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Speeches and publications

As executive head of Canada’s Most Innovative University, Feridun Hamdullahpur is a global innovation and academic thought leader. Enjoy this selection of President and Vice-Chancellor Hamdullahpur’s speeches and publications. Check all content against delivery.

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To boost Canada's potential, make university boundaries more porous - October 2016

In this opUWaterloo sign-ed for The Record, three university presidents discuss how universities should rethink their approach to partnerships to advance innovation for Canada.

Read it on The Record's Website. 

President Feridun Hamdullahpur opens day two of the Waterloo Innovation Summit - September 2016

President Feridun Hamdullahpur speaking at Waterloo Innovation SummitOn September 15th, President Feridun Hamdullahpur welcomed innovators, leaders, speakers, and guests to the University of Waterloo. He touches on our UWaterloo promise to continue creating talent and knowledge, the need to be bold and disruptive, and future visions with the Global Entrepreneurship and Disruptive Innovation Initiative (GEDI).


Research universities are at the heart of Innovation Agenda - August 2016

President Feridun HamdullahpurIn this blog post for U15, a Group of Canadian Research Universities, President Hamdullahpur discusses the conditions for maintaining and improving Canada's world-class innovation ecosystem and places the responsibility on Canadian Universities to deliver on that objective. 

UWaterloo graduates matter to this community - June 2016

graduates in audience clappingPresident Hamdullahpur addressed the Spring 2016 graduating class with the message that they matter to this community, and always will. This op-ed for the Waterloo Region Record is based on the president's remarks to convocation.

Welcome address to the WGSI OpenAccess Summit - April 2016

WGSI lanyardsOn April 22, President Hamdullahpur opened the 2016 WGSI OpenAccess Energy Summit with these welcoming remarks. He touches on the remarkable aspects that make this summit successful in bringing our world closer to energy access and security. 

A three-tiered model of opportunity - April 2016

The Ralph M. Medjuck building at Dalhousie UniversityIn this op-ed for the Halifax Chronicle Herald, President Hamdullahpur connects the Waterloo model of education to Halifax’s innovation agenda. Read it on the Chronicle Herald's website

21st Century Education - March 2016

President Hamdullahpur speaking to the Economic Club of Canada in TorontoIn a keynote address to the Economic Club of Canada in Toronto, President Hamdullahpur lays out his vision for university education in the 21st Century. Providing an enhanced university experience for students is key to developing the Toronto-Waterloo Innovation Corridor.

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Southern Ontario should be an innovation cluster, not a farm team - December 2015

Business workers clustered around a table. In this op-ed for The Globe and Mail, President Humdullahpur teams up with Patrick Deane, president of McMaster University and Meric Gertler, president of the University of Toronto, to discuss Southern Ontario's innovation potential. Read it on The Globe and Mail's website.

Canada can become an equity superpower - November 2015 

image of Justin Trudeau's new cabinetIn this op-ed for Waterloo Region Record, President Hamdullahpur discusses how the University of Waterloo is helping to define Canada's position as an equity powerhouse, through actively promoting gender equity and cultural diversity. Read it on

Universities must prepare students for the disruption economy - October 2015

Uber Taxi AppIn this op-ed for the Ottawa Citizen, President Hamdullahpur talks about preparing students for the disruption economy, and how the University of Waterloo’s additive education platform gives Waterloo alumni an edge. Read it on the Ottawa Citizen's website.

Opening comments to #WINS15 - September 2015

On Thursday September 17, President Hamdullahpur opened the third annual Waterloo Innovation Summit with these opening remarks. He ends with a prediction and promise as to what shape innovation universities will take in the 21st century, and Waterloo's commitment to helping them get there.

Canada, most innovative nation by 2030 - April 2015

In a world where innovative techniques, technologies, and businesses transform economies everywhere, we can protect and enhance our economy and quality of life only by turning our innovation ecosystem into our core competitive advantage. Research-intensive universities are a key part of that equation, writes Feridun Hamdullahpur as Chair of The U15. Read this op-ed published by the Hill Times, and then read more about The U15's vision for Canada 2030.

Town and Gown: Diversity and Entrepreneurship - March 2015

In this keynote speech to the Immigration Partnership Community Forum 2015, President Hamdullahpur spoke to the value of cultural diversity, and made the connection between diversity and the role of universities and the success of entrepreneurship. In particular, the president emphasized that the Waterloo region’s ability to attract immigration is essential to the region’s future.

