Community

Saint Mary's signs MOU with the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre

SMU Indigenous Student Advisor Raymond Sewell; Saint Mary’s President Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray, Pam Glode-Desrochers, Executive Director of the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre; Elder Debbie Eisan; and Tom Brophy, Senior Director, Student Affairs & Services.

SMU Indigenous Student Advisor Raymond Sewell; Saint Mary’s President Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray, Pam Glode-Desrochers, Executive Director of the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre; Elder Debbie Eisan; and Tom Brophy, Senior Director, Student Affairs & Services.

Saint Mary’s has taken another step forward on the path towards reconciliation.

This month Dr. Rob Summerby-Murray and Pam Glode-Desrochers, Executive Director of the Mi’kmaq Native Friendship Centre (MNFC) signed an important MOU that strengthens connection and collaboration between the two organizations.

The Mi’kmaq Native Friendship Centre helps provide social-based programming for Urban Aboriginal People and serves a focal point for the urban Aboriginal community to gather. The new MOU creates a partnership that will see Saint Mary’s consult the Friendship Centre on the development of appropriate protocols for on-campus activities and enhancing support for Indigenous students, faculty and staff.

Another key part of the agreement is that the MNFC will provide an Elder on Campus four hours per week, a role now being filled by Elder Debbie Eisan.

Elder Debbie Eisan was on hand for the signing and told the group that Indigenous students at local highschools are increasingly aware of the work happening at Saint Mary’s and appreciate knowing that Indigenous Student Advisor Raymond Sewell is available to them.

“We are really excited about how the MOU articulates the mutual desire to strengthen connections between Saint Mary’s University and the Mi’kmaq Native Friendship Centre,” says Tom Brophy, Senior Director, Student Affairs and Services. “It opens the door for the MNFC to provide support and advice to Saint Mary’s as we move to continue to improve the experience of the Indigenous students and Indigenous culture on campus broadly.”

“I am delighted that we have taken this important step together,” said Dr. Summerby-Murray. “Saint Mary’s is looking forward to the many opportunities to collaborate on Indigenous-related programming, Indigenous-focused projects, research and of course enhancing learning opportunities for Indigenous students.”

An official celebration of the MOU signing is being planned for fall 2019.

Young historians shine at Provincial Heritage Fair

The future of history is in great hands, if the Nova Scotia Provincial Heritage Fair is any indication.

Eighty students from across the province showcased their excellent and informative history projects on June 6 and 7, in the McNally Theatre Auditorium at Saint Mary’s University. Ranging from Grades 4 to 9, the students researched everything from local theatre and Louisbourg to maple syrup and “Canadian stereotypes, eh?”

With a new award this year for military heritage, some projects reflected Nova Scotian involvement in the Second World War, particularly poignant as the fair coincided with 75th anniversary commemorations for D-Day. Other new awards recognized student research in African heritage topics, environmental history, equity and justice, immigration studies, the history of science and technology, and more.

Cultural heritage also had a strong showing, with detailed projects about Viola Desmond, the ‘60s Scoop, an Inuit family tree, the Underground Railroad, Portuguese and Dutch immigration to Canada, Celtic fiddles and Acadian culture.

Many students found inspiration in their own families, including a Grade 6 girl from Bridgewater researched Portia White, “whose brother Lorne was my great grandfather”. A Grade 6 boy from Albert Bridge, Cape Breton, chronicled the history of Sydney Steel, where his grandfather and great grandfather both worked. “It was definitely a tough job,” he said.

The projects were winners at regional fairs across the province before coming to SMU. The Provincial Fair judges are all professionals active in the fields of culture, history and heritage – professors from the SMU Faculty of Arts, archivists, librarians, museum curators, museum interpreters and more.

The student delegates and their chaperones stayed overnight on campus in residence. They also took part in workshops at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, creating their own folk art inspired by Maud Lewis, who was the theme for this year’s event. Africville will be the focus for next year’s Nova Scotia Heritage Day and the Provincial Fair.

Follow the Nova Scotia Provincial Heritage Fair on its website, on Facebook at @novascotiaheritagefairs, and on Instagram at nsprovincialheritagefair.

International Conference on Religion & Film in Halifax for the first time

How are Muslim filmmakers reconstructing the Muslim identity as it appears in film and television? In what ways are food and land protection sacred in Indigenous cultures? What do film superheroes say about masculinity and religion? How is contemporary culture reflected in the popular wave of apocalypse films?

These are just a few of the questions to be explored from June 12 to 14, when scholars of film and religious studies will connect at Saint Mary’s University for film screenings and research presentations. It’s the first time Nova Scotia is hosting the International Conference on Religion & Film (ICRF), co-sponsored by SMU and the Journal of Religion and Film, based at the University of Nebraska Omaha. Professors, filmmakers and graduate students will attend from across Canada and the U.S., and as far away as India, Turkey and the Netherlands.

“This year in particular, one of the themes for the conference will focus on Indigenous cultures,” says s Dr. Syed Adnan Hussain, one of the event’s organizers and an Assistant Professor with the SMU Department of Religious Studies. “It’s in keeping with the University’s commitment to continue these conversations. Those conversations are not necessarily about reaching conclusions, sometimes it’s just about coming together and sharing stories. Film is one of the most potent mediums for that.”

The public is invited to join the conversation – on Friday, June 14, the conference will host free public film screenings in the Halifax Central Library’s Paul O’Regan Hall:          

·        3:00 pm – Wi’kupaltimk (Feast of Forgiveness), 46 minutes  

·        5:00 pm – Sembradoras de Vida (Mothers of the Land), 1 hour 14 minutes

·        6:00 pm – Nakatuenita (Respect), 1 hour 2 minutes

Wi’kupaltimk is a documentary by Salina Kemp, a master’s student in the Atlantic Canada Studies graduate program, and Mi’kmaw from the Millbrook First Nation. With co-director Kent Martin, she explores the issue of food security as it affects urban Indigenous Peoples living in Kjipuktuk (Halifax), both historically and in the present. Her film celebrates the resilience of the Mi’kmaw, the rich resources available prior to colonization, the medicines and wild foods still available, and the sacredness of that food. Food security themes continue in Sembradoras de Vida, by Peruvian directors Álvaro & Diego Sarmiento. It follows five women from the Andean highlands in their daily efforts to maintain a traditional and organic way of working – and protecting – the land.

A documentary about the resilience of the Innu First Nation of Labrador, Nakatuenita was a coproduction of the Innu Nation and the SMU-based Community Conservation Research Network (CCRN). Directed by Mr. Martin, it was produced by Dr. Trudy Sable of SMU and Richard Nuna. Following the screenings, Dr. Hussain will host a panel conversation with filmmakers including Kemp, Dr. Sable, Martin, Bernie Francis and Roger Lewis.

Also during the conference, local and visiting scholars will present and discuss 29 research papers on a variety of fascinating film and religion topics. See the conference website to register, and for the complete schedule of sessions and presenters.


MassChallenge Picks Ashored

Ashored co-founders and Saint Mary’s alumni Aaron Stevenson, Ross Arsenault and Maxwell Poole .

Ashored co-founders and Saint Mary’s alumni Aaron Stevenson, Ross Arsenault and Maxwell Poole.

After fielding 3,000 applications, MassChallenge this month accepted 100 startups into its international accelerator for 2019, and it included only one Canadian company – Ashored Innovations of Dartmouth.

In an interview after the announcement, Ashored CEO Aaron Stevenson said he was thrilled to be accepted into the Boston-based program and spoke about the doors it will open for the company. But he was more eager to discuss another aspect of his company’s experience – the opportunity to join the global discussion on protecting marine environments.

Ashored is developing commercial fishing equipment that aims to avoid harm to sea life and the marine environment. Stevenson said the company is still “firmly in research and development mode”, but as it develops the product Stevenson and his five colleagues have been involved in events around the world discussing how to better protect our oceans.

“In so much of the commercial fishery, there’s a gap between where they are today and . . . and where the public would like to see the wild fishery,” said Stevenson. “The whole idea of sustainably caught wild fish . . . that’s where people want to go. It’s clear that the old ways of doing things are not going to be tolerated for much longer.”

Read more about Ashored Innovations, the MassChallenge and more at Entrevestor.com.

