Education Director/CEO,Tree of Life Education Consultants
Master in Environmental Studies 2012
“I would encourage our students to study the great contributions that Black people have made to the advancement of human civilization. Our ancestors who have preceded us have set a high example. We must take up where they left off and emulate them.”
About Szimbah Hanley
What made you choose your program at York University? Why did you decide on your major?
I chose to pursue a post graduate degree in Environmental Studies and Education. I was inspired by the teachings of His Imperial Majesty Haile' Selassie who said: "Education is a means of sharpening the mind of man both spiritually and intellectually. It is a two edged sword that can be used either for the progress of mankind or for its destruction. Our constant desire and endeavor is to develop our education for the benefit of mankind."
What advice do you have for current and/or future Black students in the program or at York University?
I would encourage our students to study the great contributions that Black people have made to the advancement of human civilization. Our ancestors who have preceded us have set a high example. We must take up where they left off and emulate them. I would conclude by encouraging our students to put forth every effort in the pursuit of excellence in every aspect, spiritually intellectually scientifically and economically. It was Marcus Garvey who said; "God and Nature first made us what we are, and then out of our own created genius we make ourselves what we want to be. Follow always the great law. Let the sky and God be our limit and eternity our measurement."
Describe a project you are working on that you feel contributes to positive change.
Currently, I am the Director of Education for Tree of Life Education Consultants. We specialize in providing Professional Development Training to TDSB teachers in the fields of Character Education as well as Restorative Justice & Practices. We are licensed with both the Virtues Project International,(www.virtuesproject.com) and the International Institute of Restorative Practices, (www.iirp.org) as certified “Trainer of Trainers.” We facilitate Certified Professional Development Workshops, providing resources and strategies for educators to include in their lesson plans on Character Education, with the TDSB and other school boards in the Province of Ontario.
As a way of thinking and being, the Restorative Practice Framework provides a construct for acting restoratively in a ‘community’. With application in a variety of settings such as schools, youth detention facilities, community programs, workplaces, businesses, faith groups and families, the aim of the framework is to focus on strengthening relationships, restoring trust and repairing harm as a way of building community. This framework allows us to handle conflict with tact and diplomacy.