What is Intercordia?

What is Intercordia?

Intercordia Canada gives young Canadians the opportunity to see and know the world in a different way….through the eyes of their heart. Intercordia invites all of us to become peacemakers by choosing to meet people, who are different than we are, in their community, to live in their homes, to work with alongside them and especially to slow down and hear their life stories. When we get to know people and experience both the beauty and pain of their lives we will become less judgmental and more compassionate.

Inspired by Jean Vanier, Intercordia Canada fosters human solidarity by encouraging young Canadians to be morally responsive and develop a respect and appreciation for diversity by living and working alongside others who are different.

Intercordia Canada believes that each person is on a journey to become more fully human. Each of us needs guidance to help us live in relation to others and the world around us as we search for, create and celebrate meaning in our lives.


Intercordia is about...

 1. Being with people rather than doing for them;

2. Encountering our vulnerability as a place of learning, growth, and connection;

3. Engaging in a journey of learning together.



Intercordia Canada is an engaged learning program that partners with Canadian universities/colleges and numerous grassroots international organizations around the globe to offer students a deep learning experience designed to educate the heart and the mind for social engagement. We encourage cultural /religious/socio-economic sensitivity in students and a unity of mind and heart, which prepares them to work for positive change in our world. Our mission is to build relationships of mutuality with host partner organizations and host communities, centering hosts as active participants in the experience. We are committed to living in solidarity by being with rather than doing for others. 



The pedagogy of Intercordia Canada is rooted in L’Arche, a federation of 130 communities founded by Vanier in 1964 that welcomes people with developmental disabilities. L'Arche has a unique vision of care-giving and community-building that fosters inclusion, understanding and belonging. Intercordia Canada brings this vision to university students and our partnered host communities. Working closely with these communities, we are committed to long-term relationships with host families and organizations and our attention to their desires and expectations is critical to our ethical programming.


Intercordia Canada believes that through academic learning and first hand experience - living and working with others who are different - respect for diversity can be learned. When students become conscious of belonging to a common and shared humanity through an experience of living with people who are different, they will be able to experience true personal transformation. We see this change deeply as students connect with families who host them, people in their work placements, and community members.  Our programming aims to prepare students well for these experiences, and bridge difference to create belonging in ways that honour and respect the lives of the communities that host them.