A new season of global impacts for Waterloo: May in review

As the Spring term heats up and our University turns its focus to June, we have much to celebrate. In particular, I want to dedicate my comments today on Waterloo’s constantly growing and evolving role as a highly internationalized university, and one with a strong social mission.

Feridun Hamdullahpur walking down stairs with Dutch King

The Daily Bulletin has provided extensive coverage of our royal visit this week. As you know, yesterday Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands visited campus with their royal delegation to make some exciting announcements and enrich an academic conference hosted at the Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-NanoCentre.

Visit the University of Waterloo’s Facebook page for an excellent photo album that captures the excitement of the event, and our Stories page for a timeline of Tweets, photos, and excerpts.

While the details of the event and the work of the delegation and academic conference has been extensively documented, I want to highlight two significant features of the visit.

The first is that Waterloo’s new agreement with Delft University of Technology in Holland marks our further establishment as one of the world’s leaders in quantum research. As the Quantum Valley ascends and continues to take its place as one of the world’s most vaunted innovation ecosystems, the University of Waterloo can be extremely proud of our role in anchoring that ecosystem. Not only in quantum, but across the range of our research areas and by generating such talented students and alumni.

Second, I want to underline how honoured I know we all feel at being the site of yesterday’s announcements. The special relationship between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Canada is a matter of great significance to our country, and of immense personal meaning to countless Canadians who proudly claim Dutch descent. As I said in my comments to the royal delegation about the new Liberation Scholarships program: the Dutch-Canadian bond, forged in war, continues to flourish in peace.

It was a very proud day for the University of Waterloo.

I’m proud also that in May, our commitment to building a better and more equitable and knowledgeable world was displayed through several other initiatives as well.

On May 5, 2015 Waterloo unveiled our participation in the United Nations’ HeForShe campaign to promote gender equity. As the only Canadian organization among the campaign's participating governments, leading universities, and global businesses, we are honoured to have been selected to help lead this effort to help end discrimination against women and girls.

Gender equity is not a women’s issue. It is an everybody issue. That’s why the HeforShe campaign is designed to enlist men and boys in this important effort. Follow #HeforShe on Twitter and think about how you can do your part to help end gender discrimination. I look forward to our continued work together promoting positive social change through this program.

Finally, and in keeping with the theme of being an internationalized university with a strong social mission, this month we launched a program to help drive prosperity in a key regional economy while deepening our own academic prowess.

The Risk Management, Economic Sustainability and Actuarial Science Development in Indonesia (READI) Project is a relationship forged between the Government of Canada, the Indonesian Government and the University of Waterloo. Its goal is to strengthen the Indonesian economy through advancing the actuarial profession in that country. It will accomplish this by providing risk management and actuarial expertise related to financial welfare, health care, banking and other issues that impact Indonesia and its international partners. At the same time, this partnership underlines the University of Waterloo’s position as a national and international leader in the actuarial sciences. Read the press release to learn more about this exciting initiative.

I extend my thanks to our whole campus community for making this such a memorable and meaningful month for the University of Waterloo.

As we continue on into the warmer weather and new term, I wish you the happiest of summers, and to all students: good luck on your upcoming midterms!

Sincerely,

Feridun

Note to readers: from June, 2013 through 2015, the president’s monthly review was published in the Daily Bulletin, where this piece originally ran. As of January 2016, monthly reviews are published directly to this blog.

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