“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”

When I think of Cool Hand Luke my mind gets stuck somewhere between how Paul Newman can make imprisonment look so damn good, excessive amounts of eggs, a little bit more about Paul Newman and his classic handsomeness, but then I always go back to and settle on that scene between Luke and Captain and the famous line that we all know and love from that film:

“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”

A little reminder of how the scene goes….

cool-hand-luke

Captain: You gonna get used to wearing them chains after a while, Luke. Don’t you never stop listening to them clinking, ’cause they gonna remind you what I been saying for your own good.

Luke: I wish you’d stop being so good to me, Cap’n.

Captain: Don’t you ever talk that way to me. (Gives him a good hit) NEVER! NEVER! (Luke rolls down hill) What we’ve got here is failure to communicate. Some men you just can’t reach.

This scene is a good précis for the whole film – it shows Luke’s brave and sly insubordination against the prison system pretty clearly, but what gets me here mostly is the line that precedes Captain’s little reprimand: “I wish you’d stop being so good to me, Cap’n.” More on that later…

The one thing that always frustrates me in my professional and personal life is how often poor communication, lack of communication, or miscommunication affects relationships, productivity, and overall impact. In my decade in the professional world as I work to build my own professional competencies and modes of operating in professional contexts, I’ve made sure to make astute observations on the way people interact, and then try to make sense of it all. It hasn’t been easy, and what I’ve seen hasn’t always been stuff I am overly impressed by, but I’ve also seen people use methods that bring people together.

I’ve also taken the same keenness for understanding how people communicate in all aspects of my life. As we know, communication is key to any successful relationship (partnerships, marriages, parents, friends, siblings, children – basically everyone in your life); you are best served when you pay attention to the communication cues, and learn from them.

Conducting social experiments in my head over the past few years has allowed me to come to some conclusions, observations and what I hope is a way forward. I credit experience, mentors, and all the people who have come into my life for the way they have also helped me understand the issues of communication, trust, and understanding among humans. Here they are:

“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”:Why This Happens

Fonzie tells us that assumptions are the termites of relationships. It was actually Henry Winkler, but I can’t help love the Fonz and jump at the opportunity to mention him.  When you think of it, this is extremely true. fonzieAssumptions are predatory on relationships. Assumptions create holes, gaps, and a loss of cohesion. Let’s run with Fonzie’s analogy for a bit. How do you prevent termites? First, you ensure no termites exist. Then you take action and measures to protect your foundation against termites. Once this is done, you regularly check up to ensure your foundation is safeguarded and regularly maintained. We need to treat our relationships the way we prevent termites. When beginning any kind of relationship, whether it is professional or more personal, whether it’s for a new business venture, or initiative or you are entering into a relationship of vulnerability, it’s good to uncover and look for those termites – those damn assumptions. What do I know about you? What have others told me about you? What do I think about you? How much of what I think about you is based on hearsay or gossip? What assumptions may I have of you that are wrong? What assumptions may be right? This doesn’t need to be about bearing souls and singing kumbaya, but more just about getting real and getting to know a person with intention and with best intentions. We need to prevent our assumptions from creating gaps and holes in our understanding of each other by working to set that foundation that allows assumptions to be explored before they become what hurts the foundation of a relationship. Coincidentally, as I was writing this blog this morning, my sister-in-law in an online silly family banter said “You know what happens when you assume? You make an ass out of U and Me.” We don’t want to be asses, do we? Again, just be real.

Trust is at the heart of everything. A lot of the discordance and tension between people comes from a complete lack of trust. Trust is not something that is easy to build, nor should it be taken for granted that every relationship is conducive to trust-building. Right now, we see a great mistrust in corporations, institutions and those structures that are set up to protect our societies and the people in it. People lash out because their trust has been broken. Relationships dissolve because trust was taken away. Some relationships never truly move forward because trust cannot be built. Our history in Canada shows the devastating consequences of lack of trust. A nation is divided as the constant struggle for reconciliation happens between Canada and our Aboriginals. Those in poverty have been let down by the systems and dallaire-rwandastructures that are supposed to be their safety net. We need to build trust before we can move forward. It’s as simple as that. We need to break down barriers, elevate the voices that have been quieted for too long, and bring people together with the one thing that brings us together – our humanity. I saw Former Lieutenant General (Ret’d) Romeo Dallaire speak the other night, and his words stayed with me: “Not one human is any more human than another”. We need to remember this and get back to the one thing that we have in common in order to build back our trust and learn to communicate more productively.

