Uniterra Symposia Series

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Local Committees across Canada host educational symposia to engage their campus and communities to reflect and take action on international development issues.

Uniterra Symposia Series, 2011-2012

Change doesn’t happen on its own.

Every year, WUSC Local Committee students across Canada spark change by bringing together local experts, returned international volunteers, students and faculty for an educational symposium. Through the Symposia Series, Uniterra permits Local Committees gives you the means to take concrete action and to make a real difference and to help improve living conditions of communities worldwide.

Are you part of a Local Committee that would like to organize a Symposium?

Let one of the Uniterra program areas of work inspire your symposia – equality between women and men, economic development, health, HIV and Aids, education and governance –  to create a dynamic space of knowledge-sharing and exchange on international development!

Organize an educational event, such as a panel, round-table, workshop or simulations, while bridging the gap between local and international issues. Use your creativity and artistic means (photo exhibit, shows, movies etc) to engage discussions.

Why organize a Symposium?

  • To raise awareness on international development issues amongst students and the general population;
  • To inspire passion and encourage students on campus and the broader community to take concrete action to contribute to change;
  • To raise your Local Committee’s profile and recruit;
  • To establish partnerships with other like-minded groups.


  • International Development Week (February 5- 12 2012);
  • WUSC Refugee Awareness Day (January 31st 2012);
  • International Women’s Day (March 8 2012).

How to organize a Symposium

Organize an event that resonates with your campus. Use your imagination yet be realistic about available resources, including potential presenters. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Host a discussion group, making the link between international and local concerns.
  • Hold an engaging panel: invite high profile speakers, experts and/or local leaders in the community.
  • Use the arts to spark discussions (photography, music, film, etc.).
  • Organize workshops, a film night, and/or simulation activities.

Ideally, the Symposium is not only an opportunity to learn and share, but an opportunity to get those participating to take action. Integrate elements of the different public engagement campaigns into your event. For example, if you are organizing an event, make sure you order Fair Trade coffee and tea or ask participants to participate in the “Buy Into Change” activity. Get the media involved or send the photo to your campus or community newspaper to gain media attention.

Once your committee starts planning a Symposium, sign up online using My Committee and identify a contact person in order to apply for funds and receive support, tips and tools from other committees and the WUSC campus engagement team.


Uniterra has created a fund for Local Committees that can apply to receive up to $800 to hold an educational event on their campus. Local Committees had until December 7th 2011 to complete the online proposal form – the WUSC Campus Engagement team will attribute the funds in early January. Funds are assigned on a first-come, first served basis, as well as on the quality of the proposal.

Supplement this amount by soliciting cash and in-kind donations such as food and beverages. There are often funds available at your university or college for such events. Write a letter to the University President, Vice-President, Students’ Union and Deans explaining how your event will benefit the university/college. They will often help you cover expenses.


Contact Alexandra abaril@wusc.ca for more information (Senior Program Officer, Campus Engagement).