International Ed Talks 2021

A poster of the six student International Ed Talk speakers.

In celebration of International Education Week 2021 (November 15-19) Royal Roads students sparked conversations about the power of international education in six thought-provoking presentations.

With topics ranging from speaking up against human rights abuses, to poverty eradication through education to powerful personal reflections about self-love, our annual International ED Talks speakers reflected on what international education meant to them. Here’s what they said.

Aliceritah: The light still shines on

She was taught to stay silent. But she wanted more for herself and more for her son.

Master of Arts in Leadership-Health student Aliceritah shares her story of breaking free from an abusive marriage and finding the strength to speak up and ask for help.

“Where I come from, a woman is expected to be loyal to her husband by not talking about the discomfort or hard times one is going through,” she says. “You’re supposed to paint a perfect picture of your marriage regardless.”

Find out how help came from the place she least expected.

Amar Virk: Reducing poverty through education

Growing up in the tiny village of Jawalapur, India, Amar Virk remembers times when there was no food on the table. There was no electricity in the two-bedroom home he shared with his parents and brother, and the roof leaked in the rain.

The poverty was intense. But not as strong as his parents’ desire to educate their children.

“They saw the value in sending their kids to school – an English school,” says the Bachelor of Commerce in Entrepreneurial Management student. “[My father] would often remark that we are going to need this language if we are going to break through the cycle of generational poverty.”

Find out how his mother, who can’t read or write, inspired Virk to create opportunities for other women in education.

Boluwaji Adewale Olaniru: Forgotten voices

She moved to Canada at two years old, leaving both her home country of Nigeria, and the threat of female genital mutilation (FGM), behind.

Now, Doctor of Social Sciences candidate Boluwaji Adawale Olaniru, is using her voice to speak up for those who can’t.

“I want to use my platform to educate, to inform, to sensitize and to spread awareness about the harmful effects of FGM.”

Hear her story.

Ena Lucia Mariaca: Impactful academics: Including the marginalized voices of male survivors of human trafficking.

Human Trafficking is the hidden crime that happens in plain sight, says Master of Arts in Human Security and Peacebuilding student Ena Lucia Mariaca. Over the last 10 years, she’s committed her work and research toward learning about it and sharing the stories of survivors.

“Male survivors of child sexual exploitation are often marginalized by society. They face stigma, and their trauma experience is often forgotten or ignored,” she says. “This was unacceptable to me. A child that has experienced trauma needs help regardless of their gender and those little boys’ voices now mattered to me.”

Find out why she says inviting marginalized voices to the forefront of academic research is critical.

Katerina Moiseeva: Beyond the comfort zone

She had it all – a well-paid job, regular holidays in the Maldives and a countryside house complete with a room dedicated to practicing yoga. Master of Arts in Tourism Management student Katerina Moiseeva’s life in Russia was perfect. Or was it?

“I had everything, but I felt like I was trapped, in a palace,” she says.

Find out how education gave her the key to break free from her comfort zone.

Walter Alvarez: Accept yourself, love yourself and the sky is the limit

After leaving war-torn Guatemala for Canada, Doctor of Social Sciences candidate Walter Alvarez battled hunger, homelessness and a learning disability.

“Because of my ADHD, I had to make an extra effort just to operate at the same level as everybody else,” he says. “After I got diagnosed, the beautiful magical moment that happened in me is somehow, I came out not only to the world, but to myself. I felt this moment of epiphany of self-acceptance and love.”

Discover Walter's journey to self-acceptance and self-love.