McMaster partnering in international internship program in Africa for Hamilton students


Published February 8, 2024 at 3:48 pm

McMaster University

McMaster University is a partner in a new International Youth Internship project aimed at giving students – particularly those from equity-deserving backgrounds – internship opportunities in Africa.

The African Youth International Internship Project is a partnership between McMaster, Empowerment Squared and the charitable organization Schools of Dreams to provide support for students and other youth (aged 18-30) to gain international experience while focusing on gender-empowering educational research and inclusive growth, as well as climate change mitigation, adaptation and environmental research.

The project, with internships available in Liberia and Ghana, is set to launch later this year and run until December 2027 after receiving $4.9 million in funding from Global Affairs Canada.

The program aims for 50 per cent of participating youth to come from under-served groups, such as youth who are Black, Indigenous, recent immigrants, living in rural communities, 2SLGBTQAI+ and youth with physical and/or intellectual disabilities.

“Until now, student internship opportunities have not traditionally offered experiences in Africa, and that was a missed opportunity. To me, anyone left behind is knowledge left behind,” says Bonny Ibhawoh, vice-provost (International) and professor of Global Human Rights.

“I welcome this unique opportunity for McMaster students from underrepresented groups to gain a global perspective and to strengthen McMaster’s research and teaching agenda as well as that of the host educational institutions and community partners.”

McMaster’s Office of International Affairs is working with the Student Success Centre, the Black Student Success Centre and the African-Caribbean Faculty Association of McMaster University to start promoting the internships and information on how eligible participants can apply will be released soon.

“Education and learning must transcend the walls of the classroom to be purposeful and connected to life and society,” says Leo Nupolu Johnson, executive director of Empowerment Squared and a Liberian native who lived through almost a decade of war before fleeing his homeland and spending eight years living in refugee camps before resettling in Canada and Hamilton in 2006.

“This transformational investment will help young adults of African descent prepare for the future by developing culturally relevant skills and education in international development responsive to the emerging needs of our world.”

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