About Me

My photo
I have been an elementary and secondary school teacher and administrator. Currently, I am a faculty member in the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. My M.Ed. and Ph.D. had a focus on the educational and linguistic experiences of children who moved from other countries to Canada.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Elevator speech highlights of the Laurier service-learning trip to Haiti, May 7-18, 2014

Last evening, as part of our nightly debriefs, I asked each of the participants to share their 1 minute elevator speech i.e. a short summary of a powerful experience or activity.

There were lots of things that people shared but here are two themes that stood out to me:

1. People with a powerful vision

These included people such as Carmen and Caleb in Pignon and Thelus and Soeur Yanick in Cap-Haitien.

Caleb giving us a tour of the camp he owns (and where we stayed).

Thelus giving us a tour of his school near Cap-Haitien.

Each of these people is working hard to accomplish a specific vision for their community.

2. Working to empower women and girls.

Multiple members of our group discussed how they had witnessed a focus on supporting young women.

The motto at the girls' school where we worked, Regina Assumpta, is
 "Women of faith, let us unite to save the earth and protect those who are excluded."

Here are some of these young women with Betty Ann and CJ ... women who will make a powerful impact on future generations of Haitians.

Heading Home: Some Final Adventures in Haiti

Our team left Cap-Haitien @ 3 am this morning, catching a bus for the ride to Port au Prince. This is the first time I have taken the Sans Souci although I've had a number of friends who have used it and have spoken highly about it. We weren't disappointed.

Our bus ride was barely an hour in when everything ground to a halt and we sat for at least an hour. It was still dark so we really didn't know what was going on ... being in and out of sleep didn't help either! We then made some progress and discovered the problem - a truck had gone off the road and was blocking traffic.

In order to get past the truck, our bus had to move completely to the side of the road. Remember that the roads are narrow. And it had rained. Needless to say, the bus went a tad too far and the wheels on the right side slid into the culvert.
We all had to get off the bus and then the driver and about 20 people worked to get the bus out. It was quite an experience! The good news was that the bus made it out  and we soon got back in and carried on.

We made it to the airport with no problems and are now waiting on the first of two flights to get us to Miami. From Miami, we are all on the same flight HOME!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Citadelle and the Last Day In Haiti: CJ's Perspective

Today we went to a massive building called the Citadelle. I was amazed at how big the building was and what it was made for. But the journey to the Citadelle was the most interesting part of the time there.

The Citadelle was a fort made by the the freed Haitians in the early 1800s. It was completed in 1816 (I think). They made the fort because they were scared that the French would attack their country so they needed a place to protect themselves. When we looked at the building we were amazed at the size and width of the building. They said that the building wasn't made of concrete but it was made of cow blood, lime stone, sand, and water.

 But the real journey started at the bottom of the mountain which the Citadelle was on. We had the option of taking a donkey up or just to walk. We chose to walk and it was time to be on our way. As we looked around the corner, we could see that the path was very steep. We knew that it was going to be a bit of a hike. We started climbing and already it was tiring. The path wasn't the same as back in Canada when they are straight and they have nice gravel, this path though had medium sized rocks mixed together with concrete. And with the steep incline it made the walk even harder. We also had a tour guide with us to point out certain monuments along the way. 

We had left at around 8:30 am and my dad said that the walk would be about and hour and a half so, when we looked at the time and it read nine o'clock. I knew that it would still be a while so I prepared for the worst. As we came around the corner, though, we could see a very large building. The tour guide said that it was the Citadelle! We made it very fast! We climbed up a bit further so that we were in the fortress and we were level with black, iron objects. We went closer and they turned out to be cannons! We looked to the side and could see the heavy cannon ball (no pun intended) that could be put in the cannon at any time. We were so fascinated that we almost couldn't hear the tour guide tell us to come over to go inside.

We went inside and we were taken to the places where the people would stay at the fort. It was very tall and almost condo like. We were then taken to a jail cell that a prisoner would stay. It was underneath the ground which I was very interested because the prisoner wouldn't be able to get out since there would be no possible way to climb up to the window. Another place we went to was the top of the Citadelle. Now this building is about 150 feet and is on top of a mountain. We looked over the rooftop and could see the top of other mountains that were around us. The view was one of the best I have ever seen. I thought it was cool that we were in between clouds because that's how high up we were. Then it was time to come down and be done with the tour. But there was one last hurrah when we were going back down to the path and we saw a couple UN (United Nations) soldiers that were just hanging around and we asked if we could take a picture with them. They said yes and they said to look tough in this photo.

