Carleton University has a strong, well-deserved reputation as an exciting, thriving academic training ground in Canada’s capital. This university, founded in 1942, provides an environment where adults prepare for becoming tomorrow’s leaders in every field and corner of the globe. They are guided in their study by one of the most talented and committed faculties of any university. The lucky students who come to Carleton are trained to understand both Canada and the rest of the world in their fields of concentration.
My experience is representative of many. As a young American in 1981, I had just graduated from college, fascinated with Canadian politics, above all else. I spent the spring semester at McGill, learning about Quebec’s arguments for independence and watching some of Canada’s political luminaries go directly to voters with impassioned sentiments for sovereignty or continuing in the federation. I arrived at Carleton in the fall of that year to do my master’s in political science. That time, unfortunately, was a peak of anti-American sentiment and I vowed to do my part to make the Canada-U.S. dialogue a more reasoned and educated one. After finishing my PhD training in the U.S., I have been doing exactly that, first south of the border and now at Carleton since 2005.
Carleton has many strong programs which teach the community about the importance of not just collegial relationships, but allowing for and understanding differences. These differences occur within departments, faculties, the university, Canada and the world. There are programs aimed at strengthening faculty research and linkages with other universities and to educate students about these research areas. One is the Centre for European Studies. The strength of its programs has led the centre to be recognized as one of the few Jean Monnet Centers of Excellence outside of Europe. A much newer center is the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ American Studies Research Centre. Almost unbelievably, no such center has existed in Ottawa until 2010. Its opening in January 2010 was a grand celebration that included U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson. Another strong program is the joint Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Faculty of Public Affairs Institute for African Studies, which is increasing physical and virtual interaction of Carleton students and faculty with the continent.
Due to its medium size and passion for academic excellence, Carleton provides an environment where students can access any faculty member. This fosters faculty-student dialogue about solving real-world problems. Some highlights include a former student who has been involved in the Ottawa Women’s Muslim Organization, founded by this community to foster global understanding of Islamic communities in Canada and abroad. It is a benevolent organization, raising thousands of dollars annually for various women-focused charities in Ottawa. Another is the Carleton campus chapter of Equal Voice, the only multi-partisan group in Canada devoted to electing more women at all levels of government. Some exchange opportunities in which students travel to universities and centres abroad to foster specific training include the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, the world’s largest such organization with which Carleton has been affiliated for five years. Geared towards students of all majors, the Washington Center provides students with a semester- or summer-long internship working in the areas of their choice. This may include Capitol Hill, the Smithsonian, National Institutes of Health, regulatory agencies, CNN or FOX News, and offices of law firms or NGOs. This opportunity is crucial for training future participants in the world’s most integrated economic relationship, that of Canada and the U.S. The Sprott School of Business International Business program trains students abroad in countries which are already important Canadian trading partners.
Overall, Carleton is built upon the inspired efforts of its talented, innovative faculty. Professors are involved in intellectual inquiry in all corners of the globe, and bring Carleton to the world and the world to campus. This is fundamentally important for our students as it helps them hone their analytical and research skills. At Carleton, students are trained and empowered to excel at their interests and are vital resources for the future. All Canadian sectors – public, private and voluntary- at all levels have benefited from the advice of Carleton faculty, Carleton student interns and employees. The synergy between Carleton’s physical location, its intellectual space and the unparalleled experiences which students are offered is an example of why the wealth of expertise at the university is so often sought after in the city, the province, across the country and the world.