46, MSc’47, LLD’86) and Isabel Bader (LLD’07). Alfred Bader passed away in December at the age of 94. He and Isabel decided to donate the castle to Queen’s in 1992 after seeing it for sale in a newspaper ad.

Daniel Woolf (Artsci’80), who officially stepped down after completing a second five-year term as principal and vice-chancellor over the weekend, praised the Baders for having the vision to see that the castle could be turned into a campus attracting students from around the world.

“Over the last decade, Queen’s has endeavored to expand its international footprint and ensure that our students, our researchers, and our campus all benefit from stronger ties with partners around the globe,” Dr. Woolf told alumni during his opening remarks on Saturday. “The Bader International Study Centre has been instrumental in bringing that vision to fruition.”

During a ceremony in the Elizabethan Garden, a plaque was unveiled to honour the Baders’ legacy. There, Chancellor Jim Leech (MBA’73) noted how studying abroad at the BISC, which uses small classes and its international location to create an exceptional learning environment, can be a life-changing experience.

“The Bader International Study Centre has played a foundational role in the education of thousands of students who are out there making a difference in the world,” Chancellor Leech said.

Attendees also heard a keynote talk from NASA astronaut Drew Feustel (PhD’95, DSc’16) who spoke about his career and recent six-month mission to the International Space Station.

In honour of Canada Day, the castle was open on Sunday to both alumni and local community members, and hundreds of people enjoyed Canuck-friendly fun such as street hockey and servings of poutine and Nanaimo bars.

A display of the traditional hunting practice of falconry thrilled a large crowd as several birds of prey flew over people’s heads. Other weekend events included archery lessons, croquet, an afternoon tea in the gardens, and tours of the new state-of-the-art science and innovation labs. The labs, opened by the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex (the Queen Elizabeth II’s official representative in the county), are part of the BISC’s long-term plan to offer more science-based programs.

Vice-Provost and Executive Director Hugh Horton said he is looking forward to seeing the BISC continue to grow and offer an exceptional international learning experience to students.

“Our challenge now is to build on what we have so that we will have even more to celebrate by the time we mark our 50th anniversary,” Dr. Horton said during the official opening. “We want to create more experiential learning opportunities for our students. We want to give them access to state-of-the-art classrooms and study spaces.”

Visit the BISC Alumni Spotlight Series website and learn how studying at Herstmonceux Castle impacted the lives of former BISC students.

To see more pictures of the BISC anniversary, please see the Queen’s Alumni Flickr album.

This article was first published on the Queen's Alumni website.

Inspiring an amazing academic journey

Claire Gummo and Stefanie vo Hlatky
Rhodes Scholar Claire Gummo (Artsci’17) nominated Stéfanie von Hlatky, her former professor in the Department of Political Studies for the Rhodes Inspirational Educator Award. (Supplied Photos) 

When Claire Gummo (Artsci’17) arrived at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar in 2017 it was a dream come true.

Along her academic journey there was a lot of hard work and dedication and as well as support, including from Stéfanie von Hlatky, an associate professor of political studies at Queen’s University and the former director of the Queen’s Centre for International and Defence Policy (CIDP).

Two years later, remembering her invaluable encouragement and mentorship during her time at Queen’s as an undergraduate student, Gummo nominated Dr. von Hlatky for the Rhodes Inspirational Educator Award. Recently, it was announced that the Rhodes Trust agreed with Gummo.

Making the decision to nominate her former professor was easy, Gummo says. She knows that she wouldn’t have become a Rhodes Scholar without Dr. von Hlatky’s guidance and support.

“Dr. von Hlatky was my biggest advocate in the Rhodes Scholarship selection process. Beyond writing a recommendation letter in support of my application, she ran practice interviews with me, provided encouragement at key moments when I doubted myself, and helped me to select my program at Oxford once I learned I had received the scholarship,” she says. “For me, this piece around encouragement was most crucial. I have, like many young women, a tendency to doubt my own abilities, making something like the Rhodes Scholarship feel like an impossible dream. Dr. von Hlatky pushed me to embrace opportunities and be confident about my own potential and intellect. She did this not just in her words but also by acting as a role model, providing a clear example of what professional excellence and strength look like.” 