Next we went to the palace (Sans Souci) which the king of the north (Henri Christophe) was. It wasn't much of a palace as much of it was run down because its been there for two hundred years. We got another tour and it was very fascinating to see all the rooms in the palace and the windows of it as well. The tour guide said that the king ended up committing suicide because he was too parranoid about the French. We saw the room that he killed himself in which I thought was very interesting. Also I purchased a few paintings that I thought were very colourful and I really liked them.
Above is Justin Metelus, the Director of the Ministry of Education for the North Department with some of our group.
In this photo we took a picture with our amazing driver Milo. He looks really tough so we thought we should be too.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Nutrition Center Kids in Cap Haitien

Today we had  the luxury of sleeping in until 7:45. The preschool kids were coming at nine o'clock and we had to prepare for them to come. It was going to be a very busy morning.

When we finished our breakfast (mango, watermelon, pineapple etc.) we had to prepare for the 44 kids that were coming from the nutrition center. We had three blow up pools that we had to blow up and gather up some water toys and soccer balls.  Once we were done that we set them up under the big almond tree in the front yard of where we are staying. It was a nice big shaded area that was perfect for swimming pools to be.

After we were done that it was time for another big problem. The water. We had a hose to put the water in but the hose was too short to bring over to where we were. It was almost 9 am and we still needed this problem fixed. We were all in panic mode as we could hear an engine coming up the driveway. Then when we thought that it was hopeless, a man came over and brought extension hoses. Our problem was fixed as we could see two trucks came rolling up the hill of the driveway. They were all singing a song that was in the native language Creole. The trucks were filled with kids too! They looked all happy that they were here and they were waving to us too.

Once they parked they started singing again! This time it was a welcoming song which they were singing to all of us. When they were done they all piled out of the car. I thought that they were headed to the swimming pools but realized that they were all putting out their hands to shake mine. Again these are three to four year old kids! I don't think I was that polite when I was their age! Then once I shook forty or so tiny hands they headed to the first floor balcony of our guest house. They started running around kicking soccer balls around as if it was their home. We stopped in shock but then started to join in. They were very fun and enjoyable. There was also this one girl that kept holding my hand and going where-ever I went.

Once I did have a free hand I started playing with the kids. They really loved when I would pick them up and spin them around in a circle. Although it was fun for them I was getting a little dizzy so I needed a break. Once I sat down I still couldn't get away from these kids. They started playing with my hair and taking my hat. I thought it was hilarious that they thought there was something that was wrong with my teeth because I have braces. When I heard a bell ring all the kids headed over to their teacher. Immediately they started singing again! What was with this group and singing songs? When they were done it was time for their lunch break. We thought it was hilarious that one kid didn't like the onions in his spaghetti that he picked them out, looked around to see if anyone was watching and then put them behind his back so no one could see them!

 When the kids were done their nutrition break, which took over half an hour for them, they started singing another song! Now I was starting to get really interested in why they sang these songs all the time. When the teacher was still singing I noticed that she picked up a child. She started walking over to the pool and dropped the kid in the water! Then all the kids dove into the inflatable pools and splashed around. It looked to be cooling them off well! One of our teachers, Jen, noticed that by the time they jumped into the water they were just as excited. After about 30 minutes, the bell rang again and all the kids got out and dried off. Some kids didn't want to get out and kept jumping back in!

 Then, it was time for the kids to leave. It was almost sad seeing the kids pile into the trucks again and take off past the gate. It was great to be with them.

Right now we are preparing for a walk downtown and also we are going to be doing a game tonight which I am excited for.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Last day at the University and Regina plus the Mon Jolis in Cap Haitien: CJ's Perspective

Today was the last day we were at the all-girl school Regina Assumpta. It was also the last day we were at the university too. The time at both schools was very enjoyable to experience as the students received their certificates of participation. The resort though was the most exciting part of the day. More on that later...

The day started off at the university. The Laurier teachers were wrapping up their lessons about tourism that they did during the three days that they were there. The students were still interested to learn more about tourism and how to speak English while talking about tourism. They were also doing little skits that they performed in front of the class. They were very good and I was pleased to hear how well their English came along. At the end of the class, my dad handed out certificates to the students that participated in the class. Once they received the certificate they were beaming with happiness because they actually got something that signifies they accomplished something. I hope these teens succeed in the future from what they learned about English.

