u of w’s graduate studies program awarded competitive grant

Focuses on bringing international perspectives and talent to programs

The University of Winnipeg’s Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) has been awarded an $825,000 grant to be distributed through 2018, and more than half of the funding will go to incoming international students. 

Titled the Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarship, the award is backed by three Canadian funding organizations and the Government of Canada. It aims to promote a global exchange of knowledge between students within the Commonwealth and hopes to develop a new generation of leaders and community builders locally and globally, according to a recent media release.

“The idea is to promote a global talent exchange,” Dr. Mavis Reimer, Dean of the FGS, says.

The call for applicants was sent out last fall and the University was among some of the top schools in the country to receive the funding. 

The application required the University, in collaboration with interested parties around campus, to prepare a proposal demonstrating the U of W’s ability and desire to “recruit and to retain graduate students from a range of geographic and social backgrounds,” graduate studies officer Deanna England says.

Claire Reid, director of the Masters in Development Practice (MDP), emphasizes the effort of Reimer and the University in quarterbacking the application proposals.

“I think it was tremendous that the Dean took the initiative and that the University took the initiative to apply for this scholarship - it was very competitive,” Reid says.

Reid highlights that the university’s Graduate Studies Program places a lot of importance on experiential and intercultural learning, and the Diamond Jubilee Scholarship opportunity strongly facilitates those aspects.

Naomi Gichungu Wanjir, an international student from Kenya in the MDP: Indigenous Development program is applying for a scholarship next fall. The second of three siblings who are both also in school, she explains how difficult it can be for some international students to afford to study here.

“I think $30,000 is very good money to help a student here, especially coming from a developing country like Kenya - coming in here with basically almost nothing,” Wanjir says. “My dad is not like one of those millionaires. He is just trying [to make ends meet]… So I do think that it’s really significant, this scholarship.”

Leah McDonnell, also in the MDP: Indigenous Development program, is applying for one of the $6,000 scholarships offered to U of W students who wish to study in other
commonwealth countries. 

Although a bit disappointed she doesn’t have access to the full $25,000 and $30,000 scholarships available to incoming international students, she underscores the importance of bringing international students with unique perspectives to the University’s graduate community.

“[When] studying indigenous knowledge and indigenous history you’re looking at - by no means the same - but a very similar phenomenon that’s kind of happened to a lot of communities worldwide, so there’s a connectivity with that,” McDonnell says. “And it’s really cool, hopefully, to be able to bring those different worldviews - not that we don’t have them - but even more.”

Applications for the fall scholarships are due April 1, 2015 – students interested in applying or who have any questions can check out the FGS website or contact the FGS department.

Published in Volume 69, Number 24 of The Uniter (March 11, 2015)

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