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Celebrating cultural diversity through cinema

The QUIC World Link-SGPS Diversity and Inclusion Film Festival promotes intercultural awareness on campus.

[Diversity and Inclusion Film Festival]
The most recent installment of the Diversity and Inclusion Film Festival (DIFF) brought together more than 60 members of the Queen's community to watch the film Coco. (University Communications)

More than 60 students, faculty and community members gathered to watch Coco, one of six movies that comprise this year’s Diversity and Inclusion Film Festival (DIFF), on Friday, Nov. 16.

DIFF is organized by the Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS) in collaboration with the World Link program at the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC), that work together to promote intercultural communication, diversity and inclusion through film.

The festival started in March 2018, and has grown into a successful series of events that educate and entertain. Screened films highlight a specific culture and are complemented by discussion, music, and food from the region.

“DIFF is a one-of-a-kind event, weaving stories from various places around the world, right here at Queen's,” says Atul Jaiswal, International Commissioner at the SGPS, and one of the festival’s organizers. “We intend to use movies as a tool to showcase the culture unique to the specific region, so people can appreciate each other’s cultures.”

[Diversity and Inclusion Film Festival]
On Friday, Nov. 16 the Diversity and Inclusion Film Festival (DIFF) highlighted the culture of Mexico. (University Communications)

DIFF has featured films from Ireland, India, Japan and Mexico. The final festival event takes place on Friday, Nov 30, with a screening of Indian Horse, an Indigenous coming-of-age story set in Canada.

All are welcome to attend the final screening or check out one of the numerous programs and events offered at QUIC. Inclusivity is a key factor in QUIC’s mission to promote strong communities and create lasting bonds among domestic and international students.  

QUIC has experienced a very successful fall term, helping to welcome more than 900 international students at the centre. QUIC provides a home away from home for these students and creates a comfortable environment to meet new people, learn about life in Canada and develop academic skills.

"Since my very first day at Queen's, I felt the most comfortable at QUIC and it has really become my second home here,” says Herman Kaur, a first-year master’s student in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Queen’s. “It is always so amazing to talk to the students and staff at QUIC and be part of various activities and workshops being organized."

With 25-30 part-time student staff, and up to 100 student volunteers, QUIC offers a variety of opportunities for students to get involved and help develop intercultural awareness on campus. By working together as a community, QUIC supports diversity and inclusion at Queen’s and beyond.

In mid-December, QUIC is moving from the JDUC to the second floor of Mitchell Hall, the university’s new Wellness and Innovation Centre in the heart of campus.

Check out QUIC’s website to learn more about upcoming events and how to get involved.

Introducing our new faculty members: Ricard Gil

Ricard Gil is a faculty member in Smith School of Business.

This profile is part of a series highlighting some of the new faculty members who have recently joined the Queen's community. The university is currently in the midst of the principal's faculty renewal plans, which will see 200 new faculty members hired over five years. 

Ricard Gil (Smith School of Business) sat down with the Gazette to talk about his experience so far. Dr. Gil is an associate professor of business economics.

[Queen's University Ricard Gil Smith School of Business]
Ricard Gil is a faculty member in Smith School of Business. (University Communications)
Fast Facts about Dr. Gil

Department: Smith School of Business

Hometown: Barcelona, Spain

Alma mater: Harvard University (post-doctoral fellowship), University of Chicago (PhD), Universitat Pompeu Fabra (undergraduate)

