How Canada’s colleges are changing lives around the world

Colleges and institutes from across Canada are doing remarkable work around the globe to build training capacity, changing countless lives in the process. Every year, dozens of projects bring Canadian colleges and institutes together with partners from South America to Africa to Asia on initiatives that can involve everything from leadership training to building the vocational skills that are vital to a country’s infrastructure and workforce.  

“We live in an increasingly globalized world and fostering these kinds of exchanges is without a doubt a win-win approach that supports development initiatives while making our own institutions more open to the world,” says Denise Amyot, President and CEO of Colleges and Institutes Canada, which coordinates many of these international projects. “Ultimately, this can only benefit students on both sides of the equation.”

This work took a significant step forward earlier this year when Toronto’s Centennial College became the first college to join the Academics Without Borders Network - Canada’s universities and colleges in support of global development. This consortium of post-secondary institutions is working to lead the internationalization of Canadian higher education by supporting the mission of Academics Without Borders, which is to work with volunteer academics to help developing countries build capacity at their post-secondary institutions to drive development and improve quality of life around the world.

“We were very pleased to see Centennial College join Academics Without Borders,” adds Amyot. “This is not only a great opportunity for them to expand their international work, but also a strong recognition of the work they have already accomplished.”

Amyot’s sentiments are shared by Centennial’s President Ann Buller, who notes that “as an outward-looking college that has embraced internationalization, we're very pleased to join Academics Without Borders in their mission to help developing nations improve their learning institutions. We are committed to the vision of transforming lives and communities through learning. To be able to deliver on that pledge in the world's developing regions represents the natural progression of our work.”

Through its membership in the Network, Centennial will provide its faculty with the opportunity to propose projects for AWB support in conjunction with post-secondary partners in the developing world. These faculty members will also have special access to partnership opportunities provided directly by AWB through the organization’s existing relationships with institutions and countries across the globe.

Membership in the Network will also provide Centennial with enhanced recognition for its international work, as well as new resources to support and coordinate this work. By building capacity at post-secondary institutions across the developing world, Centennial and AWB look forward to changing lives both at home and abroad.

Centennial’s accomplishments in supporting global development include providing English language training, as well as teaching and leadership skills training to professors from Panama. The school’s international highlights also include working with Colleges and Institutes Canada through the Education for Employment (EFE) Project in Peru on the design and implementation of curriculum, strengthening of instructional methods, building of technical skills, training and development of staff, and strengthening of administrative management in a way that promotes a sustainable system of post-secondary training in Peru. Centennial is also a key partner in CICan’s Canada-Brazil Collaboration, promoting student mobility and implementing programs in support of professional and technical education in Brazil.

“Academics Without Borders is extremely pleased to have Centennial College join its network of Canadian post-secondary institutions,” says Greg Moran, AWB’s Executive Director. “Centennial’s longstanding commitment and record of accomplishment in internationalization make it particularly welcome as the first college or polytechnic to join the Network.”

Moran adds that “Canada’s universities and colleges represent one of the strongest and most highly regarded higher education systems in the world. Through AWB, post-secondary institutions across the low- and middle-income regions of the world can now draw on the much-needed expertise and knowledge of volunteer expert faculty and professional staff from the full range of these remarkable Canadian institutions.”

If you are interested in learning more about AWB’s Network and how your school can become involved, please visit AWB’s website. Or if you’d like to speak directly with AWB’s leadership about this valuable opportunity, contact AWB Associate Executive Director Corrie Young here.

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