Trinity Western University

2010 News

Overcoming obstacles

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The son of a commercial fisherman, Robin Carmel seemed predestined for leadership when at the age of 15 he was made captain of his own boat. His natural sense of curiosity about the world lead him to complete a BA in Political Science and International Studies at Trinity Western University in 2005. Now, after a two-year stint in the corporate world as the First Nations Liaison at a large pulp mill, he returns to TWU to complete a Master of Arts in Leadership. Carmel is the first recipient of the Canadian Pacific Aboriginal Leadership Scholarship worth $23,500.

“This scholarship will assist me in completing my goals,” says Carmel. Working as a facilitator for his band near Campbell River, BC, Carmel says his focus is to “ensure that there is a greater expertise developed so that there can be greater vision among (his) community.”

“I saw management really struggle to adjust their thinking to a global perspective,” says Carmel of his professional experience working to rebuild the relationship between the pulp mill and the Kwakiutl Nation. Carmel believes small achievements must be made in order to create energy that will develop into momentum to create real change.

And momentum is a powerful fuel. While the amount of First Nation post-secondary educated grads is increasing in number it can be a slow uphill struggle. Carmel is a distinct minority. He wants to grow and develop as a leader and contribute to the progress of his own community – but also to help other First Nations.

“While there are many wonderful breakthroughs and positive developments happening, fragmentation remains a theme in Aboriginal reality today - politically, socially, economically and spiritually. People like Carmel are the glue that can make linkages and build connection,” says MAL Adjunct Professor, Paul Kariya, who is a researcher of salmon sustainability and aboriginal community economic development and a member of TWU’s Indigenous Peoples' Task Force.

Establish in 2009, the Task Force is charged with contributing in a significant way toward assisting First Nations and Métis peoples to raise up leadership from among their own. “For First Nations to secure their rightful place in Canada, strong partnerships need to be developed between them and various sectors in society,” says Kariya. “The CP Aboriginal Leadership Scholarship is a great example of the private business sector partnering with TWU to assist the University in fulfilling its role.”

  • Last Updated on September 16th, 2010 at 4:58pm
  • Author: Jennifer Watton
  • Email: media@twu.ca
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