Research area: Organizational economics

Hobbies include: European football, Netflix (House of Cards), food, sports

Dr. Gil’s web bio
Tell us a bit about your academic journey.
I completed my PhD at the University of Chicago. My first job was at University of California in Santa Cruz – which was a lovely place to be, at least for a little while. I recommend Northern California to everyone.
While at UCSC, I took a one-year hiatus to complete a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard Business School. I was offered tenure at Santa Cruz, but made what might be considered an unconventional decision…I instead took an offer without tenure at John Hopkins University. I was single and young back then, so it made sense at the time.
In between, I took a year off and visited the MIT Sloan School of Management and the department of management at the London School of Economics.
Hopkins was a good experience as I had never taught in graduate programs before. I also met my wife and started my family in Baltimore.
I have lived in three different time zones since moving to North America – it has been an interesting journey so far!
What are you researching right now?
My scope of research has to do with firm behaviour. It’s all about governance.
The idea is, for very simple transactions like you and I going to the grocery store…there’s no governance for that. Why? Because it is very simple. You go to the store, you buy a product, they give you a receipt which is a contract that states if the product is not in good condition you can bring it back.
The world is not always characterized by these very simple transactions – especially when you have firm to firm, firm to government, or government to individual relationships. The complexities can come from the fact there are more than two parties involved, or how to define the limitations and the contributions of each party. You need to establish a good governance model in these cases.
I study how transaction characteristics drive the adoption of different governance models. I have studied it in the airline, movie, and TV industries…and I once even studied dry cleaning.
[Queen's University Ricard Gil Smith School of Business]
Dr. Gil demonstrates the demand and supply curve. From his career, it is clear his knowledge has been in high demand - he has taught and researched at five universities, including Queen's. (University Communications)
How did you decide this was what interested you, and that you wanted to research it?
You are basically able to observe the same sort of transaction, under the same circumstances, and understand why the diversity of governance models happens. I find that interesting.
I always thought that, through the study of many years, one comes out with many questions which others might not be reflecting on. I like to communicate those.
If I get to shake students out of their comfort zone and make them think in a way that is not conventional, it’s a good day. That’s what keeps it interesting.
What do you do for fun?
I am a soccer fan – I root for Barcelona. I like sports in general – European football tends to drive my weekend.
I like to travel. I watch a lot of movies and shows – not as much as I used to, with young kids I don’t travel as much anymore, and don’t get to watch movies in-flight. Having said that, I just finished the latest season of House of Cards. I am always looking for new shows.
How did you decide Queen’s was the right fit for you?
While I was at Hopkins, I came to Queen’s for a research seminar. I met some people and liked my experience here. There was a job opening a few months later and some of the people I met encouraged me to apply.
Kingston seemed more attractive than Baltimore, and the university’s student profile made it seem like a pretty good deal. So my family moved to Kingston in May – mainly to avoid moving during winter! My wife is happy, my four-year-old is enjoying his school, and our nine-month-old doesn’t seem to mind.
I am looking forward to teaching next year once it is determined who I am teaching. I hear very good things about Smith undergraduates.
In the meantime, I am helping the school with some committee work, getting ready for winter, and conducting some research and supporting my colleagues’ research. And I am once again navigating the bureaucracy to obtain Canadian permanent residency – I currently hold Spanish and U.S. citizenship.

A memorable journey of remembrance

A group of students, faculty, and staff from the Bader International Study Centre travel to the Vimy Memorial in France to take part in a Remembrance Day service.

  • Members of the BISC Chamber and Open Choir lead the procession
    Members of the BISC Chamber and Open Choir lead a procession of pipers and local dignitaries to the memorial site. (Photo by Pascal Brunet)
  • BISC Students lay a wreath on behalf of Queen’s University
    BISC students Harriet Wright, Wyatt Mann, and Sarah Dulmage lay a wreath on behalf of Queen’s University at the Vimy Memorial. (Photo by Samantha Brown)
  • Members of the BISC Chamber and Open Choir
    Members of the BISC Chamber and Open Choir perform during the Remembrance Day Ceremony on Sunday, Nov. 11, in Vimy, France. (Photo by Samantha Brown)
  • Jake Kidd discovers his great uncle’s inscription
    BISC student Jake Kidd takes a photo of his great uncle's inscription after locating it on the Vimy Memorial. (Photo by Diana Gilchrist)

A group of 110 students and faculty from the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) travelled to the French town of Vimy on a cold, wet, and windy Nov. 11, as the world marked the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

Today, the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, Canada’s largest overseas war memorial, sits at the highest point of the Vimy Ridge and commemorates not only the Battle of Vimy Ridge, (April 9-12, 1917) but all Canadian Expeditionary Force members killed during the First World War, including those with no known resting place.

While students from the BISC have been travelling to the memorial on or around Remembrance Day for the past several years, this is the first year that the BISC Chamber and Open Choir have been invited to participate in the Remembrance Day ceremony itself.

