I am delighted to introduce my first edition of the annual Global Impact Report. It has been inspiring to learn about the history of the University and its unconventional founding. Our institution was founded by local community leaders to meet the many challenges of the day and to propel the region, and our nation, forward.

Being unconventional has fostered a spirit of curiosity and taking risks — to not only generate new ideas through research excellence but convert those ideas to create something that has a positive impact on the world.

Waterloo’s unique approach to addressing the world’s greatest challenges is built on boundary-pushing research, experiential education and entrepreneurship. And we bring these strengths to bear on addressing the human dimensions of global challenges, understanding and enhancing human experiences and examining ways to translate knowledge for governance and policy.

Throughout the report, you will encounter examples of Waterloo researchers, alumni and students who are making a tangible global impact today, while addressing and shaping the changing realities of our future.

Our world faces many challenges such as rising geopolitical tensions, the decline of multilateralism, and the rise of populism and nationalism. We are more connected than ever with digital technologies — yet we are also more divided than ever as these tools drive misinformation and disinformation. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how fragile our global society has become, with a new virus able to have devastating impact in a short period of time. Yet the existential crisis that we face, the climate emergency, promises to have even more dire consequences for humans and our planet.  

The pandemic response has also highlighted Waterloo’s resilience, innovative thinking and leadership. Through education and research, we can help solve some of these big global challenges today and in the future in unconventional ways.

The seismic shifts happening today are an opportunity for us to build on this tradition of innovation and discovery, and design human-centered solutions for a better future. Waterloo was built for change, and we know how to prepare the next generation to lead in the face of social and economic transformations.

Our rich history of bold innovation is making a global impact today, and inspiring our future, as we navigate this period and reimagine a better world.