Unlearning & Relearning: International Development Beyond 2020

2020 has been a pivotal year in the world. The emergence of the global Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting economic impacts are affecting the ability of international development organizations in Alberta to carry out their missions. Within this crisis, heightened public calls to address gender and racial inequality, demands that we re-examine how we approach our work, and make the transformative changes needed to fulfill the UN Sustainable Development Goals at home and across the world. 

ACGC’s virtual conference, Unlearning and Relearning: International Development Beyond 2020 provides an opportunity for Alberta-based international aid organizations and practitioners to examine the critical issues we are facing as organizations committed to social justice and ending inequality in all its forms.  Specifically, the gathering will provide an opportunity to:

  • take stock of the state of the sector in Alberta;
  • share how our organizations and partners have been affected, and are coping with rising challenges, and;
  • transform the way we conceptualise and practise international development. 

Through exploring topics including the impacts of race and privilege, approaches to gender equality through an intersectional lens, and funding for international development, the event will help you respond to rising calls for transformation across the world and in Alberta.

Wednesday 23rd September

Conference opening statements and land acknowledgements.

Keynote Address

This powerful keynote address from Angela Bruce-Raeburn focuses on issues of systemic racism within the international development, the racial power dynamics of aid workers and volunteers in low and middle income countries, and the steps that can be taken by international development organizations to start addressing diversity and inclusion imbalances in a meaningful way. 

Viewers are encouraged to check out the Edmonton Shift Lab’s Anti-Racism Box – which was made available to registrants of the AGCC conference. The box is a personal introspective journey and provides pre-reading material that will prepare attendees for the keynote and panel sessions addressing race and privilege.

2020 has been a pivotal year in the world. The emergence of the global Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting economic impacts are affecting the ability of the international development organizations in Alberta to carry out our missions. Within this crisis, heightened, and well overdue public calls to address gender and racial inequality, demand that we re-examine how we approach our work, and call on us to make the transformative changes needed to fulfill the UN Sustainable Development Goals at home and across the world.

This panel follows the keynote address: Race and Privilege in International Development, and will addresses how Alberta based organizations working towards the Sustainable Development Goals in communities at home and abroad can work towards anti-racism and addressing issues of power and privilege. Each panelist brings perspectives on how Alberta-based organizations, working locally or internationally, can commit to anti-racism.

The panel addresses racial diversity in our sector, race and privilege within volunteerism, making meaningful partnerships in project countries, and how Alberta based organizations can make concrete efforts to move forward with anti-racism within our work. 

Pre-Session Reading Resources: 

International Development Has a Race Problem, Angela Raeburn 

The Aid Sector Must Do More to Tackle its White Supremacy Problem

Canadian Youth Volunteering Abroad:Rethinking Issues of Power and Privilege, Mai Ngo


  • Dr. Philomena Okeke-Ihejirika, Professor of Womens and Gender Studies at the University of Alberta


  • Dr. Nathan Andrews, Professor of Global and International Studies at the University of Northern British Columbia
  • Iman Bukhari, Founder and CEO of the Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation
  • Larissa Crawford, Founder and Managing Director – Future Ancestors Services
  • Mai Ngo, Author of “Canadian Youth Volunteering Abroad: Rethinking Issues of Power and Privilege”
  • Dr. Wilton Littlechild, Indigenous People’s Council, Honourary Grand Chief for the Maskwacis Crees, Former Grand Chief of the Confederacy of Treaty Six Nations, Former Commissioner for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

Pre-Session Resource List

Thursday 24th September

Facilitator: Rita Houkayem, Gender Equality Specialist, Global Affairs Canada, Partnership for Innovation Branch

Danielle Gibbie, Director of Institutional Partnerships at Operation Eyesight
Patricia Gumbo, Director of Sihle-Sizwe Vineyard Foundation
Sarah Keeler, Community Engagement Coordinator at Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan
Danielle Skogen, Program Development Director at Canadian Humanitarian
Lorraine Swift, Executive Director of Change for Children

Covid Impacts Genders Differently (an excerpt from Global Affairs Canada Gender Equality Guide for COVID-19 related projects):

“A health crisis like COVID-19 poses specific risks related to entrenched unequal gender roles of women and girls, the disease itself and broader gender-related risks arising from the social and economic upheaval. 

Women’s traditional roles as care-givers both within the family and as health-care workers increases their risk of contracting the disease, while at the same time increasing their burden of unpaid care work. COVID-19 is not only a public health crisis but also an economic and societal crisis that has a particular impact on the most marginalized populations and exacerbates social exclusions and discrimination experienced by marginalized groups such as persons with disabilities and those living in extreme poverty. This is especially acute for women and girls living in these marginalized and impoverished contexts.”