BISC group at Vimy Memorial
The members of the BISC Chamber and Open Choir stand in front of the Vimy Memorial after taking part in the Remembrance Day ceremony. (Photo by Pascal Brunet)

The BISC’s 40-strong choir, robed and sporting their BISC scarves, was afforded the honour of leading a procession of pipers and local dignitaries to the memorial site. The choir sang two moving excerpts from Requiem by Eleanor Daly, a Canadian composer and Queen’s University graduate. As the rain came down in earnest, soloist soprano and BISC Musician-in-Residence, Diana Gilchrist also sang Mozart’s Laudate Dominum from his Solemn Vespers.

Three first-year BISC students, Wyatt Mann, Harriet Wright, and Sarah Dulmage, laid a wreath during the ceremony on behalf of the BISC and Queen’s University. They were chosen from dozens of applicants for their outstanding submissions on the subject of what laying a wreath at the Vimy Memorial would mean to them and their families.

“With this opportunity, I take great pride in being able to represent those who have come before me. My great-great grandfather Charlie Wright fought in World War One and took part in the Battle of Vimy Ridge,” says Dulmage. “My family is composed of many military personnel, so to me, laying the wreath meant giving the ultimate thanks to my family who have served and allowed me to be who I am and where I am today.”

Choir member and BISC 100 lecturer Beth Richan says she was proud seeing such a mix of generations and a sea of Canadian red in the assembled crowd as the bugler played The Last Post.

“What struck me from speaking to the students afterwards was just how many of them expressed that being present was not only very important to them personally, but would be hugely significant for their parents and grandparents too,” she says.

Student Jake Kidd was one of many who searched the thousands of names etched into the Vimy Memorial on behalf of their families and found a relative, his great uncle.

Following the ceremony, each student was presented with a commemorative Vimy pin and poppy. The students then had the opportunity to visit Ypres and the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing, before returning to Herstmonceux Castle.

The trip to Vimy was the culmination of an entire term’s worth of opportunities to learn more about the history and experience of war. On Nov. 7 and 8, approximately 125 students attended performances of Lest We Forget at Hastings’ Stable Theatre. This contemporary production is based on stories from survivors of the Great War from East Sussex and weaves readings, poems, and songs from the era into the narrative. In addition, the Castle Reads group, which encourages members of the Castle community to come together through a shared love of literature, has chosen the First World War novel Strange Meeting by Susan Hill as their book for the fall term.

Back in the UK, the students will have the opportunity to reflect further on their experiences with a concert at the Castle on Sunday, Nov. 25 in honour of the 80th anniversary of Alfred Bader’s participation in the Kindertransport of 1938. Dr. Bader, along with some 10,000 other Jewish children, was evacuated to the safety of the UK from Nazi-occupied Austria. 

Developing strong leaders and stronger communities

Queen’s OceanPath Fellows work with isolated communities to promote healing.

Queen's OceanPath 2018-19 Fellows
Current Queen's OceanPath Fellows Holly McCann, Harry Critchley, and Kaitlyn Gillelan.

Earlier this year, three Queen’s University graduates were named OceanPath Fellows, receiving $25,000 each in support of their proposed initiatives to promote healing and wellness in isolated communities. Annually, twelve university students graduating from McGill, University of Ottawa, Queen’s or St. Francis Xavier are eligible for these prestigious Coady Institute-facilitated fellowships that provide year-long funding in support of community-focused, experiential learning opportunities designed to foster sustainable and positive social change. 

Kaitlyn Gillelan (ArtSci’18), Holly McCann (ArtSci’18), and Harry Critchley (MA’18), were named OceanPath Fellows in 2018, awards that then saw them partner with organizations in Nunavut and Nova Scotia to start implementing the community initiatives they designed. 

“As part of my initiative, our idea is to use art as a medium of self-expression for young women, as a platform to go through the journey of (re)discovering their own individual voices.  Another aspect of this initiative will also be a cultural revitalization component which will aim to reconnect youth with historical art from within their own community,” says Ms. Gillelan, whose fellowship work is taking place in Pond Inlet, Nunavut. “The OceanPath Fellowship has given me the opportunity to be immersed in community, be in a state of constant learning, become reconnected to my own creative passions, and has inspired me to pursue a career in art therapy.” 

