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Cross-cultural exchange through music and mixing

  • Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan
    Queen's staff, students, and faculty listen to members of Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan speak during an informal talk ahead of the group's performance at The Isabel.
  • Provost, Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan
    Queen's Provost Benoit-Antoine Bacon, second from left, chats with international and domestic students during the reception before Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan's performance.
  • Student, Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan
    International and domestic students mingle during the reception at The Isabel Feb. 7.

Queen's international and domestic students, along with staff, faculty, and senior administrators gathered at The Isabel earlier this week for an evening of music and intercultural exchange. The event was the third in the International at Home series, which aims to bring together international and domestic students at several cultural events throughout the year.

This week, the community heard the unique sounds of Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan, an ensemble of eight highly skilled Canadian musicians who perform and record using an assortment of bronze and wooden instruments from Indonesia. These intruments are collectively known as a gamelan, a traditional instrument ensemble that plays an important role in Indonesian culture.

Ahead of the performance Feb. 7, community members mingled during a reception and had the chance to hear from some of the evening's performers about their music and history.

The International at Home series is hosted by the Office of the Associate Vice-Principal (International) and the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. The next performance in the series will be held March 29, 2017, featuring Measha Brueggergosman.

Full details are available on the Queen’s International website. Faculties, departments, and units interested in sponsoring student tickets are asked to contact international@queensu.ca

Big Data's promise and perils for health-care delivery

Queen's in the World

Exploring Big Data, and its great promise and serious perils for the delivery of health care, will be the theme of a lecture presented at Queen’s Feb. 7 by Dartmouth College Professor Denise Anthony. The talk – titled Big Data, Cybersecurity, and Health Care – is the first lecture of the Matariki Network of Universities Lecture Series and part of the Queen’s Big Data 175th Anniversary series.

“We are very pleased to host this inaugural Matariki Network lecture. Not only is it an opportunity to deepen our connection with Dartmouth College and our other Matariki partners around the world, but it is a chance to hear from an expert, Dr. Anthony, who brings a wealth of knowledge on a subject that is pertinent to all of us,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor.

Denise Anthony, Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives and Professor of Sociology at Dartmouth College, will visit Queen's Feb. 6-10 and give a lecture on Big Data, cybersecurity, and heath care on Feb. 7. (Supplied photo)

In the lecture, Dr. Anthony will illuminate the important implications of rushing to turn the digital promise into reality, without understanding how Big Data analytics change institutions. For the institutions of health-care delivery, the use of Big Data will require changes in information governance that affect not only the security and privacy of health information, but also the role of patients, the profession of medicine, and the meaning of health itself, says Dr. Anthony in her abstract.

Dr. Anthony, who is vice provost for academic initiatives and professor of sociology at Dartmouth, has held adjunct appointments at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice and at Geisel School of Medicine. She was also research director of the Institute for Security, Technology, and Society from 2008-2013.

During her visit to Queen’s, Dr. Anthony will meet with colleagues and students in the Queen’s Surveillance Studies Centre and continue to develop Queen’s-Dartmouth collaborations through visits with Queen’s senior administrators.

“I am so honoured to be part of Queen’s University’s 175th celebration. What an impressive milestone! The Matariki Network is really a unique and special partnership among seven institutions across seven countries, and this kind of international collaboration seems especially important right now in an uncertain world,” says Dr. Anthony. “I have been a long-time admirer of the Surveillance Studies Centre, and particularly the work of Professor David Lyon and his colleagues and students, who are world leaders in helping us to understand the impact – positive and negative – of Big Data in our world today. I look forward to meeting with many students and scholars at Queen’s University over the course of my visit.”

Dr. Anthony’s lecture will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 6:30 pm in the Britton Smith Foundation Lecture Theatre, School of Medicine. A reception will take place beforehand, beginning at 5:30 pm, and all are invited.

The Matariki Network of Universities is composed of seven like-minded, research-intensive universities from around the world. One of the network’s aims is to build on the collective strengths of its member institutions to develop international excellence in research and education. Within the network, each institution is responsible for advancing a key research theme, with Dartmouth focused on cybersecurity.

