ARIC’s Global Scope Gains International Recognition
There’s a truly global community at Centennial College, and ARIC’s diverse contingent of student researchers reflects that varied makeup. And sometimes, this international community invites similarly international recognition, and global connections.
Sindiso Ngwenya is the Secretary General for COMESA, the Common Market for East-ern and Southern Africa. He came to Centennial thanks to an invitation by Tezara Ketema of PodoTech Inc., currently partnered with ARIC on a project to create 3D scanners for accurately measuring your feet (read more on that here). COMESA was interested in bringing the technolo-gy to Africa, out of recognition for its cost-effective design. Students from the PodoTech pro-gram got the chance to show off their new technology, putting Ngwenya’s foot in the scanner, and creating a proper 3D model.
A self-described “political giraffe,” (because he oversees everything), Ngwenya also came to Centennial College to tour the facilities. He was impressed by the campus’s varied cultural makeup during his tours. “What struck me when I was walking around,” he said, “was the diversi-ty I saw.” ARIC’s mission of providing youth with practical skills and entrepreneurial experience was similarly praised by the Secretary General, who called the students agents of change. “Older people,” he said, “they are cast in stone, their minds are already moulded. I want young profes-sionals to come so they can begin to challenge the approach of doing things.”
As part of COMESA, Ngwenya is responsible for developing Africa, and spoke of the need for both education and lifelong skills to ARIC students after the tour. “You just need func-tional skills,” he said, referencing how, for example, wielders are called in from neighbouring regions in Africa because they lack their own.
That diversity forms an essential part of ARIC’s operations, in that we consistently recruit international students to participate in our research and development. Marina Lawrence, a man-ager of International Education, spoke about this to Ngwenya in a sit-down after his events had wrapped. She told him a story of how 10 years ago, when Centennial had just begun recruiting international students from India, one village gathered, and paid for a single student to study at the College. That student came here, graduated, got a job, then became a permanent resident, and sent money back to the village so that three people could go next. “So this is how it works,” she said, “One person at a time.”