November 19, 2013
TORONTO, ON – University of Toronto President Meric Gertler is travelling to Beijing and Hong Kong on his first international visit since taking the helm of Canada’s largest university.
Gertler arrives in Beijing on November 19, where he will meet with counterparts from leading institutions, including Peking and Tsinghua universities, and senior government officials. He will also co-host an alumni reception along with Canadian ambassador Guy Saint-Jacques. Gertler will then visit Hong Kong to take part in the University’s ninth Asia-Pacific graduation ceremony and meet with Hong Kong alumni.
The president says the trip to China reflects the importance that U of T places on its relations with that country and with the Asia-Pacific region, and the remarkable contributions that students from that region have made to the University through the years.
“U of T’s roots in the Asia-Pacific region span more than one hundred years of collaboration, exchange and achievement,” Gertler said. “Since the 19th century, our outstanding students from the Asia-Pacific region have benefited from a U of T education and the University has in turn been inspired and enriched by our extraordinary Asia-Pacific scholars, partners, collaborators, alumni and friends.”
In his official installation address on November 7, Gertler identified strengthening international partnerships as one of three strategic priorities for the University. ”At a time when we are keen to expand our role as a city-building institution at home, it makes particularly good sense for us to leverage our partnerships with other great universities in other great world cities.”
Close to 6,000 students come from the Asia Pacific region, along with thousands of Canadian students of Asian heritage. The University also works with universities in the Asia-Pacific region on joint research projects, faculty exchanges, post-doctoral fellowships and student exchanges.
U of T’s academic partners in the region include Peking University, Tsinghua University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Fudan University, the University of Hong Kong and the Shanghai Institute for Biological Sciences. Students and faculty collaborate across a variety of fields such as: neuroscience; nanotechnology; political science; biophysics; hematology; critical care medicine; cancer and diabetes.
“The flow of ideas, knowledge and people between U of T and institutions in the region is delivering broad benefits to our societies,” Gertler said. “The path well known alumni, such as Norman Bethune (MD 1916), and others pioneered decades ago is still being advanced today. Together with their colleagues in the Asia-Pacific region, our faculty, staff, and students are helping build a better world.”
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