Kindness matters. I tout myself to be a bit of a spreader of kindness. Sometimes that annoys people. I’ve relented and through it, I’ve paid attention to the impacts of kindness and how it can make people feel, and I’ve come to the very simple conclusion that no matter what your life situation, who you are, where you come from, what you’re going through, or who you are engaging with, kindness goes a long way. A sad realization of my life is that you just can’t force people to be kind. Some people just aren’t wired that way. Many people are emotionally, mentally, physically not able to spread kindness to the level that I generally wish for the world. That’s OK. It has to be. But that doesn’t stop me from being kind myself, or asking others to consider kindness as a first approach. This is where I go back to Cool Hand Luke. “I wish you’d stop being so good to me, Cap’n,” Luke says, obviously with a great deal of sarcasm and irony. Look how the Captain reacted in this scene, and obviously Luke didn’t come out too far on top in this scene, but he eventually did. Luke killed Captain with kindness, Captain didn’t like it, but it did send quite a message to him.

How can we all work a little harder to communicate to avoid communication breakdowns and come to a bit more understanding of each other in all our professional and personal pursuits? I can present a few ideas:

Talk. We all (self-included) can tend to have the bad habit of hiding behind screens, emails, Twitter handles, or text messages. This has led to a lessening of our ability as a society to effectively communicate, and this is not news to anyone. Text often lacks context. Emoticons don’t help. What ever happened to picking up the phone, or asking someone out on a coffee meeting?A_small_cup_of_coffee The amount of time wasted in the space of misunderstandings and miscommunications can be what breaks an individual relationship, an organization, a society, a world. Make face to face contact a priority. Talk instead of tweet. Call instead of email. 10 minutes over a coffee can do more than what any email, tweet, or text message can ever do.

Learn how others like to communicate and get information. We can’t assume that the way we communicate is the way our audience, or who we’re communicating with, prefers to communicate or receive information. For me, I constantly battle between speaking and communicating academically with more colloquial language. The latter is how I prefer to communicate. I don’t like jargon or conversations where the message seems buried, yet I do have to adapt how I take in information, and put it out to who I am engaging with. When entering into a relationship or professional collaboration, take some time to notice how others communicate. It may not be the same way you do, but we you do what you can do adapt, and “work around” communication styles to keep focus, cohesion and move together in trust productively. You may also learn different communication styles from others, as part of finding our way is also figuring out what is working for people, and what isn’t.

Commit to kindness and thinking the best of everyone. Everyone has something to bring to the table, and kindness helps us see what that is in each and every human. I was reminded that those who are marginalized are not the ones who marginalize themselves. Think about that. Not anyone is more human than another human, as Romeo Dallaire stated the other night. By virtue of being human, we all have the ability to be kind; yet can’t deny that as humans, we also tend often to act out of anger and fear. Personally, I shut down when people are unkind. It is not a space I am comfortable being in and not an approach that I promote. However, I understand why people get angry. People are frustrated with how things are I see this on social media all the time. I’ve seen it in past workplaces where it’s had consequences for everyone involved. I see it at home with my partner if we disagree on something. Anger is a normal emotion, and sometimes it’s incredibly necessary as a catalyst for people to be moved forward into action (the subject of one of my Masters’ research projects actually), but it actually takes more energy to be angry than kind. I think there’s some good science behind that. As humans, we have outlets that can allow us to approach our frustrations and desires to see better things happen more productively, cathartically, and in ways that gets the message across more effectively so that things actually change. We can all work together to find ways that we can work together better in a spirit of kindness and a general love for humanity.

Help others understand and live their worth. One of the biggest inhibitors of people not communicating is because of their own sense of worth. The marginalized people remind us that it is not themselves who create the marginalization, it’s the mainstream who force these people to the margins. As a community, as humans, we need to get rid of notions of “top down” or “bottom up” approaches and meet more in the middle, using communication strategies that help us create spaces where we can be a bit more balanced in delivering our messages. We can create events and spaces that promote people of all backgrounds coming together, and we can use great tools to help facilitate balanced conversations (see Tools page for some resources). As individuals, we can take our time to sit and spend 5 minutes with the individual on the street that you gave a toonie to, and understand their story, and what makes them unique and special. Recognize what is unique and special within yourself and wear that as your badge of glory and wear it with confidence. As a community, we can recognize the barriers that exist when people and positions of privilege aren’t able to reach those they claim to be serving. As people, we can commit to working better together. Let’s all level out a bit, get off our high horses, and walk together. It’s not that hard to do.

