Leader in humanitarian health care to kick off Int’l Development Week at NC

The executive director of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF/Doctors without Borders) Canada will be visiting Niagara College Feb. 6 to share her personal, gripping story of providing life-saving care to families suffering through the atrocities of war and economic collapse.

Marilyn McHarg’s presentation, open to the public, takes place in the College’s Applied Health Institute Auditorium at the Welland campus, on Feb. 6 at 5:30 p.m. The event officially kicks off International Development Week at NC, with additional workshops planned at both campuses from Feb. 6-11.

McHarg has led MSF Canada since 2006 after spending nine years doing field work in countries brutalized by armed warfare and economic ruin, including Uganda, Sudan, Kenya and Liberia. MSF won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1999 for the organization’s humanitarian work.

“Marilyn’s story of providing the most essential kind of care in tragic situations is an amazing tale of compassion and inner strength that everyone should hear,” said Jos Nolle, Niagara College’s Chair of International Development and former executive director of MSF Canada from 1991-1992. “She was one of my first recruits for field projects when I was asked to start the Canadian branch of MSF/Doctors without Borders in 1991 and has been working for this organization ever since. Her experiences in a variety of humanitarian programs are amazing and motivating, to say the least.”

International Development Week is held the first week of February of every year. For Niagara College, it’s an opportunity to promote and celebrate its commitment to international co-operation and community building. Many events are planned for the week, including several workshops and class presentations led by NC students who have participated in international placements in countries such as Brazil, Peru and South Africa.

Niagara College is growing its commitment to international development, participating in several social and economic development projects around the world. Each year Niagara College works with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to support students or recent graduates who travel abroad to participate in projects in disadvantaged communities. The projects are designed to provide economic empowerment, career-training and gender equity opportunities for indigenous communities in disadvantaged places.

Recognizing the strong positive impact international development has on students, as well as the need to bring an “intercultural” focus to each student’s education, the College recently launched the “Be World Ready” program. The program promotes international development and encourages students to strive for intercultural competencies both in the classroom and in the community.

A cornerstone of Be World Ready is the “NC International Passport,” which lists different ways students can add international opportunities to their studies, such as volunteering at an international-themed event. Students receive recognition for achieving a set-level of participation.

“International development has an amazing impact on participating students, as they gain skills including compassionate leadership, complex problem-solving and team-building,” said Kyla Pennie, Niagara College’s International Project Specialist. “The Be World Ready program aims to provide those intercultural competencies to all students, even if they are unable to travel abroad.”

For more information on Niagara College’s international development work, visit www.international.NiagaraCollege.ca/opportunities. For more information on International Development Week 2012, visit www.cida.gc.ca/idw2012.

Niagara College offers more than 100 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, horticulture and aesthetics. For more information, visit NiagaraCollege.ca.


For more information contact:

Jos Nolle

Niagara College

Chair of International Development

905-651-2252 ext. 4096


Event details:


Marilyn McHarg, executive director of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF/Doctors without Borders) Canada


Public presentation on the work of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF/Doctors without Borders) Canada, Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization that provides humanitarian health care across the world


Feb. 6, 5:30-6:30 p.m.


Applied Health Institute Auditorium, Niagara College Welland Campus

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