The Queen’s University Mastercard Foundation Seminar Series launched in August 2018 and aims to:
- Create a community of practice where participants explore how best to adapt knowledge gained at Queen’s University in order to support the goal of University of Gondar to be a leader in the provision of and knowledge creation in the area of inclusive education and CBR;
- Enhance faculty development to enhance teaching expertise, research skills, and educational leadership;
- Enrich participants’ ability to advocate for issues affecting students with disabilities at the University of Gondar and persons with disabilities in Ethiopia and Africa by enhancing their knowledge and understanding of disability issues;
- Facilitate academic success of participants in their post-graduate program by providing additional supports where possible and necessary;
- Provide opportunities for members of the Queen’s University community to learn about disability management in the Ethiopian/African context, Queen’s Internationalization initiatives, Queen’s involvement in Global Health Education and global research initiatives.
Over the past year, Mastercard Foundation Fellows assisted in developing the seminar series by: providing leadership as Student Co-Chairs, participating as speakers, engaging in the sessions, providing critical feedback as well as identifying topics and speakers of interest. To date, Queen’s Mastercard Foundation Seminar Series has tackled various topics such as models of disability theory, inclusive education, employment equity for employees with disabilities, needs of students with disabilities, academic skills, research tools, academic publishing, graduate student wellness and professional development.
Sessions consist of; speaker panels, site tours, presentations by Queen’s staff, faculty members, students or disability-serving organizations in the community. All sessions include an interactive discussion on how to best contextualize and adapt the information presented to the needs of the University of Gondar.
Current Fellows and project staff at Queen’s participated in the recent addition of the much-awaited Journal Club component to the Queen’s Seminar Series on May 24, 2019. The inaugural presenter, Fisseha Zewdu Amdie, selected a published article authored by 2017 Mastercard PhD Fellow Mulugeta Chala and the Mastercard Gondar Project Co-Director Dr. Solomon Mekonnen, among others. The article , ‘Prevalence of disability and associated factors in Dabat Health and Demographic Surveillance System site, northwest Ethiopia’, prompted a robust conversation among participating Fellows about its contents and the intersections between illness and disability based on their current field of study and professional backgrounds.
The monthly Journal Club will provide an opportunity to critically examine and discuss disability-related literature in an inter-disciplinary academic forum. Many individuals and departments at Queen’s University contributed to the success of the Queen’s Mastercard foundation Seminar Series in the past year and the newly added Journal Club component. Notable contributions came from: the 2017 and 2018 Mastercard Foundation Fellows, senior graduate students as well as staff from the Student Academic Success Centre, Queen’s Student Accessibility Services, Adaptive Technology Centre, Accessibility Hub, Student Wellness Services, Learning Catalogue, Physical Plant Services, Bracken Library and other community organizations.