The Queen’s anniversary series, Big Data 175, has been designed to engage intellectually and practically with a major analytic development and pressing public issue, from multi-disciplinary and cross-campus perspectives. The series, organized by a cross-campus, multi-faculty group, has so far held three events, with more planned for 2017. Visit the website for more details.


Opportunities for international collaboration

Queen's in the World

Applications are open for the International Visitors Program of the Principal’s Development Fund, a program that helps connect Queen’s with academics and institutions around the world by sponsoring visits by international scholars. The program also works to foster connections between Queen’s and its partners within the Matariki Network of Universities.

“This program provides a tremendous opportunity for collaboration and cross-pollination of ideas between the Queen’s community and scholars and universities around the globe,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “I am very pleased to offer this funding as part of our ongoing support for international partnerships and, in particular, alliances with the Matariki Network.”

Last year, Professor Karol Miller from the University of Western Australia visited Queen's through the International Visitors Program of the Principal's Development Fund.

The International Visitors Program includes three application categories, each of which offers grants of up to $3,000. Category one is the open program, which helps to cover the costs of bringing an international scholar to Queen’s for a period of at least three days. 

The other two application categories focus on leveraging Queen’s membership in the Matariki Network of Universities. One of these is an extension of the visiting scholars program, specifically aimed at bringing visitors to Queen’s from the other Matariki universities, which include the University of Western Australia (UWA), Tübingen University, Uppsala University, Dartmouth College, University of Otago, and Durham University. Last year, Professor Karol Miller from UWA visited Queen’s through the program and gave a talk about his research into computational biomechanics at the School of Computing Distinguished Speaker Seminar.

The third application category provides funding to assist Queen’s faculty and staff to travel to Matariki partner institutions to build new collaborations. This seed funding may be used to initiate new academic, research, or administrative initiatives.

Applications for these categories are due to the relevant dean’s office by April 21, 2017. For more information, including program details and application forms, visit the Principal’s website.

Questions about the Principal’s Development Fund may be directed to Csilla Volford, Coordinator, International Projects and Events, in the Office of the Associate Vice-Principal (International).


Travel and immigration resources

Queen’s is committed to ensuring our university is a welcoming, inclusive, and respectful community, open to all, and is shocked and saddened by the tragic events that took place in Sainte-Foy, Que., on Sunday evening. Queen’s also joins Universities Canada and other institutions across Canada in expressing significant concerns about the executive order issued recently by the United States that imposes travel restrictions on individuals from the following seven Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Please read Principal Daniel Woolfs statement  

For anyone who is planning to travel to any country, including the United States, please review the Off Campus Activity Safety Policy.

If you have any questions regarding travel or immigration concerns, please contact the following offices:

Queen’s students with any questions should contact the Queen’s University International Centre by calling 613-533–2604 or emailing QUIC Director Jyoti Kotecha at kotechaj@queensu.ca.

Queen’s faculty and staff members with any questions should contact Monica Stewart, Coordinator, Faculty Relations and Support, by calling 613-533-3167 or emailing monica.stewart@queens.ca

Graduate students should contact Monica Corbett at 613-533-6100 or by email at corbettm@queensu.ca or Kim McAuley at 613-533-6000 ext. 77562 or by email at mcauleyk@queens.ca and Marta Straznicky at 613-533-6000 ext. 77557 or by email at straznic@queensu.ca

For 24/7 inquiries and support, the university’s emergency report centre can be accessed by calling 613- 533-6111.

If you are a dual citizen, permanent resident, on a work permit or a student on a study permit (visa) from one of the countries affected by the U.S. executive order, and have questions about travelling to the United States, please visit the QUIC website for further information.

If you have difficulties at the border, please contact your country of citizenship Embassy or Consulate. To find the one nearest to you please visit embassy.goabroad.com

For immigration-specific questions, please contact Immigration and Citizenship Canada.

