2015-16 has been a year of rebirth, discernment and renewal for Intercordia Canada, and it is with great pleasure that we offer this Annual Report to share some of this progress and celebrate our achievements with you.
Founded in 2002, Intercordia Canada offers an innovative model of engaged service-learning for young Canadians. Our partnership model ensures a rigorous academic training for students, ethical and responsible service-learning with partners in the Global South, and mentorship for students through all stages of the process (including upon return home) to help students integrate academic and experiential learning.
In a growing field fraught with ethical, moral and material difficulties, Intercordia is committed to doing experiential learning differently. Founded by Jean Vanier and growing out of 50 years of living community with those who are different in L’Arche, Intercordia is a unique and innovative program that speaks to the development of global citizens in a careful, mutual and compassionate way. It takes up the work of cross-cultural relationship-building as a path to a more peaceful and just world, for those in the North as well as the South.
Over the past 13 years we have sent over 250 young people to serve alongside our partners overseas and many of our alumni have gone on to work in diverse fields such as: human rights law, Romero House, Christian Peace-Maker Teams, L’Arche, policy and government, teaching, and Catholic youth ministry. We are proud of our alumni, and very pleased to recognize the recent accomplishments of two of them in this report.
Resuming operations after a sabbatical year has been grounded in our certainty that Intercordia has something unique and important to offer to Canadian young people and our partners in Canada and abroad. Over the past year, we have spent a lot of time reflecting on where we have come from and what is fundamental to who we are. We have also reflected on where we are going, and recognize that we need a clear understanding of success in order to guide our decision-making and growth. As a result, we developed the following commitments to:
• Remain up to date with literature and aligned with best practice for international service learning
• Build and maintain a small set of true partnerships
• Go deep with a small number of university partners, host communities and students who want to be in this journey together
• Secure our position as the service learning partner of choice for Catholic schools
• Be thought leaders in the area of engaged service learning as demonstrated by published academic work and public dialogue
The foundation of our success will be to continue to nurture existing relationships and offer our core program to youth through our partnerships with Canadian universities. We will also need to expand our relationships with individuals and institutions who share our values, and from which each party can be enriched. We are excited to explore how this may lead us beyond our traditional circles by sharing our experience through workshops with volunteer and service learning organizations, expanded youth leadership opportunities and published work.
As we emerge from uncertain times and towards a brighter future, I must acknowledge that we would not be where we are without the generosity, support and commitment of our Board, Co-Executive Directors, Jessica and Katie, and university partner, St. Thomas More College. We are grateful as well to all of our host partners, donors, alumni, past board members and others who have been involved in building Intercordia Canada and who continue to support our work in a variety of ways, most importantly by keeping the mission of Intercordia alive in your own hearts and lives.
We look forward to continuing to learn and grow together.
Intercordia Canada Board of Directors