 “What we’ve got here is ability communicate.”

I encourage you to keep the Captain from Cool Hand Luke’s soundbite in your head, just like I do. When you feel like things are going off the rails, consider what has happened within your communication. Do you know who you are communicating with? Is your message being heard? Are you hearing theirs? Does trust exist? Are we truly communicating? You may just come out on top if you start from that place.

 

Getting real about Knowledge Translation

I tout myself as a Knowledge Translation Geek, as that is the career path that I’ve carved out for myself within academia, and the topic I studied in my academic journey. I choose to focus a lot on knowledge translation (KT) basically because I care for my world, and I truly with all my heart believe that academia has the potential to be a more critical player in the way the world works – outside the ivory tower.

One realization I have is that I talk about Knowledge Translation all the time, and wrongfully assume that everyone, including academics, knows what I mean.

Knowledge Translation as a term is most widely used in the world of health care and health care research, where applied research is utilized and conducted most frequently. The most broadly used definition in the Canadian context comes from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR):

Knowledge Translation is defined as a dynamic and iterative process that includes synthesis, dissemination, exchange and ethically-sound application of knowledge to improve the health of Canadians, provide more effective health services and products and strengthen the health care system.

This process takes place within a complex system of interactions between researchers and knowledge users which may vary in intensity, complexity and level of engagement depending on the nature of the research and the findings as well as the needs of the particular knowledge user (Graham, 2010).

Uhh…what?

I am an educated woman, I claim to be a proponent of knowledge translation, yet when I go to look up definitions of KT used to describe the concept, I don’t even know what it actually means. The irony is palpable.

The general concept of knowledge translation is a bit of a dispute, and may mean different things to other people. The term is closely related to its cousins and predecessors – knowledge mobilization, knowledge transfer, knowledge dissemination – but to me has come to embody a number of things regardless of what it is called.

As an academic, my tendency when I write anything is to have a list of sources and well-researched peer-review journal articles behind anything I may state. That’s the way I was trained. But for this post, I’m going to abandon that and speak a bit more “bare bones” about knowledge translation. In future posts, I’ll discuss more strategies and methods for KT, but for now, I just want to get real.

What does knowledge translation do for academics?

Knowledge Translation gives your work a life. KT brings your work outside of yourself, your department, your faculty, your institution, and your direct region and allows your work to take on a life of it’s own. I won’t go all Baconian on you and talk about power, but truthfully, when knowledge gets into more hands, it has the potential to do more than just what you, yourself, are able to do with it. It’s that simple.

Knowledge Translation gives you a break from talking and writing academically. I am aware that this is probably very un-academic of me to say, but I speak the truth when I say that I know we are all tired of talking in “academic-speak” all the time as academics. We are trained to adopt the jargon of our discipline and the style of scholarship that makes the general population basically say “WTF are you saying?” KT allows you to express complicated concepts in simple ways. It provides EVERYONE a relief from having to find the message behind what you exploring through research by communicating the message in ways that it’s received by all kinds of audiences, not just the academic ones.

Knowledge Translation lets you be creative. It gives you a break from writing and speaking academically, but it also allows you to explore different ways that you can take what you know, and put it out there. KT engages all the senses and helps convey knowledge through art, technology, experiences, and events that bring people together just to name a few.

Knowledge Translation helps you explore “other ways of knowing”. I’ve seen this term come up in literature and a lot within cultural discourses in academia. It basically just reminds us that the way that academics have been trained to traditionally create and disseminate knowledge is not the only way to know things. When you bring your research and work to communities and to the public, you see that different kinds of people receive their information differently. Some communities rely on narrative, spoken word, and tradition, while others prefer receive and engage with information more formally through statistics and quantitative data. Some communities are passive receivers of information, while others are more engaged in the ways information is distributed and shared. It’s important to understand these nuances.

My challenge to you as an academic reading this is to consider what you want for your academic work. Do you want to devote your life to academic work runs the risk of being irrelevant, unnecessary, and producing material that gathers dust and may be read by a total of 8 people and cited once, or do you want to produce really good stuff that communities and decision-makers need and the general public would find of interest.

