This feature comprises an update of the Quebec chapter, co-founded and chaired by Angèle Dufresne and currently based solely in Montreal. It is nevertheless intended to create further sub-chapters in other universities and cities of the province, but for the moment its activities are concentrated in the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM).
ESF Canada is still a very small chapter sponsoring only one Rwandan student who is registered in a Ph.D. clinical psychology program since 2009. Two years (2006-2008) of preparatory work trying to sponsor two Chechen students were unfortunately «lost» as they never obtained their visa to enter Canada and pursue their studies.
Marie-Michèle, the Rwandan psychology student is extremely talented and obtains excellent marks in her studies. She has almost completed her research paper and will be ready to return back to Rwanda in June 2012 to set up a psychology clinic to alleviate the trauma still very persistent amongst the population having survived the genocide. She is very motivated and eager to go back to Rwanda starting to work on her new project.
There were also two Congolese students in Kindu (Maniema, East Congo) who have been sponsored for two years, until the program collapsed more or less this year under administrative problems which hopefully can be solved soon.
Presently contacts are established to select and sponsor two Haitian students in management, administration or urban studies to start their Master’s degree at UQAM in September 2012.
The Québec chapter has agreed upon sponsoring students from francophone crisis regions and to accept them at the M.A. level. The reason for this decision is the believe that having achieved this level of studies they have enough maturity and determination to know what life projects they want to pursue after their studies and are more realistic in their endeavors. It has been motivated namely by a discussion which ESF Canada had with the rector of the Kinshasa University (UNIKIN) who came to visit the university a few years back, to set up a joint research project with the environmental studies Department. He reported that in his country, and in much of Africa, undergraduate studies are fairly accessible to those who can make it to university. What can really make a difference in a young person’s life and work projects is a master’s degree acquired at a foreign university, especially in North America.
Furthermore, older students will accept more readily ESF conditions of acceptance and sponsorship to return home to help reconstruct their country after their studies. The rector of UNIKIN had once studied 7 years in Montréal to obtain his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in demography, before going back to Congo, back then devastated by a very bloody change of regime and civil war. ESF Canada believes his judgment can be trusted.
ESF Canada has therefore decided to sponsor talented students with a social conscience who will become agents of change in their country and work for the benefit of all by enabling them to study in graduate programs in Canada.