Construction notice: The Dauphinee Centre

Construction underway at the Dauphinee Centre

Construction underway at the Dauphinee Centre

As the weather gets warmer, work on the Dauphinee Centre build site is ramping up and will impact some pedestrian routes on campus.

Effective May 13 to July 31, the area between the Student Centre building and the Homburg Centre will be closed off due to construction needs. Here are some alternate routes for accessing the Homburg Centre and the field:


Coming to the Homburg Centre

From Inglis Street lot: Enter around the Student Centre building to the northwest field entrance, use track to traverse to southeast field entrance and follow pathway to Homburg Centre.

From across campus: Enter to the northwest field entrance, use track to traverse to south.

East field entrance: Follow pathway to Homburg Centre entrance.

Entrance to field

Both the southeast gate in the back parking lot and the northwest gate will be available for user groups to gain access to the field. These two entry points will be opened by staff in the morning and closed at the end of day.

Summer Camp Drop Off/Pick Up

Camp pick up/drop off will happen in both the Tower Road and Inglis Street lots with signage leading to the Homburg Centre.

Celebrating community building and philanthropy: Saint Mary’s newest honorary degree recipients

(Left to Right) Al MacPhee, Her Excellency Lady Sandra Williams BA’86, Padraig O’Malley, and Senator Dan Christmas.

(Left to Right) Al MacPhee, Her Excellency Lady Sandra Williams BA’86, Padraig O’Malley, and Senator Dan Christmas.

Community building and philanthropy are being celebrated by Saint Mary’s University this May, as the university recognizes the achievements of four new honorary degree recipients.   

The university is pleased to recognize the extraordinary achievements of:

  • Senator Dan Christmas, a Mi’kmaw leader and Independent Senator for Nova Scotia. Mr. Christmas has served in numerous leadership positions in the Mi’kmaw Nation of Nova Scotia. His work has ranged across a variety of fields including aboriginal and treaty rights, justice, policing, education, health care, human rights, adult training, business development and the environment. 

  • Padraig O’Malley, an award-winning author and peacemaker. Mr. O’Malley is an expert on democratic transitions and divided societies, with special expertise on Northern Ireland, South Africa, Iraq, Israel and Palestine. He has earned a global reputation for breaking deadlocks by bringing together parties in intractable conflicts and opening the way to dialogue.

  • Her Excellency Lady Sandra Williams BA’86, a charity founder and philanthropist. A Saint Mary’s alumna, Lady Williams is currently the president of the Antigua and Barbuda China Friendship Association. She is also the president and founder of The Halo Foundation, an umbrella charity established in December 2014 that addresses the needs of 32 charities under the patronage of the Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda.

  • Al MacPhee, an auto industry mogul and philanthropist. Mr. MacPhee has been in the auto industry for decades and was recently recognized by Ford Motor Company for his tremendous efforts and contributions to his community. He and his wife Mary are very involved with the MacPhee Centre for Creative Learning,  a not-for-profit charitable organization whose vision is to provide an alternative education model for youth in marginalized and disadvantaged circumstances.

“Saint Mary’s is known for academic excellence in arts, business and science and for our commitment to community engagement which serves as a foundation for all that we do,” said Saint Mary’s President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray. “We are proud to recognize the accomplishments of four exemplary people who share our Santamarian values, and grant them the highest honour that we can bestow, an honorary degree.”

The honorary degree recipients will receive their degrees later this May at Spring Convocation 2019, which runs from May 15 to May 17.

Honorary Degree: Senator Dan Christmas

Senator Dan Christmas

Senator Dan Christmas

Senator Dan Christmas has served in various leadership positions in the Mi’kmaw Nation of Nova Scotia. After serving five years as the Band Manager for the Community of Membertou, Senator Christmas worked for the Union of Nova Scotia Indians for 15 years—the last ten as its Director.   He was actively involved in the recognition and implementation of Mi’kmaw aboriginal and treaty rights in Nova Scotia. 

From 1997 to 2016, Senator Christmas held the position as Senior Advisor with Membertou and had assisted the Chief and Council and its Management Team with the day-to-day operations of the Community of Membertou.   Senator Christmas also served as elected councilor for Membertou for 18 years.  

Senator Christmas has been active in a number of international, national, provincial and local agencies in a wide range of fields including aboriginal & treaty rights, justice, policing, education, health care, human rights, adult training, business development and the environment.   

