Strengthening education and research connectivity between Canada and Asia: Innovative models for engagement, by Stephen Toope
Education, innovation and knowledge are key drivers in the world economy. Led by China and India, the emerging economies of Asia have placed a premium on investing in higher education and on building academic and research links around the globe. Canada must do the same, embracing an international education strategy that recognizes the importance of education as a way of deepening our relationships with Asian countries. Canada must brand itself as a partner of choice in higher education and research, and recruit Asian students and researchers to come here to study. At the same time, we must invest more in study and work-abroad programs for Canadian students, and must be deliberate about fostering academic collaboration with Asia through joint academic programs, joint supervision of PhD students, and faculty mobility. We need to find new ways to export our expertise in higher education and leverage our alumni networks, making Canadian expatriates and former international students ambassadors for Canadian higher education. The personal connections made by Canadians who study in other countries, and by foreign students in Canada, can result in long-term economic, social and cultural ties. The private sector can play a leadership role in this process by providing internships and funding for student mobility. Canada’s universities are often at the forefront of engagement with developing economies. As such, they are an asset that both government and the private sector can work with to advance our country’s place in the world.