Ms. Gillelan had first connected with the high arctic community of Pond Inlet in 2015, when she volunteered as a peer health educator. "I am so extremely grateful to have been able to return to Pond Inlet, as it is a place I’ve come to hold close to my heart. The most rewarding aspect of my fellowship is being back in a community that has fundamentally shaped me into the person that I am today.” 

In the summer of 2017, Ms. McCann also served in the far north as a summer intern with the Arviat Hamlet Office’s Wellness Department, working to create a workshop series on self-care, coping skills, peer support, and healthy relationship skills to support the small community of 2,600 people on mainland Nunavut. She’s since returned to Arviat to pursue her proposed fellowship work. 

“The main focus of my fellowship work is to foster resilience through mentorship programs that bring community youth and elders together,” says Ms. McCann. “Ultimately, I hope we can work together toward lasting and meaningful change that will nurture and support the mental wellbeing of Arviat’s young people.” 

Mr. Critchley works with a community isolated less by geography, and more often by security walls and social stigma. Over the past five years, he has worked closely with several prisoner advocacy organizations in the Maritimes and co-founded the Burnside Prison Education Program – a registered non-profit that provides literacy tutoring, book clubs, art programs, and employment skills training to incarcerated people at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility.

“The OceanPath Fellowship has afforded me access to a wealth of resources, connections, and funds, which I have been able to leverage to support my partner organization, Elizabeth Fry Society of Mainland Nova Scotia, in securing an additional $65,000 from the provincial government to develop and launch an employment readiness program for formerly incarcerated women,” says Mr. Critchley. “What has been most exciting about the Fellowship overall has been the opportunity to work alongside currently and formerly incarcerated Nova Scotians to develop meaningful bridges of solidarity across communities, institutions, and common struggles."

The next deadline for 2019-20 applications to the OceanPath Fellowship is Nov. 15, 2018. Fellowships are awarded to Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents who are graduating full-time students under 30 years of age, from one of the partner universities. Students interested in applying for the fellowship can contact Queen’s Experiential Learning Projects Coordinator, Katie Fizzell in Queen’s Career Services.

Star-studded music

Andrew Feustel, recent commander of the ISS and Gord Sinclair of The Tragically Hip collaborate on an original song and video.

After six months spent orbiting the Earth, Andrew (Drew) Feustel (PhD’95) is now a back on solid ground. He touched down early Tuesday, Oct. 4, in a field in Kazakhstan.

During his time in zero gravity, the Queen’s alumnus became commander of the International Space Station (ISS) and helped carry out hundreds of research projects.

He also took some time to work on a creative project: a new song he wrote and recorded with fellow Queen’s alumnus Gord Sinclair (Artsci’86) of The Tragically Hip.

Listen to the original song and check out the perspective of an alumnus from the ISS.

The song focuses on world unity, love, and the perspective that comes with living thousands of feet above the Earth. Dr. Feustel provided his voice and guitar for the project and Mr. Sinclair wrote the lyrics and music. The astronaut and band have had a long camaraderie, and this is their first collaboration together.

The music video features footage of Earth from the ISS, Dr. Feustel on the ISS as he recorded the song, and scenes across the globe.

The song was one of the last projects for Dr. Feustel during his six-month research mission aboard the ISS. He returned to Earth on Thursday, Oct. 4, at 7:45 am with no issues after a mission full of exciting events, like the In-Flight Education Downlink with Queen’s in April, a special Canada Day video with other Queen’s alumni, and research projects to study the effects of zero gravity.

As the latest Canadian in space, Dr. Feustel passes on the torch to the next Canadian astronaut, David Saint-Jacques, in December 2018.

25 years at The Castle

The Bader International Study Centre to celebrate anniversary with an all-classes reunion.

The BISC 25th Reunion logo. (Credit: BISC)
The BISC 25th Reunion logo (Credit: BISC) 

As the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) prepares to celebrate 25 years of operations, its mixture of history and community is the perfect backdrop for a reunion.

