In a global economy that is increasingly competitive, Canada’s greatest strategic advantage will be its ability to cultivate international connections. Education is our best tool for equipping citizens to engage globally.
The federal government acknowledged this clearly in its Comprehensive International Education Strategy, which International Trade Minister Ed Fast announced today in Toronto. The strategy signals a commitment to further improve Canada’s higher education status globally.
The plan sets targets to attract more international researchers and students to Canada, deepen the research links between Canadian and foreign educational institutions and establish a pan-Canadian partnership with provinces and territories and all key education stakeholders, including the private sector.
Universities play a vital role in creating the person-to-person ties that Canada needs to succeed in the global community. International students bring with them family, business, academic, cultural and social networks and often form lifelong connections in Canada. And the personal contacts that Canadian students make during international learning opportunities are often a precursor to a variety of new relationships, from business and diplomatic opportunities.
All these activities have tremendous benefits for the Canadian economy.
Globally oriented universities like UBC take advantage of strengths of partner institutions all over the world to leverage and accelerate discovery. The product of all this research is not just the spinoff enterprises that create jobs in the local economy, but in the social policy, health care and cultural spinoffs we need to tackle the huge global challenges that are just too vast for any single institution to move. With sustained support, Canadian universities will continue to educate global citizens who are prepared to lead in a society that is connected across cultures and countries.
Stephen J. Toope
President and Vice-Chancellor