University of Calgary

New council formed to strengthen university ties with China

UToday HomeAugust 30, 2013

By Sarah McGinnis

Janaka Ruwanpura, left, vice-provost (international), speaks to members of the new China Regional Advisory Council, during a meeting at the University of Calgary on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013. Photos by Jae ImJanaka Ruwanpura, left, vice-provost (international), speaks to members of the new China Regional Advisory Council, during a meeting at the University of Calgary on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013. Photos by Jae ImThe University of Calgary is moving ahead with its bold International Strategy with the formation of a China Regional Advisory Council.

The new council, chaired by President Elizabeth Cannon, met for the first time on Wednesday. It includes faculty members in key research areas, business leaders with strong experience working in Asia, as well as student and alumni representatives.

“China represents a tremendous opportunity for the University of Calgary,” Cannon says.

The University of Calgary has already developed strong ties in Asia. The university has 18 institutional partnerships and 13 research contracts with Chinese universities, 552 undergraduate and graduate students from China and 47 faculty members with at least one degree from a Chinese university. There are also approximately 1,057 University of Calgary alumni living in China or Hong Kong.

The newly-formed China Regional Advisory Council is designed to further strengthen these relationships and help shape the University of Calgary’s ongoing presence in the region.

“We are proud of our many ties to China. With the speed at which its economy and higher education system are developing, we need to be focused and strategic to capture opportunities and to strengthen and develop our collaborations,” Cannon says.

Attending a meeting of the China Regional Advisory Council were, from left: Jay (Yuanjian) Wang, Zhixing Zhao, David Curtis Wright, Philip Chang, Joseph Leung, Hallgrimur Benediktsson, Elizabeth Cannon, Edward McCauley (vice-president, research), Janaka RAttending a meeting of the China Regional Advisory Council were, from left: Jay (Yuanjian) Wang, Zhixing Zhao, David Curtis Wright, Philip Chang, Joseph Leung, Hallgrimur Benediktsson, Elizabeth Cannon, Edward McCauley (vice-president, research), Janaka Ruwanpura, and Wenran Jiang.In March, the University of Calgary unveiled its International Strategy and intentions to increase the diversity of students on campus.

By 2016, the university aims to have 10 per cent of undergraduate and 25 per cent of graduate students come from other countries.

The university has also committed to promoting study abroad programs for local students with the goal of having 50 per cent of all students complete an international experience before graduation.

To achieve these targets, the University of Calgary has identified six geographic regions of emphasis. These regions include China, Germany, Mexico, the Middle East, Tanzania and the United States.

“Internationalization is a key strategic priority for the University of Calgary,” says Janaka Ruwanpura, vice-provost (international), who is also a member of the new China Regional Advisory Council.

“Graduates are entering a global marketplace where it is critical they amass both domestic and international experience to succeed. By providing a more diverse educational experience, University of Calgary students will be able to adapt to diverse cultural, economic and governmental environments,” he says.

Members of the University of Calgary China Regional Advisory Council:

  • Elizabeth Cannon, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Calgary (chair)
  • Hallgrimur Benediktsson, professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Calgary (faculty member)
  • Philip Chang, associate professor, Faculty-Finance, Haskayne School of Business (faculty member)
  • Zhangxing (John) Chen, professor, Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, director of the Schlumberger iCentre for Simulation and Visualization, director of the Foundation CMG/Frank/Sarah Meyer Collaboration Centre, University of Calgary (faculty member)
  • David Curtis Wright, associate professor of history, specializing in Chinese and Mongolian history (faculty member)
  • Robert Francis, president and CEO of Agriteam Canada (external member)
  • Wenran Jiang, director, Canada-China Energy and Environment Forum; special sdvisor, Alberta Department of Energy (external member)
  • Joseph Leung, president, Marquis Community Development Inc. (external member)
  • Cameron Proctor, LLB, chief legal officer and director Sinopec, Daylight Energy Ltd. (alumni of the University of Calgary)
  • Janaka Ruwanpura, vice-provost (international) University of Calgary, ex-officio
  • Jay (Yuanjian) Wang, Faculty of Medicine student representative, University of Calgary student representative
  • Zhixing Zhao, PhD student, Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Calgary, representative of the Office of the Vice-President Research
  • Eustacia Yu, partnerships officer, University of Calgary International, resource personnel
  • Ingrid Middleton, administrative assistant to vice-provost international, University of Calgary, administrative support

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