Tuesday, August 3, 2021

    Brandon Sweet
    University Communications

    Centre for International Governance Innovation celebrates 20 years

    The CIGI Campus in uptown Waterloo.

    The CIGI Campus in UpTown Waterloo.

    A think tank with deep roots at Waterloo has celebrated its 20th anniversary.

    The original CIGI logo.The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) was incorporated as the New Economy Institute, a not-for-profit corporation, on July 30, 2001. Jim Balsillie, then-chairman and co-CEO of Research In Motion (RIM), announced a donation of $30 million for the establishment of the global research centre, renamed CIGI, in July 2002, which included $10 million from RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis, and the institute received a matching donation from the federal government the following year. CIGI's mandate was "to produce expert analysis on international governance, as well as national and international policy recommendations." At the time of its founding, it was the only such centre in Canada.

    "We are living in a knowledge-based economy, where the most successful individuals, companies, and nations are those able to capitalize on the right information,” said Jim Balsillie in 2002. “Our centre will help Canadians, and the world, make better sense of the global political and economic changes, and discover the best ways to manage those changes."

    CIGI brought together international scholars, policymakers, and experts to study the global political economy, focussing on the restructuring of international governance, with particular emphasis on financial and economic institutions. It drew on the academic expertise of the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, and on the region's expertise in information technology. CIGI’s early research focused on two thematic areas: international relations and the international economy.

    Distinguished Professor Emeritus John English, then a faculty member in Waterloo’s history department and a former Member of Parliament, was CIGI's first executive director. CIGI’s first working paper was published in 2005.

    The interior of the former Seagram Museum.

    The institute’s first home was the St. Jacob’s-Waterloo train station in uptown Waterloo, but it soon crossed Erb Street to the former Seagram Museum, which it purchased from the City of Waterloo.

    In 2007, in partnership with the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, CIGI launched the Balsillie School for International Affairs. The BSIA offers three world-class academic programs through Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo: the Master of Arts in Global Governance (MAGG), the PhD in Global Governance, and the Master of International Public Policy (MIPP). In 2018, the original 10-year partnership was extended for an additional ten years.

    This institutional partnership led to the construction of the CIGI Campus adjacent to CIGI’s original location, completed in 2011. In 2014, the CIGI Campus became the fourth building at the corner of Erb and Caroline Streets in Waterloo to win the prestigious Governor General’s Medals in Architecture.

    “I vividly remember the early days at CIGI in the Sunshine Room of the former Seagram Museum when with a blank sheet of paper and a digital recorder we met to anticipate the needs and design for CIGI and the building for the Balsillie School of International Affairs,” says Professor Emeritus Ken McLaughlin, who was appointed the University’s representative on the building committee. “It is a powerful statement of our University and its benefactors that puts UWaterloo in a league of the best in the international community. I happily recall my wife and I having coffee there with the brother of a former president of France. That too is part of the CIGI experience.  Each day when the CIGI bell sounds at 12:00 noon I am reminded of the strong sense of presence of its campus and of UWaterloo’s role in making this happen.”

    CIGI’s current president is Rohinton P. Medhora, who has served in that capacity since 2012.

    "CIGI has had a profound impact on the international reputation and recognition of UWaterloo as a leading university,"   said Ken McLaughlin. “CIGI enabled UWaterloo to attract major scholars and exceptional students to our programs in the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of the Environment: Bessma Momani in Political Science, Eric Helleiner in Economics, Jennifer Clapp in Environmental and Ecological Studies and Dan Gorman in History actively participate in programs at CIGI. The presence of an internationally recognized “think tank” has shaped the perceptions of our University and our country’s policies in government and society.”

    Check out CIGI's 20th anniversary microsite for more details about the institute's history.

    Unlike other global crises, the pandemic did not spark more smoking in its initial stage

    A man wearing PPE breaks a cigarette with his fingers.

    This article was originally published on Waterloo News.

    Unlike other population-level stressful events such as natural disasters, COVID-19 has not resulted in a net increase in smoking, according to a new study from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Project, at the University of Waterloo.

