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Academics Without Borders comes to Concordia

The NGO will establish its inaugural global-operations base on the Sir George Williams Campus
October 21, 2015
By Fiona Downey

Student participants in an Academics without Borders surveying project at the Royal University of Bhutan. | Image courtesy of Academics without Borders Student participants in an Academics Without Borders surveying project at the Royal University of Bhutan.

Concordia will provide a base for the global operations of Academics Without Borders (AWB) on its downtown Sir George Williams Campus. The university will also supply additional support for the organizations' mission to boost higher education in developing countries.

From its new office AWB will examine ways of deepening the participation of Concordia researchers, faculty, students, administration and staff in projects the world over.

Academics Without Borders is the largest of three non-governmental organizations working with post-secondary institutions throughout the developing world to support locally conceived projects centred on higher education.

Since its creation in Canada in 2007, AWB has functioned without a physical base of operations. It has nonetheless succeeded in launching more than 60 projects in 14 countries, most located in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. The organization works through a network of volunteers affiliated with dozens of universities worldwide and has representatives in 65 Canadian universities.

“Sharing our expertise with AWB partners in developing countries is a natural extension of Concordia’s educational mission,” says Alan Shepard, the university’s president. “This allows us to widen the reach and impact of our long-standing commitment to exploration and innovation through research and teaching.”

“We’re enormously grateful to Concordia for providing us with a home base and support,” says Steven Davis, founder and executive director of AWB. “I’m confident it will enable us to do even more to enrich communities in developing countries by enhancing the educational experience they provide for their brightest students.”

The list of Academics Without Borders’ achievements in its short history is a long one. Highlights include helping bring together seven institutions to establish the University of Rwanda, upgrading the English and mathematics curricula at the University of Liberia, improving the quality of rural health care in Nepal through innovations in graduates’ training and assisting in the creation of the Centre for Disability Studies and Services at the State Islamic University Sunan Kalijaga (UIN-Suka), in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Find out about other initiatives in Concordia’s Office of Community Engagement.


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