York to collaborate with Commonwealth universities to address global inequalities

Students stand outside of Vari Hall on York's Keele Campus

York University will host a full day symposium on July 19 together with The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) to explore the important role of higher education in addressing global inequalities. 

ACU is a convenor of a community of higher education institutions from across the Commonwealth and provides opportunities for learning, collaboration and knowledge sharing. In addition, attendees will learn more about the ACU’s regional strategic priorities and its work and impact in Canada, and internationally. 

The 2023 symposium will bring together ACU members and prospective members to discuss distinct and shared challenges in addressing global inequalities, and learn how international collaboration can support these efforts. 

The day’s agenda of panel discussions, keynotes and a fireside chat will align with the symposium’s theme “Tackling inequality within – and through – higher education” and will feature York University faculty and senior leadership.  

The program will bring universities together to discuss topics of common relevance, such as access and inclusion, decolonization of higher education and social impact. 


10:45 to 11:45 a.m. – Panel 1: From rhetoric to reality: universities’ role in addressing systemic inequalities 
How can universities help to overcome deep-rooted structural inequalities in wider society? 
Chair: Joanna Newman (Secretary General and Chief Executive, The Association of Commonwealth Universities) 
Panellists: Mark Green (Queen’s University, Canada); Qui Alexander (University of Toronto, Canada); Jennifer Brennan (Mastercard Foundation); Andrea Davis (York University, Canada); James Orbinski (York University, Canada); and Mai Yasue (University of British Columbia, Canada) 

1 to 1:45 p.m. – Fireside Chat: What role does international collaboration in higher education play in helping to promote more equal universities and societies? 
International collaboration in higher education is key to meeting all 17 SDGs, but how can it help address inequality in particular? Is “inclusion” just an issue for individual institutions or does it have an international element? 
Chair: Cheryl de la Rey (vice-chancellor, University of Canterbury, New Zealand and ACU Chair of Council) 
In conversation with: Rhonda Lenton (York University president and ACU executive committee member) 

2 to 3 p.m. – Panel 2: Promoting equity in international partnerships and research 
Chair: David Phipps (assistant vice-president, research strategy and impact, York University; director, Research Impact Canada; ACU supporting research community Chair) 
Panellists: Sandeep Sancheti (vice-chancellor at Marwadi University, India); C Raj Kumar (vice-chancellor at O.P. Jindal Global University, India); and Barnabas Nawangwe (vice-chancellor at Makerere University, Uganda) 

Further information about the ACU symposium can be found here.