April 7, 2021

UCalgary and Calgary Consular Corps share a goal: Change the world with research

Group representing dozens of countries explores ways to further global collaboration

Research is stronger when we work together — that’s the message UCalgary senior leaders shared with the Calgary Consular Corps as they discussed how crucial partnerships are for top research universities.

Dr. William Ghali, vice-president (research), and Dr. Janaka Ruwanpura, vice-provost and associate vice-president research (international), spoke to 30 members of Calgary Consular Corp to provide an overview of our Growth Through Focus strategy, research priorities, and UCalgary’s new Global Engagement Plan.

The Calgary Consular Corps is comprised of career and honorary consular officers in Calgary, representing 51 countries. Their mandate is to provide a forum for consuls in Calgary by building relationships with governments and community, and fostering business, educational and cultural endeavors.

“UCalgary has a strong relationship with the Calgary Consular Corps. You have connected us with funding agencies, worked with us on exploring and leveraging scholarships, sponsorships and research opportunities with your countries, and of course supported our cultural events on campus, we are very grateful,” said Ruwanpura. “We have obviously had to pivot some of our activities in light of the pandemic, but collaboration is key to becoming a global intellectual hub and top research university, and maintaining strong relationships is more important now than ever.”

“Our relationship with the University of Calgary extends back over 20 years and we are proud to be sponsors of a Calgary Consular Corps International Relations Bursary which we support annually,” says Judith Romanchuk, honorary consul of Finland and chair of the executive committee of the Calgary Consular Corps.

Ruwanpura covered topics including an internationalization and global engagement agility framework developed to advance internationalization during and post-pandemic. Areas of focus in the framework align with the goals of the Global Engagement Plan 2020-2025, and aim to sustain and develop new programs in the following areas over the next years:

  1. Attraction and diversification of international students and scholars
  2. Sustaining and diversifying innovative global learning models
  3. Developing and sustaining academic partnerships and collaborative educational models
  4. Value-added research and commercialization partnerships
  5. Global development programs to align with sustainable development goals

“Improving global and intercultural capacity within our campus communities is one of our goals, and we have had a significant focus on building our global learning at home program this past year,” said Cheryl Dueck, senior academic director (international). “We are looking at various ways to provide knowledge on how to work with culturally diverse teams, across geographic locations in an accessible format, as we know not all students can travel. Our Intercultural Capacity Framework, introduced in 2020 after broad consultations, serves as a guide to help with setting objectives and learning outcomes for these and other University of Calgary programs.”

Ghali spoke on the three goals in UCalgary’s Research Plan: matching strengths with opportunity, increasing research capacity, and driving innovation. “An important pathway for our university to create impact is through partnerships, and international partnerships are crucial.”

William Ghali speaks to the Calgary Consular Corp at the Research Changing the World virtual meeting.

William Ghali speaks to the Calgary Consular Corp at the Research Changing the World virtual meeting.

Ghali shared examples of successful partnerships, including the Global Research Initiative in Sustainable Low Carbon Unconventional Resources in which UCalgary received a grant from the federal government’s Canada First Research Excellence Fund and established partnerships in Mexico, China and Israel.

UCalgary plans to continue to connect with the Calgary Consular Corps and aims to engage them in five main areas:

  • Fostering partnerships and collaborations with foreign education stakeholders
  • research and academic collaborations
  • connecting with the local diasporas for cultural events, internationalization at home initiatives, and internships
  • raising international funding and scholarship opportunities
  • exploring customized training, capacity-building and skills development to various sectors.