Canadian Old Ben Eric Amit receives prestigious honour - DOUG JONES writes
Old Ben Harris Royston (Eric) Amit was conferred the degree Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) by the St. Francis Xavier University during Fall Convocation 2008 ceremonies that took place on December 6 at the Charles V. Keating Millennium Centre.
Eric is former director of the Coady International Institute and a career humanitarian and the honour comes as the Coady Institute prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2009.
The Coady Institute is world-renowned for its professional education programming for community leaders working worldwide to build better lives for all people.
“Eric Amit has played a significant role in the development of the Coady International Institute’s transformative learning experience that brings global development leaders to Antigonish [in Nova Scotia] and sends then back into the world with the knowledge and practical skills for a renewed commitment to building better societies,” a press release says.
“He joined the Coady as a staff member in 1971 and retired as director in 1996. Throughout his career, he committed himself to building a community in the classroom and the world beyond. He organized and taught a course of studies in rural development based on the philosophy of the Antigonish Movement. The course remained at the core of the Coady program for more than 25 years.
“Mr. Amit has also become internationally renowned for his commitment to humanitarian causes and his work with and on behalf of the world’s poor and oppressed. In 1995, the United Nations Association recognized his efforts in generating tolerance and understanding and in promoting world peace by naming him a “Global Citizen.” Though officially retired, he continues to work extensively with Coady partners throughout Africa and South Asia, particularly in the delivery of the institute’s distance education programs. His character and influence, through his students, continue to resonate around the world.
“Before coming to the Coady Institute, Eric held senior administrative positions in Sri Lanka, overseeing district services in health, education, housing, fisheries, and agriculture. Within months of his arrival in Antigonish he was recruited by the World Council of Churches to run a Rehabilitation Program in the newly independent Bangladesh.
He received a BA from the University of Ceylon in 1951, and was a visiting Queen Elizabeth Fellow specializing in settlement planning at Oxford University in 1969. Mr. Amit received a MA in international development from Carleton University in 1981.
Eric moved to Canada in 1972 and lives in Antigonish, Nova Scotia with his wife. They have four grown-up children.
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