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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.

Warm winter welcome

[Olumide Bolu]
Olumide Bolu, international student advisor with the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC), answers a question during an orientation session for newly-arrived exchange students. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)

Consider it a Queen’s winter ritual: Exchange students from around the world arrive on campus in the dead of winter and try to settle in to a new university and a new home.

Making the transition can be exciting for students. Add in the biting cold of January, and all that a different culture can bring, and the transition can feel more like a challenge.

Fortunately, at Queen’s the new arrivals have a number of resources they can call on, with the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC) taking the lead.

The majority of exchange students arrive the week before classes begin and this is the time for them to explore and learn about Queen’s, Kingston and Canada.

One of the people providing a helping hand is Olumide Bolu, an international student advisor at QUIC. He knows what the students are going through. Arriving in Canada from Nigeria in 2003, he made the transition himself and now helps prepare and guide international students at Queen’s.

Some of the challenges are still the same he says – dealing with the cold, travel documentation and health care – but there are others he doesn’t always anticipate as the role is “always evolving.” 

“When you look at the different groups of international students, they have different needs. Exchange students are typically here for one semester so it’s critical that they transition quickly and have a good experience in Canada,” Mr. Bolu says, adding that while international students pursuing a degree are at Queen’s longer, they also have more invested in being here. “So transitioning is key for all these categories of students and what we do here at QUIC is helping them transition successfully.”

While the resources at QUIC and its campus partners are available throughout the year, the first week is key to building a solid foundation. QUIC offers a number of workshops such as “Learning to Love Winter” and orientation sessions are held as well. 

The success of an exchange, of course, isn’t just about the classroom. But again there is support available to help foster new relationships with the university and with fellow students.

“One major concern international students have, including me (when I was a student), is the ability to make friends,” Mr. Bolu says. “It can be very difficult, so a lot of programming at QUIC is designed around social networking.”

To help make students make connections QUIC hosts events such as a games night, a movie night and trips to gain a more Canadian experience.

For a full schedule of events and more information, visit the QUIC website.


A positive exchange

[QUIC Winter Orientation]
Newly-arrived exchange students from the Faculty of Arts and Science show off their tricolour scarves and mittens during the QUIC orientation session on Thursday, Jan. 5. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)

For exchange students arriving at Queen’s for the winter term, it’s the beginning of a new learning experience.

On Thursday, Jan. 5, an orientation session was hosted by the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC) for exchange students from the Faculty of Arts and Science to provide some basic information about life at Queen’s and in Kingston, such as the resources that are available from the many campus partners.

In a Queen’s tradition, the students also received tricolour scarves and mittens donated by the Campus Bookstore as they face the Canadian winter.

Ella Jansen has returned to Canada from the Netherlands after visiting Vancouver and Calgary two years ago. She was drawn to Queen’s by the broad range of courses available.

She’s looking to explore and discover more about Canada through the exchange.

“At University College Utrecht I am already in an international environment but there are a lot of Europeans there and a lot of Dutch people,” she says. “I feel like we don’t have a lot of Canadians there, or North Americans, so I would like to explore these cultures and get more stories from these students, so an even more international view.”

Kim Yeung arrives from Australia and says she is a bit concerned about the winter weather. While her hometown Canberra can dip to about the freezing point, she says she can’t imagine what temperatures of -25 C or -30 C will be like.

She arrives at Queen’s on the recommendation of a friend who studied in Sweden and met a fellow exchange student from Queen’s.

She says she’s excited by the prospects the university offers, both inside and outside the classroom

“I definitely know there are a lot of social events at Queen’s but there is also a really strong sporting community and when I heard about the free gym I thought that was great,” she says. “I walked around campus (Wednesday) and there’s some really good facilities.”

QUIC is currently offering extended hours, including this Saturday and Sunday, from 1-7 pm. All newly-arriving international students are invited to a welcome to the QUIC social on Sunday, Jan. 8, 5:30-7 pm, where light supper will be served.

For a full schedule of events and more information, visit the QUIC website.

OceanPath Fellowship applications open until Jan. 12

Graduating full-time students are invited to apply for the OceanPath Fellowship.

The fellowship provides students from partner universities, including Queen’s, community-based experiential learning opportunities designed to help them become active and effective changemakers. Successful candidates may receive up to $25,000 to implement their idea for a project that would foster sustainable and positive social change in communities around the world.

