Canadian studies assistant professor Marsha Vicaire participates in Harvard Business School case study program 

15 Jun 2023
Vicaire selected as one of 40 Indigenous participants from Canada 

Canadian studies assistant professor Marsha Vicaire attended Harvard in May to participate in a program called Leading People and Investing to Build Sustainable Communities. The week-long program brought together 40 Indigenous participants from Canada, along with Indigenous peoples from the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand to discuss and learn from the famous Harvard Business School Case Method on topics such as Indigenous governance practices, economic and community well-being, effective negotiations, and investments.

Marsha Vicaire at Harvard Business School.

“Coming together in person and arriving on campus at Harvard, it felt quite surreal,” says Vicaire. “I kept thinking how fortunate I was as an Indigenous professor and woman and how previous generations didn’t have the same opportunities. Being on that campus and witnessing the cultural opening of the program really signified the change that is happening, the transformation, and the space that Indigenous peoples are now coming into and participating in, in larger numbers. It was quite incredible.”
Vicaire came to Mount Allison in 2021 from her home community of Listuguj on the Quebec/New Brunswick Border. She had completed the Certified Aboriginal Professional Administrator (CAPA) program through AFOA Canada, which is how she learned about the Harvard program. The program is a partnership with the U.S. National Congress of American Indians and the Native American Finance Officers Association. 
The participants were given the case materials in advance to review, so they would be prepared to discuss the case studies upon arrival. 
“It was really interesting because some of the outcomes or directions you would anticipate within each case study didn’t happen,” she says. “Our perspectives and understandings were gently challenged and encouraged by the Harvard professors and it gave us the opportunity to further develop our skillsets and challenge our own ways of thinking.”
Vicaire teaches courses in both Canadian studies and Indigenous studies at Mount Allison, including Mi’kma’ki, Contemporary Issues in Indigenous Canada, and Mi’kmaw Language. She says she will bring what she learned during this experience back to the classroom with her students.
“We discuss these same topics, like governance, economics, and community development in my classes and it’s nice to be able to learn new information and translate that into my teaching, including how the Harvard professors facilitated their sessions.”


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