Inspiring tomorrow’s global citizens
Bilingual in nature, the University of Ottawa has long prided itself on offering students a unique educational and cultural experience. Now, we have thrown our doors open to the world through the uOGlobal recognition program, launched in September 2018. The goal? To give students intercultural skills and values that will prepare them to compete in an interconnected, global labour market.
For Ahmed Dharamsi and Emma Edwards, the program has been an eye-opener. Before coming to uOttawa from her small eastern Ontario hometown, Emma had never been exposed to other cultures. As for Ahmed, he has learned to recognize profound similarities between his own and others’ cultures and experiences, regardless of where they come from.
A fourth-year communication student, Emma concedes that she didn’t get involved much outside of classes in her first two years. But a “mind-blowing” CO-OP placement in her third year with an innovative media startup in Barcelona awakened her interest in intercultural communications. As a result, this year, she wanted to do so much more.
“I thought it would be fun to meet and interact with people from different cultures and really extend my connections — not only in Ottawa but around the world,” she says. Emma is now doing that through uOGlobal workshops and online learning modules. She is also acting as a buddy to three international students, seeking to make their Ottawa stay “an adventure.”
Ahmed, on the other hand, was born a global citizen. His family settled in British Columbia from East Africa following the expulsion of Ugandan Asians in the early 1970s. Now in his third year, he chose studies in international development and globalization because he wanted to do something to improve the world.
“I know it sounds cliché,” he says, “but listening to my parents’ and grandparents’ stories about the societies they grew up in made me realize how privileged I am to grow up a Canadian citizen.”
Developing global skills
Ahmed’s choice of uOttawa was driven by the program offering and the opportunity to volunteer as a guide at the Global Centre for Pluralism and the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat, where he meets the world. That homefront experience, learning from and giving to the local community, is central to the uOGlobal program.
For Emma, this has involved doing research for the Women’s Economic Council, which works toward economic security for all women in Canada. “It was my first glimpse into the significant role culture can play in every aspect of life,” she says.
Meanwhile, Ahmed has started volunteering with Farm Radio International, which produces radio programs that reach millions of small-scale farmers in Africa. Both students’ opportunities have come through uOttawa’s Community Service Learning program.
Emma and Ahmed are keenly aware of how uOGlobal recognition will help in future job searches. They are also finding the program personally enriching.
“It’s an opportunity for networking,” Ahmed says. “But networking doesn’t have to be done only in a professional capacity — it can also be person-to-person. And you can really learn a lot just by listening to people.”
Your support for our innovative uOGlobal program will help young Canadians acquire the skills and outlook of global citizenship, better preparing them to compete in a global labour market. Students at uOttawa will also soon have new opportunities to gain international experience, thanks to a generous gift from Power Corporation of Canada.
In 2015, the University of Ottawa launched a $400 million fundraising campaign. Defy the Conventional: The Campaign for uOttawa is raising funds to support priorities in every faculty. The campaign will help uOttawa recruit and retain top talent and enrich the student experience. Donations will also support innovative capital projects.