How George Brown College’s partnerships in the Caribbean benefit students, communities and industries

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As the sights, sounds and tastes of the Caribbean fill the city for the return of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival, we’re celebrating our international partnerships in the region. 

Jamaica tourism MOU signing

Our students and faculty benefit from the strong partnerships we’ve developed in the Caribbean and there’s no end in sight to the exciting real-world learning experiences, community-building efforts, and opportunities for innovation they provide. 

George Brown College reaches beyond borders to prepare students for the global workforce with international experience and cultural competencies, and our connections in Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, and other parts of the Caribbean play a big part in how we do this.  

We offer work-integrated learning opportunities, take part in faculty knowledge exchange and offer international education pathways thanks to the relationships we’ve established with local governments, non-governmental organizations, and partners like the University of the West Indies (UWI), Erdiston Teachers' Training College in Barbados, and Shortwood Teachers College in Jamaica. 

“As a locally strong, globally connected college, creating opportunities for community engagement and knowledge sharing and giving students the chance to gain international perspectives during a work placement is vital for us,” said David Begg, George Brown’s Associate Vice-President, Global Partnerships and Education. “We’re grateful to have such wonderful and longstanding partnerships across the Caribbean, and while the pandemic has put some efforts on hold, we continue to move forward with the spirit of community, innovation and reciprocity.”  

George Brown College was honoured with a 2015 UWI Chancellor’s Award for our contributions to and success in the region. Learn more about our work below. 

Working with Jamaican partners to build resilience in the tourism sector 

George Brown College became the first Canadian partner to join a global tourism think tank based at UWI aimed at helping the sector adapt to disruptors like pandemics and climate change. In March 2022, George Brown President Dr. Gervan Fearon and Jamaican Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett signed a memorandum of understanding (pictured above) to formalize our partnership with the Global Tourism Resilience & Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC). 

A satellite GTRCMC centre slated to open at George Brown will provide exciting opportunities for students at the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, as well as at the college’s new Brookfield Sustainability Institute, which is focused on developing solutions to challenges created by climate change. 

“This partnership provides the opportunity for our students, faculty and staff to contribute to tourism sustainability in a real and tangible way at a global level,” Fearon said. 

Learn more  

Ready for new opportunities in Barbados

In November 2020, George Brown entered into an agreement with Erdiston Teachers’ Training College in Barbados to open new opportunities for collaboration with the Centre for Business and School of Early Childhood that could include study abroad, applied research and business analytics data activities. 

“This is a knowledge exchange with our partners at Erdiston Teachers’ Training College," said Patricia Chorney Rubin, George Brown’s Director of Early Childhood Education. “Our partnership agreement includes sharing materials, resources and expertise, and providing opportunities to learn with and from each other with a research agenda.” 

Learn more  

The Jamaica Project — nearly 30 years of partnership in early childhood education 

One of George Brown’s longest-running efforts in the Caribbean exists at the School of Early Childhood. Chorney Rubin said it started with a work abroad experience nearly three decades ago. That experience led to a Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) grant to support the college’s work on Jamaica’s early years agenda. It grew to include the Jamaican Ministry of Education, PACE Canada, UWI and Shortwood Teachers College. 

The CIDA grant firmly established the School of Early Childhood’s relationships in Jamaica, and for two decades groups of George Brown students travelled to Jamaica every January for work-integrated learning experiences in early learning centres. 

While George Brown’s in-person activities in Jamaica were put on hold due to the pandemic, the School of Early Childhood has continued its work with the Jamaican Ministry of Education through virtual workshops and conferences. 

Chorney Rubin runs the school’s study abroad initiatives with Childcare Lab School Manager Collette Kane and Professor Gail Hunter and she’s hopeful students will soon return. 

"We are optimistic that we will continue to have study abroad experiences in Jamaica as soon as we're able to do so,” she said.  

Read about students’ Jamaica Project experiences  

School of Social and Community Services’ work in Jamaica 

Like the School of Early Childhood, the School of Social and Community Services has longstanding experience in Jamaica providing work-integrated learning opportunities for students with organizations across the country. 

For nearly 20 years the school worked with the Jamaican Foundation for Lifelong Learning to provide six-week practicums for George Brown students.  

In 2020, the school worked with the non-profit organization Women’s Resource and Outreach Centre Ltd. (WROC) to provide work placement opportunities for George Brown students in community and social service delivery. 

Providing dental care in Jamaica 

Dental hygienist and George Brown alumna Kim Daley founded Nine Miles of Smiles in 2006. It’s an organization that provides free dental care to underserviced areas in Jamaica.  

Students and faculty from the School of Dental Health have in the past travelled to Jamaica with the organization to provide oral care and education. 

“Kim (Daley’s) goals and our goals were a good match in providing care to marginalized populations, allowing our students opportunities to work in outreach communities to deliver oral health care,” Lisa Rogers, Chair of the School of Dental Health told the Dialog in 2015

Learn more