The UofMosaic Fellows on each campus plan and participate in initiatives that build a culture of meaningful and peaceful exchanges of ideas on campus. These initiatives are typically connected to current global conflicts or social justice issues that are relevant to the Fellows and their broader student body. They range from moderated dialogues, to seminars, to art exhibits and more.
The UofMosaic Fellows at Concordia University recently completed their first initiative – keep reading to find out more!
As part of our year-long series, Silenced Voices, our first event covered the topic of child exploitation in the cocoa industry. This event sought to engage the Concordia community and Concordia students in an open discussion about the use of child labour within the cocoa industry in the Ivory Coast, Africa. We held the event at our campus on Thursday, November 17, 2016.
While 96 people on Facebook expressed an interest in the topic, on the day of, we welcomed 12 guests. In spite of the low attendance, we had a great dialogue and discussion about consumer responsibilities and possible solutions to improve modern-day child slavery. Laura Burke, reports that according to UNICEF, “about 600,000 children in Ivory Coast work on cocoa farms, out of about 2 million farmers.” What’s more, between 2009 and 2014, the number of children working in the cocoa industry has risen by 46% (The Huffington Post). This begs the question, what role do we as consumers have to play in effecting meaningful change? We concluded that it starts with intentionally seeking more information in an effort to educate ourselves on what we could all do on an individual basis to contribute to the end of child labour. Furthermore, we believe that it is our duty, as citizens of the world, to take action through our purchasing decisions which will hopefully influence company policies.
We think it is fair to say that slavery is not dead, it has simply changed its appearance. As Kailash Satyarthi states, “child slavery is a crime against humanity. Humanity itself is at stake here. A lot of work still remains, but I will see the end of child labour in my lifetime.” The only way to abolish it, is by taking a stand!
Concordia UofMosaic Fellows
Blog written by: UofMosaic Fellows at Concordia (Aranija Kathiresu, Jason Poirier Lavoie, Vicky Sedhya Theodore, Julie Hoang)