What does knowledge translation mean to you?

Let Our Traditions Guide Us: Remembering roots of engagement

Tradition is not to preserve the ashes but to pass on the flame” – Gustav Mahler

My time within academia has given me a sense of the diverse perspectives around community engagement at the individual and academic levels. I’ve learned that community engagement itself means different things to different people and academic environments, yet the emergent consensus is that academia has an interest and a duty to engage with its community, and act as contributors to both local and global issues through the knowledge and talents they are set up to produce. Some universities are more demonstrative of engagement than others, yet it would be difficult to find an academic institution that doesn’t have some sort of partnership or reach into their local community or involvement of community on campus.

Community Engagement, in the broad sense refers to the collaboration between institutions and its broader community. We’ve seen community engagement initiatives manifest in a number of ways: research partnerships with community organizations, student placements through practicum or internships, continuing education programs, student engagement initiatives that involve learning within local or global settings, or events that seek to bring the public onto campus. Different institutions pride themselves on the ways they engage externally, and quite often, can present a unique way that defines their engagement strategies.

Community engagement advocates do often go up against tough critics of engagement ideas from both internal skeptics and external organizations and individuals. Internally, some academics prefer to do research and teaching the is more inward focus and doesn’t lend itself to engagement with the external community due to the topic or in some cases, the discipline. Some things are studied on campus and is not mobilized because it’s more useful to the internal academic community of practice, and that’s OK. Some academics do have a preference to keep their studies more insular. That’s OK too. Some academics think that the community doesn’t belong within the ivory tower. I’m not so much of a fan of that perception. External critics often view the academy as elitist, closed off, and difficult to access. Some people don’t believe they belong within the academic community, which is a downfall of some academic traditions and the perpetuation of elitist attitudes. Some critics believe academia has no place in the community or the community in academia. I am also not such a fan of that ignorance.

As an advocate for community engagement for academic institutions, which we know rely heavily on tradition, I’ve often found comfort and motivation in the tradition of the faculty of extension. Faculties of extension had roots in extending beyond the community to rural settings, providing access to education, and acknowledging the academy’s duty to contribute to the community outside its gates. I had a rather serendipitous moment in my life when I was working at Western University, and had the opportunity to work within community engagement efforts. I stumbled upon an annual from the early-1900s where I saw Western University’s(The University of Western Ontario’s) foundations in extension. I always wished that still existed for the university.

extension.png extension - Copy.png

The tradition of the faculty of extension is fading. We don’t hear about it that often anymore. When we do, it’s often not as clear what the function of the extension is. In Canada, our strongest example of a Faculty of Extension is University of Alberta‘s, and I’ve oft looked at this with a nostalgic remembrance of academia’s past. The Faculty provides a promising glimpse into the importance of building bridges between the institution and its wider community, with the greater mandate of removing barriers and providing access to education to all, regardless of class, location or current level of education.

I am encouraged by the programs that exist within our own community, as well as across Canada that represent and hold onto the duty to extend beyond campus. Such examples include Liberal Arts 101 at King’s University College at Western, which has had positive reception within the community as well as provided great opportunities for King’s to live to its mission. Another program is Halifax Humanities 101, which was a model introduced to me early in my academic career and influenced my dedication to community engagement. Both programs demonstrate a dedication to the traditions of extension and reflect the value of building bridges for access to education.

As I previously stated, both those with in and external know that academia holds on too closely to old traditions. This has often been my frustration with working in structures built heavily on history, canon and theoretical thought as much as that is why I find it so fascinating. The faculty of extension is a tradition that academic institutions have the opportunity to celebrate, honour, and revitalize in order to live a vision of building bridges to communities. Such traditions allow us to reflect on our strengths in engagement and change the conversation about the ways the ivory tower has reached beyond its gates. It’s always been a part of what they do, and as academics we can find inspiration in our past work together to mobilize the strengths of the traditions we have built together with the communities we are a part of.

Why I Quit International Learning, And Why International Learning Quit Me

The field of international learning is growing at rapid rates for Canada’s universities. In recent years’ past, we’ve seen a strong insurgence of strategic missions for internationalization come out of many universities; objectives to bring more international students to Canadian institutions, while also sending Canadian students to destinations all around the world to experience culture, engagement, service and research, with hopes that these experiences will prove to be transformational for both students and communities alike.