    The researchers also found that although nearly half of smokers reported that COVID-19 made them think about quitting, the vast majority of smokers did not change their smoking habits during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Led by Shannon Gravely, research assistant professor with the ITC Project, the study surveyed 6,870 smokers and vapers in four high-income countries—Australia, Canada, England, and the United States—during the first global wave of COVID-19 between April and June 2020. The team examined the association between COVID-19 and thoughts about quitting smoking, changes in smoking, and factors related to positive changes such as attempting to quit or reducing smoking.

    Only 1.1 per cent of smokers in the four countries attempted to quit and 14.2 per cent reduced smoking, but this was offset by the 14.6 per cent who increased smoking, with 70.2 per cent reported no change.

    “It is important to note that population-level stressful events, such as 9/11 and natural disasters, have often led to increased smoking,” said Geoffrey Fong, professor of psychology at Waterloo and principal investigator of the ITC Project. “So, our findings that there was no net increase in smoking in response to COVID-19 may actually represent a positive result for public health.”

    The study found that those who thought about quitting smoking because of COVID-19 were predominantly females, ethnic minorities, those with financial stress, current vapers, less dependent smokers, those with greater concern about personal susceptibility of infection, and those who believe COVID-19 is more severe for smokers.

    According to Fong, who was a co-author of the study, this latter finding may be the key to why the COVID-19 pandemic has not led to significant increases in smoking, compared to past tragedies.

    “Unlike other population stressors such as earthquakes, which are unrelated to smoking, COVID-19 severity is indeed linked to smoking,” Fong said. “Public health officials have mentioned the link as yet another reason for smokers to quit, and over 80 per cent of smokers across the four countries believed that smoking made COVID-19 more severe. And this led to the lack of an increase in smoking, unlike what we have seen after other tragedies.”

    The study, Smokers’ cognitive and behavioural reactions during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic: Findings from the 2020 ITC Four Country Smoking and Vaping Survey, was recently published in the journal PLOS ONE. The authors were Gravely, Fong, Lorraine V. Craig, K. Michael Cummings, Janine Ouimet, Ruth Loewen, Nadia Martin, Janet Chung-Hall, Pete Driezen, Sara C. Hitchman, Ann McNeill, Andrew Hyland, Anne C. K. Quah, Richard J. O’Connor, Ron Borland, Mary E. Thompson, and Christian Boudreau.

    The study was funded by Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program.

    Professor gets funding for EXERGETIC physical and cognitive exercise project

    This article was originally featured on the Games Institute website.

    Two people use the VR/augmented reality exercise platform.Dr. Lennart Nacke, associate professor of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Director of the HCI Games Group, was awarded $350,000 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) in the Active and Assisted Living Program as a Canadian partner to fund EXERGETIC, a research program aiming to develop innovative digital solutions that utilize exercise games (Exergames) to improve physical and cognitive functions. EXERGETIC researchers will create exergame training experiences in an ecologically valid and safe setting for geriatric populations, called the ExerCube.

    As part of EXERGETIC, Dr. Nacke and postdoctoral fellow Dr. Katja Rogers will work with Sphery AG to build an ExerCube at the Stratford School. The ExerCube is an immersive fitness game environment that combines innovative software and hardware design with state-of-the-art training concepts. When working out in the ExerCube, players are surrounded by three walls that serve as projection screens and haptic interfaces for energetic bodily interactions.

    Link of the day

    International Beer Day

    When and Where to get support

    Students can visit the Student Success Office online for supports including academic development, international student resources, leadership development, exchange and study abroad, and opportunities to get involved.

    Instructors can visit the Keep Learning website to get support on adapting their teaching and learning plans for an online environment.

    Course templates are available within your course in LEARN to help you build and edit your content and assignment pages quickly.

    The following workshops, webinars, and events are offered by the KL team (CTE, CEL, ITMS, LIB):

    Employees can access resources to help them work remotely, including managing University records and privacy of personal information. Here are some tips for staying healthy while working from home.

    Stay informed about COVID cases on campus by consulting the COVID case tracker.

    The Writing and Communication Centre has virtual services and programs to help undergrads, grad students, postdocs and faculty members with academic writing.