The BISC, located in East Sussex, England, is home to students, staff, faculty, and over 575 years of history. The Castle was bankrolled by King Henry VIII in 1441 and eventually fell into neglect during the 1700s, until its restoration in the early 1900s. Alfred and Isabel Bader donated The Castle to Queen’s in 1993 as the International Study Centre. The ISC was renamed the Bader International Study Centre in 2009 in celebration of Alfred’s 85th birthday, as a mark of the university’s deep appreciation for his extraordinary generosity to Queen’s.

The BISC has also been the backdrop to major literary adaptions, including the 1990s Chronicles of Narnia films and a wizardly retreat in 2017 and 2018. Check out Ghosts, A Hanging & Henry VIII: All Part of Herstmonceux Castle’s History to dig deeper into The Castle’s long, and sometimes haunted, past.

“The Castle has become a staple of the Queen’s student experience, as both the oldest and newest part of Queen’s,” says Hugh Horton, Vice-Provost of the BISC. “Thanks to our first year program, opportunities for upper year students, small class sizes, and the many treasures that The Castle and grounds have to offer, we deliver a learning experience like no other. That’s worth celebrating.”

Students returned to the BISC this September for the Fall term. The Castle has recently expanded its innovationinclusion and mental health resources for students, and plans to expand its science education facilities in 2019.

The 25th reunion will take place on the 2019 Canada Day weekend at The Castle. Alumni of The Castle will reunite for a weekend full of activities, including a night at the Headless Drummer, a garden party, tours of the improvements to The Castle, mini-lectures from their favourite professors, and many opportunities to catch up after years, for some even decades, apart.

“We want to bring alumni of The Castle together to celebrate and to commemorate the impact that the donation of the BISC has had on so many lives and on Queen’s international programs,” says Elizabeth Gorman, Associate Director, Alumni and Student Engagement. “The Castle is a very special part of Queen’s, and we aim to give alumni, faculty, staff, students, and the local East Sussex community a fun and educational weekend together.”

To count yourself in for the upcoming weekend, check out the 25th anniversary Facebook page.

Recognition in Shanghai

Director of the Queen's China Liaison Office in Shanghai receives the prestigious Magnolia Award.

  • Dr. Zhang (second from the right) stands with a group of recipients during the Magnolia Awards ceremony.
    Dr. Zhang (second from the right) stands with a group of recipients during the Magnolia Awards ceremony.
  • All recipients of the 2018 Shanghai Magnolia Awards stand together after the presentation ceremony,
    All recipients of the 2018 Shanghai Magnolia Awards stand together after the presentation ceremony,
  • Dr. Zhang poses with Weldon Epp, Consul General, Canadian Consulate General in Shanghai at the Magnolia Awards Ceremony.
    Dr. Zhang poses with Weldon Epp, Consul General, Canadian Consulate General in Shanghai at the Magnolia Awards Ceremony.
  • From left to right: Mr. Zhang Xiaosong, Director-General, Shanghai Municipal Government Foreign Affairs Office; Mr. Weldon Epp, Consul General, Canadian Consulate General In Shanghai; and Dr. Zhang.
    From left to right: Mr. Zhang Xiaosong, Director-General, Shanghai Municipal Government Foreign Affairs Office; Mr. Weldon Epp, Consul General, Canadian Consulate General In Shanghai; and Dr. Zhang.
  • From left to right: Dr Zhang; Mr. Chen Hui, Department Head, Shanghai Municipal Government Foreign Affairs Office; and Mr. Li Mingjun, President of China Europe International Business School (CIEBS)
    From left to right: Dr Zhang; Mr. Chen Hui, Department Head, Shanghai Municipal Government Foreign Affairs Office; and Mr. Li Mingjun, President of China Europe International Business School (CIEBS)

As a representative for Queen’s in China, Zhiyao Zhang keeps a busy schedule of connecting students with resources, managing collaborative programs with partners, and volunteer work. Recognition from the Shanghai Government has brought him international attention as a Shanghai Magnolia Award recipient.

