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June 6, 2016

Connecting her university to the local community

When Salmah Said found out she was going to study at Coady International Institute, she assumed it would be in a big city like Toronto or Montreal.

“Coady and St. Francis Xavier University are famous around the world”, she said. “So I was very surprised they would be located in such a small, friendly town.”

Said is a lecturer and head of internal auditing at Islamic State University of Alauddin in Makassar, Indonesia. She and five colleagues are in Antigonish for spring certificate courses. It’s part of a six-year partnership between the Canadian and Indonesian governments to support local leadership development and democratic governance in Indonesia.

“As lecturers, we are obligated to do social work in the community each year. This also involves supervising our students who must engage in community outreach.”

Which is why her first course – Increasing Citizen Voice and Agency – was a natural fit. Her class presentation featured an advocacy program to fight child sex abuse.

“I have been learning so many ideas from new friends around the world,” she said. “I will also join the Community Development Leadership by Women course, then go back and propose to my rector that we provide more funds for community development, and especially to empower women.”

The trip to Antigonish is Said’s first visit to Canada, and she has enjoyed the small-town atmosphere and learning new cultures.

“Everybody greets me ‘Hi, how are you…how are you doing?’ The people are so friendly. That, and the fact that Coady staff are so helpful, has made this a wonderful learning journey.”