Don’t squander opportunities in India, says Embleton

Education plays a central role in the growth and development of both Canada and India, so there was much to talk about, wrote Sheila Embleton, professor in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies and president of the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute Executive Council, in a story written for University Affairs’ Jan. 11 issue about a round-table discussion chaired by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in November.

Significant investments by the University of Alberta in "collaboratories" with Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, and arrangements that the Schulich School of Business at York University has with the S. P. Jain Institute of Management & Research stand out.

This modest result is despite the huge goodwill repeatedly expressed towards Canada, and the statements by many that Canada would be their partner of choice.

But in many cases we simply are not competing financially and the best graduate students and researchers increasingly have many attractive options, both in terms of salary and other conditions that better enable their research, wrote Embleton. We need to capitalize on the momentum of these visits – not just Prime Minister Harper’s November visit, but also Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s December visit and Quebec Premier Jean Charest’s upcoming visit in February – to get some real focus and significant competitive investment.

As a country, we need to act coherently and significantly now, and not squander any more time or opportunities, as we continue to watch others pass us by. 

  • Four years ago, Sheila Embleton, then York University’s vice-president academic, travelled to India for the first time, wrote India Abroad in its Jan. 15 issue. Embleton, who helped create York’s first-ever India strategy, is now president of the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute Executive Council, and this past December she left for her third trip to the subcontinent in just six weeks. In a few short years, Embleton went from knowing very little about India to becoming an expert.

Her story is emblematic of Canada-India academic relations, as Canada’s postsecondary institutions move en masse to seek new links with Indian universities and businesses. But even though Canadian political and business leaders, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper and several premiers, have travelled to India in search of deals, many Canadian institutions are unsure how to tap into the country’s potential.

While the quality of India’s institutions can be uneven, the good institutions are world-class, something that Embleton noticed on her first trips. India is looking for partnerships, not aid.

York’s Schulich School of Business just launched the Schulich MBA in India, the first MBA program to be delivered in that country by a business school from elsewhere. The inaugural class of the Schulich MBA in India was to be held on Jan. 4 of this year.

Why culture must lead the green revolution

“Humanizing the Science of Climate Change,” begins the unwieldy title of Ben Todd’s York University talk Thursday, wrote the Toronto Star Jan. 14. “The Role of the Arts in Driving Sustainable Lifestyles,” is how it finishes.

The lecture itself, an annual event, is named after the late Wendy Michener, a hard-nosed Canadian reporter and arts critic. Yet it sounds as if it’s being given on behalf of tree huggers who knit their own yogurt.

We need to think again. The speech has its roots in the Arcola Theatre, a commercially and critically successful fringe theatre in hardscrabble East London. Todd, a Cambridge-trained engineer, is the company’s executive director.

The lecture is also designed to provide a springboard for Todd’s belief that culture and its creators must take the lead in global greening away from the politicos whose inadequacies on the issue were exposed during the recent muddled climate-change summit in Copenhagen.

Impact of York professor’s study still reverberates in Vaughan

Campaign donations have been a source of controversy in Vaughan with compliance audit cases still before the courts, wrote the Vaughan Citizen Jan. 13 in a story about election candidates who have declared they won’t accept contributions from developers.

York University political science Professor Robert MacDermid of the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies has shone a spotlight on how many corporations, particularly those affiliated with development industries, donate to municipal campaigns in the Greater Toronto Area.

In his study Funding City Politics that examined campaign donations at the political level, MacDermid concluded donors in the development industry contributed to almost every winning candidate’s campaign. He concluded the development industry almost acts as a political party at the local political level.

Fine arts grad plugs in her acorns with Kernel Memory

The exhibit Kernel Memory is now in place at the Thames Art Gallery, featuring the work of artist and York grad Laura Moore (MFA ’06), wrote Chatham This Week Jan. 13.

Kernel Memory consists of nine acorns and one pinecone which have been enlarged, fitted with USB plugs and sculpted in marble. The addition of the USB plugs asks viewers to imagine what the forms might plug into, communicate with or enable. By replacing the stems with USB plugs, the sculptures have their connection to the tree that nourished them replaced with an umbilical link to the contemporary techno-cultural world.

Moore grew up in Chatham and currently lives in Toronto. She has a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design and an MFA from York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts. She has taught various sculpture techniques as well as drawing at York, the Toronto School of Art and the Koffler Centre of the Arts.

Test run before 1/4 Life Crisis hits road

Ah, the 15-minute relationship, wrote BC’s Kelowna Capital News Jan. 12. It’s here today, gone tomorrow. Or in Alison Lynne Ward’s case, it’s gone by the time she makes it past the love-life phase in her 45-minute one-woman show, 1/4 Life Crisis.

Next week, the 29-year-old Kelownian (BFA Spec. Hons. ’02) gives hometown fans their only opportunity to see the play she will stage at the Frigid Festival in New York City next month and at the Fringe Festival in Toronto over the summer.

Upon graduating from KLO Secondary School in 1998, the aspiring actor travelled back east to York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts and built a stage career from scratch. She spent a decade working in that city before returning for a little artistic respite in the Kelowna area where she teaches highland dance and pilates. A trip to Honduras inspired the move home, she said, admitting living in BC was always on the agenda – though maybe not as quickly as the move came about.

On air

  • Susan Dimock, philosophy professor in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies and a past director of York’s Centre for Practical Ethics, spoke about the case of a heart surgeon on his way to an emergency who was stopped for speeding, on CRFB Radio’s “The Bill Carroll Show” Jan. 13.