The magnolia is the official flower of the city. The Magnolia award is recognition from the Shanghai Government to foreigners who work in Shanghai and make great contributions to Shanghai’s development. Awards are granted to those working in economy and trade, finance, education, tourism, and communications. Roughly 50 foreigners are recognized every year since its inception in 2000. Many recipients are CEOs and Chairs of national and multi-national companies.

[Dr. Zhang poses with his award.]
Dr. Zhang and the Magnolia Award certificate.

“My case was a little different. I was chosen for my work as a Canadian university representative,” says Dr. Zhang, Director of the Queen's China Liason Office. “I didn’t expect the award, and I’m happy and honoured.”

The Queen's China Liaison Office was established in 2007, located at Fudan University in Shanghai. The office seeks opportunities for academic and research collaboration with Chinese universities and government offices, recruitment of undergraduate and graduate students for degree programs at Queen’s, and maintaining links with Queen’s alumni in China.

Dr. Zhang’s nomination was the result of over a decade of work representing Queen’s with Fudan University, Tongji University, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics (SUFE), China Executive Leadership Academy Pudong (CELAP), and the Municipal Government Foreign Affairs Office in Shanghai on collaborations in research, graduate and undergraduate exchange programs, degree programs, and official training programs.

“As a Queen’s representative, I think this award will help to promote the office and Queen’s in general in Shanghai, and more broadly in China,” says Dr. Zhang. “This recognition helps to build trust. Trust building is important but not easy in China, no matter what business you’re in.”

Dr. Zhang says the award is a result of teamwork. He works closely with people from home campus and Shanghai, initiated and coordinated high profile programs, including:

  • The establishment of Sino-Canada Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development, in partnership with Fudan and Tongji University,
  • The Centre for Canadian Public Policy Studies at Fudan, working with Fudan University with the support of the Canadian Embassy in China and Consulate General in Shanghai,
  • High-profile Sino-Canada Conferences organized, such as The Sino-Canada Water Forum and the Sino-Canada Environmental Governance Roundtable, and
  • A Canadian Study Lecture Series at Fudan created to provide a platform for Queen’s faculties to lecture at Fudan.

Indirectly related to his work, Dr. Zhang also contributes his time as a volunteer at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Shanghai Projects Office to promote nature education and works with a freelance ecologist and a farm manager to start the Good Earth Project, promoting eco-friendly agriculture and environment education. Both WWF and Good Earth Projects have now become informal research and teaching sites for Queen’s faculties and visiting students in Shanghai.

Scholarship promotes maternal and child health equity research

Queen's health equality collaborative group wins Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Scholars – Advanced Scholars program funding.

A Queen’s University program focused on maternal and child health equity is one of 20 Canadian university programs that received funding from the Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Scholarships – Advanced Scholars (QES-AS) program.

[QES-AS program members]
QES-AS program members from left to right: Enkh-Oyun Tsogzolbaatar, Supaporn Trongsakul, Colleen Davison, Katemanee Moonpanane, Heather Aldersey, Susan Thanabalasingam, Eva Purkey, Ariuntuya Sakhiya, and Dédé Watchiba. Not pictured: Luc Kalisya Malemo and Susan Bartels. (Photo: University Communications)

A Research Collaborative for Global Health Equity (ARCH) received $449,000 in funding to support research projects among the visiting scholars and associated faculty.

The QES-AS focuses on institutional capacity to strengthen partner institutions from the Global South. It is expected to engage approximately 420 researchers in international research projects, contributing to improved global talent exchange between Canada and other nations..

This year, the six advanced scholars that visited Queen’s came from a range of backgrounds, from a practicing general surgeon to a government health official to PhDs of political science, biostatistics, and nursing. The scholars include Dédé Watchiba and Luc Kalisya Malemo from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ariuntuya Sakhiya and Enkh-Oyun Tsogzolbaatar from Mongolia, and Katemanee Moonpanane and Supaporn Trongsakul from Thailand. Their common cause is equity in maternal and child health research and services.

“I’m currently focused on a literature review, because one of the aims of the scholarship is to improve the capacity of the researchers. I have never done a literature review, so I get to work with a mentor to conduct it,” says Dr. Moonpanane, Postdoctoral Scholar (Nursing) with Mea Fah Luang University in Chiang Rai, Thailand. “The experiences that I gain here, I can teach to those in my faculty.”