Anyone in need of campus-based support is encouraged to contact Student Wellness Services at 613-533-6000 ext. 78264 and/or the University Interfaith Chaplain, Kate Johnson, at 613-533-2186. Support for staff and faculty is available through the Employee and Family Assistance Program at 1-800-663-1142 or 1-866-398-9505.

The university will provide updates to this information as necessary.


Principal's Statement: Canadian values, Queen’s values

The following is a statement from Principal Daniel Woolf in response to the attack on a Quebec mosque and the US immigration ban.

While the Queen’s community addresses, internally, issues of race and inclusion at home, we also need to be mindful of what is happening in the rest of the world. Sunday evening’s attack at a mosque in Sainte-Foy, Que., is yet another reminder that even in Canada we are not immune to hatred and violence towards a group or individuals on the basis of their background, religion, or ethnicity.

The abrupt imposition of a halt on refugee admission in the United States and a particular ban on immigration from seven countries with an overwhelmingly Muslim population is a challenge to all of us who believe in an open and inclusive society. The values that underlie this divisive politics are not Canadian, and they are not those of Queen’s University.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated that Canada will continue to welcome those “fleeing persecution, terror, and war” regardless of faith and has reaffirmed that “diversity is our strength.” Queen’s, along with other Canadian universities, stands in support of those who may be affected by the US policy, in particular our international students and scholars.

Queen’s welcomes and supports students, faculty, and staff from all countries and backgrounds. They bring a wealth of experience and diverse perspectives, and strengthen our campus in myriad ways, from research and innovation to overall student learning experience.

The administration of Queen’s will work to ensure that our students and faculty travelling in or through the United States are not adversely affected by this change in US policy. But we may well need to go beyond this, and offer a safe haven in our university to faculty, staff, and students who suddenly find themselves in immigration limbo, unable to return to a US home and unable to go back to the country whence they travelled.

We are working within Queen’s on what we can do, and I am in discussion with other university leaders about concrete measures our institutions can take to help scholars affected by the ban.

At this stage we do not know how any of this is going to play out. But as a country, and as an individual university, it’s our obligation to do what we can to mitigate the consequences to faculty, students, and staff.

Flags on campus are lowered and will remain at half-mast until Wednesday morning out of respect for the victims of the Quebec mosque shootings.

Resources for the Queen's community regarding travel and immigration 

Universities Canada statement

Association of Public and Land-grant Universities

Canadian Tech Community


Deadline for QUIC photo contest Jan. 30

All Queen's students are invited to participate in the QUIC International Photo Contest.

The deadline to submit is Monday, Jan. 30.

Students may submit two photos Students from around the world or during their stay in Canada along with a one-paragraph story for each about where and why the photo was taken.

Email high resolution files as attachments to QUIC@queensu.ca.


Students trek to India for innovation insights

The opportunity to attend India’s largest social entrepreneurship conference couldn’t have come at a better time for Esther Jiang, the chief executive officer of Gryllies, the winning venture from the 2015 Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative.

[Queen's in the World]
Queen's in the World

As the fledgling company prepares to scale up its line of pasta sauces made with protein derived from crickets, Ms. Jiang (Artsci’15) hopes to gain some valuable insights at Development Dialogue, where ‘Scaling Effectively’ is the theme.

“This cross-cultural experience will be invaluable,” she says. “It will let me see social innovation from a different perspective. I am interested to learn how other companies and entrepreneurs – especially those in India – approach certain problems.”

[Deshpandes speak with students]
Gururaj and Jaishree Deshpande speak to students following the announcement of their gift and Andrew Dunin's gift to support innovation programming at the university. A delegation from Queen's is attending Development Dialogue in Hubballi, India. The social innovation conference is hosted by the foundation created by the Deshpandes. (File photo by Garrett Elliott )

The Deshpande Foundation, founded by Queen’s alumnus Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande (PhD’79) and his wife Jaishree, hosts Development Dialogue, which takes place Jan. 28-29 in Hubballi. The conference brings together 500 delegates from around the world who advance innovative and entrepreneurial ideas to solve complex social challenges.

The Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre is leading the university’s delegation, which includes a representative from NorthSprout, another summer initiative venture that is developing a soil additive to improve water efficiency, two representatives from the Queen’s Sustainability Conference, two executives from Queen’s Enactus, a student group dedicated to improving lives through entrepreneurial action, and Kathy O’Brien, Associate Vice-Principal (International).

Ann Choi (ConEd’17), a founder of the Queen’s Sustainability Conference, is looking forward to attending Development Dialogue. While she is graduating this year, Ms. Choi intends to share what she learns with other Queen’s students who will continue organizing future editions of the sustainability conference.

“From this conference, I hope to gain greater understanding of the relationship between policy changes and the impact on the daily lives of people,” she says. “I also want to understand better how students can also advocate for more sustainable and ethical ways of living beyond their immediate communities.”

The Deshpandes along with the Andrew Dunin (Sc’83, MBA’87) and his wife Anne Dunin (Artsci’83) jointly provided a significant gift to the Queen’s Innovation Connector in October 2016. Shortly after the announcement, Deshpande Foundation Executive Director Raj Melville invited Queen’s to send a delegation to this year’s Development Dialogue.

“Both Dr. Deshpande and Mr. Dunin are big believers in the power of innovation and entrepreneurship to build wealth and transform economies,” says Greg Bavington, Executive Director of the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre. “This is an unprecedented opportunity for our students to see some of the successful projects in India and hear from hundreds of people about the work going on in other developing countries.”

Ms. Jiang is thrilled by this opportunity and views it as a testament to the growth of the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre since she participated in the summer initiative nearly two years ago.

“I was in absolute disbelief when I found out about this opportunity. Extending this invitation to me shows how much the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre cares about its alumni ventures and how much they want us to succeed,” she says.

Visit the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre for more information about its programs.

A mission to bolster the strength of Africa’s young people

As part of the unveiling of a new partnership between Queen’s University and the University of Gondar in Ethiopia – supported by a 10-year, USD$24-million grant from The MasterCard Foundation – the Queen’s Gazette is providing an inside look at both the University of Gondar and The MasterCard Foundation, as well as how this project was developed. In this piece, we look at the history and mission of the foundation, and its role in bringing this project together.

Visit The MasterCard Foundation website and you’ll find an abundance of stories – stories that detail the impact of the organization’s mission to give African youth with few resources the chance to succeed.

In particular, the foundation’s Scholars Program – which Queen’s has joined through its partnership with the University of Gondar in Ethiopia – aims to provide economically challenged but academically talented young people living in Sub-Saharan Africa with quality secondary and university education.

Students enrolled in The MasterCard Foundation Scholars program come from various parts of Africa and study at institutions around the world. In the above photo, Scholars studying in North America gather at a bootcamp in New York City last fall. (Jake Naughton for The MasterCard Foundation)

The stories of the Scholars describe their commitment to the future of Africa – through problem-solving on issues such as food security, politics and governance, human rights, women’s rights, and mental health awareness.

“They are truly Africa’s next-generation leaders,” says Anna Miller, Program Manager for Education and Learning at The MasterCard Foundation. “For MasterCard Foundation Scholars, this is not only an opportunity to receive a quality education, but an opportunity to be a part of a movement of young leaders who will create inclusive change that matters within their communities. They are not only selected on the basis of their academic prowess, but also on the basis of their character, and the promise they have shown as next-generation leaders who give back to their communities.”

The MasterCard Foundation Scholars – the program has reached almost 35,000 students so far – study near their homes and around the world, at partner institutions such as Duke University, the American University of Beirut, Makerere University in Uganda, University of Cape Town, and the University of Edinburgh, as well as with Canadian partners – Queen’s, University of Toronto, McGill University, and the University of British Columbia. Receiving holistic financial, academic, and emotional support, the students get to pursue their academic dreams across any discipline and use what they’ve learned to give back to their communities and become role models and mentors to others.

