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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Canada’s Global Villagers

CUSO in Development, 1961-86

Established in 1961, the same year as the US Peace Corps, Canadian University Service Overseas (CUSO) became the first Canadian NGO to undertake development work from a secular stance and in a context of rapid decolonization. Drawing on extensive research and interviews, Ruth Compton Brouwer tells the story of a group of young women and men who confronted the complexities of “underdevelopment” in countries such as India and Nigeria and who overcame their initial naïveté as they sought to fit into their host communities. Later, as returned volunteers, they brought unique skills to the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and other development organizations and a new level of global consciousness and cultural diversity to Canadian society.

336 pages

Table of Contents



1 “Fine Young Canadians”: Visionaries and Volunteers in CUSO’s First Decade

2 A Passage to India: Early Lessons in Development

3 “Development Is Disturbance”: Change, Politics, and Conflict in CUSO’s 1970s

4 “Big Is Beautiful?”: The Challenges of Serving in Nigeria

5 “Involvement That Lasts a Lifetime”: Returned Volunteers and Canadian Society

Conclusion: “Gnat against Elephant” and “The Time of Our Lives”

A Note on Sources and Acknowledgments

Appendices; Notes; Index

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