Dr. von Hlatky says that while Gummo is strong academically, what set her apart during her time at Queen’s was her level of engagement on campus and her commitment to helping other students, particularly her work and advocacy on sexual violence prevention.

As a professor, Dr. von Hlatky aims to convey her passion to her students when teaching or discussing her research. Receiving this award, she says, has provided an opportunity to think about how to teach with purpose moving forward with an increasingly diverse student body in mind. 

“As professors, we teach and provide training to students but at Queen’s, there are fantastic opportunities for genuine mentorship relationships to emerge,” Dr. von Hlatky says. “This is the case not only because our students are very active in student clubs and continuously involve their professors, but also thanks to programs like Undergraduate Student Summer Research Fellowships (USSRF). For me, involving undergraduate and graduate students in my research projects has been a great way to provide mentorship that goes beyond the classroom.”

Not only has Dr. von Hlatky been a mentor for Gummo but she’s also a role model. Dr. von Hlatky is as equally talented a researcher as she is an educator, Gummo says, with compelling work on topics including gender mainstreaming, contemporary security trends especially within NATO, and military cooperation, that has shaped her own academic thinking in critical ways. 

“I am struck and inspired by the way Dr. von Hlatky’s confidence and intelligence never fails to command the respect and admiration of her colleagues – both military and civilian,” Gummo wrote in her nomination letter. “In this way, she has acted as a crucial role model for me in my own life, shaping my approach to professional and academic endeavours. However, what truly sets Dr. von Hlatky apart is that this boldness is matched with a remarkable generosity of spirit. She goes above and beyond to mentor her students, especially young women, even founding Women in International Security Canada, which has provided support to more than 600 young academics. Taken together, these two disparate yet complementary elements of her character – boldness and generosity – have greatly inspired me, as they have every student who is fortunate enough to have the opportunity to learn from, and with, her.”

Gummo was named Queen’s University’s 57th Rhodes Scholar in 2017. At Oxford she completed a one-year master’s in Global Governance and Diplomacy, followed by a second one-year master’s in Public Policy, where she specialized in gender mainstreaming and practical feminist ethics.

Each year 11 Canadians are selected for Rhodes Scholarships, the most prestigious academic awards in the world. Created in 1902 by the will of British philanthropist Cecil Rhodes, the scholarships cover all costs for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford. The scholarships are awarded to students on the basis of high academic achievement and personal integrity, who are also expected to emerge as “leaders for the world’s future.”


Queen’s is deeply engaged internationally with strong academic and research ties around the globe including the university’s Bader International Study Centre (BISC) in the United Kingdom, that offers high-quality programs in humanities, social sciences, business and law. Queen’s has more than 220 student exchange partners in more than 40 countries and numerous education abroad experiences available.

Queen’s hosts diplomats from across Asia-Pacific

Annual Ambassadors’ Forum brings international representatives to campus for networking and knowledge sharing.

Queen’s representatives and international ambassadors pose together in front of Summerhill, a yearly tradition after the Ambassadors’ Forum.
Queen’s representatives and international ambassadors pose together in front of Summerhill, a yearly tradition after the Ambassadors’ Forum.

Diplomats from 10 countries across the Asia-Pacific region met at Queen’s University recently for the Ambassadors' Forum – an annual event that provides opportunities for international networking, knowledge sharing, and collaboration. Representatives from China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, South Korea, and Vietnam joined Queen’s academics and administrators for discussions of international education, partnerships, and economic and political issues.

“I want to thank our guests for joining this year’s Ambassadors' Forum, and for sharing their invaluable perspectives on opportunities and challenges we all share,” says Tom Harris, Interim Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “Effective partnerships are built on communication, so this annual gathering serves as a fantastic opportunity to deepen these connections and explore untapped potential for future collaboration.”