Today was also the last day at Regina Assumpta. The kids were very excited because tomorrow is their 65th year anniversary. Their dodgeball games were even more intense when they were excited! I walked over to the junior classrooms and saw that the basket ball court was turned into a tennis court! It was little kids playing tennis with little plastic rackets. On the side I could see really big trophies that the kids were playing for. It looked really fun!

 Next I went into one of the classrooms and they were handing out certificates. Like the university, these kids were really glad to get the certificates. Then they went out side to take pictures of their certificates! You can see the picture right here!

At the end of the day we went to a pool and resort that was very nice! The pool was very warm and we played games in there too! The sun was warm and we really enjoyed ourselves. In the end it was an amazing day!

CJ Sider, 13 years old

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Three schools in Cap Haitien, Haiti: CJ's perspective

Today we went to three schools. There were all different schools but they were all the same as well. I will talk about the schools Regina, U.P.N.C.H., and Thelus' school, La Cle.

The day started off at U.P.N.C.H. which stands for Public University of the North at Cap Haitien. When we walked into the front gate we were surprised at how small the university was. We were also surprised at how many mango trees there were as well! It was mango heaven except for that they weren't even ripe yet. My dad said he's never seen a rooster on the Laurier campus!

After exploring the campus we went into one of the classrooms. I was surprised of how little the class was. There were only about ten to fifteen students. They were learning English from the teachers that came along on this trip. They were teaching the class about English dialogue for use in hotels, restaurants, and airports. It was interesting to see how good their English was too!

The next school we went to was Thelus' school, La Cle (French for "the key"). Telus is a man that my dad had met a long time ago. This school was different from the university because it was from preschool to grade nine. Also this school was in one of the poorest places in Cap Haitien.The school was made up of concrete and rebar (stable metal beams). It was one of the smallest schools we have been to as well. Thelus told us that from preschool to grade six the parents don't have to pay anything. But the kids from grade seven to nine have to pay 200 dollars for the year for tuition. When we walked into one of the classrooms the classmates all stood up as a sign of respect to us. We waved to them but they showed no emotion as if they have never smiled in their life. I realized that if they are very poor than they probably have few things to make them happy so they probably wouldn't be happy at school.

The last school we went to was Regina Assumpta. This was the all girls school which I told you about in the previous blog. We did a lot of the same stuff that we did last time except this time I got a chance to watch them play dodge ball outside! These girls were very intense! I couldn't imagine getting hit with their wicked throws and spins! After I experienced watching that I saw a couple young girls come running up to me to see if my white skin was real. They started touching me as if I was the only white thirteen year old boy they had ever seen. We got their names and took pictures together. They were very photogenic and loved seeing themselves on the camera!

Right now I am watching the scores in the hockey games back home and looking at the waves in the ocean.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Photos of our first couple of days in Cap-Haitien: Laurier service-learning trip to Haiti

We have tried to post a few pictures here and there but thought I'd try and post a few more here to give you some "photo-perspective" on our time in Cap-Haitien:

Dodgeball at Regina Assumpta school

Meeting with school leaders from the north to investigate strategic areas for the future.

Last minute preparation (on the balcony of Stella Maris) for today's English classes at the Public University of the North and Regina Assumpta school.

Connecting with one of our students from last year's ESL program (Samuel, 2nd from left)
L-R Jhonel Morvan, Samuel, myself, Gabriel Osson, CJ

The Labadee Beach and Regina School in Cap Haitien, Haiti: CJ and Karen's perspective

Yesterday and today were both very exciting days for the group and I. With the beach feeling like the royal oasis to the remarkable school named Regina, the two days have been jammed pack with fun and exciting moments.

Yesterday we traveled from Pignon to Cap Haitien in about three hours. Even though we were sore and tired we were rewarded with an amazing experience at the beach. Once we got into our van to take to the beach we weren't that happy that we had to get back in the thing that we were in for almost three hours. When we were all in it was time for the bumpiness to arrive. Back in Canada we were complaining about small potholes on the road but here there were huge potholes every few feet. In fact one made us fly into the air so far that we all felt like there wasn't any gravity! We evenutally got to the area we had to take a boat to the beach that we were going to stay at. When we turned around a corner there it was! The clear water and the soft sand made me beam with happiness. We stepped off the boat and we were standing on the hot sand that we were dreaming of. Once we jumped into the salt water is was music to our body's. The wait was finally over!

