I had the opportunity to attend CSIH’s 2018 Canadian Conference on Global Health in Toronto on November 20, as part of Queen’s Non Profit’s Board Leadership Program (BLP). Coming from an undergraduate finance background, this conference provided me with wide-ranging exposure to the world of global social health. The experience was highly educational and motivating.
I was blown away by the consistent availability of drop-in sessions throughout the day, which covered diverse issues from Reproductive Health Care for Rohingya Refugees to Health Information systems, data, and surveillance. There was also an abundance of educational posters in the main hall (along with amazing food), complemented by various organizations and experts to engage with. Seeing the diverse group of people attending CCGH, and sensing their passion and dedication to improving the world was truly inspirational.
I attended a very thought-provoking afternoon workshop on How to be an Ally, which covered the topics of privilege and discussed how to be effective in the ally-ship role. An important point was that when someone in a position of privilege tries to “help” and become involved from their perspective, often this further marginalizes the oppressed group, regardless of good intentions. What’s more, when privileged groups take initiative to help those who are oppressed, input from these marginalized groups is often missing.
An effective ally should prioritize listening, and shifting power (both symbolic and real) to those people is the best way to help.
This realization helped me recognize existing issues and opportunities for improvement in the business world. The coverage of inequality and other social issues in business schools is currently limited to specific classes such as Ethics and Human Resource Management. After this workshop, I see that these discussions should be incorporated more broadly across business courses in order to integrate social issues into every aspect and decision of the business. In the long run, this should increase awareness in the new generation of students, and improve the course of development towards social equality.
In the evening finale, I attended the launch and inaugural award ceremony for Canadian Women in Global Health (CWIGH). The CWIGH initiative was created to increase women’s visibility, representation and leadership in global health work, and many women were recognized for their contributions at the ceremony.
The CCGH conference was a wonderful experience for me, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank CSIH for their partnership with Queen’s Non Profit, and making it possible for me to attend this amazing conference.