Ambrose announces new Canadian Poverty Institute director

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Ambrose University is pleased to announce Derek Cook as the new director of the Canadian Poverty Institute. 

“The Canadian Poverty Institute is a unique service initiative that will inspire and empower Ambrose students to think critically and practically about poverty,” said Gordon T. Smith, Ambrose president. “We are so very pleased to welcome Derek Cook into the leadership of this program, given his deep commitment to our mission and his extensive experience with the city of Calgary.” 

Cook comes to Ambrose with more than 25 years of experience developing policy and programs in the public and non–profit sectors. Most recently, he served from 2011 to 2015 as executive director of the Calgary Poverty Reduction Initiative (CPRI), Mayor Naheed Nenshi’s task force on poverty reduction. Under Cook’s leadership, the CPRI spent 18 months in consultation with local communities to develop Calgary’s Enough for All poverty reduction strategy. The strategy was unanimously approved by City Council in June of 2013, and the remainder of the project was devoted to implementation and building community capacity. 

Cook’s extensive experience with strategic poverty reduction and community consultation is an ideal fit for the Canadian Poverty Institute (CPI). Established at Ambrose last year, the CPI aims to train experts and to identify proven and replicable programs to address the many facets of poverty in Canada. The CPI contributes to Ambrose’s mission of preparing students for redemptive engagement in society; it provides a space to share the research and expertise of Ambrose faculty beyond the classroom; and it also enables the university to build partnerships with other institutions around the common goal of serving the wider community. 

John Rook, the founding director of the CPI, is encouraged to see the institute under Cook’s leadership. 

“I am delighted that Derek Cook has been chosen to lead and develop the work of the next phase of the CPI,” Rook said. “He is a man of deep faith and untiring passion for the work of poverty. His experience developing the Enough for All strategy, his knowledge of the presenting issues, his understanding of government policy, and his keen insights into church and society makes him eminently qualified to lead the next phase of this exciting institute. We are in good hands.” 

--Ambrose University

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