Today we went to a school called College de Regina. It was an all girls school which I was a little scared of! When we arrived there I went straight away to a History classroom. When I walked in, it was filled with giggles and laughs as if I was the only boy that they have ever seen. I would always feel a pair of eyes on me throughout the time we were in there. Once the bell rang to signify the end of the period it was relief to my ears as I rushed outside to get away from the stares. After that experience we didn't go to any more classrooms and just hung around the teachers lounge.

Right now we are just enjoying the nice breeze and the view of the ocean. I am also preparing another day with the all girl school! Wish me luck!

Now a message from my wonderful Mom

Wow, that's quite an introduction for me!  I hope you've been enjoying CJ's view of Haiti.  We certainly have been.  I've been thinking of what to write about Haiti and there are so many things to choose from.  We talked last night about one word to describe our experience here so far and came up with at least 15.  Amazing, remarkable, contrasts and sensory filling were just a few.  I will give you a snap shot of things I have learned in the past few days.
 - pedestrians do NOT have the right of way in Haiti
- you can fit 16 people, 28 pieces of luggage and 16 carry on bags in a narrow van and drive for a 4 hour road trip on very bumpy roads
-If you are the bigger vehicle, you have the right of way
-the horn is the most important part of a truck or car
- honking can mean a wide variety of things like:
  • get out of my way, I am not stopping
  • hey there!
  • watch out, I am coming around you and I can't see a thing
  • thanks!
  • get off the road NOW!
  • move your donkey
- Interpreting the honk can be key to staying alive.
- there is nothing better than eating a warm, ripe mango straight from the tree
- if you hear many roosters you are getting up on time, if you hear only one, you've overslept.
- you don't know quiet and darkness until you experience the generator going off at 11:00 pm
- everywhere we go little children yell, Blanc!  Blanc!  Because we are white, you are thinking?  Supposedly they say this about anyone who is a stranger.
- getting wifi for the first few days required standing under the mango tree by the goat and the donkey.
- Haitian people dress very well.  They may live in a tiny mud hut but show up for school in lovely clean clothes and spotless shoes. 
- Haitian boys play football (soccer) every spare moment of their day

Sunday, May 11, 2014

From Pignon to Cap-Haitien: A short review and preview of the Laurier team in Haiti

I hope you have enjoyed my son CJ's posts. I'm always amazed at what catches his attention!

Our team wrapped up 3 days of leadership and English programming in the small, rural town of Pignon. We had an amazing time with the principals, teachers, and students there. As we debriefed last night about our time, it was clear that there will be many memories from the first leg of the trip ... travel in cramped quarters, different foods, and dormitory style accommodations that would make any parent proud :) ... amazingly what most people identified as highlights were things like playing soccer with the community kids, going to the market, spending time with the founders of College de la Grace, and gaining some insight into the lives of educators in that area.

This morning, we squeezed 16 of us into a van and started the trek to Cap-Haitien ... 39 miles and 3 hours away :) What an adventure ... huge mud holes, lush jungle vistas, and going through a river to get to the road on the other side. By the way, this is one of the national highways of Haiti!

We arrived at the Stella Maris, our guest house in Cap, in the early afternoon. What an oasis! But soon we were off for an afternoon at the Labadee beach. Another oasis! Haiti is full of so many beautiful places.

Everyone is doing well. I am so proud of this team. Everyone has had a great attitude and is eager to begin our English classes tomorrow at the Regina Assumpta school in Cap.

Carmen's class in the small town Pignon, Haiti: CJs perspective

Carmen is a person who looks after the camp we stayed at when no one is around. She is from Brazil and is doing missionary work in Haiti. Carmen is one of the nicest people any of us have ever met.

At around three o'clock in the afternoon yesterday Carmen held an English class for kids in the community who would like to learn more about English. As we walked into the classroom there were about ten kids sitting at desks. Carmen was at the front writing words from the Bible in English. Once we got a chance to sit down at one of the empty desks all the kids turned around to look at us. We were used to being stared at now because we were considered "outsiders" in Haiti. When Carmen finished writing we could see that the bible verse was Proverbs 28:13. We could also see the words when she was finished. They went like this.

