– Media Release –
Vancouver Island University (VIU) will award more than $800,000 in prestigious scholarships to 31 undergraduate, graduate and international students through the Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships (QES) program.
“I’m very pleased to announce that VIU will work in partnership with the University of Belize (UB) and community partners in Belize and in Canada, on the new Building Resilience in Coastal Communities (BRICC) project,” said Dr. Graham Pike, Dean of International Education for VIU.
VIU’s Canadian partners include Nanaimo Foundation ($20,000 financial contribution); Parksville-Qualicum Foundation ($12,000 financial contribution), Commonwealth of Learning, K’omoks First Nation and the World Leisure Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Leisure Management at VIU.
Partners in Belize include the University of Belize, Belize Institute for Local Development and the National Association of Village Councils.
With funding from the QES program, VIU will award scholarships to Canadian VIU students at the undergraduate and graduate levels so they can participate in internships or academic study for periods of three to six months in Belize. Scholarships will also be available to students from Belize to complete one of VIU’s six Master’s degree programs. Both inbound and outbound students will be selected based on the contribution of their work to strengthening the resilience of coastal communities.
VIU is among 34 Canadian universities to receive funding for the scholarships through a joint initiative of the Rideau Hall Foundation, Community Foundations of Canada and the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. The QES program will contribute $499,982 toward the scholarships while VIU and its partners will provide $306,254 cash and in kind, with participating scholars providing $11,625.
“The support that we have garnered from our local Community Foundations will allow us to foster a community of practice in coastal resilience, which is critical to the wellbeing of coastal communities in Belize and on Vancouver Island,” added Dr. Pike. “Each of the partners have committed to active participation in the project, and this involvement will be integral to our success.”
Dr. Ralph Nilson, President and Vice-Chancellor, Vancouver Island University said, “Queen Elizabeth Scholars will activate a dynamic community of young global leaders who will, over the next four years, address pressing issues of critical importance to Belize, Vancouver Island, British Columbia and across the Commonwealth. They will create lasting impacts both at home and abroad through cross-cultural exchanges encompassing international education, discovery and inquiry, and professional experiences.”
Ted Carson, Chair of the Board, Nanaimo Foundation, said,“We’re thrilled that the Nanaimo Foundation has been of service to VIU in attracting this substantial award to create this unique scholarship program. By sending young Canadians overseas to study and bringing international students to our campuses, this visionary program will help build economic and diplomatic and cultural ties that benefit all Canadians.”
Wendy Carmichael, President of the Parksville-Qualicum Community Foundation, said, “Canada’s future is increasingly shaped by global, fast-moving interconnected forces. To understand these challenges, we need a workforce with knowledge of other countries, cultures and languages, and an ability to establish partnerships with colleagues from around the world. This project helps facilitates collaboration by bringing global perspectives, cultures and languages to our campuses. Attracting students from around the world also helps build prosperity in Canada.”
For more information, please contact Jennifer Sills, Manager, Education Abroad at VIU at 250.740.6312 or [email protected]
BACKGROUNDER: Vancouver Island University (VIU) and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships (QE II) program
VIU is among 34 Canadian universities to receive funding for the scholarships through the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships, a joint initiative of the Rideau Hall Foundation, Community Foundations of Canada and the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.
Research projects by VIU’s Queen Elizabeth Scholars will focus on specific themes of the new Building Resilience in Coastal Communities (BRICC) project including the capacity to foster sustainable economic activity, particularly tourism; management of water in coastal zones, including drinking water; developing and managing parks and protected areas in or near coastal communities; climate change issues; and sustainable aquatic foods and local agricultural production.
Internships, research and project work will be applied or usefully embedded in the ongoing, real-world work of credible local organizations, and linked to ongoing, established national and pan-Commonwealth initiatives. Opportunities for aboriginal students from both countries are an important element of the project.
VIU will host at least one ‘flagship’ Scholar’s event in Belize and in Canada annually, and with resources provided by Community Foundations in our region and with assistance from our Centre of Excellence and Innovation in Learning, and the support of the Commonwealth of Learning, VIU will host annual web conferences that will involve our Belizean and Canadian partners as well as the QE ll Scholars.
VIU chose to partner with the Commonwealth country of Belize because VIU’s region and Belize are facing similar challenges, circumstances and opportunities.
The University of Belize (UB), the Government of Belize, municipalities, and many non-governmental organizations are as focused on coastal resilience issues as VIU is on Vancouver Island.
Belize is English-speaking and geographically and financially accessible to Canadian students, and VIU already has a broad and active network in Belize. The University and UB partnered to deliver a major fisheries project in 1999, and the relationship has broadened to include intercultural learning experiences, exchanges and collaboration.
Over the past 15 years, VIU Geography, Forestry, Education, Biology, Tourism, Physical Education, Geology and Global Studies students have attended field schools or successfully completed valuable internships with local organizations in Belize. Two adjunct faculty in Belize fulfill a coordination and support role with students, faculty and interns.
For more information, contact Jennifer Sills, Manager, Education Abroad at VIU at 250.740.6312 or [email protected]
Marilyn Assaf, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University P: 250.740.6559 C: 250.618.4596 E: [email protected] Twitter: @VIUNews