A postcard from the President: November in review

President Feridun on stage at the Hong Kong Cyberport Speech 2015Greetings from Jakarta, Indonesia.

For the last week or so, several University of Waterloo colleagues and I have been on a very productive trip throughout Asia. Our goal, similar to last year, is to steward our outstanding partnerships in the region and explore new opportunities as well.

Feridun Hamdullahpur on stage speaking at the Cyberport Wearable Technology Forum At the start of the trip, we attended — and I addressed — the Cyberport Wearable Technology Forum in Hong Kong. We also had the pleasure of catching up with President Mathieson of the University of Hong Kong. As you know, Waterloo has been actively developing our presence in Hong Kong, including through a recently established academic agreement with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Later I delivered a keynote to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong. Titled “The Innovation University: A Vision and Mission for the 21st Century”, my talk focused on our unique model of ‘additive education’and how it can help economies like Canada’s and Hong Kong’s develop leading-edge technology and human talent for the 21st century.

As I travelled from Hong Kong, to Singapore, and then to Indonesia, it was fantastic to connect with many University of Waterloo alumni. Group shot of an alumni event in Hong KongThis photo was taken during an excellent alumni event in Hong Kong, one of several opportunities we had to reconnect with our global UWaterloo alumni family. Let me extend a big thank-you to everyone involved in planning and executing on the trip throughout Asia this year. It’s an important region for the global economy and for the University of Waterloo, and our presence and partnerships there are key to Waterloo’s future success. Thanks one and all.

What I’m struck by this month is how Waterloo is engaged in so many areas of high global relevance and importance.

Another example of this is how we have an excellent opportunity to help lead the gender equity agenda both in Canada and around the world.

I wrote an op-ed for the Waterloo Region Record this month, about how Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s appointment of a gender-equal cabinet represents a great opportunity for Canada to become an “equity superpower”.

As Waterloo helps to lead the way through our HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 initiative, this is a very positive signal for Canada to send both to Canadians here at home and to people around the world. Let’s keep advancing this important agenda in the months and years to come. Remember, you can check in for periodical HeForShe updates on my website.

Here at home we had a very full month of celebrations and acknowledgements, from our Velocity expansion creating the largest free incubator in North America, to the Grand Opening of the Volunteer Centre on Campus, to our “Years of Service” reception for long-serving staff members, to our groundbreaking ceremony for Waterloo’s phenomenal new Engineering 7 building.

I can’t possibly do justice to every exciting event we had on campus this month so I won’t attempt to do so – but please do follow me on Twitter to keep an eye on all the UWaterloo events I have the privilege of participating in.

On that note, let me round out this month’s column by thanking everyone who organized and attended our annual President’s Town Hall on November 3 at Hagey Hall. As promised, we’re in the process of pulling together answers for all those questions we didn’t have a chance to get to during the event itself. (That’s what happens when you have such an excellent discussion!) We’ll post them to my website and Tweet out a heads up when they’re available. Thanks to those several hundred of you who joined me for what was a great and energizing conversation. See you again next year.

With my best wishes for a terrific weekend,

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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