Dr. Moonpanane is also working on a research project to raise the accessibility and quality of maternal and child health in Thailand, with the hopes of translating her findings to other countries as well.

The three months that the scholars spend at Queen’s are full of research, projects, and collaboration. A third of the scholars’ time is spent on each individual research, collaborative research and a community-based research placement.

“I have my own research project, which I try to share with the team for their points of view and feedback, and there is also a group project between all of us on parenting in adversity,” says Dr. Watchiba, professor of political science and administrative science with the University of Kinshasa. “On top of these projects, we’re also each involved in projects to support a local community organization. I’m working with HARS, the HIV/AIDS Regional Service, to review their strategic plan, determine if they match international standards, and help them create a monitoring design framework.”

The ARCH faculty involved in the QES-AS program include Heather Aldersey (School of Rehabilitation Therapy), Susan Bartels (Emergency Medicine), Colleen Davison (Public Health Sciences) and Eva Purkey (Family Medicine).

“Hopefully the 90 days that these Advanced Scholars have spent at Queen’s will spark continued collaborations with both the colleagues who came to Canada and with their other colleagues and students at  their home institutions,” says Dr. Aldersey, Interim Director of International Centre for the Advancement of Community Based Rehabilitation (ICACBR).

Queen’s researchers also participated in an outgoing exchange. As an outgoing QES-AS scholar, Dr. Bartels spent 3 months working in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo over the summer splitting her time between l'Université Libre des Pays des Grands Lacs (ULPGL) de Goma and a community research partner, HEAL Africa Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This research placement fostered inter-institutional collaboration through grant writing, co-hosting research workshops, co-writing manuscripts, and planning for future joint research projects.

To find out more about the ARCH, check out their website.


The first PhD candidates of the 10-year Mastercard Foundation partnership reflect on their first year at Queen’s, and how their experience will affect Ethiopia.

After a successful first year at Queen’s, Mulugeta Chala and Molalign Adugna are heading home to Ethiopia to conduct field research that will contribute to the foundation of an internationally accredited rehabilitation therapy program at the University of Gondar in Ethiopia. Both are doctoral students in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy and participants in the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program.

Mulugeta Chala (left) and Molalign Adugna (right), doctoral students in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy, will return to Ethiopia for a year of data collection in the fall after their first year at Queen’s. (Photo: University Communications)
Mulugeta Chala (left) and Molalign Adugna (right), doctoral students in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy, will return to Ethiopia for a year of data collection in the fall after their first year at Queen’s. (Photo: University Communications)

Mr. Adugna taught sociology and worked as the Director of Continuing and Distance Educational Programs at the University of Gondar.

“My focus has shifted to rehabilitation from sociology for my PhD, and specifically on the nexus between stigma and inclusive education among children with disabilities in rural Ethiopia,” says Mr. Adugna. “I want to learn different stigma reduction strategies that work in Canada, and find which can be applied to Ethiopia. I also want to develop an intervention strategy for disability awareness for future Ethiopian researchers to practice.”

Mr. Chala is a physiotherapist, clinical educator, and coordinated the Office of Research Linkage and Knowledge Transfer at the University of Gondar to connect researchers with the local community.

“My focus is on chronic lower back pain. I’m hoping to develop a chronic pain self-management program customized to the Ethiopian context. Most programs used in developing countries copy strategies from Europe, the United States, and Canada. Those may work for a while, but they’re not sustainable because they lack the context of the developing country,” says Mr. Chala. “While at Queen’s, I want to gain the research skills to develop a research question, and also lay the foundation for the next generation of researchers in Ethiopia. We have a responsibility to train those that follow us.”

The doctoral students had a similar experience to many international graduate students from typically warmer climates; warned about snow, both bought many heavy jackets to fend off the cold.

“We had a lot of preparation, but I found the winter wasn’t bad. I come from the mountains area of Ethiopia, and we have a cold season,” says. Mr. Chala. “Bussing into the school and library made it not so bad.”

The cultural transition has been successful for both students, thanks to the support of the Queen’s and local community.

