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Progressive Universities: Fostering Global Engagement for Complex Challenges

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Progressive Universities: Fostering Global Engagement for Complex Challenges


As the world recovers from a global pandemic, progressive universities like York University and JGU have an opportunity to play a greater role in facilitating global engagement to address incredibly complex challenges. In a post-pandemic environment, the world continues to face seemingly insurmountable challenges – from rising geopolitical tensions, economies destabilized by inflation, and surging temperatures that threaten the demise of our planet, all while navigating the rapid deployment of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and automation.

Despite technological progress, many people around the world still do not have access to quality education, health care, sustainable food options or even clean drinking water. We cannot solve these problems in isolation.

Higher education institutions have an opportunity to serve as catalysts for positive change by addressing deeply rooted systemic inequalities. We can achieve this by leveraging our talent and by providing the next generation of leaders with global learning opportunities and investing in global research collaborations. Talent remains our strongest asset and our best chance for empowering excellence and combatting systemic inequality.

India and Canada are natural partners to lead in this new global context – our diverse communities, our values of inclusivity, democracy and pluralism, and our commitment to excellence in education will enable us to leverage our strengths in internationalization to promote a more sustainable, equitable and prosperous future for our communities.

York University is Canada’s third largest University and ranks in the world’s top 40 for its impact on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Working in collaboration with partners around the world, it offers high quality programs and leadership in world-class interdisciplinary research such as a $318M Connected Minds Initiative that will enable industries to bring equitable technologies to market sooner and train the next generation of students.

Like many prestigious Indian industries and institutions, York is prioritizing teaching, research and knowledge mobilization in areas that will address equity and inclusion. We know that global crises such as the pandemic and climate change impact different countries and populations disproportionately. York is the first Canadian University to have a United Nations CIFAL Training Centre dedicated to promoting intersectoral cooperation on policy development in areas such as disaster risk, emergency management and humanitarian actions; health, development, environment and climate change and equity, diversity and inclusion. It is also the lead academic partner in a transformative new Global Water Academy that aims to tackle the water sustainability crisis in partnership with UNITAR.

York is proud to invest in several critical initiatives that will strengthen our ties with India and create mutually beneficial opportunities for our talented students and researchers, including an India Immersion Programme with O.P. Jindal Global University as it’s important for Canadian students to understand India, it’s growth story and the impact of India on the world. As well as a Pan-India entrepreneurship boot camp that will expose talented students to the world’s largest business and consumer market; and the launch of a new global research seed fund that will invest in global research collaborations with leading universities, industries, government agencies and NGOs in priority countries such as India.

Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar, Founding Vice Chancellor of O.P. Jindal Global University 

Since our founding in 2009, our vision has been focused on building India’s first ‘Global University’. We have proven our commitment to this vision by instilling internationalism in every aspect of higher education, ensuring a global learning experience in an international setting. This has enabled JGU to have more than 1,100 full-time faculty members from 50+ countries and over 10,000 students from 70+ countries. In India’s quest to create a global arena of knowledge exchange and opportunities, Canada is an important partner in establishing mutually strong partnerships focused on our collaborative strengths. Both our countries are deeply committed to democracy, diversity, rule of law and pluralistic values. 

Our universities reflect these democratic values in which academic freedom and institutional autonomy empowers the faculty and students to pursue excellence in teaching, research and institution building. The collaboration with York University, Canada’s leading university, is an important milestone in our institutional journey. In this partnership, we aim to further progress with student and faculty exchange programmes, short-term study abroad programmes, dual degree programmes, and also focus on collaborative research projects. As India’s leading private university, this relationship will not only boost the association between our universities but also strengthen the long-term educational relationship between India and Canada.

In the field of education, India and Canada have a close and long-standing relationship. Higher education and research partnerships are a critical part of the Canada-India bilateral relationship. As is natural for two countries that share so many diplomatic and cultural associations, areas such as student mobility, research partnerships and educational exchanges, are of ever-increasing productive cooperation. Recent data from the Canadian Bureau for International Education shows nearly 34% of Canada’s international students come from India. We need to encourage growth in the number of Canadian students visiting India in the near future.

India has emerged as a geopolitical leader and its recent presidency of the G20 has demonstrated its key position in international partnerships. Canada and Indian educational institutions have a shared vision of internationalization, collaboration and innovation. We aim to ensure that this special relationship is strengthened further with research projects, dual degree programmes and student exchanges. Educational diplomacy can pave the way for growth and development of the vibrant young population of India where over 950 million people are less than 35 years of age. We need to engage with them for global opportunities, skills development and in improving career prospects which are in tune with their burgeoning ambitions.

Education is the key to unlocking the full potential for both India and Canada. With more than 10,000 students from 70+ and over 1100+ full time faculty members from 50 + countries, studying and living on a fully residential campus, JGU’s twelve schools focus on Law, Business & Management, International Affairs, Public Policy, Liberal Arts & Humanities, Journalism, Art & Architecture, Banking & Finance, Environment & Sustainability, Psychology & Counselling, Languages & Literature and Public Health & Human Development.

This year, JGU has announced the award of more than 2,000 scholarships to deserving students for the forthcoming academic year 2024-25. This transformative initiative is geared towards providing outstanding young talent with equal opportunities to access high-quality education. The decision to award more than 2000+ scholarships for the incoming batch of 2024-25 is to commemorate the special occasion of the 15th anniversary of JGU to be celebrated in 2024. This will empower more than 60% of the new students admitted in 2024 to receive these scholarships to study at JGU.  

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