Cricket cookie, anyone?
At the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus’s International Office staff use their expertise to benefit other countries through international development projects, student mobility opportunities and internationalization programs.
Based in Truro, N.S., initiatives coming out of the international office include organizing and delivering student engagement activities during International Education Week, a November event that showcases the significant contribution that international education makes. “We look to support and develop strategies to foster a greater appreciation for inclusivity and internationalization,” Suzanne Johnson, manager of international projects, says. This includes maintaining a guesthouse in Truro where visiting faculty and researchers can temporarily stay as they transition into their new placements at Dal-AC.
The campus also extends its reach into the greater Truro community through International Development Week events such as its “Foody Friday,” a way to connect locals with issues of global food security and food sovereignty. The evening featured locally prepared global cuisine by Truro community newcomers, international student performances and conversations about food security led by international faculty. Examples included the need for a cultural shift in what is considered acceptable food, embracing ugly vegetables and imperfect produce to reduce waste, and considering alternative sources of proteins like edible insects. The featured snack was a cricket cookie, which which Johnson says tasted “nutty.”
Further afield, one project currently running in Ethiopia is Agricultural Transformation Through Stronger Vocational Education, a six-year, $18-million project funded by Global Affairs Canada. “We’re working with four agricultural technical vocational education and training colleges to help them increase capacity,” explains Johnson. This includes improvement to libraries, labs, ICT, teaching sites and demonstration farms, as well as instructors’ skill sets and classroom resources. The satellite Dalhousie office in Addis Ababa is staffed by 28 people, says Johnson. It’s one of the largest international development projects ever awarded to Dalhousie.
All told, the project helps Ethiopian educational partners develop a hands-on, skills-based approach to develop curriculums and meet new occupational standards, strengthen regional economies by assisting graduates in their development of small- to medium-sized agricultural companies, and create pathways to industry through marketing and entrepreneurship.