Chakma to help Canada with global outlook

University of Western Ontario president Amit Chakma has been tapped to head an expert panel tasked with guiding Canada’s international education strategy as part of the next phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan.

“I am honoured to have been asked to serve as Chair of the advisory panel,” Chakma said. “I look forward to working with fellow panel members as we begin this important work, and we commend the Government of Canada for recognizing the need for a comprehensive international education plan.”

Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, along with Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, and Ted Menzies, Minister of State (Finance), made the announcement today.

The panel will advise the government on attracting the best and brightest international students to Canada; strengthening Canada’s engagement with emerging priority markets; expanding the delivery of Canadian expertise, knowledge and education services abroad; and promoting partnerships between Canadian and international education institutions.

“Education, innovation and knowledge are now key drivers in a world economy that is increasingly interconnected through global supply chains, trade alliances between countries, and businesses seeking to expand and succeed in high-growth markets around the world,” Fast said in a keynote speech in Beijing to representatives of more than 90 Canadian educational institutions. “Attracting more international students and researchers to Canada will create jobs and economic growth, expand our people-to-people ties in priority markets, showcase Canadian research excellence abroad, help produce a more skilled workforce and foster closer ties between Canadian and international education institutions.”

Members of the panel include:

  • Amit Chakma, University of Western Ontario president, (Panel Chair);
  • André Bisson, Chair of the Board, Centre for Interuniversity Research and Analysis of Organizations, lead director, Transat A.T. and Chancellor Emeritus, Université de Montréal;
  • Jacynthe Côté, president and CEO, Rio Tinto Alcan;
  • Colin Dodds, president, Saint Mary’s University;
  • Lorna Smith, director, Office of International Education, Mount Royal University; and
  • Don Wright, president, British Columbia Institute of Technology.

The strategy will be announced once the new advisory panel has consulted with provinces and territories, partners and stakeholders from the education sector across the country. The advisory panel is expected to report to the ministers of International Trade and Finance in early 2012, and the strategy is expected to be released shortly afterwards.

For more information on Canada’s international education programs, please visit International Education and Youth.