Creating bridges from Africa to uOttawa

Posted on Monday, August 26, 2019

Author: Sarai Castrejon

The committee responsible of African initiatives at uOttawa.

“For us it is important to develop not only our relationship with African partners but to also create a welcoming environment for African students.”

Oumar Toure, strategic adviser for French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa

With September right around the corner, many first-year students are getting ready for the new school year. Others are not only prepping for university but also are finalizing their move to Canada.

Last year, the University welcomed more than 7,000 international students, of which 2,000 were from African countries. This comes as no surprise — in the last 10 years, uOttawa has focused on recruiting both undergraduate and graduate students in these countries.

Following the tremendous success of these efforts, the University has set forth a new initiative that envisages not only increasing recruitment, but also improving relations and creating partnerships in Africa in several areas, such as research, opportunities for employees and even possible exchanges and programs for students attending university in both Canada and in Africa.

“I think it is the start of a new vision for the University. We want to create a bridge for our institutional partners and future African students who are in between 9th and 10th grade, and want to study in Canada. For current students, it is an enriching experience to have diverse classes and diverse programs that allow them to learn more about different cultures while also enhancing their view. Plus, there is also the possibility to go on exchange or do research in those countries”

Oumar Toure



For the moment, the University is mainly focusing on three events to kick off this initiative.

The first event will take place on September 18, 2019 in collaboration with many campus partners and a committee of African students at uOttawa.This committee was selected to not only plan and help run the event, but to also allow current students to take part in this new initiative. The event will be focused on African students arriving at uOttawa, giving them a warm welcome to the community and helping them settle into their new life in Canada. Student will have a chance to mingle with other students, current and new, and enjoy a piece of home through food, music and activities.

“It is not possible to go to every country, to tell them what to bring and help onboard them for their new life in Canada. The reason why we do this is to help them avoid difficulties such as figuring out what to wear during winter and feeling lonely out here.”

Martin Robichaud, liaison manager, international markets

Two other events will focus more on future partnerships, one of which will include a luncheon and talk with the local community of Francophone ambassadors, including those from Africa. This event will take place in October 2019 and will be led by Adel El Zaïm, uOttawa’s chief internationalization officer. The final event will span three days in November from 6 - 8th , and will involve meetings with African universities to explore and confirm potential partnerships. This project will be handled by Enrolment Management, in collaboration with the International Office.

To learn more about these events or about this initiative, contact Martin Robichaud, liaison manager, international markets.

* This article has been updated with the dates of event being held*

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