Human rights activist Clemantine Wamariya has gained international attention since her first appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2006 to share her experiences of the Rwandan genocide and a childhood spent in African refugee camps. Since that first visit, when she and her sister were reunited with their long-lost parents, Wamariya has been a guest on Oprah three more times, has graduated from Yale with a comparative literature degree, and was appointed by US President Barack Obama to the board of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Leading up to her keynote address at TRU, at the opening ceremonies for International Days, the Newsroom asked Wamariya about her fight for human rights and how she inspires others to make a difference. Follow the link below to continue reading the complete Q & A with Clemantine.
TRU: Why is it important for youth to get involved with a cause?
I have a problem with the word cause, or issue. When you think of a cause or issue, you remove the personal experience and are removed from the understanding of others in general. Because when you think of causes, you almost think of it as something foreign—it’s not us, it’s just a cause. So I’ve thought about reframing it as challenges that we’re still facing.
And this is why youth should be aware of the issues, the causes, because these are challenges we’re facing in the world today. If we don’t tackle it right now, there are more, and bigger consequences for us to deal with in the future, and it will be financial, mental, and emotional. We need to be aware of what’s going on around us because sooner or later we’re going to have to pay for it with our own money, our own time, or our own lives.
It’s important for youth to get involved in the challenges because we are so free, we have the time, we have so much energy, so much power in us right now to really tackle things that are challenging us. So when we are older and have kids, we can say, “I’m glad I did that because my kids, our kids, won’t have to worry about that challenge anymore”.
Continue reading the Q & A with Clemantine Wamariya
Read more about International Days March 11-14
TRU Alumnus Jim Cotter and his BC teammates finished second at the Tim Hortons Brier after dropping the final, 10-5, to Alberta on Sunday.
Cotter is a 2002 graduate of of the Computer System Operation and Management Diploma program.
As a member of the John Morris team out of Vernon and Kelowna, Cotter’s position is third, but throws fourth stones.
The Brier ran March 1-9 in Kamloops at the Interior Savings Centre, with the round-robin going Sunday through Thursday and the playoffs Friday through Sunday.
Learn more about Computing Science at TRU
Cotter is originally from Kamloops, where he spent his younger and teen curling years. He now lives in nearby Vernon.
The photo above is a screen capture from TSN’s video wrap-up coverage of BC and Saskatchewan in Draw 16
Meet Katie Bennett, a fourth year Bachelor of Science student majoring in Animal Biology. The Newsroom asked Katie about the ins and outs of conducting her own research project through TRU’s Undergraduate Research Experience Award Program (UREAP).
TRU: Your project is titled, “Detection of the parasitic chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis on Spadefoot toads in the Kamloops region.” Boil it down for us.
KB: The parasitic chytrid fungus B. dendrobatidis is leading to mass mortalities of amphibians worldwide and is spreading throughout North America. It is already causing species to become endangered but it is not known whether it is present in the Kamloops region. This study aimed to test for the presence of the chytrid fungus on endangered spadefoot toads on the New Gold mine site using a real time PCR technique. New Gold is an intermediate mining company located just south of Kamloops.
TRU: What attracted you to doing this research?
KB: I felt that it would supplement my in-class learning and provide me with the opportunity to get hands-on experience in the field of biology. Initially I did not know what I wanted to research, all I knew is that I wanted to do something related to animal biology. However, with the help of Dr. Jonathan Van Hamme and Dr. Karl Larsen I was able to devise a very exciting project. I particularly like that I have been able to incorporate both field and lab work into my research as it has helped me to learn more than I might have if I had only done one or the other.
“What I love about research is the freedom it allows you to explore a subject you are interested in.” —Katie Bennett
TRU: How has your UREAP grant helped you get into doing research?
KB: My UREAP grant has allowed me to focus on research while still having enough funds to pay for school. This greatly helps to reduce any added stress on top of assignments and exams.
TRU: Will your project lead to a presentation or publishing opportunity?
