Tunisia: Canada Development Exchange
Date: September 1989 – April 1990
Scope: Partnered with a counterpart organization, the project was 50:50 split between rural Manitoba and western Tunisia. Working with children in a kindergarten class and then with university students at an agricultural university campus, we learned to communicate and cooperatively work together at our place of employment and successfully complete assigned tasks.
- Work within different cultural paradigms creates awareness of alternative definitions of success and failure. Not everyone views life through the same set of lenses.
- Learned how to speak conversational French and limited Arabic.
Scope: Travel from Lebanon to Switzerland for a time to live with extended family.
- First time living outside of the Middle East and quickly understood that there were differences between Middle Eastern and European cultures, how to learn about and respectfully live within each.
- Attained complete fluency in French.
ECHO International Agricultural Conference
Date: November 2016 & November 2017
Scope: Annual agricultural conference with speakers and field tours of community and social development strategies for participatory action that is positive and sustainable in a developing country context.
- Project strategy is optimized when environmental, social, & fiscal values are understood and appropriately managed.
- Remote North American and international development projects often mirror one another when leaders must make-due with what they have.
- Fixes are rarely quick. Planning horizons need to be longer.
Date: November 2018
Scope: The largest annual international oil and gas show in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Attended with the Canadian delegation to explore additional business development avenues.
- Get out of your own region to see what is happening in other areas.
- The international business scene is a very different and complex environment to work in.
- Strategic alignment with embassy support services is crucial for hearing about in-country needs, vetting opportunities and customers and ensuring appropriate cross-cultural context in the conduct of business.
Arid Land Silviculture
Date: March 2015
Scope: Arid Land Silviculture Symposium, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. Presentation of research, supported by field tours of numerous locations, in the management of arid land to produce forest products.
- There is immense research investment in the management of dry land ecosystems.
- Applications in a warm, dry climate can be transferred to a cold, dry climate with careful thought about accommodating for climate differences.
Immigration to Canada
Scope: Immigrate with family from Middle East to Canada.
- Moving into another culture that is vastly different takes time to learn and appropriately integrate.
- Lessons in cultural adaptation can be passed on to help others with a similar experience.
- Attained complete fluency in English.
Sweden Summer Work Exchange
Date: Summer 1992
Scope: Worked as a technical field worker for a Swedish forestry company.
- Definition of product quality differs in other parts of the world and are largely market driven.
- Accurate record keeping of investments in forestland is critical for evaluating the degree of success or failure at the point of sale.
- Learned conversational Swedish.