Political science and sociology student Noah Lubendo has won the regional Student and Thought Leadership Award in a competition sponsored by the Fredericton chapter of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada. The award is given to the best student paper on public administration or public policy from universities in the region. Besides the honour of the award, Lubendo received $500 and a one-year membership to the organization.
Lubendo’s paper, Retention or Nothing: Barriers to Immigration in the Maritimes, was written for his Canadian Government & Politics course this past semester. The course was taught by politics professor Dr. Mario Levesque who recommended Lubendo submit his paper for the award.
“Noah is an exceptional student with a unique lens on issues given his life experiences. It is when he speaks from those experiences in relation to current pressing issues that lead to interesting and informative analyses. And, it is such analyses that are in dire need as we navigate challenging times,” says Levesque.
Lubendo, who is from Vancouver, came to Mount Allison partly because of some advice from his older brother.
“He told me if you go to a smaller school you will be able to build better relations with your professors, and this will lead to you being able to focus in class and get better grades,” says Lubendo.
Lubendo initially planned to write about the benefits of immigration, but the more he considered the issues the more he thought immigration would not address the problems that really needed to be corrected.
“At the end of the day, immigration in the Maritimes would be a really small fix,” says Lubendo. “It would not help northern New Brunswick, it wouldn’t help the rural communities. It would only help urban areas, like Moncton and Halifax.”
According to Lubendo, there are systemic structural issues in the Maritimes that immigration would not solve.
“When immigrants arrive in the Maritimes, they are, in general, better educated than the average population, earn more and have lower rates of unemployment. One way to look at this is that these immigrants are amazing— they are so prepared. Or you can look at this as immigrants are chosen because the government is looking for highly-educated immigrants to create a highly-skilled workforce instead of training and educating their own people.”
Lubendo has some firsthand knowledge of the topic of his essay.
“I am a child of refugees so when I think of immigration, I think of that.”
As well as numerous essays for school, Lubendo writes poetry and says it is a craft that spills into many different avenues.
“When I began writing poetry in my second year, I started noticing that my essays and my editing were getting better. It was a good side project to my academic work.”
Lubendo plans to go to graduate school. For now, he is working on his craft, and working towards publishing. As a writer of poetry, he has an interest in language, the complexities of symbols and the political implications of blackness in the West.
The Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) is an organization championing excellence in the public sector. It has 19 regional groups and members include public servants, academics and others interested in public administration. The Institute works with all levels of government and does research, training, knowledge sharing.
The National Student and Thought Leadership Awards in Public Administration is a joint initiative of CAPPA and IPAC that recognizes talent in Canadian schools at the regional level and at the national level. It promotes excellence in public administration and showcases the top talent emerging from Canadian programs each year.