March 1, 2018
For Immediate Release
Brantford – Wilfrid Laurier University will deepen its ties with Ghana thanks to a new round of funding from the Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships program, also known as the Queen Elizabeth Scholars program. The nearly $300,000 in funding will allow 29 Laurier undergraduate students to undertake three-month internships in Ghana and nine graduate students from the University of Ghana to spend a semester at Laurier.
Laurier’s ties with Ghana date to the 2011/12 academic year, when undergraduate students from the Human Rights and Human Diversity and Global Studies programs began travelling to Ghana for internships with not-for-profit organizations. The Laurier-Ghana Partnership for Human Rights, Criminology and Social Justice began in 2015 with more than $400,000 in initial funding from the Queen Elizabeth Scholars program. Since that time, more than 40 Laurier students have completed internships in the West African country.
Through the Laurier-Ghana Partnership, Canadian students develop intercultural and professional competencies as well as international experience and networks as they work with partner organizations to benefit local communities and advance human rights. Students from both the Waterloo and Brantford campuses are eligible.
“Many of these students could simply not have afforded to take advantage of this career-launching opportunity without financial support,” said Associate Professor Andrew Robinson, Human Rights and Human Diversity program coordinator. “This funding secures this amazing opportunity for current and future students for another four summers.”
Students have interned at organizations including International Needs Ghana, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Street Children Empowerment Foundation, and Child Research and Resource Centre.
"Working at the human rights commission in Ghana, I was able to merge my interests in international law, human rights and criminology, which has propelled me to pursue a master’s in Immigration and Settlement at Ryerson University,” said Laurier alumna Sinthu Vimaladasan. “This intercultural experience taught me how to effectively collaborate and collectively succeed by utilizing the interplay of different ideas, cultures and perspectives to our advantage.”
“The Laurier interns we have hosted over the years have demonstrated a positive work ethic and readiness to take on challenging tasks in the rural communities in which we work,” said Edmond Vanderpuye, executive director of International Needs Ghana. “We look forward to strengthening our partnership as we advance the frontiers of human development.”
To date, 11 Ghanaian graduate students have benefited from the opportunity to work on their dissertations at Laurier for a semester. Two more are due to arrive this fall.
“It’s been a positive and transformative experience for these students, as they are able to access literature not available to them in Ghana and to work under the supervision of Laurier faculty, which quickens the pace of completion of their dissertations,” said Robert Ame, associate professor in Laurier’s departments of Human Rights and Human Diversity and Criminology. “Some of these students have now graduated and are employed at universities in Ghana, which demonstrates how the Laurier-Ghana Partnership is achieving one of its objectives – capacity building at Ghanaian universities.”
Ame is currently working with the University of Ghana to help develop its first criminology program.
“The Queen Elizabeth Scholars program is a significant catalyst that creates multiplying effects to move forward Laurier’s internationalization agenda,” said Ben Yang, director of global engagement for Laurier International. “This type of bilateral mobility and collaboration truly reflects the institution’s commitment to internationalization.”
Across Canada, the Queen Elizabeth Scholars program is awarding a total of $5.8 million to 20 projects led by Canadian universities. Through the latest phase of the program, an estimated 650 Canadian and international students will undertake internships and research in Canada and abroad.
Queen Elizabeth Scholars is a collaborative initiative led by the Rideau Hall Foundation, Universities Canada and the Community Foundations of Canada, with contributions from the Government of Canada, provincial governments, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), universities, and a wide range of private sector donors.
In addition to the nearly $300,000 in funding from Queen Elizabeth Scholars, Laurier is providing the Laurier-Ghana Partnership with more than $172,000 in in-kind support.
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