In 2005, Senator Christmas was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Dalhousie University and an honorary diploma from the Nova Scotia Community College in 2016.  In 2008, he was the recipient of the National Excellence in Aboriginal Leadership Award from the Aboriginal Financial Officers Association of Canada. 

In December 2016, Senator Christmas was sworn in as an Independent Senator for Nova Scotia.  Senator Christmas is the first Mi’kmaw senator to be appointed to the Senate of Canada.

 

Honorary Degree: Lady Sandra Williams

Lady Sandra Williams

Lady Sandra Williams

Her Excellency Lady Sandra Williams BA’86 was born in St. John’s, Antigua on July 15, 1963. She attended nursery school in Antigua before moving to Ottawa, Canada, at the age of three with her family, and later on to Toronto. After returning to Antigua for two years, she then moved to North Wales, United Kingdom and later to Guyana, South America where she completed high school.

Lady Williams enrolled at Saint Mary’s University in 1981, where she pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Department of Modern Languages and English, attaining distinction in her selected double major and minor. She was later awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship to pursue a Master of Science Degree in Tourism Management at the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom, and earned her postgraduate Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, also in the United Kingdom. She is a full member of the Institute, and over the years has pursued various career-related courses in Japan, Austria, Spain, Germany, France and Barbados.

Lady Williams has held significant senior managerial positions, including Director of Marketing for a regional airline and Director of Tourism in both England and Germany. She is currently the President of the Antigua and Barbuda China Friendship Association. She is also the President and Founder of The Halo Foundation, an umbrella charity established in December 2014 that addresses the needs of 32 charities under the patronage of the Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda.

 Some of the initiatives of the Halo Foundation include:

  • Colours of Charity, an event for the various local charities headlined by HRH Prince Harry on his visit to Antigua in 2017;

  • a two-year anti-bullying campaign currently being executed in six pilot schools;

  • full four-year university scholarships to Saint Mary’s University for students from Antigua and Barbuda who have exhibited acts of kindness or bravery;

  • scholarships to local institutions for children with special needs;

  • the provision of musical instruments to the Youth Symphony Orchestra;

  • part sponsorship of Team Antigua Island Girls’ row across the Atlantic Ocean; and

  • the spearheading of a youth arm of the Halo Foundation, known as Generation Y, which focuses on sensitizing young people to the importance of helping others

In 2018, Lady Williams was given the Faithful and Meritorious Cross for outstanding voluntary service to the nation of Antigua and Barbuda. She is the spouse of the Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda, His Excellency Sir Rodney Williams, and has one son, Brent.

Honorary Degree: Padraig O'Malley

Padraig O’Malley

Padraig O’Malley

Born in Dublin, Ireland, Padraig O’Malley is an award-winning author and expert on democratic transitions and divided societies, with special expertise on Northern Ireland, South Africa, Iraq, Israel and Palestine. O'Malley is the John Joseph Moakley Distinguished Professor of Peace and Reconciliation at the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston.

Professor O’Malley has earned a global reputation for breaking deadlocks by bringing together parties in intractable conflicts and opening the way to dialogue. In 2009, O'Malley launched the Forum for Cities in Transition a global forum of divided societies founded on the principle that one divided society is in the best position to help another. In September 2010, he led an intercessional symposium on the Arm Trade Treaty the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, and the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2016, he launched the Global Alliance of Muslim's for Equality (GAME), a movement led by young Muslims across Europe & the United States to redress false perceptions of Islam, counter negative stereotypes, Islamophobia. 

Professor O’Malley was a member of the Opsahl Commission on Northern Ireland (1993), which laid much of the groundwork for peace talks culminating in the Good Friday/Belfast agreement (1998). His fifteen-year documentation of the transition from Apartheid to democracy in South Africa, The Heart of Hope is available at the Nelson Mandela Foundation website. Professor O’Malley is the subject of a documentary by James Demo, The Peacemaker – a film about O'Malley's 30+ years of work at the vanguard of peacemaking.  Professor O’Malley is also the founding editor of the New England Journal of Public Policy. A published author, his most recent title is The Two-State Delusion: Israel and Palestine – A Tale of Two Narratives (2015).

