To commence the first project seminar this January, the CANOPY Partner Group was honoured with the attendance of a fifteenth participant. Line B. Lønnum (Head of Consular Affairs, Business Promotion, and Higher Education for the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ottawa, Canada) joined the CPG to hear member presentations, lead a roundtable discussion, and share information about Embassy initiatives.
“This was a special and meaningful start to our partnership,” said CANOPY Project Manager Morten Edvardsen. “Such enthusiastic support from the Norwegian government not only motivates and energizes our own work on this project, but it also emphasizes to the public the importance and legitimacy of international collaboration in the field of education.”
Indeed, Synne Lysberg (responsible for collaboration with North America for DIKU, the Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education, that funds CANOPY) explains that such Embassy involvement establishes a fruitful reciprocity, engendering productive correspondence between project design and government goals. “The embassies with their local presence, knowledge, and networks,” Lysberg notes, “are valuable partners for DIKU. This is particularly valid for countries that are defined as strategically prioritized countries for cooperation in education, like Canada. There is comprehensive collaboration in education and research between Norway and Canada, and we are excited that the embassy is prioritizing this. It is very positive that the embassies can meet participants in international educational cooperation and hear more about what can be achieved through participating in such projects.”
After attending talks about the seminar theme, Lønnum – herself representing the international dynamics of Educational Leadership – introduced the CPG to the Embassy’s strategic Canada-Norway goals for 2020. These included increased student mobility, enhanced cooperation on research and higher education, and expanded arts and culture exchange – priorities which aligned well with those of the CANOPY Project. Student participation in all levels of CANOPY (course and practicum exchange, research activities, and conference attendance) was particularly appreciated by the Embassy. Lønnum reflected, “I was very happy to join the group in Kingston…and I was especially impressed with the students present. Increased student mobility between Norway and Canada is one of the Embassy’s goals and we are very happy to support this new collaborative project” and it’s focus on student engagement.
This early CANOPY seminar concentrated on identifying connections between member specializations in the field of educational leadership and on building relationships for future collaboration. Lønnum was pleased with the process: “it was clear that the group had already discovered many similarities between Norway and Canada and was looking forward to continuing their work together.” This is the kind of intercultural exchange that the embassy is encouraging through similar initiatives, such as Nordic Bridges 2021.
CANOPY members left this first seminar excited about the future. Associate Professor Nayr Ibrahim reflected, “a big thank you to Line Lønnum for her session on the Embassy’s strategic goals and for her willingness to support this project and any future projects that might arise from our collaboration. From my experience working for the British Council before coming to Norway, I know firsthand how valuable it is when governments support and encourage cross-cultural educational/research projects: this builds trust, understanding, and cooperation across borders and strengthens relationships. It’s inspiring to have such enduring support.”
To learn more about other CANOPY activities, visit the News and Events page.