Centre Signs Agreement with University of Alberta
EDMONTON - The National Centre for First Nations Governance is pleased to announce the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the University of Alberta.
The signing on May 8, 2008, is in support of Aboriginal Governance and Partnership program offered by the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Native Studies. The program will focus on governance for Aboriginal communities.
Edward Allen, Chief Operating Officer of the National Centre for First Nations Governance in Ottawa, was on hand to sign the agreement.
“This is important work,” he said. “This is how we make First Nations’ education relevant to First Nations communities, by going to the community, by looking at how the curriculum is taught and developed, and ultimately changing the perspective of what education means.”
The program was officially launched Thursday with a full-day Aboriginal governance symposium, led by Aboriginal leaders from all over North America.
The program was created with the support of donors and key partners within the university community, said Ellen Bielawski, dean of the Faculty of Native Studies.
“Our partners in the U of A School of Business are a key part of this program because we think of governance as being very much broader than political leadership. We really feel that we need to be working on partnerships in all the areas of financial growth and management,” she said.
The new program is part of a much larger initiative on behalf of the entire university, says U of A provost and vice-president (academic) Carl Amhrein.
“At its best, a university like ours creates intellectual space to consider and to solve some of the most difficult problems that humanity faces,” he said to the nearly 200 delegates. “In our time and in our country, the question of inequity between Aboriginal people and other Canadians-economic, educational and health inequalities-are one of the most challenging situations we face.
“We face the same challenges within our university, but we are determined that, by working appropriately and respectfully with Aboriginal people, these partnerships will become-must become-essential and part of the very fabric of this institution.”
Through the Faculty of Native Studies, the university as a whole is learning that equitable, successful governance and partnership practices are key to creating and sustaining healthy Aboriginal communities, says Amhrein.
“We know that Alberta has the capability to lead our nation and that Canada could-and, perhaps, should-lead the world in teaching and research in Aboriginal governance and partnership. We have the opportunity to create meaningful change for the better in this area.”
Most importantly, said Bielawski, the research in the Aboriginal Governance and Partnership program will reach the people who can make the best use of it. “We will work together to get all of our work into the hands of leaders, executives and others who need it.”