"People who conceal their sins
Will not prosper,
But if they confess
And turn from them
They will receive mercy"

When Carmen and the others read through the verse together Carmen went to her desk and pulled out a giant boom box. She shuffled through a couple jazzy songs until she found one with a really catchy rhyme to it. She started snapping her fingers and then started singing the first few words "People who conceal their sins" then she pointed to the classmates to sing what she sang. Once they finished singing the verses it was time to put it all together. It sounded amazing with all the kids singing at the top of their lungs. When the class finished their song, we burst into applause and cheered for their amazing voices. I could see right away that their confidence was boosted after that.

I really hope that Carmen keeps on teaching these kids English because they really enjoy learning the language. In fact when we asked a kid why he wanted to learn English he said he thought it was a beautiful language and he could express his feelings easily through English.

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Soccer Games of Pignon, Haiti

Soccer in Haiti is one of the most popular sports here. Everyday kids start playing anywhere they can find even if its on dirt or tarmac. Today and yesterday were one of the most exciting soccer games I have ever been apart of.

Yesterday we had just pumped up a couple of balls and started heading to the dirty field. Behind the bamboo soccer posts there was a massive mountain (Mt. Pignon). I didn't even know if I was going to play soccer or just enjoy the view. Once we stepped on the field a crowd of Haitian kids started walking over. Some even had cleats and socks on. When they entered the field I knew right away that these kids were going to blow past me in the game.

Once we were warmed up it was time to pick teams. It turned out to be the Haitian kids versus the "Blanc" (whites or "outsiders" in french). They started with the ball for the first half and right away I knew that we were going to get schooled. Their foot work was incredible and all of us could see that some of these kids could make the national team in a couple years. With fast paced action and pace the final score came to be Hatian kids 10, Blancs 3. Yeah, you could say it was pretty hard.

Today was just as good as yesterday. But it was a little different as we played at a basketball court at the school and I was the only white boy playing. As we started playing I knew that this was going to be a close game. The teams were split up to be that it was blue and red, which was my team, versus peach shirts. They started with the ball and right away they got a shot off, but it was to easy for our 15 year old goaltender. The goalie rolled the ball to me and I passed it off to my teammate and he shot but it just soared over the net. Once the goalie came back with the ball he looked at the opposing team player and passed it to him. I moved to my left right away and immediately stole the ball. I was on a breakaway! I aimed for the corners and let my feet do the rest. I saw the ball soar through the humid air but I also saw the goalie move over to make an amazing save, but the ball went out to be a corner kick. All the opposing players went over to congratulate their keeper.

My teammate set the ball up for a corner and I moved from the back of the court right into the middle of the key. The teammate passed the ball to me and I kicked it as hard as I could. The goalie dived again but it was no use for my speedy shot. It soared right under the crossbar and it flew into the net! My teammates all started cheering and came over to give me a high five. The final score between the two teams was blue and red 4, peach 3.

Right now we are just sitting and waiting for the kids to finish their school days and play with them again soon.

CJ Sider, 13 years old

First day of Professional Development Sessions in Pignon, Haiti

Our first day of sessions in Pignon went really yesterday. Our Laurier students worked with three groups of College de la Grace students (gr. 11 and 12) in the morning while the rest of us led workshops for about 60 principals and teachers.

We had an amazing lunch and then the Laurier students spent some time debriefing the morning and planning for today's sessions. They did a great job adapting their morning session for the different English abilities of the students and seemed excited to see them again today.

The rest of us spent the afternoon continuing the workshops from the morning. They seemed to be well received with good feedback at the end of the day. There is a real hunger here to improve the educational experience of students and the workshops will play a role in this. We are doing some research on long-term impact of these types of PD sessions.

The place we are staying is about 10 minutes outside of Pignon in a camp. It is dormitory style accommodation (rustic by Canadian standards) but has an amazing view of Mount Pignon. We had a friendly game of soccer with about 15 kids from the community last night and then met with Caleb and Debbie Lucien, the founder of the school and the camp.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Roadtrip: CJs perspective on our arrival to Haiti

We landed with tired faces and sore bottoms.We had just flown from Toronto to Miami and then Miami to Port Au Prince. We came out of the plane ready for a long road trip... but not a road trip that any of us would expect it to be.

Our humongus van was waiting for us as we left the airport luggage in hand. But in the way of us and the van was a big crowd. There were many people wanting to give us rides in their own taxis but our leaders just told us to say "No merci." Once we were out of the large group of people it was time for the next step... dodging other vehicles.

