(September 2013) A few weeks ago, I arrived in Montréal with nothing but what I could carry. I’ll be living here for a year on a Fulbright Scholarship, working on a novel about the French and Indian War (a book I half-jokingly refer to as a rewrite of The Last of the Mohicans). Given all the time I’ve spent studying the history of British, American, French, and native culture mingling (and fighting) in the area, it was a bit of a shock to actually arrive to Montréal—you know—in the present. In the span of an hour, I was rocketed out of the past: a sudden fast-forward, a look at how the whole messy, brutal, convoluted story turned out. There’s a lot to say about a place as complicated as Montréal (both past and present). But let’s start with first impressions. One thing, in particular, made a deep impression—to put it mildly.
Jonathan and his father standing beside the Goldman School of Public Policy sign.
Jonathan Yantzi (BSocSc [Political Science] ’12) wakes up every morning to a picturesque view of San Francisco Bay and Mount Tamalpais. The uOttawa alumnus and 2013 Canadian Fulbright Award recipient is currently pursuing a Master of Public Policy degree at the Richard and Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, but he credits his undergraduate experience at uOttawa with providing him the necessary tools to continue his studies.
As a Canada-US Fulbright Award recipient, I completed my Master’s Degree in Education (EdM) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). My EdM at Harvard embodied excellence in every way, from the daily inspiration of faculty to the intensely dynamic interactions with my international peers. I remember seeing Nelson Mandela receive his honorary law degree at the Tercentenary Theatre in Harvard Yard, hearing lectures at the Kennedy School of Government from authors Camille Paglia and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., learning about multiple intelligences from Howard Gardner, and sharing in the fervour of Noam Chomsky’s political activism at the First Parish church in Harvard Square. I was constantly motivated to be my very best and to achieve new heights in my own learning and the learning of others. While I had been an “A” student throughout my undergraduate studies, this environment demanded more than just academic discipline. It required true commitment to intellectual inquiry and a full ownership of one’s voice. At Harvard, I learned to be fully accountable for the quality of my contributions and how to enhance the larger group discourse through meaningful questions and informed insights.
I am often asked why an economist spends time looking at the quality of elementary schools. My usual response is that education is the second largest economic activity in the country. Identifying a better outcome in such a large sector of the economy is of central interest. In a provincial assessment, all students in a specific grade write the same assessment of literacy and mathematics. The assessments are graded outside the school in which they are written by teachers who do not personally know the child. Results are reported back to parents on an individual basis. In Canada, three provinces, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia results are reported at the school level.
As we celebrate International Education Week, I recall my days spent as a Fulbright U.S. Student Program Fellow in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in the 2010-11 academic year. My Fellowship paved the way for future professional opportunities within the health policy sphere. During my grant period, I was a student in the M.A. program in Critical Disability Studies at York University which is housed within the York University School of Health Policy & Management. During my graduate studies, I engaged in comparative health policy research, concerning the Province of Ontario (Canada) and the State of New York (United States).
Over 60 million diabetics, and another 70 million so called “pre-diabetics” – individuals at such an elevated risk for this condition that the odds are stacked against them for converting into full-blown diabetes within a few short years. The country I am describing, India, is not the first that comes to mind to most when thinking about the growing problem of diabetes across the world.Read More