Universities and cross-cultural dialogue - January 2015

In this speech to the Symposium on the Role of Universities and Research Centres at the Intercultural Dialogue Among Civilizations in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, President Hamdullahpur explores some of the universal principles - like university research - that bring people and communities together, rather than divide them. This talk focuses specifically on what universities and university graduates can do to build a more diverse, equitable cultural landscape for this generation and the next.

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"The Waterloo Advantage", a speech to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Singapore - November 2014

President Hamdullahpur led a delegation from the University of Waterloo on a tour of east Asian partner institutions and alumni groups. In his keynote address to a group of Singaporean and Canadian business leaders on November 12, President Hamdullahpur stressed the mutual advantages to increased collaboration between the University of Waterloo and the vibrant Singaporean economy.

Why university research rankings miss the bigger picture - July 2014

University research rankings are a good thing on the whole, but it’s essential to keep them in perspective. President Hamdullahpur’s op-ed in the Globe and Mail reflects on the proliferation of research rankings in our modern age of Internet lists.  

Canada can learn from Israel's innovation - June 2014

What do Israel and the Waterloo region in southwestern Ontario have in common? In this op-ed for the Canadian Jewish News, Feridun Hamdullahpur argues that a shared vision for developing high-impact entrepreneurial ecosystems is a key mutual source of inspiration and excellence.

Global research, global affairs - March 2014

Canada's research-intensive universities should think of themselves as national strategic assets, writes Feridun Hamdullahpur, and they should work with other national stakeholders to strengthen Canada's relationships around the world. This op-ed was originally published at, the website of Canada's elite group of research-intensive universities. At time of writing, President Hamdullahpur was serving as vice-chair of this organization.

President Hamdullahpur, U15, herald major research funding - February 2014

On Wednesday, February 19, Minister of State for Science and Technology Greg Rickford announced major new funds for university research as part of the new federal budget, Economic Action Plan 2014.

President Hamdullahpur delivered the following remarks at the event on behalf of the U15, Canada’s association of top research-intensive universities, which he serves as vice-chair.

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"A Promise to Keep" - Address to Fall Convocation - October 2013

Addressing the Fall 2013 graduating class of Waterloo Warriors as alumni for the first time, President Hamdullahpur challenges our newest alum to honour the high expectations associated with attaining a degree from the University of Waterloo.

Innovation in Waterloo won't die with BlackBerry - October 2013

In this op-ed for the Globe and Mail, President Hamdullahpur explains that the Waterloo region's rise as an international hub for innovation neither begins nor ends with BlackBerry.

How to stop high school from stifling creativity - September 2013

Co-authored with Dr. Neil Turok, director of the Perimeter Institute, this op-ed in the Globe and Mail explores the challenges and opportunities facing high school education, the often-neglected piece of the education puzzle. This piece was published during the Waterloo Global Science Initiative's Equinox Summit: Learning 2030 conference in Waterloo.

Convocation - June 2013

President Feridun Hamdullahpur speaks to a convocating student.

Convocation is one of the most special occasions in the life of the university. Read President Hamdullahpur’s address to the graduands of the Spring 2013 convocation.

VIDEO & SPEECH: "Great Innovation Systems": President Hamdullahpur Opens Innovation Conference - April 2013

Opening the two-day Leadership Innovation Conference at the University of Waterloo, President Hamdullahpur highlights the key attributes that make innovation ecosystems successful. Great innovation systems, like the Quantum Valley, are centered in university research, enabled by a deep entrepreneurial instinct, and built upon a clear vision for well-differentiated, global relevance. 

Three Ways to Bridge Canada's Innovation Gap - April 2013

In this article published by the Toronto Star, President Hamdullahpur outlines three key factors missing from Canada’s innovation mix. This article ran in advance of the first Leadership Innovation Conference at the University of Waterloo.

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Fu​​ture o​f Public Education Summit – November 2012

Keynoted by Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty, the Future of Public Education Summit was convened by The Learning Partnership and designed to generate policy recommendations to enhance public education in Ontario. In this excerpt of his presentation to an audience of academic, government and private sector leaders, President Hamdullahpur outlines the University of Waterloo’s vision for the 21st century graduate.

