People. Profits. Planet. These three streams drew nearly 750 specialists, researchers, students, volunteers, government representatives and private sector actors involved in international development to the 2017 International Forum. More than twenty workshops set the stage for lively debates on current events and major issues in international development at this sixth annual event, jointly organized by CECI and WUSC.
While the theme “Reaching the Tipping Point – How to Cultivate a Brighter Future” gave participants a chance to share a range of approaches and viewpoints, it also revealed a strong convergence of interests and efforts to find sustainable development solutions. Ayman Cherkaoui, senior advisor for the Centre for Climate Change Program at International Sustainable Development Law, had this to say: “Under the Planet stream, we discussed the Paris Agreement and the White House, carbon financing and a sustainable Montreal, a circular economy for plastics, the role of women in climate change-resilient agriculture, and botany, to name a few. My hope is that the discussions fostered by CECI and WUSC have served to collectively reaffirm our determination to take action for the sake of our planet.”
The International Forum was also an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of the deeply committed and extraordinary artisans of change who work by our side.
CECI handed out the Rosario Demers Award to Chantal Bernatchez, a volunteer who has worked closely with CECI for 15 years fostering meaningful changes in the living conditions of disadvantaged women and contributing to sustainable development in Burkina Faso.
CECI handed out its Women in Action Award to two organizations, recognizing their remarkable work to improve women’s living conditions and status in the African Great Lakes region and in Nepal: the Collective of Coalitions of Associations Working for the Advancement of Women in the Great Lakes Region (COCAFEM/GL), one of CECI’s partner organizations and its project that has been combating violence against women and girls in the Great Lakes region for nearly seven years, and PRERANA, a strategic partner of the Uniterra program in Nepal since 2009 that tirelessly works to defend the rights of women and support their economic empowerment.
WUSC handed out the Lewis Perinbam Award to Abraam Isaac, who is the Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of Innovative Canadians for Change (ICChange), a non-profit organization that works to improve the living conditions and security of vulnerable peoples around the world using sustainable development models.
WUSC also gave the Local Committee Award to McGill University’s Local Committee, which organized multiple public awareness and fundraising activities, expanded its membership and welcomed six new refugee students to the campus last year.
The George Atkins Communications Award was handed out by Farm Radio International to three radio show broadcasters who have worked tirelessly to produce shows for farmers: Sarah Adongo, radio host at Mega FM in Ouganda; Carole Leuwe, journalist at Radio Nostalgie in Cameroon, and Gideon Sarkodie, radio host and producer at ADARS FM in Ghana.
The International Forum was organized with participation from the Uniterra volunteer cooperation program, which is jointly operated by WUSC and CECI and funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC).
The Forum would not have been possible without the help of our partners, the Canadian Research Institute on Humanitarian Crisis and Aid (OCCAH) and the David Suzuki Foundation, who made significant contributions to discussions on programming. We sincerely thank our partners and all the sponsors of the sixth annual Forum, some of whom have supported us for many years.
We look forward to seeing you in 2018 at the seventh annual International Forum in Ottawa!