More information about the OceanPath Fellowship, administered by the Coady Institute, is available through the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC). Applications are due Jan. 12.

The Gazette has profiled several past and present fellows, including Nicole Townsend and Adam Beaudoin, and Jennifer Langill.

Representing Canada on the world stage

Queen’s cardiologist Chris Simpson named Canadian Medical Association representative to World Medical Association.

[International logo]
Queen's in the World

When Queen’s cardiologist Chris Simpson’s term as past president of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) came to an end earlier this year, he looked for new opportunities to continue playing a leadership role in guiding the medical profession in Canada. Beginning in 2017, he will have the opportunity to do so as the CMA’s representative to the World Medical Association – an international confederation of 112 national medical associations, representing 10 million physicians around the globe.

“I was pretty delighted to be elected by the CMA Board to serve in this new role,” says Dr. Simpson. “In my previous role (as CMA President) the issues were predominantly Canadian and nationally-based, but Canada has a lot to offer the world in terms of our science, our excellence in medical education and training, and our work on professionalism. In a number of the issues we’ve been grappling with – from medical aid in dying to medical marijuana - Canada has been very progressive. It’s an opportunity to share that with the world and one I’m looking forward to.”

[Chris Simpson]
Dr. Simpson has been elected to a four-year term as the Canadian Medical Association's representative to the World Medical Organization - an partnership of 112 national medical associations which aims to promote international excellence in medical education, ethics, and health care. (Supplied photo)

As the CMA Representative, Dr. Simpson will represent the voice of Canada’s physicians in tackling many of the pressing medical issues facing the global community. He explains that he is most looking forward to getting involved in issues around refugee health and supporting physicians working in war zones. The association is also heavily invested in the social determinants of health - including poverty reduction, access to clean drinking water, food security and early childhood education.

“The association presents a unique opportunity for all of organized medicine – at least in those 112 countries – to come together to see how they can be better than the sum of their parts” Dr. Simpson explains. “There’s a real sense of responsibility for the more technologically and economically developed nations – such as Canada, the UK, Germany, Japan, the US and others – to share their expertise with countries that don’t have that sort of infrastructure and help develop medical education to a higher standard around the globe.”

Dr. Simpson will serve the first two years of his term in an observer role alongside current representative Louis Francescutti (University of Alberta). This transitory period, similar to the dual roles of president and past president in the CMA, allow for the incoming member to get acquainted with the role while maintaining continuity. From 2019-2021, he will fully take over the representative role at WMA meetings around the globe.

“Dr. Simpson is a highly respected and skilled physician who has shown tremendous leadership as a voice for the medical profession in Canada,” says Richard Reznick, Dean of Health Sciences and Director of the School of Medicine. “I wish him my most sincere congratulations on this appointment and trust that he will serve as a strong advocate for Canadian physicians to the global medical community.”

Founded in Paris on Sept. 17, 1947, the World Medical Association was created to ensure the independence of physicians. Its mission is to serve humanity by endeavoring to achieve the highest international standards in medical education, medical science, medical art and medical ethics, and health care for all people in the world.

For more information on the WMA, please visit the website.

A warm coat for all students

Heather Poechman (Artsci’17) got the idea for the Queen’s Winter Coat Exchange after she came back from an exchange in Morocco and began working as a peer adviser in the International Programs Office. The extremes of Canadian weather often came up in conversations with other students, both domestic and international, and she realized that there was a need among students for affordable or free winter gear.

Heather Poechman (Artsci'17) started the Queen's Winter Coat Exchange, which operates out of the Room of Requirement in the John Deutsch University Centre. (University Communications)


“For international students, it’s already a big expense to come and study in Canada. To add hundreds of dollars of winter gear to their budgets is a big burden,” says Ms. Poechman. “Sometimes, students will say they ‘have lots of sweaters,’ or they’ll ‘tough it out,’ instead of buying a coat. That sparked the idea of starting the Winter Coat Exchange.”


Now in its first year, the exchange offers coats, hats, mittens, and scarves – anything washable – to all students, both domestic and international, for free. Ms. Poechman is collecting donations for the program – lightly used winter coats and accessories in good condition – from individuals and businesses. She has already received a donation of a new coat from Kingston clothing store Cloth.


