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Canada: $10m boost for mobility scholarship fund

A Canada-based scheme that funds mobility scholarships for projects promoting global leadership between Canada and the Commonwealth has welcomed a CAN$10m contribution from the International Development Research Centre.

Projects the programme has funded include scholarships for students at Calgary to work in a rehabilitation facility for disabled people in Ghana. Photo: University of Calgary

“This contribution will help develop the next generation of innovative leaders and community builders in Canada and around the world”

The donation will expand the Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships programme, which was established in 2014 to “build a community of young leaders through a global exchange of talent” and backed by the Canadian government.

“Scholars will contribute to stronger economies, more prosperous societies and large-scale positive change”

Administered by Universities Canada and the Rideau Hall Foundation, the project funds both inbound and outbound mobility for students and researchers from Canada and low- and middle-income Commonwealth countries.

To date, the programme has committed to sending 2,200 scholars abroad through projects at 37 Canadian institutions, funded by more than CAN$44m that has been invested by government, Community Foundations of Canada, participating universities and private donors.

IDRC’s president, Jean Lebel, said the donation will help to support “the leaders of tomorrow who will develop solutions to increasingly complex national and global challenges”.

“Through their applied research, innovations and collaboration, they will contribute to stronger economies, more prosperous societies and large-scale positive change,” he said.

Projects that have so far benefited from scholarships for their students include a University of Calgary project sending students to Ghana to work in a rehabilitation programme for disabled people and a maternal health hospital; and a two-way mobility programme between the University of Northern British Columbia and a Maori university in New Zealand, through UNBC’s Department of First Nations Studies.

As well as funding mobility experiences, the programme aims to build a global network of scholars and alumni, through social media and peer mentoring.

Scholars, who must demonstrate leadership skills and community engagement to qualify for grants, are encouraged to share their experiences through blogs and social media.

The $10m in additional funding will enable the programme to fund even more projects.

Scott Haldane, president and CEO of the Rideau Hall Foundation, said the contribution “helps build momentum and attract additional resources that will enable even more students to experience this unique global talent exchange”.

“This significant contribution from IDRC will help develop the next generation of innovative leaders and community builders in Canada and around the world,” echoed Paul Davidson, president of Universities Canada.

“The Queen Elizabeth Scholars program offers young people invaluable international study and research experiences that will benefit them throughout their careers and lives.”

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