This panel discusses observations that organizations working in COVID-19 response and in communities around the world have made with regards to the effects of the pandemic and social crisis on women and girls; how Canadian organizations partnering with local communities can assist in addressing these problems and in ensuring that their responses take gender equality concerns into consideration.

Pre-Session Resource List

The Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic and Response on Women and Girls Around the World Alberta Council for Global Cooperation, Operation Eyesight, Sihle-Sizwe Vineyard Foundation, Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, Canadian Humanitarian, Change for Children
Together Alberta Story Series 2020: Responding to COVID-19 Around the WorldAlberta Council for Global Cooperation
Gender Equality Guide for Covid-19 Related ProjectsCanadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health (CanWaCH)
Feminist International Assistance Gender Equality Toolkit for Projects Global Affairs Canada
The Invisible Pandemic That’s Been Years in the Making – Oxfam Canada
Why Gender Matters in the Impact and Recovery from Covid-19 – Lowy Institute

Take part in one of the following open conversations:

What Can We Do About It? Race in International Development
Facilitated by Equitas (Amy Cooper, Senior Education Specialist, Equitas) 


What Can We Do About It? Gender in International Development 
Facilitated by Oxfam Canada (Mayssam Zaaroura, Women’s Rights Knowledge Specialist, Oxfam Canada)

These coffee chats will provide a facilitated open and safe space for conference attendees to share and discuss the challenges, opportunities and different solutions that they are coming up with to address issues of race and gender representation, inclusion and voice within their organizations and projects. Attendees are invited to share their experiences and their journeys regarding these issues.

Friday 25th September

Live Discussion

Facilitator: Leah Ettarh, Executive Director ACGC 

At the Leader’s Breakfast, ACGC will host various political leaders and government representatives in a panel discussion with Alberta-based international aid organizations.  Even though this is a virtual event, real breakfasts are welcome!  

Research Presentation

Facilitator: Leah Ettarh, Executive Director ACGC Speakers: Erika Richter, ODA Advocacy Coordinator CCIC Presentation of initial research findings:  In 2020, ACGC undertook a research project reviewing the state of funding to international development projects in Alberta. It was  undertaken in the wake of the Alberta Government’s elimination of the International Development Grant stream from the Community Initiatives Program (CIP) in the 2019-23 Fiscal Plan released in late 2019. Elimination of this funding, meant elimination of support to  civil society organizations who are working on tackling global poverty and inequality, and promoting women’s rights, human rights, environmental protection, and democracy. The presentation is followed by a discussion around next steps and how ACGC member organizations can craft a response to the funding elimination.  It also is followed by an update on CCIC’s ODA advocacy campaign and the current state of ODA in Canada. 

Fireside Chat

In the wake of Covid-19 and changes in funding available for international development organizations in Alberta, this panel aims to look beyond 2020 to see what new and innovative funding mechanisms are emerging. The panel provides space for funding bodies to do short presentations about their organizations, explaining how the funding mechanisms work or will work, the important gaps the funding mechanisms are filling and to give ACGC member organizations an opportunity to engage and ask questions.


  • Christina MacIsaac, Director of Innovation at Fund for Innovation and Transformation (FIT)
  • Anne Delorme, Fund Director at Act Together for Inclusion Fund (ACTIF)

Keynote Address: Race and Privilege in International Development

Angela Bruce-Raeburn is currently serving as Regional Advocacy Director at the Global Health Advocacy Incubator – which focuses on building advocates for prevention of non-communicable diseases that impact low and middle-income countries. Previously, Ms. Bruce-Raeburn worked as the Senior Policy Advisor for the Humanitarian Response in Haiti at Oxfam in the aftermath of the earthquake from 2010 to 2013.

Born in Trinidad and Tobago, Angela grew up in Brooklyn New York. The immigrant experience drove her interest and commitment to choosing a career where she would be able to impact the lives of vulnerable people. In 2006, Angela received a Congressional Black Caucus Fellowship with a work placement in the Office of the former CBC Chairperson Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick from Michigan.

Fluent French speaker, Angela holds three Masters Degrees, in Public Administration, Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution and a B.A in Political Science from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. Angela has written op-eds on development, race and privilege including Wait Until They See your Black Face and International Development has a Race Problem.

Mrs. Bruce-Raeburn has been married for twenty-seven years to Dr. Alan Raeburn a Tobagonian who is a practicing veterinarian. The couple has three sons, Zachary 24, Zion 20 and Zidane who is 18 years old. The Raeburn’s make their home in Rockville Maryland with their sons and their dog Bamboo.