(Thunder Bay - April 20, 2005) Two Lakehead University students will be heading abroad to help promote good governance in developing countries and fragile states. Jobb Arnold will be heading to Butare, Rwanda, and Jarin Stewart will be in Lijiang, China.
Arnold and Stewart are taking part in the Canada Corps Initiative. Canada Corps is a way for Canadians to work together to promote good governance and institution-building. It is designed to mobilize citizens of all backgrounds, together with non-governmental organizations and all levels of government.
RECONSTRUCTION IN RWANDA
Arnold, a fourth-year Political Science and Psychology student, will work with the National University of Rwanda (NUR) to improve the democratic system of governance by assessing barriers to political participation, and instituting tangible grassroots development strategies. The focal point of this project will be producing materials such as pamphlets and resource manuals targeted at educating community members about their system of government and the means they have to exercise power in the decision-making process.
"The reason I am going to Rwanda is to contribute to the reconstruction taking place after the 1994 genocide -- specifically, I will be studying the barriers remaining to establishing and maintaining a positive, participatory civil governance in Rwandan communities," Arnold says. "One of the main goals of my trip is to help ensure the expansion of post-secondary education. One way I will be doing this is by working to establish partnerships between the National University of Rwanda and Lakehead University. Both sides have already expressed the desire to go ahead with these initiatives, and this will be an opportunity to begin to put things into motion."
CONSERVATION & SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA
Stewart, a Master of Science in Forestry student, will be working with the Nature Conservancy in the area of conservation and sustainable development. This project will develop community-based management plans that will be used to oversee the sustainable development of local bamboo resources within Northwest Yunnan, China. Since 1998, a logging ban has been in place as a means of reducing the timber extraction that can lead to increasing flooding. Logging in the Northwest region was a primary industry for local minority groups. Increased pressure on non-timber forest products (NTFP), for the purpose of economic sustainability, resulted. Bamboo, as a NTFP, requires an increased understanding among multiple stakeholders within local communities. Stewart's project will enhance the methods used by the governments to gather and interpret data, and he will be generating a classified land-cover map of bamboo patches. Stewart will create a database containing methods of use for bamboo species, traditional management methods, and community ecological knowledge. This database will provide opportunities for more informed public policy decisions between multiple stakeholders while conserving bamboo resources.
"Ecologically, many wildlife species rely on bamboo as a source of food, and therefore, it needs careful management," Stewart says. "I plan to develop preliminary management plans for bamboo resources that will assist local groups and non-governmental organizations in further developing their local economies."
Dr. Gary Boire, Dean of International and Graduate Studies at Lakehead University, says that the Canada Corps Initiative is a wonderful opportunity for students to reach out and share their expertise with others as well as to form international bonds.
"Jarin and Jobb will be taking part in a very special program," Dr. Boire says. "I am thrilled that they are not only interested in international work, but are so eagerly sharing their knowledge to benefit both Lakehead U and the countries they are visiting."
The students leave this month (Arnold on April 27 and Stewart on April 24). For more information, contact Gary Boire, Dean of International and Graduate Studies at Lakehead University, at 343-8785. Dr. Boire and the students may be reached for interview by calling Marla Tomlinson at 343-8177.
Contact: Marla Tomlinson, Communications Officer, Lakehead University, 343-8177 or 472-9113