The MasterCard Foundation’s beginning and its future

The MasterCard Foundation was created through a generous gift from Mastercard World Wide at the time of its Initial Public Offering (IPO) in 2006, endowed by the company with 10 per cent of the its shares. At the time of the IPO, the endowment was worth $500 million – today, its value has grown to more than $10 billion, ranking the foundation as among the largest in the world.

Completely independent from Mastercard, the foundation charts its own course and has long placed priority on Africa. Its goal is to assist people living in poverty by providing access to education, financial inclusion, and skills training. 

More stories in the Gazette on the partnership
Project overview: The MasterCard Foundation $24M grant launches 10-year, int'l project
An interview with the University of Gondar: Queen's-Gondar project an opportunity to push programming further
A Scholar's perspective: Scholar Munya Mahiya shares vision for inclusive universities

Africa has the world’s youngest population (600 million under the age of 25) and in some areas, 60 per cent of youth live below the poverty line. The foundation believes that with the right opportunities, young people can lift themselves, their families, and communities out of poverty.

"The MasterCard Foundation’s vision is for a world where all have the opportunity to learn and prosper,” explains Peter Materu, Director of Education and Learning, The MasterCard Foundation. “Core to this mission is the conviction that a person’s starting point in life should not determine his or her future. Rather, the foundation believes in the agency of individuals to change their own lives and the lives of others. We believe that this change happens only when people are equipped with the right knowledge, skills, and tools. This is what we are seeking to achieve under the Scholars Program and the Gondar/Queen’s partnership in particular."

'Queen’s is lucky to work with the University of Gondar'

Students in The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program are committed to giving back to their communities, becoming role models and mentors to others. In the above photo, students meet at a summit in Ghana last year. (Illume for The MasterCard Foundation)

Part of the Scholars Program, the Queen’s-University of Gondar 10-year project provides access to secondary and higher education for young people, many of them with disabilities or from conflict-affected regions, who are committed to giving back to their communities.

“The MasterCard Foundation was the matchmaker in this project, as they connected our team at the International Centre for the Advancement of Community Based Rehabilitation (ICACBR) with our counterparts at the University of Gondar,” says Heather Aldersey, Queen’s National Scholar and Assistant Professor in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy and the faculty project lead at Queen’s University.

Dr. Aldersey says it just happened that her team and a team at the University of Gondar submitted similar proposals to The MasterCard Foundation around the same time. While they didn’t have all the same elements, the foundation could see the “shared interest” and asked both universities to come up with some more ideas.

“It’s wonderful to be able to partner with the University of Gondar,” says Dr. Aldersey. “They are so visionary. They know what they want in Ethiopia, they know what they want in Gondar, and I think Queen’s is lucky to be able to work with them. They have included us to help in their vision for change and I think it’s a great opportunity for all involved.”

[Mastercard Foundation logo]
Learn more about The MasterCard Foundation’s ongoing projects...


Queen’s-Gondar project an opportunity to push programming further

As part of the unveiling of a new partnership between Queen’s University and the University of Gondar in Ethiopia – supported by a 10-year, USD$24-million grant from The MasterCard Foundation – the Queen’s Gazette and Queen’s Gazette Today are providing an inside look at both the University of Gondar and The MasterCard Foundation, as well as how the project was developed.

The following is a Q & A (edited for length) with the University of Gondar and the project leads at UoG, Ansha Nega, Assistant Professor of Public Health, and Yifokire Tefera, Assistant Professor of Public Health.

The University of Gondar, located in northern Ethiopia, was established in 1954, first as the Public Health Training Institute and was later known as the Gondar College of Medical Sciences. It is the oldest medical school in Ethiopia and is built around the philosophy of team approach and community based teaching of health professionals. (Photo courtesy of the University of Gondar)

University of Gondar is already well-established in the field of community based rehabilitation. Could you describe your program and how it works?

