This post was written by Chloë Straw, Project Research Assistant.
This Wednesday, SFU’s public engagement series “Engaging Diaspora in Development” presents its latest public dialogue. This event is called “Education for Development”, and the program is shaping up to be a lively evening, showcasing the many ways diaspora-led efforts support education as an engine for change and development in the Global South.
Hearing from members of the diaspora—that is people and communities that have retained an attachment to their homeland or region through family history or culture—will serve to explore how local efforts here in Metro Vancouver are supporting local efforts in the Global South.
As Shaheen Nanji, SFU’s project co-director puts it, “The people leading these educational initiatives are Canadians – perhaps first, second or third generation—who are living and working here in Metro Vancouver. They are using their knowledge of the “local” scene worlds away and are driven by their passion to help improve the lives of others in the Global South.”
Using the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as a starting point, participants will explore and debate how education empowers people and strengthens nations. We will hear the stories of individuals like Omar Kayman, who are working tirelessly to deliver opportunities for a brighter future for the children of Afghanistan. James Kamau will tell us how his years playing elite basketball in Kenya inspired him to found Youth Initiative Canada and reach out to young people in communities fraught with drugs, violence and poverty. Joselyne John will speak about the realities of young people living in refugee camps and what education means to them.
We’ll hear from Jamaican-born Ph.D. candidate and dancer Randolph-Dalton Hyman who is using traditional African dance as an educational and cultural tool for social change and explore grassroots initiatives for strengthening student success in mathematics in South Africa. These and other storytellers are sure to engage and inspire, leading the way to a thoughtful discussion of current educational initiatives and what Canadians can do to support them.
As Dr. Joanna Ashworth, the project’s other co-director says, “It’s time that Metro Vancouver residents woke up to the incredible force for good that is the diaspora who are committing time, energy and creativity to support solutions to economic and social struggles in the Global South. Individually their stories are inspiring and collectively they add up to a formidable force for positive change in the world. Canadians of all backgrounds and origins needs to recognize and support these heroic efforts to help.” What questions do you have? What stories would you like to share about the transformative power of education?
Wednesday, May 18th from 6:30 to 9:00pm at SFU’s Wosk Centre for Dialogue.
Free to the public, but pre-registration is required here.
Funding support provided by the Government of Canada through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), and presented by Simon Fraser University, with community partners CUSO-VSO and the BC Council for International Education.