Cuso International: 60 Years and Counting


60th Logo English

Ottawa, Ontario. June 6, 2021 – Sixty years ago, against the backdrop of the UN’s Decade of Development, Cuso International (then known as CUSO – Canadian University Services Overseas) was born.  Six decades on, what began as a dream inspired by the turbulent ‘60s and a group of visionary young minds, has transformed into one of Canada’s longest serving international development organizations.  On June 6, 2021, Cuso marks sixty years of service.

In those early years, volunteers were overwhelmingly young Canadians, newly minted with university degrees. Over the decades, as Cuso’s programming focus evolved, skilled professionals with long-service careers from various sectors stepped up.  “Cuso’s programming and geographic footprint has changed over the years, but the commitment to a better world for all has never wavered,” says Glenn Mifflin, CEO of Cuso International.  “Our work continues to seed long-term sustainable solutions to combat poverty and inequality. Together with our local partners, we have impacted millions of lives.”

“Global Affairs Canada is proud to support the work of Cuso International,” says the Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of International Development.  “The thousands of Cuso volunteers who have provided their expertise around the world are helping build capacity for hundreds of local partners and their communities.   Thank you to the organization, to everyone who has volunteered with you, and all who have supported your efforts for a more just, inclusive, and sustainable world.  You have been tremendous ambassadors for Canada.”

Regardless of where or when they served, Cuso volunteers have helped raise awareness of the developing world, an experience they were eager to share when they returned home.  During these six decades, more than 14,000 volunteers have travelled to more than 100 countries, where they became the face of Canada in the Global South. They applied their skills to train, mentor and work alongside local partners and communities.  While Canadian volunteers still travel overseas, Cuso also engages e-volunteers and recruits volunteers abroad.  Today, Cuso works with local partners in 10 countries, as well as in Canada’s Northwest Territories, to advance gender equality and social inclusion, increase access to education, develop decent economic opportunities and enhance women and girls’ sexual and reproductive health.

“Generations of people on four continents have benefited from Cuso programs,” says Patricia Perez-Coutts, Board Chair of Cuso International. “We are honoured to celebrate the lives of those who have contributed, the donors who have supported us, those who have benefitted, and those who continue to passionately pursue creating a more inclusive world for all.”

On June 10, 2021, a virtual Town Hall will mark the milestone 60th anniversary featuring Shirley M. Tilghman (Sierra Leone, 1968-1970), Officer of the Order of Canada, Fellowship of the Royal Society, Professor of Molecular Biology and Public Policy and President Emerita of Princeton University, and Lloyd Axworthy, Her Majesty’s Privy Council for Canada, Companion of the Order of Canada, Order of Manitoba, and Cuso International Chair from 2014-2018. To learn more, visit:

Cuso International

Cuso International is a Canadian charity committed to ending poverty and inequality. Cuso works with local partners around the world to advance gender equality, enhance women, and girls’ empowerment, and improve economic opportunities for youth. Through skills sharing, we are building sustainable futures. Each year we mobilize hundreds of professionals who volunteer their time and provide their knowledge to amplify our impact. Learn more at:


For More Information Contact:

Linda Hartwell 

T: 819-923-7926