Osgoode wins CBIE Excellence Award for ‘Outstanding Program’

The Intensive Program in Aboriginal Lands, Resources & Governments at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School has won a 2007 Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) Excellence Award for "Outstanding Program" in recognition of "high quality and highly creative programming in international education." 

Founded in 1966, CBIE is an association of some 200 universities, colleges, government agencies, and businesses that are dedicated to the internationalization of education and the expansion of educational partnerships between Canada and other countries. 

"It is truly wonderful to see Osgoode’s Intensive Program in Aboriginal Lands, Resources & Governments receiving recognition from an organization dedicated to forging international connections," said Osgoode Dean Patrick Monahan. "We have been a leader in this field for many years, owing to our faculty as well as the contributions of an outstanding cadre of visiting scholars. The students who are taking part and have taken part in our Aboriginal Intensive are all high achievers and are making a mark in Canada and around the world."  

Right: 2007 class member Barbara Barker enjoying the culture of Inuvik

Under the co-direction of Osgoode Professors Shin Imai and Benjamin Richardson, the Intensive Program in Aboriginal Lands, Resources & Governments, which is part of Osgoode’s larger Clinical Education & Intensive Programs, offers a unique experience. Enrolling a maximum of 16 students, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous from Osgoode and other Canadian law schools, the program, established in 1993,  provides theoretical and practical information and skills to enable students to work in a collaborative and culturally sensitive way on Aboriginal legal issues. The students spend four weeks in the classroom and seven weeks in a placement experience.  

Right: Shin Imai (right) and Benjamin Richardson

Placements, in Canada and abroad, are arranged with Aboriginal organizations, environmental groups, reserves, law firms and government departments. Among the many international placements, students have worked in Botswana, Costa Rica, Argentina, the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Some previous student placements included working as a clerk to judges of the Isleta Pueblo tribal court in the US; researching land rights of the Kalahari Bushmen in Africa; and helping draft facta for the Supreme Court of Canada for First Nations. 

Left: 2007 class member Michelle Miniago in the hills of New Zealand

Apart from Professors Imai and Richardson, the success of Osgoode’s Aboriginal Intensive Program is indebted to many, including former Professors John Borrows, Gordon Christie and Kevin Bell, administrative assistant Natia Tucci, and the generous financial support of the late Milton Harris. Former Osgoode Deans James MacPherson (now a judge with the Ontario Court of Appeal) and Marilyn Pilkington, who still teaches at Osgoode, along with former Osgoode Professor Alan Grant, also played key roles in the establishment of the program. Susan Hare (LLB ’93), now a bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada, was the first graduate of the program.