Ambassador of Canada visiting UW

The Ambassador (far left) with the group at the start of the walk
The Ambassador (far left) with the group at the start of the walk

Canada's Ambassador to Iceland, Jeannette Menzies, visited the University Centre of the Westfjords today and spoke to both staff and students about continuing, and possibly increasing, collaboration with Canadian institutes. The weather in Ísafjörður was really welcoming so the ambassador joined the students of From Extraction to Attraction: Coastal Communities in an Era of Leisure and Tourism on a walk around town.

It's not without reason that the ambassador of Canada seeks to visit UW, as a considerable portion of our students each year come from Canada, as well as some of the instructors. Ambassador Menzies began her morning by talking with Astrid Fehling, administrative director, and Brack Hale, academic director.

They discussed current collaborations between UW and Canadian Universities, such as Dalhousie in Nova Scotia and Memorial on Newfoundland, and agreed that it was an essential work on both sides of the Atlantic as coastal communities in and below the Arctic have a lot in common and therefore it's important to share the knowledge.

Both parties are interested in further developing the collaboration, not the least within the Coastal Communities Studies, and increasing scientific research partnerships. One idea is that PhD students from Canada would do some of their work at UW, as it harbours great opportunities for field work and research, both in policy making and management of marine and coastal areas and rural regional development in and below the Arctic.

The ambassador then met briefly with Patricia Manuel, one of our Canadian instructors (from Dalhousie University), and her Adapation Planning class, before joining Patrick Maher, another of our Canadian instructors (from Nipissing University), and his class that looks at how communities can develop from relying on natural resources only to building their economy on more aspects such as tourism and leisure.

Patrick's students had just finished categorising some of the town's assets for tourism and invited Jeanette to join them on a walk around town where they showed her some of the places that they consider real assets and explained why.

Those places included the Maritime Museum, Dokkan, the Swimhall and the Library but they also popped in to the local fish shop where the produce is a fresh as it gets, tasted some dried fish and had a look at the impressive teeth of a Greenland Shark.

The group made a quick stop by the construction site of the new students' housing before heading back to the University Centre where the ambassador sat down with the Canadian students for a chat, while having while having coffee, chocolate milk and Icelandic donuts known as kleinur.