Poverty Studies Summer Institute

The Poverty Studies Summer Institute is a unique study opportunity that brings together students, practitioners and ministry workers into an intimate learning community. Over a 3 week period, participants will engage in active learning and discussion about the causes and impacts of poverty and best practices in how to alleviate and end it. 

The Summer Institute offers courses that respond to the material, social and spiritual dimensions of poverty providing both the knowledge and skill base to work effectively in the practice of poverty reduction. The program will consist of 3 one-week intensive courses which may be eligible for credit for Ambrose University degree programs.


Program 2017


Shock Poverty

Shock Poverty is defined as instantaneous in its occurrence and devastating in its impact. This course will examine the underlying stressors that leave people vulnerable to poverty and the shocks that can plunge people into poverty. In class, through readings and reflection, we will consider the impact of poverty in our world, the root causes of poverty, and strategies for building resilience that leads to poverty elimination.

BHS / DVST350,  June 5 - 9
Instructor: Derek Cook, Director of the Canadian Poverty Institute at Ambrose University


Community Organizing for Social Change

Applying the fundamentals of community organizing to build a movement for social change, participants will think conceptually about their own leadership and the mission of their institutions. Through this course, participants will learn and practice the skills necessary to build broad-based organizations through which they can act on their values and interests in the world. The course will be delivered by the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), one of the leaders in North America on community mobilization, and will include practitioners from across western Canada. 

BUS / DVST 406,  June 12 - 16
Instructor: Joe Chrastil, Regional Organizer, Industrial Areas Foundation


Biblical Theology of Justice

A scriptural exploration of the nature of justice and a Christian response to injustice.  Both the Old and New Testaments will be studied to understand God’s desire for justice and the call to action in our lives, in the Church and in the world.

BT645-1,  June 12 - 16
Instructor: Dr. Beth Stovell, Professor, Ambrose University

Human Rights and Poverty Workshop

Through this intensive 1 or 3 day workshop participants will gain an in-depth understanding of key poverty-related issues along with the knowledge and skills to engage and address poverty in Canada as a violation of human rights. Taking an enriching, active learning approach, this workshop will combine listening, group work, self-reflection, and the practical application of knowledge through prescribed hands-on exercises. Participants can register for a 1 day introductory workshop (June 13), or a 3 day intensive course (June 13 – 15)

Instructor: Leilani Farha, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Housing

Poverty and Human Rights: Theory, Theology and Practice

Building on the Poverty and Human Rights Workshop, this intensive course will provide a theological context for human rights and poverty work, an understanding of how human rights are situated within Judeo-Christian theology and how they might be augmented/adapted, and how a human rights framework can facilitate collaboration between secular and faith-based work. 

CS645, June 12 - 16
Instructor: Leilani Farha, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Housing and Ambrose University instructors

Co-op Development for Poverty Reduction

An overview of co-operative enterprises and co-operative development as an effective approach to poverty reduction. Participants will learn about the co-operative movement, its history in Canada and internationally, and the values and principles of co-operatives and their contribution to resolving social, environmental, and economic challenges. The course includes skill building in leadership development. Instruction will be provided by Coop Zone, Canada's leading provider of co-op development education.

BUS / DVST 406 June 19 - 23
Instructor: Eric Tusz-King, CoopZone

The Psychological Impacts of Poverty

An exploration of the impacts of poverty on human psychological development. This course will examine the effects of poverty on the maturation of the brain; cognitive, social and emotional abilities; and health outcomes.  Also considered will be the influence of living in poverty on the understanding of self and other and on how this influence contributes to risk and resilience.

BUS / DVST 445June 19 – 23
Instructor: Mark Holmgren, Director of Vibrant Communities Canada


Registration and Fees

Ambrose University Students

  • Regular course fees apply. 
  • Register through regular course registration with the Registrar


  • Regular courses: $500.00 / course. Register Here
  • Poverty and Human Rights Workshop:
    • One-day workshop - $100
    • Three-day workshop - $250

Accommodation is available for out of town students in the Ambrose University residence at a rate of $50.00 per day or $275.00 per week. Please email SpecialEvents for more information about residence accommodation.

For More Information Contact: PovertyInstitute@ambrose.edu