[Ansha Nega]
Ansha Nega, Assistant Professor of Public Health, is one of the project leads at the University of Gondar. (Photo courtesy of the University of Gondar)

University of Gondar’s Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) program is the only community based rehabilitation program in Gondar, and was established in 2005 in partnership with Light for the World and Save the Children International. The CBR program was introduced after the Bachelor of Science degree in physiotherapy education launched in 2002. The overall aim of the CBR program at the UoG is to improve the quality of life for adults and children with disabilities with no appropriate care in North Gondar Administrative zone, Amhara Regional State, Ethiopia.

The CBR program, with its community field workers, delivers home-to-home disability rehabilitation services for children and youth. The program enables better medical and rehabilitation referral service, from remote rural set-up to the University of Gondar Hospital and other major public hospitals in Ethiopia. Moreover, the CBR program offers support to access assistive devices in order to maximize the role and participation in the community through disability mainstreaming and to access micro credit enterprises in 42 kebeles [wards or neighbourhoods], which are found in 11 districts of North Gondar Administrative zone.

UoG’s CBR program strives to promote inclusive education and contribute to the development of an inclusive education system in Amhara region by strengthening local schools and building the capacity of CBR workers. Some of the program’s strategies include encouraging school enrolment of children with disabilities, capacity-building for local school teachers, education material support, and accessibility improvement in the school environment. This will help to provide and promote the accessibility of equitable, quality, and sustainable inclusive education.

How will the support of The MasterCard Foundation Scholars program help the University of Gondar build on this existing strength and benefit the field in Ethiopia and East Africa?

[Yifokire Tefera]
Yifokire Tefera, Assistant Professor of Public Health, will also lead the project at the University of Gondar. (Photo courtesy of the University of Gondar)

The MasterCard Foundation-Queen’s partnership will be useful to build UoG’s institutional capacity to offer cross-cutting content and programs in disability and rehabilitation science for Ethiopia and neighbouring countries in East Africa. In addition to creating a new program, we will strengthen existing content to align with evidence-based practice, including multidisciplinary collaboration within the health and psycho-social sciences. There are different departments at UoG that currently offer various health- and rehabilitation-related qualifications; however, these departments often work in silos and this is not consistent with international best practice. There is a need to pursue integrated, multidisciplinary collaboration between departments to facilitate the delivery of holistic, multi-sector disability and rehabilitation services. Similarly, there has been a growing interest in strengthening research capacity and mentoring in UoG to increase the involvement of students in research activities, to create and manage research training programs and infrastructures.

UoG’s CBR program embarked on a vision to be a centre of excellence for evidence-based practical rehabilitation education and a service centre in East Africa. At the moment, the existing CBR program service is limited to the northwest part of Ethiopia and we would like to see greater integration of professionals across the health, education, social, and livelihoods sectors in our work. The prospect for higher education for persons with disabilities or other disadvantaged segments of the population is highly restricted, due to the fact that access to education and job opportunities is not yet well established. To realize this vision, work in partnership with various organizations, strategic objective-setting, developing higher-level educated rehabilitation scientists and workers, and developing the capacity of the current CBR program to a higher, world-class level, and expanding its geographic reach in the country, as well as in East Africa, is necessary.

This project aims to improve educational opportunities for disadvantaged youth in East Africa – could you describe how this project will potentially impact the region?

The vision of this project is to make the University of Gondar a centre of excellence in the region for recruiting, accommodating, and supporting the success of youth with disabilities in tertiary education. These youth will play a pivotal role in economic growth and social transformation of the region.

More stories in the Gazette on the partnership
Project overview: The MasterCard Foundation $24M grant launches 10-year, int'l project
On The MasterCard Foundation: A mission to bolster the strength of Africa's young people
A Scholar's perspective: Scholar Munya Mahiya shares vision for inclusive universities

The MasterCard Foundation-Queen’s program will enable practical attachments for students during their study and will promote and provide opportunities for hands-on learning with multidisciplinary teams. The CBR program will support a give-back approach for Scholars, emphasizing the importance of volunteerism for high-impact change and role modelling for other youth with disabilities. Given the geopolitical setting of Ethiopia in the region (highly populous country, relatively stable and peaceful country, and home of the African Union, making it well-situated for inter-African collaboration), the project has an additional advantage of recruitment of international students and opportunity to influence regional change.

