In Memoriam

Dr. Eric Amit


Former Director, Coady International Institute


We at Coady International Institute would like to extend condolences to the family of Dr. Harris (Eric) Amit who passed away February 13, 2021. Dr. Amit was a former director of Coady Institute serving from 1991 to 1994 and 1995 to 1996. He played a significant role in the development of Coady’s transformative learning experience.

He joined Coady as a staff member in 1971. Throughout Dr. Amit’s’s career, he committed himself to building a community in the classroom and the world beyond. He organized and taught a course of studies in rural development based on the philosophy of the Antigonish Movement. The course remained at the core of Coady’s program for more than 25 years.

Dr. Amit was internationally renowned for his commitment to humanitarian causes and his work with and on behalf of the world’s poor and oppressed. In 1995, the United Nations Association recognized his efforts in generating tolerance and understanding and in promoting world peace by naming him a “Global Citizen.”

For several years after his retirement, Dr. Amit continued to work with several Coady participants each year on their Independent Studies. St. Francis Xavier University awarded Dr. Amit an honorary degree during the university’s Fall 2008 convocation. In 2009, the Amit family established the Iromi Amit Women Leaders’ Scholarship Endowment at Coady Institute. The endowment is an important legacy of Dr. Amit’s daughter Iromi, who throughout her career with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, was a pioneer in her time advocating to open doors for women in leadership roles, understanding the importance and impact of gender equality.

“Eric will forever be remembered as one of the giants upon whose shoulders those who work at Coady today stand,” Gord Cunningham, Coady’s executive director, says.

”He was loved by his students and colleagues alike as much for the respectful way he treated everyone as for his immense knowledge of rural development. I will always picture him in the Tin Room alone in front of 50 or so Coady participants all listening intently to every word he spoke”

The family has requested memoriam donations be made to the Iromi Amit Women Leaders Scholarship Endowment at Coady Institute, St. Francis Xavier University. Make a donation by clicking here and indicating the name of the fund under other on the donation page.

Coady graduates, partners, associates, and former staff who would like to share their memories and condolences with the family may do so by commenting below. For a full obituary for Eric Amit go to MacIsaac Funeral Home.


  1. Gord Cunningham

    I will always remember Eric most for the graceful and respectful manner in which he interacted with everyone. As the youngest person on the Coady teaching team in 1997, the first part of my orientation was to sit in on Eric’s class in Rural Development. I was awestruck by the way he engaged with our participants. His class was a rolling discussion around current issues in rural development in which he was able to draw on the experiences of each person in the room. He had personal anecdotes to share from many of the countries represented by the participants in the class, which always animated the discussions. What impressed me most though, was the gentle grace with which he carried himself and positive effect it had on all those around him. My image of Eric will forever be of him leading a huge class in the old Coady Tin Room, sitting alone at a table in front, speaking quietly, and everyone smiling and listening to every word.

  2. Hari Subramanyam

    Dr.Eric Amit was a down to earth person. Amit was not only a good teacher adviser, a good friend, a parent , loving and affectionate, critical thought provider but also, a guide and philosopher. Dr.Amit was immensely improved all the students abilities and skills with his knowledge, experience and humbleness was likely remembered by all the Coady Graduates.
    I am Hari Subramanyam graduated in 1988, Coady Institute. Dr.Amit was very close to me and to Gora family through Atheist Centre, Samskar and Arthik Samata Mandal at Vijayawada, India. Dr.Amit was my adviser to my independent study submitted while I was at Coady Institute, 1988. Arthik Samata Mandal organized two overseas programmes sponsored by Coady Institute for four years at Vijayawada to Arthik Samata Mandal and other NGO’s staff between 1989 to 1995. Dr.Amit and Ms.Olga were the Course Directors. Eight persons (Ch.Rama Krishna, Ms.Vani, Hari Subramanyam, Paul Chater, Ms.Sharan Rebacca, Ms.Keerthi, Vikas Gora and Ms.Subha Gora) from Arthik Samata Mandal were trained in Coady Institue between 1981-2006. I met Dr.Amit again in 2006 in connection with Certificate Course in Advocacy Leadership training at Coady.
    Dr.Amit was one of the mast and brawny who fabricate Coady Institute to a great success in Human Development and leadership in all over the Globe. It was a immensely loss to many Scholars and Development social workers like us and the society at huge.
    Our deep heartfelt condolences to Dr. Amit’s family from Atheist Centre, Arthik Samata Mandal, Samskar and also on behalf of all Coady Graduates all over the world.

  3. Vikas Gora

    Eric was a very close friend of my father, late Dr Vijayam and conducted many training programmes with Arthik Samata Mandal, Vijayawada, India. The Gora family has a special bondage with him, for his developmental perspective and grassroots connect. I have met him so many times in 1980s-90s both in Vijayawada and in 2001 & 2005 at Coady Institute. His knowledge and experience and above all, his humility and humbleness was incredible and he is fondly remembered by all his students. He was a stalwart who has build Coady Institute to great heights of success. It is a great loss to the development sector and society at large. Please accept our condolences.

  4. Dr Keerthi Bollineni

    Dr Amit was an extrordinary person with human touch. I first met Dr Amit in early 1980s when he came to India, to train social development workers associated in disaster programme in the coastal district of Andhra Pradesh. Leant so many skills. I did my studies in Coady International Institute in 1990. Cannot for get his teaching. He became a guardian for me when I was hospitalised and under went a major surgery. Daily he visited me 28 days…not even leaving one day. A real teacher Amit, as he understood the feelings, pains and sorrows of the students. He walked with us. What I am TODAY is due to Coady and what I deliver today is building people’s organisations which Amit used to insist. I sincerely sending my whole hearted condolences to family of Amit. He is living in me in work. A great tribute to a humane person. JAI INSAAN.

  5. 'Arul'. Lucian Arulpragasam

    Eric was my friend in University and was my colleague in the same higher administrative service in Sri Lanka. We continued our friendship over the years; he visited me many times in Rome, where I worked with FAO.
    It was I who advised him to join the Coady Institute, following the lead of Mr. Bradey, whom I got to know in FAO. I stayed in Eric and Amy’s home when I visited Antigonish, where I got to know his entire extended family – to whom I extend my sincere condolences.

    Eric was kind, gentle and generous with his time. He was also a good administrator. I know that he gave a broader perspective to the Cody Institute, opening windows to the developing world.

    We shall all miss his friendship, his smile and his gentle ways.

  6. Anthony Scoggins

    Eric was a lovely man, a remarkable teacher and a strong and capable administrator. Multiple generations of Coady students will reflect warmly on his gentle presence, deep sense of justice and compassion and his most atrocious handwriting. But Eric’s unique contribution to the evolution of the Coady Institute was not just profound but transformative. Eric’s arrival in Antigonish in the early 1970s signified an “Ah-ah” moment for the Institute as it began to make space for voices and perspectives from the global south in its programs and curriculum. The Coady Institute would no longer be a place where visitors from afar came simply to learn the lessons of Extension Dept field workers. It would become a place in which community leaders from around the world convened to share their own experiences and learn from one another. In Eric’s classroom, it was always clear that there is as much to be learned from the coastal villages of Sri Lanka and the hill communities of the Himal as there is from Canso and Margaree. The Coady Institute is a far better and richer place for Eric’s many years of dedicated service. Sincere condolences to his family.