UBC Forestry Awarded $500K to Expand Global Study Options for Indigenous, Disabled and Lower-Income Students

UBC Faculty of Forestry was recently awarded $500,000 from Universities Canada to expand international study options in countries such as Ecuador, Chile, Germany, Austria, Italy and Finland, for Indigenous students as well as disabled and lower-income students. The funds came from Global Skills Opportunity, the Government of Canada’s outbound student mobility pilot program.

Funding for Almost 80 Students

The funding will allow for a total of 42 students, who meet the criteria, to be fully funded for overseas field courses, coops, internships and study abroad placements, as well as 36 more students to have half of their expenses paid, the faculty reports. Students will explore how the complex interactions of global forest management, conservation and land use shape people’s livelihoods.

The main goal of Forests and Livelihoods International, said Professor of Teaching at the UBC Faculty of Forestry and Vantage College Academic Director Dr. Suzie Lavallee, is to “give students incredible opportunities. In addition, we want to break down barriers of historical exclusion for experiential learning by developing best practices to support these students.”

Suzie Lavallee
Dr. Suzie Lavallee

Forestry will draw on partner organizations and advisory groups for local context, and to customize student supports. The faculty maintains strong ties in Germany, Austria, Italy and Finland through the dual master’s program, started in 2011.

“Our European partners are keen to grow this collaboration through undergraduate exchanges,” said Jorma Neuvonen, Assistant Dean for Professional Education and International Collaboration at the Faculty of Forestry. “We’re developing academic exchange and research initiatives with our newly-formed relationships with institutions in Chile and Ecuador as well, with the goal to build long-term collaborative programs at the graduate and undergraduate levels.”

Jorma Neuvonen

Go Global, Global Indigenous Connections

UBC Go Global’s Global Indigenous Connections project has also been awarded $412,000 in funding from Universities Canada Innovation Fund.

Started in February 2021, Global Indigenous Connections is a multifaceted program. The program’s aim is to connect Indigenous and non-Indigenous UBC students with Indigenous students, faculty and community members from near and far.

UBC Global Engagement Strategy – In Service

In April 2021, UBC launched the global engagement strategy In Service that is built on collaborating with partners around the world to help build a more just, sustainable society. The In Service strategy is intended to guide UBC’s global partnerships, educational initiatives, research collaborations and solutions-focused work for the next decade.

Said UBC President and Vice-Chancellor Santa J. Ono about both awards, “We are delighted by these awards because these are exactly the type of programs we need today. We see our role as playing a pivotal part in building a better world – standing ‘in service’ to people, ideas and the planet.”

Global Skills Opportunity Logo 2021
Universities Canada Logo

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