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Many Canadians are familiar with the essential work that colleges and institutes do in providing vocational training to support the demands of the labour market, but fewer might know about how these same schools are changing lives around the world through international partnerships. Over the past 40 years, Canada’s colleges and institutes have engaged in over 700 international projects to build a better world for all.
Mention the word “internationalization” to Canadian higher ed professionals and many will immediately think of international student recruitment. Others might think of the benefits that having more international students on campus can provide to campus culture and diversity, while others still might think about the need to create more study abroad opportunities for domestic Canadian students. Working in tandem with these significant aspects of internationalization, though, are the global collaborations that Canada’s forward-thinking institutions are engaging in with partners around the world.
In an age where many nations are turning inward, it’s more important than ever to reach across borders and build a better world. It’s with this mission in mind that a growing number of influential CEOs and post-secondary leaders are re-envisioning their goals to embrace the world’s most pressing challenges.
A farmer in his late forties winces as he pulls off his shoe, exposing the black and red colouring of a diabetic foot ulcer. The affliction has been plaguing him for months. He’s been to see a specialist several times, but to no avail. Instead of improving, the ulcer has only worsened.
It’s a situation Dr. Krystle Fraser-Barclay encounters often in her work at a clinic based in the urban centre of Georgetown, Guyana. Located along the northeastern coast of South America, Guyana is one of only three counties in the Americas that until 2015 did not offer any training for family medicine professionals. Primary care was delivered through a clinic-based system in which patients rarely meet with the same doctor, and rarely for more than one health issue. A new mother, for example, would need one appointment for her postnatal care, another for her baby, another for other related sexual health testing, and so on. By comparison, more than 90% of primary health care delivered in Canada is done through family doctors.
That situation is one that Dr. Fraser-Barclay is working to change.
Public health is a lynchpin of Canadian society, impacting the lives of countless community members on a daily basis. But in many parts of the developing world, a public health system of this calibre remains an aspiration. Fortunately, there are dedicated individuals based in many of these countries who are determined to turn this aspiration into a reality.
In an era of heated debates around the purpose, priorities, and payment of senior administrators in Canadian higher ed, relationship management has become a key part of day-to-day life for many institutional leaders. This often takes the form of carefully worded interactions with the media, social media channel monitoring, and face-to-face meetings with important stakeholders.
But there’s one major set of opinions that’s often missed in all this: that of the students. As the group that feels it has the most at stake when it comes to the public standing of their institution, students are among the fastest to speak out on social media or fill the window of the president’s office with poster board when a PR disaster strikes.