7 September 2018

McMaster University hosts international seminar on global engagement in higher education

The United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI), as part of its continuous outreach efforts about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), shares this story related to Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, submitted by McMaster University, a UNAI member institution located in Canada. 

7 September 2018 - McMaster University (Canada), a member institution of the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI), and in particular its Office of International Affairs, hosted the event entitled Leading Globally Engaged Universities (LGEU), organized by the International Association of Universities (IAU), which allowed university leaders from around the world to take part in a unique five-day seminar aimed at exploring internationalization in higher education and deepen into what it means to be a globally engaged leader.

Representatives from institutions in Canada, United States, Colombia, United Kingdom, Romania, Ghana, South Africa and Thailand aimed to strengthen their leadership skills, as well as to discuss opportunities, challenges and strategies related to global engagement in higher education. The President of McMaster University, Patrick Deane, said that his institution was "privileged to host" the event on campus. Throughout the week, attendees participated in leadership development exercises and peer learning.

They also looked at best practices and strategies adopted by other institutions, while sharing their own insights and institutional approaches to global engagement. According to Hilligje van’t Land, Secretary-General of IAU, these workshops facilitates to "those within leadership positions to learn from each other, learn from each other’s system of higher education, and have the opportunity to learn from the host country”. While the participant institutions "are totally different one to the other", van’t Land explained, there are similarities in the challenges they face.

"This week allows them to look at these issues from a bit further away and translate that into something they can use for their own institutions afterwards", she noted. In this event, the first time it takes place in North America, participants heard from a wide range of speakers including McMaster University Director of Community Engagement, Sheila Sammon, who talked about the links between local and global engagement, and Vladimir Smakhtin, Director of the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health, which is hosted at McMaster University.