First held in 2003, the Ambassadors' Forum was developed and nurtured by Hok-Lin Leung, Professor Emeritus in the Queen’s Department for Geography and Planning. The yearly event hosts ambassadors, high commissioners, and national representatives, as well as Queen’s academics and administrators for a luncheon and private guest lecture. This year, David Detomasi, Adjunct Associate Professor at Smith School of Business addressed forum guests with a talk entitled “The New International Trade Order”.

“I want to thank Dr. Leung for continuing to devote significant time and effort into building and strengthening Queen’s University’s relationships with this important community,” says Dr. Harris.

Dr. Harris was joined by other administrators in representing Queen’s at the forum, including Fahim Quadir, Dean of the School of Graduate Studies; Kent Novakowski, Associate Vice-Principal (Research); and Jill Scott, Interim Associate Vice-Principal (International).

“We must continually strive to set the bar higher for ourselves as we work to equip our students with the tools they will need to become global citizens,” says Dr. Scott, who closed out the luncheon with remarks about the social mission of universities like Queen’s.

The spring edition of the annual Ambassadors' Forum took place at Queen’s on Friday, May 31.

Castle campus marks 25 years

Queen’s Bader International Study Centre to celebrate milestone with alumni reunion.

Queen's Bader International Study Centre
Queen's Bader International Study Centre (BISC) celebrates 25 years.

Inside the walls of a nearly 600-year-old English castle, Queen’s alumni, faculty, staff, and friends will soon gather to mark the 25th anniversary of the Queen’s Bader International Study Centre (BISC) housed there. Among them: a NASA astronaut, the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, leading academics, Canadian expats, local community members, and those traveling from around the world – all of whom will be on hand from June 29-30, 2019 to celebrate the past, present, and future of the overseas Queen’s campus.

“For a quarter century, the BISC has been a temporary home to Queen’s students looking to further broaden the scope of their learning,” says Hugh Horton, Vice-Provost and BISC Executive Director. “Here, they are able to engage with scholars from across the world, in a close-knit, interdisciplinary academic environment to not only enhance their education, but give it a truly global dimension.”

Visionary philanthropists and Queen’s alumni Alfred and Isabel Bader gifted the BISC, located on the Herstmonceux Castle estate in East Sussex, UK, to Queen’s University in 1993, and it opened doors to students in 1994. It has since provided innovative, international undergraduate and graduate programs to over 7,000 Queen’s students, across disciplines as diverse as archaeology, music, international law and politics, global health, international project management, and astronomy. Program offerings continue to grow.

In 2017, the BISC accepted its first group of students from the Queen’s Concurrent Education Program, which prepares undergraduates to become educators. Students enrolled in this program complete local practicums at primary and secondary schools nearby the BISC campus, providing a hands-on comparative learning experience.

This year, programming for science students is set to expand with the opening of the BISC’s brand-new teaching science laboratory and innovation design space, allowing the campus to offer practical science subjects on campus for the very first time. The facility will be officially unveiled during the 25th anniversary celebrations.

The Bader International Study Centre
Queen's Bader International Study Centre.

“The Baders envisaged a learning facility that could take the Queen’s educational experience Alfred deeply cherished, and extend its reach internationally,” says Dr. Horton. “With 25-years of BISC alumni now living and working in countries across the world—many of whom are set to join us in celebration of this incredible milestone—and our ever-growing complement of programs, I think their vision has truly taken shape. In honour of their vision, and of Alfred, who passed away late last year, I look forward to continuing our momentum forward into the next 25 years.”

On June 29, 2019, BISC alumni and their families are invited to the first day of 25th anniversary celebrations. There, they will have a chance to reminisce during castle tours, have tea in the Elizabethan gardens, mingle with professors, and attend the unveiling of a commemorative garden honouring the Baders. NASA astronaut and Queen’s alumnus Drew Feustel, who returned from the International Space Station last October following a six-month mission, will also deliver a keynote address.

