A parliamentary committee from Denmark is in Prince George today. 6 Members of Parliament, 2 Secretaries and 2 people from the Danish Embassy make up the committee. The group visited Vancouver, Victoria, Quesnel and Prince George over the course of the week to study different ways of developing rural districts.
While Denmark is only slightly larger than Vancouver Island, the country is struggling with shrinking rural communities.
Today, the committee made a stop at UNBC to see how a University can encourage growth in remote areas. “The Universities are only in the 4 biggest Cities in Denmark. Here in Canada, what we have really learned is how you can make a University work even though it’s in the rural districts,” says Mette Hjermind Dencker, a Member of Parliament with the Danish People’s Party and the Deputy Chair of the committee. “In Denmark, when you don’t have an education system you move away to the bigger cities, and when you move away we are pretty sure they won’t come back because then they establish themselves in the bigger cities.”
The UNBC Interim Vice President of Research and Graduate Programs, Dr. Geoff Payne, says post secondary institutions encourage a sustainable workforce. “The world is not so small. So you think about our industry challenges; workforce, students and people staying in Northern BC, rural issues. So I think all of those issues resonated with us, and it certainly validated that the things that we are doing can be seen on the global stage. What I always say is ‘UNBC; local solutions that are globally relevant’.”