Fall is always an exciting time of year here at Coady International Institute as we welcome participants from various countries across the globe to our facilities. This year, I was very pleased to meet 41 participants from 19 different countries, including our first-ever participant from Fiji.
The Diploma participants have spent the last five months at Coady and the Antigonish community has once again done a marvelous job of welcoming them. Along with their in-class training, participants have visited various organizations and businesses on field trips and taken part in community events as part of their learning experiences. This cohort exhibited tremendous leadership and assisted staff and faculty in welcoming an incredible group of women into our Indigenous Women in Community Leadership program as well as new participants into one of the six certificate courses offered through the fall months.
On behalf of the leadership team, I wish to thank our teaching staff and support team for their efforts for what was a busy and extremely successful term. Our continued success is only possible through their commitment and dedication to Coady and those who enroll in our programs.
Yet, Coady is facing some challenging moments both internally and externally. In July, we began an investigation into suspicious financial activity that led to the termination of our former finance director. Earlier in the term, some Coady staff members stepped forward and expressed their concerns as we implement changes related to our longer-term vision and the strategic plan. And just recently, we have learned that there are challenges relating to a future agreement with Global Affairs Canada (GAC), one of our primary partners for funding.
Our leadership team, through the support of colleagues both inside Coady and outside of the StFX community, continues to work through these issues. We recognize that our fiscal reality mandates that we take pause to reflect on what we aim to achieve and how best to accomplish that vision. We recognize we must diversify our revenue sources as a pillar to our financial stability. We also recognize that we must make informed, but likely difficult decisions that will affect both our future programming and staff compliment.
Although these types of challenges may be new to Coady, I assure you that they do not deter our resolve. We are confident and excited about our future and remain committed to our time-tested approaches to adult education for social change as we explore new initiatives.
In total, this year 713 participants will have taken part in Coady’s programs and this is something we are all proud of as we strive for “a full and abundant life for all.”
Wishing all of you the very best,
Vice-President Coady International Institute and Extension Department
St. Francis Xavier University.