KB: At the end of March I will be presenting my project at the TRU Undergraduate Research and Innovation Conference. I don’t know whether my project will lead to a publishing opportunity in the future but that is certainly a goal of mine. The findings of my research could aid in developing conservation efforts for protecting spadefoot toads by identifying where the chytrid fungus is present and also determining whether or not it is a contributing factor to the endangered status of spadefoots. For these reasons, being able to publish my research would be very exciting.
TRU: What have you learned from this experience?
KB: Research doesn’t always go the way you have planned. All you can do is stay positive, adapt, and find solutions to your problems. What I love about research is the freedom it allows you to explore a subject you are interested in.
TRU: Who in your field do you admire and why?
KB: I admire both my supervisors, Jon Van Hamme and Karl Larsen. Jon is always upbeat and has a superb work ethic that I hope to one day obtain. He is also extremely helpful when I am having troubles with the molecular portion of my project. Karl is very enthusiastic and passionate about what he studies and teaches. I hope to one day find a subject that I enjoy and care about as much as Karl does about his studies.
TRU: What impact do you hope your research will have?
KB: I hope that my research will impact the local efforts aimed at conserving endangered amphibians. I also hope that the New Gold mine will design strategies for conserving the spadefoots within their operational area. There needs to be more concern for endangered species and I would like for this study to support the need for more research on the chytrid fungus in BC.
Read more about Katie’s research experience with spadefoot toads in the Spring 2014 issue of Bridges Magazine, coming in May.
Related Story: Bring learning to life with research experience
Dr. Richard Frimpong Oppong and JD candidate Lisa Niro of TRU’s Faculty of Law have won the James Crawford Prize for the best paper of the year submitted to the Journal of International Dispute Settlement, a leading peer-reviewed journal published by Oxford University Press. This is the first professor-student co-authored and published article by the Faculty of Law.
“To have our work recognized at an international level by such a prestigious award is very exciting,” says Niro, who will be among TRU Law’s first graduating class of 2014. “The issue we have been researching is relatively unexplored and commented on in international law, so to become well versed in this area and then be recognized through the James Crawford Prize for our discussion and commentary on the topic is an honour.”
Oppong and Niro’s article, “Enforcing Judgments of International Courts in National Courts”, examines the ability of national courts to enforce the judgments of international courts in cases of litigation by individuals. Drawing on a recent Constitutional Court of South Africa decision and comparisons with other jurisdictions, they reveal the challenges of enforcement and possible solutions, and bring attention to an emerging issue in international law.
In the citation the James Crawford Prize Committee observed that the article “tackles a major problem of long-term interest, made significant contributions to that problem, and is written in a lucid and convincing manner”. The Committee further described the article as of ‘’exceptional quality’’.
Oppong, an expert on private international law and one of the founding faculty, holds a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) grant to research the extent to which the lack of effective enforcement mechanisms for international judgments undermines individual rights to international justice, and examine the extent to which national courts may be important sites to overcome this challenge.
“The article is a significant output from research undertaken with the SSHRC grant,” says Oppong. “I intend to draw on aspects of the article for a book dealing with the enforcement of judgments of international courts in national courts.” A contract for the book, which will be published in 2015, has been signed with Brill Nijhoff, the leading international law publisher based in the Netherlands.
“It has been such a rewarding opportunity to work with Richard over the past two years,” adds Niro, who has been Oppong’s research assistant since the outset of the project in the summer of 2012. “Not only has it enriched my law school experience and taught me a lot about a very interesting and unique area of the law, but it has also allowed me to expand my legal horizons and travel overseas to speak at conferences and attend the Hague Academy of International Law.”
The James Crawford Prize recognizes the best paper received and accepted for publication in the Journal of International Dispute Settlement. The article will be published in the second issue of the 2014 volume of the Journal. The Prize comes with an award of £500 of Oxford University Press books and a one-year online subscription to the Journal.
For more information:
Dr. Richard Frimpong Oppong, Law Professor
TRU Faculty of Law
Thompson Rivers University
E: [email protected]
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