    Co-op students can get help finding a job and find supports to successfully work remotely, develop new skills, access wellness and career information, and contact a co-op or career advisor.

    The Centre for Career Action assists undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, staff, faculty, and alumni through navigating career services that are right for them. You can attend a one-on-one appointment or same day drop-in session at the CCA for assistance with cover letter writing, career planning and much more. You can also book an appointment online or visit our Live Chat to connect with our Client Support Team. The CCA is here to help you.

    If you feel overwhelmed or anxious and need to talk to somebody, please contact the University’s Campus Wellness services, either Health Services or  Counselling Services. You can also contact the University's Centre for Mental Health Research and TreatmentGood2Talk is a post-secondary student helpline available to all students.

    The Library continues to offer virtual access to learning and research materials as well as through their book pickup and delivery services. Davis Centre Library study space is open by appointment Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Special Collections & Archives can also be accessed by appointment. Library staff are available for questions via Ask Us. Full details of current service offerings can be found on their Services Updates page. The Library has also published a resource guide on how to avoid information overload.

    The Faculty Association of the University of Waterloo (FAUW) continues to advocate for its members. Check out the FAUW blog for more information.

    The University of Waterloo Staff Association (UWSA) continues to advocate for its members. Check out the UWSA blog for more information.

    The Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office (SVPRO) supports all members of the University of Waterloo campus community who have experienced, or been impacted, by sexual violence. This includes all students, staff, faculty and visitors on the main campus, the satellite campuses, and at the affiliated and federated Waterloo Institutes and Colleges. For support, email: svpro@uwaterloo.ca or visit the SVPRO website.

    The Indigenous Initiatives Office is a central hub that provides guidance, support, and resources to all Indigenous and non-Indigenous campus community members and oversees the university Indigenization strategy.

    The Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre, based at St. Paul’s University College, provides support and resources for Indigenous students, and educational outreach programs for the broader community, including lectures, and events.

    WUSA supports for students:

    Peer support  - MATES, Glow Centre, RAISE, Women’s Centre - Visit https://wusa.ca/peersupport to book an appointment

    Bike Centre – Open via Appointments and Rentals

    Campus Response Team, ICSN, Off Campus Community and Co-op Connection all available online. Check https://wusa.ca for more details.

    Food Support Service food hampers are currently available from the Turnkey Desk on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the Student Life Centre. If you have any questions please email us at foodsupport@wusa.ca.

    Centre for Academic Policy Support - CAPS is here to assist Waterloo undergraduates throughout their experience in navigating academic policy in the instances of filing petitions, grievances and appeals. Please contact them at caps@wusa.caMore information is available.

    WUSA Commissioners who can help in a variety of areas that students may be experiencing during this time:

    WUSA Student Legal Protection Program - Seeking legal counsel can be intimidating, especially if it’s your first time facing a legal issue. The legal assistance helpline provides quick access to legal advice in any area of law, including criminal. Just call 1-833-202-4571

    Empower Me is a confidential mental health and wellness service that connects students with qualified counsellors 24/7. They can be reached at 1-833-628-5589.

    When and Where (but mostly when)

    Healthy Warriors at Home (Online Fitness)

    Fitness Classes (CIF GYM 3). Power Yoga, HIIT and Zumba. Only $4/class. Advanced registration required.

    Warriors vs. Laurier Blood Donation Battle. Join your fellow Warriors, donate blood and help us win the Blood Battle against Laurier for a second year in a row. Set up a profile or add the PFL code: UNIV960995 to your account if you have a blood.ca account already. Questions? Contact WarriorsInfo@uwaterloo.ca.

    Drop-in to Warrior Virtual Study Halls on Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Come together in this virtual space to set goals and work independently or in groups each week.

    Renison English Language Institute continues to offer virtual events and workshops to help students practice their English language skills.

    Spring 2021 Wellness Sessions are here. Register for sessions on Building Working Relationships, Self-Care Strategies During COVID-19, and more. To learn more about each workshop being offered this term and how to register, visit uwaterloo.ca/healthy-workplace/spring-2021-wellness-sessions.