Marc Lombardo – Centre for Critical Development Studies, University of Toronto Scarborough and World University Service of Canada
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If you asked Marc Lombardo what inspires him and what the key is to achieving global change, he would give you the same answer – education. Every changemaker is on a path of learning and self-improvement, but as a student at University of Toronto Scarborough and a volunteer with a number of educational organizations such as the World University Service of Canada’s (WUSC) Kenya Equity in Education Project, Marc is deeply committed to social justice.
The connection between education and social justice began for him with his sister, Daniela, a primary school teacher with a passion for examining and teaching awareness of global inequality. With great admiration, Marc describes her as someone who challenged him to “think critically about [his] own privilege and who encourages her students, as young as they are, to approach the world with that same rigorous attention. From her example and the examples of more internationally known activists such as Malala Yousafzai, Marc internalized the concept that educational spaces and systems can be transformative, and lay the necessary groundwork for international cooperation.
There is also the potential for education to have the reverse and negative effect. Marc notes that youth sometimes feel channeled into “more conventional” career paths than advocacy and international development, and that financial hardship can force potential changemakers to choose between global experience (such as volunteering abroad) and being able to pay the bills. He stresses that even without these opportunities, there is always a way to contribute to global change, within whichever career or space you find yourself.
Marc hopes that over the next decade we will lessen discrimination in education, improving access across categories of race or gender or citizenship – to create an educational system that complements the global networks that have arisen as well as providing socially and culturally relevant supports for students around the world. He cautions, however, that even the best education and research on an issue cannot replace the perspective of those directly involved in an issue. “I can never truly understand someone else’s experience,” he explains, “[And] I think it’s important to support efforts for… marginalized groups to be heard, rather than… speaking on [their] behalf.”
The Centre for Critical Development Studies (CCDS) is the administrative home of the International Development Studies (IDS) programs at the University of Toronto Scarborough. The CCDS community is committed to teaching and research in development studies that contributes to an understanding and mitigation of processes, policies, and practices that reproduce conditions of poverty, inequality, and oppression around the world. Their approach is ‘critical’, grounded in historically-informed cross-disciplinary research, pedagogy, and dialogue with a central focus on the poor and less powerful majority who find themselves most adversely affected by exclusionary power relations and practices.
World University Service of Canada (WUSC) is a leading Canadian non-profit organization in international development, committed to building a more equitable and sustainable world. They work with a unique and powerful network of post-secondary institutions, private-sector partners and volunteers to provide education, employment and empowerment opportunities that improve the lives of millions of disadvantaged youth around the world.
In celebration of International Development Week 2016 OCIC is recognizing Lainey, Robin and Sarah as three of seven Ontario youth in the Global Changemaker Youth Ambassadors program for their contributions to international cooperation and social justice.
For full stories on all seven Global Changemaker Youth Ambassadors visit ocic.on.ca/what-we-do/influence-by-informing/ocic-global-changemaker-youth-ambassadors-2016/
More information on OCIC’s International Development Week 2016 activities: ocic.on.ca/what-we-do/influence-by-informing/international-development-week-2016-program
This initiative is undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada.