Latest international initiatives aim to provide greater connections to the global community
By the end of the Winter 2017 term, MacEwan University had signed on to three new international initiatives, which support the goals and vision of the Strategic Internationalization Plan (SIP). The plan encompasses MacEwan’s commitment to forging stronger connections with the world around us.
“We want the MacEwan community to be aware of these different initiatives and the associated opportunities,” says Kimberley Howard, executive director of MacEwan International. “Ideally, our faculty, staff and students will engage and participate. And we want people to think of really innovative and creative projects that could help those in other countries. There is a lot of potential and possibility when starting initiatives like these because you get to create from the ground up.”
“ We must embrace the world as it comes to us and go out into the world to experience and benefit from the richness of the knowledge, culture and intelligence that surrounds us.” Strategic Internationalization Plan
Here are the recent initiatives that will enable MacEwan to increase its involvement in the global community:
Academics Without Borders
Think Doctors Without Borders, but with an education-based directive. Academics Without Borders aims to fulfil the United Nations’ Millennium Declaration, the goals of which are to help developing countries improve in the areas of nutrition, primary education, gender equity, health and the environment.
“Academics Without Borders helps to bring needed expertise to developing countries,” says Kimberley. Faculty members can apply and submit projects to help priority countries. “I would really love to see MacEwan faculty members who are keen to do some really great work get involved.”
According to the Canadian Bureau of International Education, Canada has very low rates of post-secondary student participation in education abroad programs—for example, in 2014/15 only 2.3 per cent of university students travelled to other countries to study. (Compare this to 30 per cent of German students, 13 per cent of Australian students and 10 per cent of U.S. students.) CBIE’s Learning Beyond Borders initiative intends to increase those numbers and foster a culture of interest in learning overseas.
“In addition to increasing the number of participants in education abroad at institutions across Canada, the Canadian Bureau of International Education also wants to create a culture that encourages students to see education abroad as a standard component of their university experience,” explains Kimberley.
The United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) is committed to 10 principles that aim to do good worldwide by building capacity in higher education systems around the world, encouraging global citizenship through education, promoting intercultural dialogue and understanding, and unlearning intolerance through education, among other goals.
“They’re very lofty principles and are very much aligned with the MacEwan way,” says Kimberley. “By becoming a member of the UNAI, we commit to implementing one project a year that supports at least one of these principles.”
In the Fall term, the MacEwan Committee on Internationalization will oversee a project that supports one or more UNAI principles, and will establish a process for MacEwan faculty, staff and students to pitch projects.
“Our vision is to become a university of global significance, relevance and value, and our goal is to foster a culture of internationalization that creates global citizens,” says Kimberley.
Anyone interested in getting involved in these initiatives at MacEwan should check with their faculty or department head before reaching out to MacEwan International.
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