Colin and Irene MacDonald – Calgary
Colin is on the St. F. X. Board of Governors and a partner in the Calgary office of Borden Ladner Gervais. His wife, Irene, teaches school in Calgary and writes this report:

The only word that best describes my experience is “overwhelming”. I had no idea of the magnitude of the wonderful things the Coady Institute was doing around the world. There were several “Wow” moments.
 
I was most impressed by the level of dedication the Coady graduates have in improving the lives of the people in their communities. How they can sustain this determination, day-to-day and year-after-year astounds me. The impact that it had on me personally has been tremendous.
 
I think of Jayshree Vyas, SEWA Bank's Managing Director, and her work with the Coady. That organization is proving hope and a future to so many women and their families. The Coady people there are the backbone and the strength of these organizations. Their leadership capabilities, I’m sure were enhanced and developed through their training with the Coady Institute.
 
 
(above) Jayshree Vyas, SEWA Bank's Managing Director, speaks to the group.
 
I am a strong supporter of St. Francis Xavier University, but I feel like my efforts are small compared to the work done by the Coady graduates. I think of Bhim Prasad Upadhyay, from the Annapurna Conservation Area, who travelled on foot through the mountains of Nepal for five days, and then took a bus for one day to reach our 50 th Anniversary party in Kathmandu. He attended the event and told us of the work he is doing in his remote home, and then headed back, retracing the same route, the next day.
 
At the Anniversary celebration I sat next to a man, I didn’t know who he was but he told me he was a Coady graduate. Later in the evening, he got up to address the audience. He told us that he is a Dalit, the lowest caste. He described his time in Antigonish, at St. F.X., and said that it forever changed him. He told us how he was accepted and welcomed there by so many people with various backgrounds and status. He lamented that here he was at home in Nepal, twenty years later, and he doesn’t feel that openness. He questioned when Nepal can have an open society. Like all the Coady graduates I met on this journey, he has a strong connection to the institute and its ideals. These strong connections make a difference and the work they are doing is improving the lives of others around them.