I’ve been a participant in higher education programs that sought to send students abroad for a variety of experiences, and during this time, I engaged with the community of practice surrounding this type of programming.  Sadly, but not to my own surprise, I consider my time and contributions during these international education programs my biggest failures of my personal, academic, and professional life. So I quit international learning, but at the same time, international learning quit me. Here’s why.

I do not know enough about international development to be an international learning educator. And I don’t know what I don’t know.
My failures in international learning are amongst the most humbling of my life. I broke rules. I broke the BIG rules of international engagement. I engaged in practices or behaviours that at times perpetuate colonialism, voyeurism and the gazing eye, reinforce first/third world paradigms, and ran the risk of exploitation, even if I didn’t really know it at the time. On the ground and in my own experience, I was building relationships, learning from people, sharing precious and real moments of connection, learning about history and culture, and approaching every experience, and the way they were shared, with best intentions. Through the eyes of others based on the tiny portions of my experiences that were shared on social media or hurried emails home, I had potentially reinforced stereotypes, perpetuated colonialism, and produced “poverty porn”. Yikes. I did? It was then that I realized I knew nothing about international development as I made my way through my international learning experience: I wasn’t engaging in these perceived activities on a conscious level – I was literally just clueless on how to approach all cultural situations and recognize the “fine lines”, and unknowingly I had the potential to cause harm in place of good intentions. My experiences showed me that I have a lot to learn about international development and what it takes to build a successful and ethical international learning program before I give it another shot and throw my hat back in the ring. Not only do I need to move from a place of ignorance to being a bit more “in the know” but I also have to gain a handle on what I don’t know I don’t yet know… the learning curve is a daunting one.

The gaps between the research on best practices, the actual practices, and pressures universities face are too big. And it’s no one’s fault. There is an emergent body of research surrounding best practices for international engagement by educational institutions. Recommendations contained in these works span from length and content of training programs, to effective evaluation methodology, to best practices for site visits to host communities. The body of research is extremely useful and gives a glimpse into the ways that international education programs can and should do better. However, at the practitioner level, pressures to send out as many students as possible to fulfill Internationalization missions within often constrained time frames forces some of these “best practices” to fall by the wayside, and it’s not for lack of wanting to “do better”. Oftentimes criticism can lead to defensiveness, a desire to change becomes frustration that the infrastructure is not set up for change and innovation. At all levels: senior leadership, researcher and practitioner, there needs to be a harmonizing of research to inform best practices, institutional goals that focus on quality rather than quantity, and for the playing field to be conducive to allowing international programs to be executed by practitioners that addresses the concerns that are revealed in evaluative research and within their community of practice.

International learning and international development cannot be mutually exclusive. Participating in the international learning sphere leaves you open to a lot of criticism, as it should. It is difficult to articulate learning in ways that honour and respect international development principles, mostly because international learning is often messy. When you decide to travel to another country to engage in community development work for the purpose of learning, and pack your bags, you automatically also pack assumptions, power, privilege, perception and ego along with you – your own, and those of your allies and critics. I’ve come to recognize that there is this thing that exists called the “international development hyper-lens”. In every international experience, especially when you are engaging closely with communities, there HAS to be the presence of an international development lens; this lens allows us to determine whether in pursuit of our learning we may be causing damage, and should be carried into every experience. On the flip, the international development hyper-lens can become dangerous and stifling by taking every single situation and experience of cultural discovery and subjecting it to splitting hairs, looking for the injustices or the exploitation that you’re undoubtedly causing just by being an outsider in a “third world” country, and engaging a little zealously in the critical discourse we have necessarily learned to become a part of. It’s incredibly important to use an international development lens in every experience of international learning, yet automatically assigning a negative or exploitative stance to learning experiences can stifle cultural discovery – and most importantly human connection – when people become afraid to engage with the world around them. My own sharing of learning experiences became subject to the international development hyper-lens, and took my experiences away from me to become about someone else’s need to tell me they knew more about international development than I did or to project their views that I was doing damage, when no damage was being done. My visit to a cultural site in Africa that takes ex-poachers and places them with secure jobs educating tourists about history and culture became exploitation and gazing; a piece of writing describing one’s experience of experiencing being racially identified for the first time became an insensitivity to the racism experienced by minorities at home; fundraising, but only being able to give a one-time donation became setting an organization up to fail due to not being a sustainable funding-source. Where’s the learning to be taken? I’m pretty sure it’s somewhere within the nuances of the mistakes we make, the lenses we view things, and the on-the-ground relationships and experiences that prove to be personally significant. The learning from the educational perspective occurs when we continue to ask the questions that come up in the relationship between international learning programs and international development principles. Personally, I’ve determined that I am educationally, mentally and emotionally deficient in my abilities to successfully participate in international learning programs from the educator perspective, but this doesn’t mean that I will discontinue engaging on a global level as a traveler, and someone who has important global connections and a desire to work globally. I think it’s OK if I demote myself back to “just a traveler” with a vow to always do right by people, be kind and respectful, always remain transparent in my intentions, and always consider the point of view of others as best I can.