In 2018, Professor O’Malley received the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award. Other awards include the Jean Mayer Global Peacemakers Award, (Tufts University) 2015; The Liberal International Freedom Prize (European Union), 2008; and the Eire Society Gold Medal (Boston), 2008.

Honorary Degree: Al MacPhee

Al MacPhee

Al MacPhee

Al MacPhee has been in the auto industry since the early 1960s. Originally from Cape Breton, he is the past Chairman of the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association, is a Past President of the Nova Scotia Automobile Dealers Association as well as the Halifax/Dartmouth Automobile Dealers Association. Currently, he is the Chairman of Leader Auto Resources Inc. a national automotive buying group. During his career, he has served on almost every General Motors Advisory Board and Communication Team.

For over 27 years, from 1983 to 2011, Mr. MacPhee was the owner of MacPhee Chevrolet Buick Cadillac GMC Ltd., the largest General Motors dealership in Nova Scotia and the third largest dealership in Canada. At present, he is the President of MacPhee Ford in Dartmouth, NS.

Currently, he and his wife Mary are very involved with the MacPhee Centre for Creative Learning. The MCCL is a not-for-profit charitable organization whose vision is to provide an alternative education model for youth in marginalized and disadvantaged circumstances. Located in downtown Dartmouth this centre focuses on youths that are underperforming in the conventional school environment and are at serious risk of abandoning their schooling entirely.

In 2009, Mr. MacPhee was inducted into the Junior Achievement Nova Scotia’s Business Hall of Fame. He is also very honoured to be designated one of Atlantic Canada’s Top 50 CEO’.

In June 2013, the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association announced that Mr. MacPhee had won the CADA’s Laureate Dealer Recognition Award for 2013. The Laureate Award is considered to be the highest honour a new car and truck dealer can receive over the course of his or her career.

 On March 22, 2018, Mr. MacPhee was recognized as a Ford Motor Company 2018 Salute To Dealers Honoree. He was one of six Dealer Principals from Ford’s global network to receive this prestigious award which was presented by Edsel B. Ford II. This award recognized his tremendous efforts and contributions to his community throughout his career.

After 58 years in the business, Mr. MacPhee continues to work 60 hours a week in his dealership in Dartmouth.

Saint Mary’s expands cross-border education ties with China

Students in business programs at Guangzhou College, South China University of Technology (GCU) will have added opportunities to transfer to Saint Mary’s after two years and complete their degree at the Sobey School of Business.

A senior delegation from GCU was on campus this week to sign an enhanced Transfer Credit Agreement, paving the way for closer ties with one of China’s most renowned independent colleges. Executive Vice-President Zhixin Zeng, Vice-President Ying Lin, Dean of the International Business School and Director of the International Office Liguang Wu and International Office Program Coordinator Huijing Huang held a series of meetings with their counterparts at Saint Mary’s on Monday, April 15.

Mr. Zeng suggested that GCU’s visit to campus reflected the growing ties between the two universities, while Mr. Lin commented that the new Transfer Credit Agreement opened the door to exciting new possibilities for international cooperation between the two institutions.

Celebrating a Longstanding Partnership

In the years since the signing of an initial MOU in 2011, designed to foster academic and educational cooperation between Guangzhou College and Saint Mary’s, around 60 students have come to campus – some to complete their third and fourth years of their degree as part of the 2+2 agreement with the Sobey School of Business, others to take the Master of Finance Program. Many of the 25 students currently enrolled at Saint Mary’s enjoyed a dinner on Sunday hosted by their alma mater in China to celebrate the arrival of the delegation to Halifax.

Meeting with the delegation on Monday, Dr Summerby-Murray, President and Vice-Chancellor of Saint Mary’s, said that the University was committed to building on the strong foundation of academic partnership between the two universities. This week’s visit, he said, was also an important affirmation of people-to-people connections between Canada and China. As “Canada’s International University”, Saint Mary’s is proud to be recognized as a national leader in building bridges between the two countries, he said.

Guangzhou College of South China University of Technology is a large primarily undergraduate institution with more than 21,000 full-time students who can choose from 35 programs offered through 14 schools. Its 283-acre campus is located just outside Guangzhou city in China’s Pearl River Delta, home to more than 120 million people a major centre of technology and innovation.