Coady International Institute celebrating 60th anniversary

Community Online First

December 2, 2019 will be a special day for St. Francis Xavier University and Coady International Institute. The day marks 60 years to the day of the founding of Coady International Institute known for its work with global change leaders skilled in the application of citizen-led, asset-based, and community-driven leadership for economic and social change.

In 1928, the University’s Extension Department began helping people in local communities analyze their social and economic situation and take action, leading to a cooperative movement (known as the Antigonish Movement) which reshaped the economic backbone of northeast Nova Scotia for several decades. As word of the Antigonish Movement spread beyond the Maritime Provinces interest grew from around the world. In 1959, the University created the Coady International Institute to internationalize this community development work. Since that time, more than 7,000 local leaders from 133 countries have attended Coady Institute education programs.

Today, Coady Institute is a place where community change leaders from around the world convene to collectively learn and share innovative solutions to the big issues of the day – climate change, rising inequality and anti-democratic populism to name only a few. These progressive leaders are not waiting for national or international agencies to act. Instead, they are developing practical solutions and taking action in their communities right now.  

To celebrate the 60th anniversary, Coady Institute will be hosting an open house from noon to 2 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2 at the institute’s main building on the campus of St. Francis Xavier University. Remarks will occur at 12:30 p.m.

Those attending will have a chance to visit the Marie Michael Library, the new Innovation Hub office space, and learn about research projects and the ongoing and future work within Nova Scotia through the Centre for Employment Innovation. This includes the DiscoverBox, one of Nova Scotia’s Sandboxes. The Sandboxes focus on fostering an enthusiasm and capacity for innovation and entrepreneurship amongst Nova Scotia post-secondary education students. 

The open house will also be the official launch of the Coady’s 2020 Education Program. The program includes a newly designed flagship program, Leadership for Citizen-Led Development, a 10-month course for development leaders from around the world. Coady will also offer 14 on campus certificate courses, the Pathy Foundation Fellowship, the Global Change Leaders program, the Indigenous Women in Community Leadership program and two online courses. The Institute will also continue to work on various partner projects within Canada and internationally.

The 2020 Education Program will bring together local and global as all courses will be open to Canadian and international participants. Coady and St. Francis Xavier University Extension Department, storied organizations with 100-year and 60-year histories respectively of supporting local citizen-led action, are more deliberately combining their strengths and harnessing the academic expertise of the entire University

“Coady Institute is bringing together highly motivated change leaders, particularly women, youth, and Indigenous peoples – critical constituencies that are at the centre of addressing issues of equity and social justice around the world,” Gord Cunningham, executive director, Coady Institute and Extension says.

Coady’s unique fusion of practical and academic community development expertise provides local and global change leaders with the skills and support to engage citizens to bring about positive change on the ground. Through this new alignment of Coady and Extension, and a closer collaboration between Coady and various faculties and programs, St. Francis Xavier University will continue to play a global leadership role in the 21st Century in redefining the crucial role of the university in service to surrounding communities and throughout the world.

The success of Coady Institute rests in its belief in the power of ordinary citizens to do extraordinary things. In bringing together the best of local innovations from every corner of the world, Coady Institute will continue to be a crucible of learning about the best ways of ensuring citizens are at the centre of the development process. So that they may become, in the words of our namesake and former Director of Extension Department, the late Dr. Moses Coady, “masters of their own destiny,” whether they live in the Global South, across Canada, or in rural Nova Scotia.