Saint Mary's home to YMCA Peace Medal winner and champion for peace

Representatives from Saint Mary’s University recently participated in a conference on peace in Northern Ireland. The conference, “Twenty Years of Peace: Progress and Possibilities in Northern Ireland,” took place at Yale University on November 29 and 30.

The symposium brought together academics, community leaders, politicians and architects of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, which in 1998 marked a formal end to the conflict in Northern Ireland.

“Our Northern Ireland Peace Education Program has existed for 14 of the past 20 years since the Good Friday Agreement,” notes Bridget Brownlow, SMU’s Conflict Resolution Advisor and President of Peaceful Schools International.  

She and Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray, President and Vice-Chancellor of Saint Mary’s, attended as invited discussants at the symposium on Yale’s campus in New Haven, Connecticut. Dr. Summerby-Murray’s academic research and teaching interests include cultural and historical geography in Northern Ireland; and he has been a strong champion for SMU’s collaboration with Peaceful Schools International, as well as experiential learning and global engagement.

Brownlow, who recently received the 2018 Peace Medal from the YMCA of Greater Halifax/Dartmouth in November, was also part of a public panel session. Her session at the Yale event , “The Future(s) of Northern Ireland,” was chaired by Dr. Richard N. Hasse, an American diplomat long involved in efforts toward Northern Ireland’s peace process.

Participants included Simon Coveney, Tánaiste (deputy head) of the government of Ireland; Karen Bradley, British MP and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland; General John de Chastelain, a member of the International Advisory Board for Peaceful Schools International; and others.

“My role was to speak to the unique and progressive nature of our peace education programming, whereby we are sharing the same peace education resources locally as we are with children in Northern Ireland,” says Brownlow.

“We have 14 years of very positive relationships with educators and more than 20 primary schools in Belfast, and those relationships are as strong as ever. It’s not unusual to hear people there say ‘the world has forgotten about us’. It’s always very reassuring that they know we at Saint Mary’s University and Peaceful Schools International have not forgotten about the people living in a post-conflict Northern Ireland.”

Saint Mary’s is also keen to continue a working relationship with researchers at Yale in relation to peace education. Brownlow and Dr. Bonnie Weir, a political science professor at Yale, are looking at ways for the two universities to collaborate.

Last month, with support from SMU and SMUSA, Peaceful Schools International launched three new storybooks written and illustrated by three Halifax junior high students. The resource books will be distributed to elementary schools in Nova Scotia and during the next SMU visit to Northern Ireland in February.

The books have generated a great deal of interest – more detail can be found in these recent media reports:

Saint Mary's hosts public panel on international institutions

Saint Mary's University's recently hosted an engaging public panel discussion, that serviced as a precursor to the Halifax International Security Forum three-day annual conference.

The panel, entitled Discord, Disruptions, Disorder: A World Without International Institutions, took place on November 15th in the McNally Theatre Auditorium. The event is the result of a partnership between the Halifax International Security Forum, Dalhousie University and Saint Mary's.

“The goal of the Forum is to start conversations between decision-makers and opinion-leaders from around the world that help shape foreign policy,” said Peter Van Praagh, President of the Halifax International Security Forum. “Our partnership with Dalhousie and Saint Mary’s ensures that tomorrow’s leaders have a voice in those discussions.”

Mercedes Stephenson, host of The West Block on Global News, moderated the discussion.

Panellists included:

  • Kenan Rahmani, an advisor to Syrian civil society organizations, most notably The White Helmets;

  • Ayman Mhanna, Executive Director of the Samir Kassir Foundation in Beruit;

  • Antonio Ramalho da Roche, Professor of International Relations at the University of Brasilia; and

  • Daouda Sembene, former Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund.

“As a city with a truly global outlook, Halifax is a fitting site for this esteemed gathering of thinkers and problem solvers,” said Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray, President and Vice-Chancellor of Saint Mary’s University. “We are extremely proud to host this year’s very timely public debate over the future of our global institutions.

The Halifax International Security Forum is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organization based in Washington, DC.

Sobey School of Business MBA ranks #8 in the world for sustainability


The Sobey School of Business is eighth in the world for sustainability, according to the recently released Corporate Knights Better World MBA ranking.

The eight place finish marks the highest ranking yet for the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University. The school attributes its success to the way sustainable development and ethics are deeply embedded in its courses, the strong ethnic and gender diversity of its student and faculty, and the faculty’s extensive research on sustainability themes. Corporate Knights assessed 141 business schools across 25 countries for its rankings.

“Placed as we are here on the east coast of Canada, the impacts of climate change are strongly felt. At the same time, our province is a leader in immigration, and has a deep history in co-operative and alternate business models. We understand how important sustainability must be in business today,” noted Dean Harjeet Bhabra. “We are proud of our faculty’s strengths in international research and ethics, and the growing expertise in social enterprise development at Saint Mary’s, which have helped us achieve this recognition.”

The Sobey MBA program ranked second in Canada, with Schulich, at York University, placing first nationally. Warwick University in Exeter, UK, was ranked first in the world
Corporate Knights introduced two new metrics to this year’s ranking: the gender and racial diversity of graduate business department faculty. Such diversity can influence student perception of what leadership looks like, and means that business schools can model meaningful standards for more diverse corporate boards and management.

According to Corporate Knights, The University of Connecticut's School of Business and the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax led the way on racial diversity with 51 percent of faculty identified as visible minorities.

Participating schools were graded on five indicators: the number of institutes and centres dedicated to sustainable development; the percentage of core courses that integrate sustainable development; faculty research publications and citations on sustainable development themes; and faculty gender and racial diversity.

In 2014, the Sobey school’s faculty unanimously voted to become signatories to the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Management Education initiative (PRME). A central part of this commitment is a pledge to advance the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

For Saint Mary’s and the Sobey School, the ranking was helped by research and work conducted through the school’s centres: the Atlantic Research Group on Economics of Immigration, Aging and Diversity, the new International Centre for Co-operative Management, the Centre for Leadership Excellence, the David Sobey Centre for Innovation in Retailing and Services, and the Centre of Excellence in Accounting and Reporting for Co-operatives.

See Corporate Knights' full top 40 here.

Saint Mary’s University celebrates the new Viola Desmond Bursary

African-Nova Scotian students attending Saint Mary’s University will soon have more support available to them as a result of a newly established bursary.

The Viola Desmond Bursary was announced on November 8, the date of Viola’s heroic anti-discrimination action in 1946. The bursary is fully-endowed and will be given out every year to full-time African-Nova Scotian students at Saint Mary’s.

“At Saint Mary’s, community is at the heart of what we do. We are very proud to be part of commemorating Viola Desmond, and to have a financial award named in her honour,” said Dr. Malcolm Butler, Vice-President, Academic and Research. “This award will assist generations of African-Nova Scotian entrepreneurs attending Saint Mary’s on their path to success.”

The initial award amount will mark the year of Viola Desmond’s anti-segregation action, 1946, with students receiving $1,946. While this award is not renewable, it may be awarded to the same student more than once.

While preference for the bursary will be given to students in the Sobey School of Business, the bursary may also be awarded to students in programs featuring entrepreneurship. Preference will also be given to female students from Halifax County. Students must also have a financial need.

This award was established with the permission of the Desmond Family and through the generosity of The Honourable Wilfred P. Moore, Q.C., LL.D., and Ms. Jane Adams Ritcey.

“Viola Desmond has been very good to our city, our province and our country,” said Senator Wilfred Moore. “My family is very pleased to assist Saint Mary’s University in this most noble virtue—the transfer of knowledge. We do so in keeping with the bedrock tradition of Saint Mary’s, offering a hand up.”