Tapping Our Trans-Local Potential for Change

Archive for the ‘Shaheen Nanji’ Category

Improving Global Health: Tapping Our Trans-Local Potential for Change

Featured Speakers of the evening - Back row: Marj Ratel, Ashok Mathur, Dr. Shafique Pirani, Mohammad Zaman, Lyren Chiu, Derek Agyapong-Poku, Jerry Spiegel, Steven Pi. Front row: Shaheen Nanji, Ajay Puri, Dr. Kojo Assante, Joanna Ashworth

This post was written by Shaheen Nanji, Project Co-Director; Douglas Olthof, Project Researcher; and Chloë Straw, Project Research Assistant.

On March 16, 2011 the Engaging Diasporas in Development Project convened the second in its series of public dialogues. The dialogue was entitled Improving Global Health and covered three core themes: (1) the unique skills and experiences of diasporas influencing health; (2) how these experiences are transforming health practices and systems; and (3) tapping the current and potential impacts in Canada and beyond.

The first session opened with an overview of global health by Dr. Jerry Spiegel, an associate professor at the Liu Institute for Global Issues and UBC’s School of Population and Public Health. Dr. Spiegel explained that international health becomes global health when the causes and consequences of health issues circumvent, undermine or are oblivious to the boundaries of the state and thus beyond the capacity of any one nation to address. He also spoke of the huge disparities between the need and the capacity to deliver health services, speaking to the reality that the majority of health care providers (many of whom are from the Global South) are in North America and Europe while the burden of disease is overwhelmingly in Africa and Asia.

With these important points in mind, Ayumi Mathur brought participants into small groups, asking them to consider and discuss what health means to them as individuals. Further adding to this focus on health at the personal level, the group heard from a diverse group of storytellers.

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Global health through the diaspora lens

Engaging Diasporas in Development Project Co-Directors Joanna Ashworth (left) and Shaheen Nanji. Photo: Greg Ehlers.

This post was written by Joanna Ashworth and Shaheen Nanji, Project Directors.

What does health mean to you? The question might sound simple, but only until you try to answer it. Is health simply a matter of a disease-free mind and body, or are there social, cultural, spiritual or environmental dimensions to be considered? How does our cultural, social and community background influence our understanding of ‘health’? These are just a few of the questions we will ponder when the “Engaging Diasporas in Development” project convenes its second public dialogue: Improving Global Health.

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Starting the conversation

Panther Kuol speaks at the Engaging Diasporas in Development Project launch.

This post was written by Joanna Ashworth and Shaheen Nanji, Project Directors.    

Simon Fraser University, with funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), is convening a public dialogue series called Engaging Diaspora in Development: Tapping Our Trans-local Potential for Change to explore the unique role of diaspora living in Metro Vancouver and the impact of their continued connection to the global south.

The first dialogue will be held on January 19th at SFU’s Wosk Centre for Dialogue (580 West Hastings Street, Vancouver) and will focus on diaspora-led efforts to reduce poverty and stimulate economic development.  Subsequent dialogues will examine health, education, peace and security and the overall impact and potential of diaspora in development. The dialogues are organized around the UN Millennium Development Goal (MDGs) themes.

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