“I’ve been to the U.S. before, so I didn’t find it too different in Kingston,” says Mr. Adugna. “I’m impressed with the whole system, from infrastructure to transportation, and the Canadian education system. I had a culture shock at first, but people are very friendly at Queen’s and Kingston, so I feel very supported.”

“When we arrived in June, it was very green and beautiful in Kingston,” says Mr. Chala. “I think Kingston is beautiful, and a friendly place to live. It’s small, compared to Toronto, but I think that’s good for students.”

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is a 10-year, $24 million partnership that brought Queen’s and the University of Gondar together to support the growth of rehabilitation therapy at the Ethiopian university. The partnership, now in its second year, includes:

  • Scholarships for 450 undergraduate scholars, including those with disabilities and from areas of conflict, to study at Gondar,
  • 60 faculty members from the University of Gondar to study at the graduate level at Queen’s,
  • a Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) certificate, and
  • an internationally recognized occupational therapy curriculum at the University of Gondar.

Mr. Chala and Adugna return to Ethiopia for a work placement, and will be back at Queen’s for their second year of graduate course work.

To find out more about the Mastercard Foundation Scholar’s Program, check out the University of Gondar and Queen’s University partnership website and stay tuned for more highlights as the second cohort of graduate students prepare for their first semester at Queen’s.

The facts of the (dark) matter

World leading researchers gather at Queen’s to discuss dark matter, galaxies, and the universe.

The Andromeda galaxy
The Andromeda Galaxy (Photo credit: Jonathan Sick, Queen's University)

Top scientists from around the world have gathered at Queen's University this week to celebrate fundamental discoveries in the fields of dark matter and galaxy astrophysics, and to honour ten of the top minds in dark matter astrophysics. The symposium, entitled The Physics of Galaxy Scaling Relations and the Nature of Dark Matter, will feature a public lecture, and spotlight research results in the studies of dark matter, galaxy structure, and particle astrophysics during a time of unprecedented intellectual productivity and discovery in the field.  

“To have these giants of dark matter and astroparticle physics gathered here in Canada is a truly rare opportunity that befits the prominent role that Queen’s scientists are developing in these research areas,” says Stéphane Courteau, Chair of the conference organizing committee and Queen’s Professor of Physics, Engineering Physics, and Astronomy.  “Our guests of honour are the pioneers of these study areas and architects of models of our Universe in which a very large fraction of the matter is completely dark, so this is a unique and exciting opportunity to discuss the future of dark matter physics and to recognize our guests’ tremendous accomplishments.”

Running from July 15-20, the conference will not only feature panel discussions and invited lectures on some of the universe’s biggest mysteries, but will also serve as a celebration of the career contributions of the event’s ten guests of honour.

Among the distinguished guests is Sandra Faber, Professor Emerita from the University of California, who co-leads a Hubble Space Telescope project looking at galaxy formation back to the time of the Big Bang. She has been the recipient of major international awards, and was recognized most notably by U.S. President Barack Obama in 2013 with the National Medal of Science.

On July 19, Michael Turner from the University of Chicago – the researcher who originally coined the term dark energy – will be giving a free public lecture open to attendees, faculty, staff, students, and the Kingston community. Entitled The Dark Side of the Universe, his talk will explain what we know about the crucial roles of dark matter and dark energy play in shaping our universe.

“The complexities of the universe are vast and intricate, so the public lecture will be an excellent opportunity for the Queen’s and Kingston community to gain a clear, thought-provoking understanding of this research,” says Dr. Courteau. “It will also be valuable for current and prospective students who are considering pursuing this field of study, especially with the recent launch of the new McDonald Institute marking Queen’s University’s leadership role in astroparticle physics.”

Queen’s University recently launched the McDonald Institute (Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute) in partnership with eight universities and five research organizations, cementing its reputation as a world leader in astroparticle physics. This week’s conference marks the most high-profile event hosted by the McDonald Institute since its May 2018 unveiling ceremony, organized in honour of its namesake, Queen’s professor emeritus and Nobel Laureate Arthur B. McDonald.

You can learn more about the conference or reserve your free space at the public lecture now.


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