Concordia professor and economist Marguerite Mendell will receive the ‘Marie-Andrée-Bertrand Prix du Québec’ award for social
innovation on Nov. 12 at a special ceremony to be held at the Assemblée nationale du Québec.
The Prix du Québec honours individuals who advance knowledge in their fields over their lifetime which benefits the culture and expertise in Quebec.
Maka Kotto, minister of culture and communications, and Pierre Duchesne, minister of higher education, research, science and technology revealed the award recipients on Oct, 28.
Of the 13 recipients this year, Mendell is the only professor at Concordia University to be recognized.
“I was thrilled, there’s no other way to describe it,” said Mendell. “It’s a remarkable recognition of many years of hard work.”
Concordia University nominated Mendell for the award.
“The great source of pride for me was the fact that my university thought that highly of me,” she said.
Besides teaching at the Concordia School of Community and Public Affairs, where she engages her students in community based research, Mendell has collaborated with practitioners in community economic development, social economy and the finance sector.
“I continually enjoy bringing my research to bear on my teaching and as often as possible to engage students either as research assistants or to accompany me on trips,” Mendell explained.
Mendell was not able to bring her students on her most recent trip, however, as she left for Korea on Nov. 2 to attend the 2013 Social Economy Global Forum, co-hosted by the mayor of Seoul and the Government of Quebec.
The GSEF is an international event, where more than 1,000 participants are expected from more than 30 countries around the world. This year’s program will focus on the concept of social economy.
Mendell will be the keynote speaker and present an additional series of lectures.
“I’m going to address the role of the social economy in urban regeneration and also in societal well being,” said Mendell.
Earlier this year, she gave a presentation at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development in Geneva on social and solidarity economy.
In 2012, Mendell was awarded the inaugural ‘Prix Pierre-Dansereau’ from the Association francophone pour le savoir, for her commitment to improving society.
Mendell is also the co-founder and director of Concordia’s Karl Polanyi Institute of Political Economy, established in 1988. With Polanyi’s daughter, she co-created the Karl Polanyi Archive, a research tool for scholars in all disciplines interested in Karl Polanyi’s work, who is known for his opposition to traditional economic thought.
She also co-founded the Montreal Community Loan Association, the first microfinance organization in Canada, in 1990.
“I’m proud that I’ve been able to combine my research, my teaching and my involvement directly in organizations,” said Mendell.
While having contributed to the development of Quebec society, Mendell expressed how much she has learned from the province as well.
“Quebec has been my school,” she expressed. “Quebec is a very dynamic place and we always have things to think about and discuss, to get irritated about […] It’s a place where dialogue is important and a lot of the initiatives that I work on are the results of dialogue.”
Her published work on the social economy in Quebec has gained international attention in the global effort to create economic initiatives to reduce poverty.
“I’m very lucky that I thrive on my work,” said Mendell. “I’m passionate about the work I do.”