Nov. 7, 2019Print | PDF
Thank you, Steve and thank you to everyone who has come out this evening to support the Educator and Leadership Institute.
The ELI has a singular, yet powerful mission – to educate the educators who impact the lives of students in places where the opportunities to learn have significant systemic challenges.
Through the work of the ELI, Laurier and Desire2Learn have been able to reach beyond borders and create meaningful change to education in Haiti, Nepal and Egypt by delivering world-class professional development and educational resources to teachers and principals in those countries.
The results from the last three years of work have been nothing less than astounding. One of the most profound impacts we’re seeing is the breaking down of gender barriers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math.
One of our partner schools in Haiti offers a robotics program that regularly has more than 50 girls enrolled. That same school sent an all-girl team to the World Robotics Championship in the United States where they received the Judges Award for accomplishing so much despite difficult circumstances.
Our own Faculty of Education students and alumni continue to find ways of taking strategies that have worked in Canada and applying them to international contexts.
This past summer, our students involved more than 200 Haitian girls aged 4 -14 in our STEAM program while also developing electronic science teaching resources for Haitian educators.
One such teacher, named Fedey (Fay-Dee), completed all three years of our teacher training program then moved on to take our leadership training program in May. By August, she was teaching a class of 30 of her peers about new education strategies and reinforcing the fundamentals of early learning.
These are the kinds of enriching partnerships and experiential learning opportunities that create enduring skills for our students and the teachers and students with whom they work.
I am so proud of the work they do expand Laurier’s capacity to cultivate global citizens and bring about real and positive change through internationalization.
As a key supporter of the ELI, Laurier has had the benefit of working in partnership with other organizations who share our passion for developing the potential of teachers and students in the global south.
These partners and sponsors include Desire2Learn, 360 Insights, Vretta, The Gay Lea Foundation and Rotary Clubs from around Waterloo Region.
To all the partners and supporters of the Education and Leadership Institute, I thank you on behalf of the entire Laurier Community.
I would also like to recognize the amazing work done by Dr. Steve Sider and his colleagues who have grown the ELI into a multi-faceted program that aims to impact more than 1,000 teachers, 100 principals and 100,000 students by 2020.
As I’ve mentioned, this program also gives back in significant ways to our own students who participate in the summer program, delivering English language tutorials to Haitian university students. In turn, our students gain valuable work experience and the opportunity to learn conversational French.
The young man featured behind me is Samuel Charles, a Haitian university student who participated in the very first ESL program five years ago.
He developed deep connections with our community and through these connections was able to access a scholarship that allowed him to attend medical school in Port-au-Prince.
The scholarship covered his tuition and Laurier students and community members raised funds to pay for his room and board.
He is now in his final year of medical school and will soon be graduating to carry out the important work of improving the lives of members of his community.
I had the pleasure of meeting Samuel when he visited Southern Ontario a few years ago. Samuel was here to meet with mentors and shadow some medical doctors to gain some experiential learning opportunities not available in Haiti.
Samuel described his experience with Laurier as “life-changing” and I think it stands as a perfect example of how our important work as educators can and should go beyond our borders to make a difference in the world.
Just above the door handle to my office, there is a sticker with a quote from the English biologist and politician, John Lubbock. It says, “If we succeed in giving the love of learning, the learning itself is sure to follow.”
It is there as a daily reminder of the transformational impact of education and what it is we strive to support everyday at Laurier.
We need only to look at what happens when the Educator and Leadership Institute, sustained by its partners and supporters, makes a connection with a teacher, principal or student somewhere in the world to know this to be true.
I am proud to recognize and celebrate this great work and look forward to seeing our reach expand even further in the coming years.
I’ll now invite Steve Sider and Emilee Irwin up to give an overview of how the ELI and Desire2Learn work together.
We see you are accessing our website on IE8. We recommend you view in Chrome, Safari, Firefox or IE9+ instead.×