There’s work to be done right outside my own door. Being on the periphery of international development work through international learning has exposed me to the age-old argument of “why do work in other countries when people in our own countries need help?” This is an argument I’ve always tried to stay away from in a direct manner, as I’ve seen how these kinds of arguments can often go off the rails to places I don’t want them to go; we saw some of this happen with the recent Syrian refugee crisis. However my experiences of being a North American working within “third world” countries has underscored that in some cases the countries we think need our help can actually be negatively affected by our presence. The North American mentality has persisted too long that these countries are deficient, or look to the West for the best solutions to community development issues. Our relationships to other countries are best leveraged when we engage in relationships of mutual knowledge exchange and exchange of community development practices, as there is a lot to be learned by the countries we have traditionally seen as “needing help”. Instead, I always come back to the Goethe quote: “Let everyone sweep in front of his [sic] own door, and the whole world will be clean”, and have personally decided to focus my energies into my local community for the time being. The Rwandan practice of “Umuganda” engages citizens in mandatory community-clean up once a month, which contributes to the country’s immaculate conditions. What if all municipalities and communities mandated this practice, but it was expanded to all aspects of society, beyond just environmental cleanup? What if everyone swept outside his or her own door – would the whole world be clean? Perhaps I can be too utopian, but I’d like to hold onto this utopian view for just a little longer.

I quit international learning, and international learning quit me, but it still remains a big part of my life. My experiences have turned me into an advocate for better training for staff, faculty and students involved in international learning. My experiences will never have me stop advocating for host communities. My experiences have allowed me to develop a skill set that will help international learning programs asses their impact. Since these kinds of programs aren’t going away, I can at least use what I have learned to help them work internationally a bit better.

I am encouraged by the changes in international learning that are occurring and will undoubtedly occur in the next while, and I am also excited to witness university programs emerging as leaders in best practices for fostering learning in international environments that place community first and emphasizes quality over quantity. I hope practitioners, researchers, and participants who engage in international learning programs harmonize their efforts in ways that foster collaboration rather than criticism in order to do right by all who engage in these programs and the communities who host them.

Some helpful resources for practitioners, researchers and participants alike. These have certainly been helpful for me in learning the tough lessons that brought me the greatest learning:

End Humanitarian Douchery. http://endhumanitariandouchery.co.nf/the-7-sins-of-humanitarian-douchery/

Ernesto Sirolli – “Shut Up and Listen” – TED Talk – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chXsLtHqfdM

GlobalSL.org – http://globalsl.org/

Larsen, M. (Ed.). (2015). International Service Learning: Engaging Host Communities. Routledge.

 

 

 

 

 

Here I Go…

I’ve been working towards launching my own venture for quite a while now, and here goes nothing! I am at the point in my life where I feel ready to be able to offer the skills, expertise and knowledge that I have gained through my education and employment opportunities to individuals, organizations and institutions at both the local and international level.

My interests are wholly focused on bringing people together on a world that is sometimes really good at creating divides. By recognizing that people come from different places, perspectives and agendas, I am able to see the big-picture and work with all stakeholders towards common goals.

I promote collaboration, partnership, and the belief that knowledge can be mobilized in ways to create effective change and I am ready to work with people to bring about change through deploying innovative strategies to bring about awareness and innovation.

My blog will be updated regularly on topics surrounding research, knowledge translation, education, international development and current events, with hopes that I am able to create dialogues that lead to collaborations that create change.

Here goes nothing!