What made you decide to undertake this partnership with Queen’s University?

Recognizing the importance of building institutional capacity to improve educational quality and Scholars’ experiential learning experience, the University of Gondar decided to partner with Queen’s University. Queen’s experience and the level of development in community based rehabilitation service is substantial. Queen’s long years of immense practical learnings could be a fertile ground for universities like ours to learn from, especially in rehabilitation sciences. It is a very good opportunity that both universities have CBR programs; however, University of Gondar’s program has only been running for a decade and has room for further development.

What are you looking forward to in working with Queen’s during this 10-year project? And what kind of impact do you think the project will have on the University of Gondar and its international partnerships in the long term?

The partnership between Queen’s University and UoG will have an ultimate outcome of improved access to high-quality education and meaningful employment opportunities for disadvantaged youth in Ethiopia, particularly youth with disabilities. These outcomes will be achieved through an integrated set of activities during the project implementation period and commitment of the UoG to ensure the continuation of impacts and changes brought by the partnership.

We expect that Queen’s and UoG faculty and staff will collaborate on eight research projects. The knowledge gained through these exchanges and research projects will enrich course content, global understanding, and will advance Ethiopian and regional understanding of and priority for inclusive higher education. The increased knowledge from these interactions could impact national policy and programs, which could have great benefit for the estimated 17.6 million people with disabilities living in Ethiopia. Our vision for the dissemination of the research on inclusive education is that it will also have a transformative impact on educational approaches, university policy, and program implementation during the upcoming 10 years of the project and beyond. We also expect that newly trained Ethiopian OTs may help to develop programs or serve in neighbouring countries in the years following their training, causing a ripple effect for the development of the OT profession in East Africa. The impact of this project stands to be incredibly far-reaching.

The MasterCard Foundation $24M grant launches 10-year, int'l project

Through the foundation’s Scholars Program, Queen’s begins partnership with the University of Gondar to advance inclusive education for young people with disabilities in Ethiopia and Africa.

Students enrolled in The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program study all over the world. Here, Scholars attend a bootcamp in New York City for those studying in North America. (Jake Naughton for The MasterCard Foundation)

Thanks to a generous 10-year, USD$24.2-million grant from The MasterCard Foundation, Queen’s University has begun a partnership with the University of Gondar to advance inclusive education for young people with disabilities in Ethiopia and other countries in Africa.

[Mastercard Scholars Foundation logo]

Learn more about The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program

Part of the foundation’s Scholars Program, the partnership will provide 450 next-generation African leaders with a high-quality education at the University of Gondar, while also providing 60 of the university’s faculty members with the opportunity to study at Queen’s, where they will enhance their skills in innovative pedagogy and in leading collaborative research between African and North American universities. The University of Gondar and Queen’s University will also collaborate to develop Ethiopia’s first occupational therapy program.

“We are delighted to work on this tremendous, multi-faceted project with the University of Gondar and The MasterCard Foundation,” says Daniel Woolf, Queen’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “Without a doubt, this collaboration will change lives and create new pathways for education in Africa. It will also provide Queen’s researchers and students new avenues for growth, as they join with University of Gondar faculty members on research projects and support Gondar faculty through training programs and the development of the first undergraduate occupational therapy program in Ethiopia.”

As part of the partnership, the University of Gondar will provide 290 undergraduate and 160 master’s level degrees in multidisciplinary fields that will encompass health sciences, law, education, nursing, and rehabilitation sciences, taking special care to recruit young people with disabilities, as well as young people from conflict-affected countries. The University of Gondar will deliver an annual Summer Leadership Camp for Scholars across the program, as well as a robust, practicum-based experiential program focused on giving back to community, through service and leadership skill development in the field of community-based rehabilitation.

