NJC Guest Speaker Series

NJC Canadian Office
***If you would like to share your story/work with NJC students, please email us at alumni@neuchatel.org. We’d love to hear from you! 


Neuchâtel Junior College prides itself on offering a progressive, thought provoking curriculum to its students. Living and learning in Europe, our students are exposed to world history, unfolding current events, international guest speakers, European school competitions, different languages, and a myriad of cultural activities. We love being able to provide these remarkable opportunities to our students, and are confident it leads to NJC graduates being more active and engaged in the world around them.

One component of our curriculum that is enhanced every year is our international guest speaker series. This program allows our students to be exposed to distinctive ideas and teachings from a diverse group of talented and successful speakers. We bring in alumni, academics and professionals to engage with our students, challenge their perspectives and broaden their understandings of the world. 

This fall NJC hosted four impressive speakers. Our students had the opportunity to engage with them, both in person and virtually, and it was one of their favourite parts of the curriculum. If you are interested in learning more about the speakers and the lively discussions they had with NJC’21 students, click read more below! For more information about the philosophy behind NJC’s guest speaker series, and student-centred education, please visit the “Academics” section of our website.

September 25, 2020: Management Consular Officer, Julie Normand
After settling into the first semester, our students welcomed their first guest speaker- Julie Normand, the Canadian Consul at the Embassy of Canada in Bern. Consul Normand gave a presentation about services the Embassy provides to Canadians abroad, and how the Embassy would be able to support students during their year in Neuchâtel. Consul Normand also provided information on the (then) current Covid-19 situation in Switzerland, and how her team was working to make sure Canadians stayed safe during their travels. NJC is grateful for its continued partnership with the Embassy, and is excited to collaborate with them on other initiatives going forward, such as internships for NJC students.


October 5, 2020: Robert Johnson
Prior to departing for the October Munich Trip, NJC’21 students were visited by History Professor, Robert Johnson. Professor Johnson’s research focuses on social and economic aspects of Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union, and from 1989 to 2001 he served as director of the Centre for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Toronto.

Professor Johnson provided students with an introduction to the history of Nazi Germany and World War II; he then joined them for their weekend in Munich. After the students gained further context about the war and Nazism on their “Rise of the Third Reich” walking tour, Professor Johnson led them through a guided tour of the Dachau concentration camp. We feel incredibly fortunate that our students had the opportunity to learn from an expert in his field, and we hope to welcome back Professor Johnson next year.


December 9, 2020: Dr. Maureen Matthews 
In their Canadian and International Law class, NJC’21students have been exploring the philosophical and historical foundations of indigenous laws and the legal relationships established through treaty-making. They have also been studying the opportunities and constitutional challenges posed by the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. To provide further insight on these topics, (NJC Teacher) Mme. Kleeb brought in author, filmmaker & anthropologist Dr. Maureen Matthews to speak about her experience working with First Nations communities across Canada.

Dr. Matthews, who is a wife, mother and aunt to NJC alumni, currently serves as the curator of cultural anthropology at the Museum of Manitoba. Dr. Matthews talked to the students about indigenous methods of recording treaties, and particularly about the treaty pipes which are on display at the museum. Dr. Matthews also told the class about her time working as a journalist among the First Nations, her career change from award winning documentary maker to anthropologist, and her thoughts on how to promote better mutual understanding between First Nations and other Canadians. She was a fascinating speaker, illuminating some of the knottier social issues that had been touched on in class, and Mme Kleeb and the students wished they could have had more time with her. 
 
In 2017, Dr. Matthews was awarded a Governor's General History award for her work on the Spirit Lines: Northern Outreach Project. Click here to learn more about the Northern Outreach Project.


Dec 16, 2020: Alexandra Groome (NJC’10)
Recently one of NJC’s Alum, Alexandra Groome, was featured on the Soil Centric Podcast. Alexandra is the operations manager at nRhythm, a consulting firm that focuses on organizational health by helping organizations adopt regenerative principles in their operations. After listening to the podcast, and learning more about Alexandra’s work with the regenerative movement, we thought she would be an excellent guest speaker for NJC’s World Issues class. 
 
In December, Alexandra gave a virtual presentation about regenerative agriculture. In first semester NJC’21 students were studying climate change and environmental issues, so her talk was both fascinating and relevant. Students noted that after years of hearing so much negative news about global warming, Alexandra’s talk was “inspirational and hopeful”.  Alexandra discussed all of the ways that regenerative agricultural initiatives will reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, and will enable countries to meet 2030 world carbon targets. The students were impressed to hear from an alum who followed her passion and is now helping to make the world a better place; they also were encouraged to hear Alexandra talk about how her time at NJC, and how the advantages she gained from that experience led to the successful career she has today.

If you are interested in learning more about regenerative agriculture, and/or the amazing work Alexandra is doing, we highly recommend checking out her podcast! You can listen to it here.


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Neuchâtel Junior College offers the unique opportunity to study Canadian curriculum abroad. While living in Switzerland in a French community, students enjoy an international education through travel and experiential learning in Europe. Gap year and Grade 12  high school students gain international experience and develop independence and life skills that prepare them for university and the global workplace.

A Canadian high school in Switzerland | Grade 12 & Gap