How are you making a difference? This was one of the many topics covered during International Development Week (IDW), which ran from February 3 to 9.

A national endeavour with events taking place in various provinces, International Development Week is a time when people are “encouraged to learn more about international development and share [their] experiences with friends, family, colleagues and [their] community,” according to the Week’s official government web page.

The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) started the tradition 23 years ago in order to provide an opportunity for citizens to learn about the country’s role in and contributions to international development. Among their goals is education in ways of participating in active global citizenship, particularly among Canadian youth.

Locally, the Kawartha World Issues Centre (KWIC) is among the groups taking part in the annual tradition. Beginning as a Learner Centre in 1989, funding redirected from CIDA enabled it to grow into what it is today, in spite of total loss of governmental funding in 1995.

The objectives of the resource centre include disseminating information through methods such as holding workshops pertaining to global issues, charitable agencies, and education on matters of “health, land use, communications, water, energy, agriculture, trade and other social, environmental economic and cultural issues in other countries.”

Events held by KWIC during last week’s IDW included a community workshop at Sadleir House’s Hobbes Library with a focus on critical global advocacy issues. In co-operation with the Ontario Council of International Cooperation, a provincial international development body, the interactive audio/visual workshop covered such topics as the impact of social media on our real world interaction and the place of language arts’ personal narrative in maintaining global connections.

Another event, which was to be hosted in the Lady Eaton College Pit, was planned for Friday February 8, but had to be cancelled due to complications arising from inclement weather. The Campus Café Hunger Games would have seen participants “divided into country groups, each of which is allocated different resources and supplies, [participants would] have to strategize amongst themselves and between nations to make decisions and trades at UN meetings… The game includes gender issues, environmental impacts, and poverty.”

Despite the cancellation, the event is to be rescheduled for a future date. Facilitation is to be provided by Baris Karaagac, a professor in Trent’s International Development Studies (IDS) program.
Unique in its design, the IDS degree incorporates courses from various disciplines such as history, anthropology, sociology, politics, economics, and cultural studies into its academic structure.
In keeping with the spirit of international development, IDS also offers year abroad programs in both Ghana and Ecuador. Students spend a full academic year in either of the two nations and are required to keep up with third year level course work while taking part in community placement responsibilities.

In describing the placement, Trent’s IDS Year Abroad web page states that “students learn about the history and culture of another society, acquire skills in community development, engage in a cross-cultural living experience, and make contacts and friendships in a new community.”

For more information about the program, you can call (705) 748-1339 or email [email protected] To keep up with KWIC’s community events, visit www.kwic.info or find them on Facebook and Twitter.