This May 2014, Yemi Makinde, Founder and CEO of Akada Network will be in Canada on a three-fold mission: to promote the launch of Akada Network as a new African initiative in the higher education and research sphere, to build relationships, as well as to identify potential partners.
The tour was built around the joint Canadian Association of International Development Professionals (CAIDP) and Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) 2014 Conference. Quite aptly, this year’s conference theme was “Redefining Development Partnerships: A New Role for Canadians in Global Equality and Cooperation”. Akada Network Founder, Yemi Makinde, delivered a presentation at the conference, where she also was a resource person during one of the workshop sessions.
Yemi used the opportunity of being already in Canada for the conference to meet with other organisations and institutions in a bid to build relationships and potentially form a common view on providing support for the needs in Africa among the target stakeholders.
Read below from her diary of the tour:
Coming to Canada
May 5, 2014
And we have touch down! This long awaited tour is finally here and I’m all excited. Really looking forward to doing a lot of things on my long list. So bear with me if I cannot contain myself, I am just really excited, is all.
On this trip, I will be meeting new people, making connections, learning, rubbing minds, gaining new insights, getting feedback, and the best part will be making friends out of everyone I meet.
Touring the country will be tough (eye roll). It is a necessary evil but all in a days’ work. And I’m not complaining. 🙂
First stop, Calgary.
Calgary connection of friends, old and newMay 6, 2014
It’s bitingly cold in Calgary! I think even more so than in the Nordic countries. But back to the gist.
Started off with a great conversation and catch up with Alan Macffaden, Country Manager of Kentz Canada and fellow Manchester Business School Alum. Then on to a meet with Anand Nicodemus, fellow Business Improvement extraordinaire and Mount Royal University faculty. Grateful for the pointers and feedback both these colleagues gave me.
Vancouver ConnectionsMay 7, 2014
I flew into Vancouver (18C) from Calgary (-7C, morning) and you can imagine how I was dressed. I had to go through the sweltering heat in Vancouver dressed like an Eskimo and looking like a freak, whilst everyone else around looked happily in their skimpy attires, enjoying the weather. Of course I looked like the stereotypical first time African visitor to the North. I could not bear the funny glances anymore and had to blot out to a packed public bus – “It was -7C in Calgary when I left!” To which, everyone burst out laughing. But I mean seriously, talk about unpredictable weather and only 1hr apart!
Image on left, view leaving Calgary. Image on right, view from my meeting in Vancouver.
Commonwealth of Learning – COL
That’s right, yours truly stealing a pose in front of the COL office entrance.
My main meeting was with Dr Godson Gatsha, Education Specialist and Head of Higher Education Programs was quite insightful. Our meeting entailed expressing the purpose of both COL and Akada Network and eventually finding areas of common interest. I gained validation points from an academic, higher education specialist and fellow African that the Akada Network plans are sound, thorough and well positioned for Africa. A proud African moment when I was informed Nigeria actually is and has been a major donor to this prestigious Commonwealth initiative. I also spent time with Mr Dave Wilson, who is in charge of Communications.
Thanks to Dr Gatsha, Mr Wilson and their COL colleagues, I left with my head reeling with ideas and possibilities.
University of British Columbia, UBC
What a beautiful university campus. Reminds me of good ole University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
My meeting was with Professor Samson Nashon. Being an African scientific diaspora, we talked on many things African and the challenges of the sector. What a fantastically competent and innovative mind he’s got. Meeting him was another proud and reassuring moment for me, that there are African treasures scattered all around the world in every sphere. Africa is truly fortunate to have such. Many concrete things agreed and loads of support pledged.
Many thanks to my dear friend, tireless educator and academic in the making, Joan Anokwuru.
MORE Calgary connection of friends, old and newMay 8, 2014
A day set aside to learn about current trends, developments and solutions in the technology sphere with a great guy, Mike Simeons. He referred me onwards to meet with other potential leads before my departure from Calgary. Thanks Mike!
We also talked about Calgary Centre for Global Communities, an initiative that provides education, engagement and research opportunities to enhance and expand Calgarians’ capacity for responsible, well-informed, effective global citizenship.
Friends of Akada Network in Calgary
The was also the day that transformed Plan:net and Friends, Canada into Friends of Akada Network in Calgary. Really grateful to have had the opportunity to show and tell in front of such an engaging and stimulating group of people, including sector experts, business professionals and consultants. Free consulting and great company – a true recipe for early success. I went away lighter on business cards, but with loads to think about, many referrals, commitments of support and definitely back to the drawing board in some areas.
A very big thank you to Phil Cox, his family and friends for hosting.
Even more Calgary connection of friends, old and newMay 9, 2014
Met with Dr Mark Durieux, Professor of Sociology at University of Calgary. Also a social entrepreneurship champion, Prof Durieux looks at the immense impact of social entrepreneurs on addressing social issues and examines their importance and what makes them tick. He is at the forefront of research on the sociology of compassion and how it ties in with social entrepreneurship.
He is doing fantastic work impacting communities for good and we’re looking forward to working with him in Canada and Africa.