Grand Opening of the University of Waterloo Stratford Campus – October 2012

President Hamdullahpur and community leaders open Stratford Campus.

The University of Waterloo Stratford Campus for Digital Media is a significant addition to the global digital media landscape. As President Hamdullahpur says in this speech, “The University of Waterloo has always sought to create an environment that combines the best in science, technology, and the humanities.”

VIDEO & SPEECH: Convocation – October 2012

Addressing University of Waterloo graduands on October 19 and 20, President Hamdullahpur invites our newest alumni to take pride in their university and their achievements; and most importantly, themselves.

Grand Opening of the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum Nano Centre (QNC) – September 2012

President Feridun Hamdullahpur speaking.As the world leader in quantum information research and a world-class pioneer in nanotechnology, University of Waterloo is the heart of Canada’s emerging Quantum Valley. Addressing hundreds at QNC’s grand opening, President Hamdullahpur expresses the university’s commitment to ground-breaking quantum and nano research.

VIDEO & SPEECH: Innovating a Brighter Future – September 2012

Addressing the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, President Hamdullahpur explains how university-supported innovation is key to the success of Waterloo Region, and to addressing key global challenges and opportunities.

Join Hands, Reach Further – July 2012

President Hamdullahpur articulates a bold vision for enhancing international research collaboration and innovation. Published by Times Higher Ed, this article reflects the content of Hamdullahpur’s presentation to the Association of Commonwealth Universities in London, England.

Balsillie School hasn’t impinged on academic freedom, integrity – May 2012

The Balsillie School of International Affairs’ (BSIA) governance model is sound, argues President Hamdullahpur in this Waterloo Region Record article, protecting academic integrity while enabling a highly innovative research partnership.

Structuring Universities for Effective Teaching and Learning – April 2012

Teaching and learning are central to the mission of universities, even to those, like Waterloo, with ever-greater emphasis and focus on graduate studies and research intensity. President Hamdullahpur addresses an audience in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Speech to the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology at Soochow University – February 2012

The University of Waterloo is a leader in nanotechnology research. In this speech to the collaborative SUN-WIN research venture (Soochow University Nanotechnology and Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology), President Hamdullahpur provides an excellent overview of how uWaterloo contributes to Waterloo Region’s innovation ecosystem, and how universities can set policies that enable commercialization and economic activity.

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State of Mind – December 2011

Mental health and wellness is a priority at the University of Waterloo, explains President Hamdullahpur in a speech to university staff. Gathered to explore the relationship of mental health to the workplace, the campus community event featured a keynote presentation by Dr. Ian Arnold, chair of the workforce advisory committee of the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

Keynote Speech to the Pollution Probe Gala – November 2011

In this keynote speech to the Pollution Probe Gala in Toronto, President Hamdullahpur calls for new approaches to energy systems based upon clean energy development, reducing energy demand through innovation, engineering and commercializing green technologies, and improving energy literacy among all stakeholder groups from government to industry and beyond.

Installation Address – October 2011

In his first act as president and vice-chancellor of the University of Waterloo, having served in that role on an interim basis for the preceding half year, Feridun Hamdullahpur assumes the responsibilities of his office with an energetic commitment to sustaining Waterloo’s academic excellence, societal relevance, and its rich and rewarding student experience.

Keynote Speech to Society of Research Administrators International Conference – October 2011

University research is central to society’s ability to thrive in an increasingly complex and interconnected global economy and community, explains Interim President Hamdullahpur to the SRAI conference in Montreal.

Sustainable Development Report – June 2011 (PDF)

A signatory to the Council of Ontario Universities’ Ontario Universities: Committed to a Greener World sustainable development pledge, the University of Waterloo is committed to environmental responsibility, social leadership, economic health, and academic excellence, writes Interim President Feridun Hamdullahpur in the report’s opening message.

Speech to the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce – February 2011

In this address to the Chamber of Commerce in Cambridge, Ontario, Interim President Hamdullahpur illuminates the vital connection between university research and private sector enterprise. He explains why, in the knowledge economy, successful enterprises will increasingly be “the ones that are committed to pursuing knowledge through investment in research and development.”

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On the Value of Scholarships – November 2010

In this article published in the Toronto Star, Interim President Hamdullahpur explores how international scholarships support ability of world-class universities to help develop knowledgeable, aware, and responsible global citizens.