Leveraging excellence

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) in association with York University is hosting rectors from 12 Japanese universities and presidents and senior administrators from 12 Canadian universities for a three-day forum on higher education reform Sept. 22 to 24.

The international forum will feature roundtable discussions on such areas as education reform and policy development, international exchanges, new learning technologies, student recruitment and university management. The forum will culminate in a reception on Thursday, Sept. 23, sponsored and hosted by Manulife Financial – the largest Canadian-based business in Japan.

“This forum is the second in a series of discussions involving 12 Japanese and Canadian university presidents and we are very happy to serve as host,” said York University President and Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden.

“The forum demonstrates the commitment that Canadian universities have to build strong links with the international academic community,” said Claire Morris, president of AUCC. “Our students and universities benefit from these links and from the cross-cultural knowledge and understanding that they foster, which are so important in our global society.”

President Marsden recently invited members of the Japanese-Canadian community for their assistance in contacting graduates from the participating Japanese universities. These graduates have been invited to join with University rectors and presidents, as well as other community and business leaders at the evening reception, to be held at the Japanese-Cultural Centre. “We are very excited that so many graduates from the participating Japanese universities currently living and working here in Toronto will be joining us for this unique gathering,” said Marsden.

Right: The Red-Laquered Gate at the University of Tokyo

In the spring of 2001, the Canadian Embassy in Japan organized the Roundtable I event for 12 Japanese university rectors and 12 Canadian university presidents to initiate discussions on higher education reforms – including many areas of shared concern. This took place as part of a series of “Think Canada/Pensez Canada 2001” events in Tokyo. The meetings, co-chaired by Marsden and Yoshiyuki Naito, president of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, were considered highly productive, and Canada invited the Japanese rectors to visit this year as part of the commemoration of 75 years of diplomatic relations between Canada and Japan.

The three-day meeting will include visits to the University of Waterloo and Queen’s University. The Roundtable II discussions on higher education reform will be co-chaired by a Canadian university president and a Japanese rector. The speakers at each of the sessions will also be partnered.

Opening remarks will be presented by Wade MacLauchlin, president of the University of Prince Edward Island, and Setsucho Ikehata, president of Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. While in Canada, the Japanese rectors will have an opportunity to visit the McMichael Canadian Art Collection Gallery and will view the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory. All discussions taking place at York University will be held in the new state-of-the-art Technology Enhanced Learning Building.