Office of the President

Andrew Petter, President and Vice-Chancellor

Petter's Perspective: Notes from the President

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Engagement is in our DNA

February 15, 2012

Later this week, it will be my privilege to serve as co-chair for one of the most important gatherings of the global scientific community, the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science being held in Vancouver.
 
This conference brings together some of the world’s brightest minds to engage in dialogue and debate, and to share their discoveries and insights for the benefit of both science and society.
 
Science today is a global enterprise, with governments, industry and academia playing important roles, and it is great to see so many from SFU contributing to this enterprise and to this conference.
 
There is another important feature of the conference that, as President of an engaged university, I find especially gratifying. 

In addition to bringing to Greater Vancouver some of the world’s leading scientific thinkers, the AAAS is using this occasion to reach out and engage with local communities—increasing public understanding of the importance of the natural and social sciences, and exposing citizens to new and exciting developments in basic and applied research.  There are family science days, public exhibits, and a plenary panel webcast.
 
In addition, SFU has taken the lead in organizing a walking tour for journalists and convention delegates through Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, to acquaint them with the challenges associated with homelessness and drug addiction, and to see some of the important initiatives being undertaken by the community to address these issues with the support of researchers in the natural and social sciences.
 
I like to say that at SFU, engaging communities is in our DNA.

It’s heartening, therefore, to see it is also part of the genetic make-up of the AAAS and of this conference.

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