Federal government funds new exchange opportunities at York

The government of Canada is providing $152,680 in new funding for international exchange programs for students at York University. The grant will help fund the “Migration Studies Initiatives to Promote Curricular Development and a North American Community” project developed by York sociology Professor Hira Singh.

“Under this program and the broader International Academic Mobility initiative, students will be better prepared for the workforce and exposed to different ideas and new techniques within their fields of study,” said federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. Flaherty made the announcement on Oct. 19 on behalf of Diane Finley, minister of human resources & skills development. “This kind of collaboration will deliver important contributions to Canadian training and development and will make Canada more globally competitive,” said Flaherty.

Right: Hira Singh

The project will provide Canadian, American and Mexican students in the fields of education, psychology, social work and sociology with a comprehensive North American perspective. With a curricular focus on migration and immigrant integration, students will benefit from learning directly through the vantage points of migrants and their origin, transition and destination countries. Exchanges for the project will be administered by York International.

“This funding is the latest in a series of grants for student mobility projects spearheaded by York faculty members over the past few years. It demonstrates the value the faculty place on providing opportunities for their students to gain an international experience during their program of study,” said Carol Irving, policy analyst for York International.

“Studying or working abroad is an important component of education in today’s increasingly interconnected world,” said Irving, “however, it can add to the cost of the student’s education and therefore it is very encouraging to see the federal government supporting students through establishing these kinds of high-value programs.”

Singh, based in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, was awarded India’s prestigious Professor D. N. Majumdar Memorial Medal by the Indian Social Science Association in 2008. The award was given to Singh “for his sustained involvement in field work and his significant published scientific monographs/papers based on field data and their experiences.”

Singh’s interests include migration studies in diverse historical and geographical locations such as indentured labour migration from India to South Africa and other colonies (in the Caribbean, Guyana and Fiji); and of (East) Indian farm workers of British Columbia.

To learn more about exchange opportunities for students, faculty, and researchers, visit the York International website.

Submitted by Edward Fenner, York International’s web communications & publications assistant