"Through their collaboration, these exceptional institutions will not only forge a new path for inclusive education in Africa, but will also bring much-needed perspectives that will enable us to better understand the needs of talented young people living with disabilities." 
~ Peter Materu, Director, Education and Learning and Youth Livelihoods, The MasterCard Foundation

“We are excited to welcome the University of Gondar and Queen’s University to the Scholars Program,” says Peter Materu, Director, Education and Learning and Youth Livelihoods, The MasterCard Foundation. “Through their collaboration, these exceptional institutions will not only forge a new path for inclusive education in Africa, but will also bring much-needed perspectives that will enable us to better understand the needs of talented young people living with disabilities. This partnership represents a new innovation in the Scholars Program that demonstrates how one can leverage the capacity of one partner to establish and strengthen programs in priority areas of need in another institution.”

More stories in the Gazette on the partnership
An interview with the University of Gondar: Queen's-Gondar project an opportunity to push programming further
On The MasterCard Foundation: A mission to bolster the strength of Africa's young people
A Scholar's perspective: Scholar Munya Mahiya shares vision for inclusive universities

A leader in community-based rehabilitation and home to the International Centre for the Advancement of Community Based Rehabilitation (ICACBR), Queen’s University will provide 44 University of Gondar faculty members with PhD training to develop skills and capabilities needed to supervise Scholars’ research and practicums. Queen’s University will also support the University of Gondar as it develops and implements the first undergraduate occupational therapy curriculum and program in Ethiopia. This work will involve providing master’s level training in occupational therapy to 16 University of Gondar faculty members, who will then work with Queen’s occupational therapy faculty members to develop a curriculum and teach in the first occupational therapy program at the University of Gondar.

“The University of Gondar embraces this partnership with great enthusiasm, for it comes with an opportunity to boost its vision of becoming a Centre of Excellence in rehabilitation and inclusive education, research, and community engagement,” says Desalegn Mengesha, University of Gondar President. “This partnership will develop the capacity of both universities to plan and effectively undertake large-scale, people-centred interventions with multi-faceted benefits to the institutions and their respective stakeholders.”

[Heather Aldersey]
Heather Aldersey, Assistant Professor in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy, is the faculty project lead at Queen’s University. (Photo by Bernard Clark)

A global network of scholars

The University of Gondar and Queen’s University join a global network of 27 Scholars Programs committed to ensuring that all young people, no matter their starting point in life, should have an equal chance to obtain a quality education and pursue their aspirations.

The program provides education and leadership development for nearly 35,000 bright, young leaders with a deep personal commitment to changing the world around them. These young people will create change that matters within their communities and will usher in a new era of inclusive prosperity in Africa and beyond.

“This partnership brings about mutual and substantial benefits to both Queen’s and the University of Gondar,” says Heather Aldersey, Assistant Professor in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy and the faculty project lead at Queen’s University. “We are delighted to have the opportunity to partner with visionary leaders in disability and inclusive development at the University of Gondar on this project. I have no doubt that the impact of this work will create sustained improvement of opportunities for young people with disabilities in Ethiopia.”

About Community Based Rehabilitation

Community based rehabilitation (CBR) was first initiated by the World Health Organization in 1978 in an effort to enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities and their families.

While initially a strategy to increase access to rehabilitation services in resource-constrained settings, CBR has grown to include measures such as equalization of opportunities and social inclusion of people with disabilities in an effort to combat the cycle of poverty and disability.

CBR is implemented through the combined efforts of people with disabilities, their families and communities, and relevant government and non-government health, education, vocational, social, and other services.

CBR at Queen’s

For more than 25 years, the International Centre for the Advancement of Community Based Rehabilitation (ICACBR), headquartered in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy at Queen’s University, has worked to expand community based rehabilitation practices in communities around the world.

More than 200 researchers and practitioners have been involved in ICACBR-affiliated projects.

Currently, the centre manages three major projects :

  • the Access to Health & Education for all Disabled Children & Youth (AHEAD) project in Bangladesh
  • the Queen Elizabeth II Scholarships for Excellence in International Community Based Rehabilitation, and
  • a participatory project on stigma and intellectual disability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


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