Whether it is in the classroom or in the hallways, there is renewed energy and excitement at St. Francis Xavier University’s Coady Institute as 68 social change makers from 22 countries around the world are now studying on campus. This week 43 participants arrived to take part in one of three certificate courses. They will join 16 Diploma in Development Leadership participants who have been at Coady since late May and 9 youth leaders from across Canada who are a part of the Pathy Foundation Fellowship Program.

This year marks a full return to on campus educational programing for Coady Institute following the Covid-19 pandemic. The social change makers with a passion for community development have selected to take a course centred on social entrepreneurship, feminist advocacy, or climate change. For the next two weeks, Coady facilitators will use a practice-focused, participatory approach to accompany participants as they learn about asset-based, citizen-led community development.

“We are excited to be offering our Diploma in Development Leadership course in a unique, new format that is a blend of online and in person learning followed by accompaniment as the 16 participants return to their communities and organizations,” interim Executive Director Eileen Alma says.

“Having 43 participants as well as Canadian youth leaders join them on-campus means everyone, including our Coady team, is having a transformational experience. There is so much learning taking place with and from each other whether the participant is an Indigenous person from Turtle Island (Canada), sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, or elsewhere.”

Eileen Alma

Interim Executive Director, Coady Institute

While the Diploma participants will be on campus for 10 weeks, the three certificate courses (Livelihood and Markets; Feminist Advocacy for Agency, Equity, and Justice; and Community Led Solutions for Climate Change) began June 19. Some of those participating in the certificate courses are from ENGAGE! a five-year initiative co-designed by Coady Institute and five partner organizations and funded by Global Affairs Canada. One of the partners, Christian Commission for Development (CCDB) in Bangladesh is co-facilitating the Community Led Solutions for Climate Change course.

“Bangladesh is one of the countries that is severely impacted by the effects of climate change. CCDB has experience on how communities are responding to that impact. To have representatives here on campus sharing that knowledge with participants is important to us so we have paired them with a Coady facilitator and expect that those learnings will be shared in communities across the globe.”

Martha Fanjoy

Director, Education Programs, Coady Institute

While the foundations modules of the Pathy Fellowship and the three certificate courses will conclude June 30, the Diploma in Development Leadership course will conclude its on campus portion Thursday July 20th with presentations and a celebration to be held at The People’s Place – Antigonish Town and County Library. The event will be open to the public. 

“This year we wanted to try something new and take the conclusion of the on-campus portion of our Diploma program to the people of Antigonish,” Alma says. “The people of Antigonish have supported Coady throughout the 63 years of the Institute not only financially but also by welcoming participants to the community and their homes. We could not hold our programs without them, partners, and other financial supporters.”  

Upon completing their certificates and Diploma program, participants will join a network of 10,184 Coady graduates who hail from 146 countries around the world. These graduates have completed either an on-campus, off-campus, or online workshop or course; or the Diploma in Development Leadership program. Each of these change makers have returned to their own communities whether it is here in Nova Scotia, Canada, or internationally and have gone on to influence thousands of others in their own communities and countries.

Pathy Fellows problem solve their way through ‘channels’ – a team building exercise.

Diploma in Development Leadership participants complete an exercise in facilitation learning for change.