Mount Allison alumnus Nigel Martin has taken his position as Mount Allison’s first ‘alumni-in-residence.’ He inaugurated the program by leading a workshop on global governance and individual appointments with current Mount Allison students.
Martin has worked for non-governmental organizations for nearly 40 years. He is the founder and CEO of the Forum for Democratic Global Governance (FIM), and recently co-authored a book on global governance and the response of civil society, which he spoke about at Mt. A on Tuesday.
According to the Mt. A website, the program “is designed to foster connections between current students and Mount Allison’s alumni community and allow students the opportunity to consider their options for post-graduation.”
Martin said he enjoys sharing his experience with students, and wants the learning at such events to be reciprocal.
“I get a charge out of a lot young people,” he said. “There is an energy that is rejuvenating for me. There is a knowledge that obviously surpasses my own in so many ways.”
While at Mt. A, Martin hosted individual appointments with students. One of them was second-year international relations student Liam St Louis.
“The appointment I really enjoyed,” said St Louis. “I felt like it was a personal event. He took an interest in me, my thoughts on things, and where I want to be.”
St Louis also attended Martin’s talk on Tuesday night, which drew around fifty students.
“I think this was possibly the best speech that I’ve seen here at Mt. A,” St Louis said. “It seemed a lot more candid than other speeches.”
Martin, who graduated with the class of 1965, earned a double major in History and English Literature. Although his degrees did not directly tie into his career path, he said that his experience at Mt. A did.
“I think by far the most important benefit at Mt. A was that I developed a capacity for critical analysis,” he said.
Although Martin has spent almost his entire career working for NGOs, he said that he had never heard of the term when he graduated from Mt. A.
“We can prepare ourselves through our studies as much as we want, but the world changes from the time when we study,” he said. “A liberal education, I think, prepares you better than others for the flexibility of the world.”
When he was approached to speak at Mt. A, Martin said he did not believe it.
“I thought I’d be the last guy in the world,” he said. “I thought it was a joke.”
During his third year at Mt. A, Martin was the editor-in-chief of The Argosy. When he ran an April fool’s edition of the newspaper, the joke – which portrayed newly selected Mt. A chancellor Ralph Pickard Bell and his wife in swimsuits – caused controversy on campus.
“When that went to press, within one hour, all but 100 copies had been confiscated,” he said.
He left the university that year, and was only allowed to finish his degrees after five years away. Despite his controversial time here, Martin said he was excited to return to his alma mater.