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Andrew Petter, President and Vice-Chancellor

Petter's Perspective: Notes from the President

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Academic & alumni engagements highlight Asia mission

November 14, 2017

Simon Fraser University has longstanding partnerships in Asia, and this month VP Research and International Joy Johnson, VP Advancement and Alumni Engagement Mike den Haan and I led a mission to build upon and strengthen our ties in four major cities – Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing and Shanghai.       

We visited partner universities in all of these cities to renew relationships, sign student exchange agreements, pursue joint academic programs and explore research collaborations. These universities included: Hong Kong Baptist University; Hong Kong Polytechnic University; National University of Singapore; Nanyang Technological University; Singapore Management University; Tsinghua University; Renmin University; Communication University of China; Shanghai Jiao Tong University; and Tonji University.

The mission also enabled us to advance a range of other initiatives on behalf of SFU. For example:  

  • In Hong Kong, we met with representatives of Fairchild Canadian Academy which is collaborating with our Faculty of Education to support research and training in relation to early childhood development.       
  • In Singapore, we presented a bid to the board of the Asia-Pacific Association for International Education (APAIE) to host APAIE 2020 in Vancouver, which would be the first time that the conference and exhibition would be held outside of Asia.
  • In Beijing, we met with Zhao Yingmin, Vice Minister of Environmental Protection and Secretary General of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED), to discuss SFU’s continuing role as the Canadian Executing Agency for the CCICED Project, and home to the CCICED’s Secretariat International Support Office.
  • In all cities, we met with senior Canadian consular and trade officials to share information about SFU’s expanding Asian connections, and to gain local knowledge and strategic advice. 

Another objective of the mission was to engage with our growing population of alumni who turned out in large numbers at receptions in all four places.  In addition to providing updates on university developments, special alumni awards were presented at each of the receptions, and two of the events featured talks on big data by Applied Sciences Dean Eugene Fiume.           

Finally, the mission provided opportunities to pursue a number of advancement opportunities, and to connect with co-op and exchange students. In Beijing, we also crossed paths with a group of entrepreneurs from VentureLabs® who were beginning a tour of China sponsored by the China-Canada Commercialization & Acceleration Network, a partnership between SFU and Hanhai Holdings.     

It was an action-packed and productive two weeks. More than anything, the mission demonstrated the breadth and vibrancy of SFU’s burgeoning Asian relationships, and provided further evidence that – in these four cities at least – our presence is felt and appreciated.     

Hong Kong Baptist University President Roland Chin and I signed a university-wide Memorandum of Understanding
In Hong Kong VP Advancement Mike den Haan and I presented an Engaged Alumni Leadership Award to Macy Lau and Jack Ng
Reception in Hong Kong with SFU alumni and friends, including Shanghai’s Engaged Alumni Leadership Award recipient David Wong (fourth from the left) who attended the receptions in both cities
In Singapore Nanyang Technological University Vice-President, International Affairs prof. Er Meng Hwa and I renewed our universities' Student Mobility Agreement
In Shanghai VP Research & International Joy Johnson met with Executive Vice-President of Tongji University Prof. Jiang Wu