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U of T President Gertler heads to China on first international trip since taking office

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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