On June 30, the celebration will open to the public and take on a Canadian theme in recognition of the Canada Day weekend. Canadians living in England are encouraged to join alumni on the castle grounds for street hockey, tastes from home such as poutine and Nanaimo bars, falconry and archery demonstrations, and a symphonova performance by the BISC Musicians in Residence, featuring works by Dan School of Drama and Music Professor John Burge.

Queen’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf, Chancellor Jim Leech, and Vice-Principal (Advancement) Karen Bertrand will be among senior leaders there to help mark the milestone.

“In 1993, the Baders bestowed Queen’s with the BISC; an amazing gift that went on to play a foundational role in extending our university’s global horizons,” says Principal Woolf. “The unique, experiential learning prospects that the facility provides helped inspire us to chart educational linkages with many other institutions and organizations internationally – opening a world of opportunities for our students.”

Those interested in attending the festivities can register on the website.

NASA astronaut added to Bader International Study Centre celebration

[Drew Feustel on the International Space Station]
NASA astronaut Drew Feustel (PhD’95, DSc’16) will be the keynote speaker at the BISC’s 25th Anniversary Celebration.

The last time astronaut Drew Feustel talked to the Queen’s community, he was floating 408 kilometres above Earth on the International Space Station.

Dr. Feustel (PhD'95, DSc'16), who returned to Earth in October after a six-month mission, has been named the keynote speaker at the Bader International Study Centre’s (BISC) 25th Anniversary Celebration from June 29-30. During his mission, Dr. Feustel participated in a live question-and-answer session with the Queen’s and Kingston communities by video – a first for the university.

BISC Vice-Provost and Executive Director Hugh Horton is thrilled to add an astronaut to the weekend’s lineup of activities because it ties into the Castle’s astronomical history. Before Herstmonceux Castle was donated by Alfred Bader (Sc’45, Arts’46, MSc’47, LLD’86) and Isabel Bader (LLD’07) to Queen’s in the early 1990s, it was home to the Royal Greenwich Observatory from 1957 to 1988. The observatory is still on the grounds, and the BISC also offers an introductory astronomy course.

“Drew helped repair the Hubble Telescope during his space shuttle mission,” says Dr. Horton. “He is an alumnus who has had a profound impact on science. For years, students and researchers at the Castle have studied astronomy. Now we will learn from someone who has the first-hand experience of life in space.”

Additional activities planned for the BISC 25th anniversary weekend include Castle tours, Queen’s tea in the Elizabethan gardens, chances to mingle with BISC professors, falconry, archery, and the dedication of a new tricolour-themed garden in memory of Alfred Bader. On June 30, the Castle will open up to the community for Canada Day celebrations. Organizers are hoping Canadians living in England will join alumni for street hockey, tastes from home such as poutine and Nanaimo bars, and a concert by the BISC Musicians in Residence featuring works by Dan School of Drama and Music Professor John Burge.

Many alumni will be reminiscing about the past 25 years at Herstmonceux Castle, but Dr. Horton also wants people to think about the next 25 years.

“The celebration is as much about looking forward as it is about looking back,” he says. “Twenty-five years ago we essentially took an abandoned castle and turned it into a modern university campus with small class sizes and cutting-edge learning tools designed to create an exceptional learning environment. Now we want to share our plans with alumni on how the BISC student experience is going to evolve and improve in the future.”

One change is a new teaching science lab and innovation design space. It will be unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II’s representative, the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, on June 29. The new lab is part of BISC’s plans to expand its course offerings to include more science-based programs.

Several senior Queen’s administrators will travel to England to take part in the celebrations, including Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf (Artsci’80), Chancellor Jim Leech (MBA’73), and Vice-Principal (Advancement) Karen Bertrand (Artsci’94).

For details about the event, or to register, visit the Queen’s alumni website.

This article was first published on the Queen's Alumni website.


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