The world comes to Western this summer in a big way during an intense few weeks of conferences and gatherings that will bring economic heft and international flavour to the city.
“These events are going to be huge opportunities for Western to shine,” said Andy Hrymak, Western’s Provost and Vice-President (Academic). “At conferences, delegates arrive eager to share and learn more about their field of research. It’s an opportunity for them to build and strengthen global networks in this beautiful academic setting.
“But at the same time, many are keen to explore London and its hospitality while they’re here. Not only does that give visitors a glimpse of a warm and welcoming city, it highlights for Londoners the international advantage that a vibrant university can bring.”
Among the summer events are:
June 2-7. Student teams from around the world come to campus for the final of the International World’s Challenge Challenge, a 20-team, nine-nation student competition to solve pressing global issues;
June 4-6. International policy-makers, educators and investors arrive for the Times Higher Education Teaching Excellence Summit, the first such summit to take place in Canada. Delegates will learn about some of the best practices and innovations shaping teaching and learning at postsecondary institutions;
June 2-5. More than 400 engineers will attend the Joint Congress of the Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering and CFD Society of Canada and learn about engineering innovations as diverse as nano-materials for energy storage, knee joint replacements and advanced manufacturing;
June 5-8. Delegates from 17 nations will attend the biennial International Symposium on the Philosophy of Music Education;
June 10-14, 17-21. Spring Convocation will bring graduates, their families and friends to the biggest multi-day event of the year;
June 25 – June 28. About 300 delegates will attend the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness (held in Poland last year and in Beijing the year before).
July 9-12. More than 1,600 guidance counsellors and college/university admissions counsellors arrive for the global conference of the International Association for College Admission Counseling.
Such gatherings – individually and collectively – bring greater profile to city, explained John Winston, Tourism London General Manager
Visitors see this as an inviting place where they might want to send their children to school, or where they might want to move, Winston said. “We get this comment all the time, ‘We didn’t know there was another London.’ These are opportunities to expose people to the city who would (otherwise) never come to the city.”
Winston said there are also “some tremendous financial benefits” to having events of this magnitude here. Retailers, restaurants and hotels all reap rewards, whether delegates are staying on- or off-campus.
“If you look at it realistically, the average conference delegate is going to spend, at very minimum, close to $1,000, beyond the cost of registration and transportation. Our restaurants will benefit. Our retailers will benefit. It’s just good business.”
By playing host to the world, Western is helping show how the conference and convention business is an important financial boost to the city, Winston said.
While this year’s conference numbers are important, he noted than they can been seen as a warm-up for the next year’s Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences, expected to draw 10,000 delegates to Western and London.