Around the world in 5 days

January 28, 2019 | Campus Life

When Global Awareness Week comes around every year, it’s an exciting opportunity for the MacEwan community to think about our international impact and explore global issues. This year, as a member of the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) initiative, MacEwan is using its Global Awareness Week activities to educate students, staff and faculty about the goals of the United Nations. This year, Global Awareness Week activities aim to educate students, staff and faculty about the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

While the university is shining a spotlight on global awareness for one week in January, our students, staff and faculty have been working to forge international connections all year long. Here are a few examples from the past year.

Multitude of opportunities for students


Roxanne Tootoosis (left), Indigenous knowledge keeper, was part of the team that took part in the knowledge exchange trip in Mexico.

Armed with curiosity, a small team of MacEwan’s students, faculty and staff travelled south this past November, eager to learn from students at the Intercultural University of the State of Mexico (UIEM) during a four-day knowledge exchange trip.

MacEwan’s kihêw waciston Indigenous Centre coordinated the initiative alongside Katie Sinclair, assistant professor of anthropology.

“In our application, we proposed that our team go down to an established intercultural university to see what decolonizing post-secondary education looks like there,” explains Katie. “We wanted to bring back those experiences and reflect on what that means for MacEwan.”

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Global Awareness Week tip: Throughout the week, you can check out Mothering Spaces in the John and Maggie Mitchell Art Gallery. The exhibition explores Indigenous methodologies of motherhood and the visibility of the mother within contemporary contexts.



Hamdi Issawi did research in the Amazon for which he received an Emerge Media Award in 2018.

Hamdi Issawi never pictured himself chasing story leads in the company of countless species of insects and amphibians.

But in May 2017, he and six other students had to contend with the Amazon rainforest’s many creatures as they covered the unique economic, political and environmental issues affecting the Tiputini Biodiversity Station.

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Global Awareness Week tip: On January 31, spend an afternoon with MacEwan’s writer in residence, Jaspreet Singh, as he explores climate change and our complex relationship with the environment through poetry and prose.



Spencer Newton, Ashlee Rolheiser, Sejal Tiwari, Josef Scaber, Hilton Wong and Brynna Robinson at the Ancient City Wall of X’ian during the NMUN China Conference from November 18 to 24.

When the announcement came that the six members of Ashlee Rolheiser’s team would be recognized as the National Model United Nations (NMUN) China Conference’s Distinguished Delegation, she was thrilled — and a little relieved — to be continuing their club’s excellent track record. (MacEwan has received Outstanding and Distinguished Delegation awards 20 of the 25 years it has competed in the NMUN in New York alone.)

“To stand out among 50 other delegations meant we all worked hard enough to be noticed within the three committees we took part in,” says Ashlee, the club’s secretary-general. “We train hard all year — we had been preparing for this competition since April — and it was such an honour to be recognized and to see that work pay off.”

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Global Awareness Week tip: Check out what happens when our talented students put their minds together to solve big global issues. The MECathalon Competition on February 1 challenges students to tackle the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and win prizes in this student-led pitch competition.



Global Awareness Week runs January 28 to February 1

Explore the world without leaving campus. MacEwan University’s annual Global Awareness Week is offering activities from displays and panels to photo galleries and a pitch-style competition.


International opportunities abound for staff and faculty too


Staff Intercultural Awareness Training and Study Tour took place in South Korea.

Thanks to a new program developed by MacEwan International, a group of staff at the university are now better equipped to identify with and support international students.

The Staff Intercultural Awareness Training and Study Tour launched in 2018, culminating in an immersive trip to South Korea. The program also included intercultural sensitivity workshops; intensive coursework in Korean history, culture and language in preparation for the trip; and the opportunity for participants to job-shadow at Dankook University, a long-time MacEwan International partner in South Korea. One of the goals of the program was to give the participants an experience that reflected that of international students in an effort to help them understand the challenges those students face in Canada.

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Global Awareness Week tip: Immerse yourself in the Global Awareness Week Fair located in the Robbins Health Learning Centre.



Dr. Chaldeans Mensah, associate professor, political science

MacEwan has always had a strong Model UN game, so perhaps it was no surprise when Dr. Chaldeans Mensah was appointed president of the National Model United Nations (NMUN) for 2019.

The goal of the NMUN is to prepare university students to be better global citizens and the next generation of leaders. As a faculty advisor for MacEwan’s United Nations Club, Chaldeans works with the members of the club for up to one year — coaching them on how the NMUN works. Every spring, he leads a delegation of 20 students to New York to participate in a model UN session.

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Global Awareness Week tip: Don’t miss the Equity in Business Panel on January 30, featuring faculty members from the School of Business.

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