January 26, 2013 - 8:02pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, Jan. 28, 2013

NANAIMO, BC: From Feb. 4-8, VIU’s community and interested members of the public can get involved in a variety of interactive events and activities that will help them build a better understanding of our connection to the global community, and explore how Canada and Canadians are making a difference around the world.

It’s all part of International Development Week (IDW), an annual event spearheaded by the Canadian International Development Agency. This year, VIU’s event, which will take place on the Nanaimo campus, is being officially endorsed by the City of Nanaimo.

The week before, to whet people’s appetites, VIU will welcome Rebecca Chiao, Co-founder and Director of HarrassMap, who will be giving a public talk on VIU’s Nanaimo campus, Jan. 29, 11.30 am-1 pm (Bldg 255, Rm 170). She’ll discuss how she’s harnessing the power of social media to help women in Egypt who are being stalked, harassed or sexually assaulted.

“It’s a fascinating example of how social media is being used to improve people’s lives,” said Meg Savory, Coordinator, International Projects, and one of the organizers of VIU’s IDW.

IDW will kick off on Feb. 4, with an interactive activity aimed at getting people immersed in the theme for this year’s event – the world’s water.

“We chose water because it’s a relevant and critical issue locally, regionally, nationally and internationally,” said Savory.

Internationalization Intern Dominique Saab will be in the cafeteria during the week, inviting people to share their thoughts on what access to clean water means to them. People can jot down their ideas on a card and Saab will take photos of the cards and post them to IDW’s Facebook page, where people can engage in an online discussion on water issues.

To delve deeper into the theme, Margaret Catley-Carlson, world-renowned for her work on water issues, will be on campus to speak to a variety of classes and give a public talk. Catley-Carlson is patron of the Global Water Partnership, past President of the Canadian International Development Agency, and past Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Canada. In 2002, she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in recognition of her distinguished public service career.

Catley-Carlson will be taking her expertise to a variety of classes to speak to students and encourage them to examine the idea of water from different perspectives. “Another reason we chose the theme of 'water' is because it touches a lot of disciplines,” says Savory. “For example, it can be a political, economic and/or environmental issue.”

Catley-Carlson will speak to accounting, geography, hydrology, political science and First Nations studies classes. She’ll then give a public talk Global Water: Local Water? on Feb. 4, 5:30-7 pm, in the Malaspina Theatre on the Nanaimo campus.

The next evening, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 6-9 pm, the Campus Food Movement will present Voices of the River, a film about the Nanaimo River. After the film, Paul Manley, the film’s director, will be on hand to engage the audience in a discussion about the issues examined in his film.

There will also be a variety of sub-themes people can explore during the week that will be highlighted in photography exhibits, speaker’s events, symposiums and a mini film festival. For a full schedule go to:

“My hope is there will be lots of ‘food-for-thought’ activities for the community,” says Savory. “We want people to get involved and think more deeply about what it means to be a global citizen.”

For more information please contact Meg Savory at

Tags: In the Community

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