It was mad chaos with all the cars trying to get through. But we weren't backing down from these bumper cars. We drove our feet into the parking lot and started heading for our van. We weren't stopping for anything. Once our van was in sight it was time for a challenge, putting the luggage on top of the van. Back in Canada this would have been a huge shock to see luggage on the top of a person's car but in Haiti people do what they want to do. With fifteen people on this trip it meant that everyone had two pieces of luggage. You do the math, that's thirty pieces of luggage that had to sit on the top of the van!

The strong men that were helping us put about eighteen our nineteen pieces of luggage on the top. But that still meant that there had to be some more luggage in the car. We somehow made it work and it was time to be on our way. Our driver climbed in and instantly started honking his horn at other drivers around him. They all stopped and waited as the massive van came out of the parking lot. Once we were on the main road I was really impacted by how many people were trying to sell items to anyone. From candy to medicine to clothes they had everything. I wanted to help everyone that I could but I knew it would just be too hard to do. 

Once we were about two hours away from our destination (Pignon) we stopped at a Hospital named Hopital Universitaire de Misrebalais. A man named Dr. Paul Farmer built this hospital a year or two ago and it's famous for Tb treatment. We went in and I was shocked at how beautiful it was in there. 

Now we are in Pignon we are staying at a camp. We are also going to have a chance to play football (soccer) with the kids that are also at the camp. I am really excited for the up coming days and hope that we have a great time in the next week.

CJ Sider, 13 yrs old

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Sak Pase: Greetings from Miami in transit to Haiti

Sak Pase? This Creole expression is a common greeting in Haiti. Our 2014 Laurier Faculty of Education team has been practicing it, and other Creole phrases, for weeks in preparation for our May service-learning experience which starts today! This year’s team is made up of 15 people including Laurier teacher candidates, Bruce Alexander (principal in the WRDSB), Laurier faculty (Steve Sider), and staff from BlackBerry and the Ontario Ministry of Education. 

The team is engaged in a number of projects in Haiti, for four days in a small town called Pignon and then for a week in Haiti’s second largest city, Cap-Haitien. Laurier teacher candidates are delivering a conversational English language program in multiple schools. In addition, the other members of the team are leading workshops for principals and teachers, conducting two research studies on special education and uses of mobile technology, and are engaged in networking meetings as Laurier increases its presence in northern Haiti. 

Laurier has a well-established reputation with the Haitian Ministry of Education as well as in many schools and universities. Piti piti (Creole for little by little), Laurier is working with our Haitian partners to help build the social capital of the region.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Laurier Haiti service-learning trip: Follow our route from Port au Prince to Pignon

It looks like all of our Laurier service-learning team members are excited and ready to go to Haiti! There will be 14 of us who will leave early Wed morning, flying from Toronto @ 6:15 am to Miami. In Miami, we will meet up with Rob McBride from BlackBerry who is our 15th team member. We are scheduled to arrive in Port au Prince early that afternoon. We will then load up our vehicle and start on a four hour road adventure to Pignon in northern Haiti.

If you want to have some fun traveling vicariously with us, you can follow our route on the following map:

Click here to view a detailed map of Haiti

Start by finding Port au Prince and then look to the north-east to find Hinche. You are 2/3 of the way to Pignon! If you are familiar with Dr. Paul Farmer's work (Partners in Health), you will also be interested in locating Mirebalais, home to his hospital which is now the largest solar powered hospital in the world.

Click here for a 1 minute video about the hospital

Keep going north from Hinche and you will find Pignon where our first day is scheduled to end.

Meeting with Ziauddin Yousafzai, Malala's father

Last week, I was delighted to be part of a meeting with Malala's father, Ziauddin Yousafzai. The meeting was to discuss ways that the Laurier Faculty of Education and University of Waterloo's Conrad Grebel College could "educate for peace."

If you are not familiar with Malala's story, you can read her book I Am Malala. Click below to watch a 16 minute interview with Malala:

Malala on The Daily Show

The conversation provided insight into the challenges of education in a context such as Pakistan, particularly for female students. As Mr. Yousafzai stated, "You don't know peace. Until you have experienced the absence of peace, you cannot really know what peace is." Both he and Malala see education as fundamentally important to an engaged and active citizenry.

My research and teaching is largely built around how we can help teachers develop a perspective that connects local and global realities so that their students might become active global citizens. Conversations with people such as Ziauddin Yousafzai help shape my own perspective in this area and I am honoured and humbled to be part of this type of dialogue.