“The response has been really great so far, and I’m hoping that as the really cold weather sets in over the next month or so, we will receive more donations,” she says.


“The idea is that students can have the gear until it’s no longer needed. Exchange students may only need a coat for four months, but others may need it for four years. Either way, we simply ask them to return it when they don’t need it anymore.”


The Winter Coat Exchange operates out of the Queen’s Room of Requirement, Room 238, in the John Deutsch University Centre (JDUC). All donations can be dropped off at the Room of Requirement (open Monday-Friday, 8 am-midnight) and students looking for gear can drop by anytime during those hours. Ms. Poechman is also happy to collect donations from units or individuals across campus. Contact her via email at heather_poechman@zoho.com.


More information about the exchange and the Room of Requirement is available on Facebook.

Driven to make a difference

[Claire Gummo]
Claire Gummo, a fourth-year Political Studies and Gender Studies at Queen's, has been selected as one of Canada's 11 Rhodes Scholars for 2017. (Supplied Photo)

When Claire Gummo found out that she was officially a 2017 Rhodes Scholar, her first call was to her mother.

Still reeling with the shock of seeing her dreams come true, the fourth-year Queen’s student wanted to share the moment.

“I called my mom - who raised my brother and me as a single mother – right away and I told her ‘Mom, all on your own you raised a Rhodes Scholar,’” she says.

Then the two had a good cry together.

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.”

Ms. Gummo, a Political Studies and Gender Studies student, is the university’s 57th Rhodes Scholar. At Oxford she plans to pursue an MPhil in Comparative Social Policy, studying the impact of sexual violence, and specifically sexual violence policies in security organizations.

While she may have been shocked to be named a Rhodes Scholar, it is not entirely surprising to those who know her.

The Calgary native arrived at Queen’s in 2013 as an Applebanks Loran Scholar, Canada’s largest scholarship awarded to 30 students each year. She is also a recipient of the Queen’s Excellence Scholarship and has been recognized on the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science’s Honour List with Distinction, with grades placing her in the top three per cent of all arts students.

Ms. Gummo’s drive to excel academically, and to make a difference in her community, were instilled by her mother.

“My mother has been an absolute inspiration for me,” she says. “I think growing up in a single-parent home you get a lot of indicators from society that tell you should feel underprivileged. But my mother refused to let our family feel that way. Right from the time that I was a very little girl she always instilled in my brother and me a sense of gratitude and a call to service. That, throughout my life, has been a driving force.”

At Queen’s, Ms. Gummo quickly became involved in the Kingston and university communities.

In her first year, she started to volunteer at the Sexual Health Resource Centre, taking part in the Accompaniment Service, supporting and accompanying clients to Kingston General Hospital if a medical evidence kit was required after an experience of sexual violence.

This had a tremendous and lasting impact on her, she explains. Since then she has set out to make a difference.

“In terms of sexual violence, for me, Queen’s is home and I want everyone to feel safe, welcome, and that they can engage in university life to the fullest,” she says. “I strive for a day when sexual violence is no longer a part of the university experience. That being said, I am encouraged by the fact that I am just one of many students and advocates who are working to make a future free of sexual violence a reality.”

Starting in 2015, Ms. Gummo has led a team of students in the delivery of a bystander intervention training program aimed at mobilizing the Queen’s community to recognize and prevent sexual violence. As a result more than 2,000 students have received the training since August. She also is a student representative on the Provost’s Implementation Team on Prevention and Response to Sexual Violence, as well as the associated Working Group, where she has assisted in the development of Queen’s sexual violence policy.

Academically, Ms. Gummo says that she is fortunate to have found a mentor in Stefanie von Hlatky (Political Studies), the Director of the Centre for international and Development Policy.

“She’s really guided my academic journey around women, peace and security, and in particular I found this personal and academic interest in sexual violence,” she explains. “At Oxford I would like to merge my two interests: on the one hand the social-cultural role of sexual violence and then, on the other hand, of defence and security organizations.”

Having now been named a Rhodes Scholar, Ms. Gummo is keenly aware of the people and organizations that have helped her along this journey.

“Above all else, I am deeply grateful to both Queen’s and the Loran Scholars Foundation for the support and sense of community they have provided to me over the last four years,” she says.

To learn more about the Rhodes Scholarship, visit the Rhodes Trust website.

More about the Loran Scholars Foundation can be found online.


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