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From the North Atlantic to the Caribbean

Island cultures unite, despite differences in temperature

A group of delegates from the Caribbean-Canada Emerging Leaders' Dialogue 2011 visited Memorial on June 2 to learn about community development collaborations within the university. They are photographed here following a presentation in the Distance Education, Learning and Teaching Support (DELTS) Studio.


By Heidi Wicks

In the midst of a Newfoundland winter, we often feel worlds away from the tropical glow of the Caribbean.

But our cold and foggy island may have more in common with those warm and sunny ones than we think.

Last week a group of leaders from around the Caribbean and across Canada met on Fogo Island, in Gander, and then St. John's to begin a two-week tour exploration of island cultures and economies.

The visit was part of the Caribbean-Canada Emerging Leaders' Dialogue 2011 (CCELD) – a conference that unites 120 future leaders from Canada, Bermuda and the Caribbean. Travelling together in small groups to visit selected locations in Canada and the Caribbean, participants will share dialogue with community leaders, workers and volunteers from a variety of sectors to engage in dialogue meant to broaden perspectives and improve decision-making practices.

The group of 11 tour participants came to Newfoundland from Bermuda, Manitoba, Belize, Guyana, Saskatewan, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Nova Scotia and British Columbia to meet with individuals from Memorial University's Harris Centre, International Centre, Distance Education, Learning and Teaching Support (DELTS) unit, and Marine Institute, to learn about and discuss island culture and community development partnerships at Memorial. The group also met with individuals from College of the North Atlantic and the lieutenant- governor.

Memorial University staff member Peggy Miller is part of one of the tour groups. Her journey began in Calgary, will continue on to Jamaica, and then return to Canada to debrief and share her discoveries with the entire conference.

Ms. Miller's Fogo Island roots came in handy while writing her application.
"My upbringing has rooted a need for community involvement that has remained with me in my adult and professional life," said Ms. Miller. "In the face of hardship, Fogo Island and all of Newfoundland and Labrador, for that matter, has sustained and evolved with ingenuity, commitment and collaboration."

Ms. Miller is currently the manager of marketing and business development with Memorial's Distance Education, Learning and Teaching Support (DELTS) unit. Ann Marie Vaughan, director of DELTS, encouraged her to apply based on her professional experiences in education and technology, as well as her leadership aspirations.

Ms. Vaughan is also an alumnus of the Governor-General's Canadian Leadership Conference, after which the CCEDL is modelled.

"In the early 1960s, Fogo Island used film as a means of dialoging with each other and with provincial leaders about their challenges and opportunities, which then resulted in the preservation and building of a community that prospered economically and socially through the years," she said. "It's important to look beyond our own backyards towards the role of internationalization on sustaining regions, so I'm sure participants will gain a better understanding of island cultures and sustainability from this conference."

For more information on CCELD, visit