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Canada's Global University
The University of British Columbia
2004 / 05 Annual Report
towards 2010
Think Global: Raising the Bar at UBCThe Year in ReviewDefining - and Modeling - Global CitizenshipRecruiting Allies in a More Civil SocietyA Sustainable UBC - A Sustainable University TownInvesting in a New Generation - a New UBCDonors & EndowmentFinancial HighlightsSocial HighlightsEnvironmental HighlightsLeadershipContact / FeedbackPDF Version

Defining - and Modeling - Global Citizenship

Global citizens are willing to think beyond boundaries of place, identity and category,
and recognize all human beings as their equals while respecting humanity's inherent
diversity. Within their own sphere of influence, global citizens seek to imagine and work towards a better world.

- As defined by the UBC Okanagan Academic Planning Team, March 2005

The very notion of global citizenship is a challenge: it suggests big responsibilities in a small world. It commands optimism in the face of certain knowledge that the earth is vulnerable -- environmentally, politically and socially.

Brett Finlay
Brett Finlay, UBC Peter Wall Distinguished Professor, has responded to the global challenge to fight infections, thanks to funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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But if it is difficult to define global citizenship, it's sometimes easy to identify a global citizen, an exemplar. Dr. Brett Finlay, the UBC Peter Wall Distinguished Professor, set a personal goal earlier in his career "to work on something that would have potential benefits to humankind." His success to date has set him among the best in the world, most recently attracting an US $8.7 million grant as part of the Grand Challenges in Global Health (GCGH).

Dr. Brett Finlay is a professor in the Michael Smith Laboratories and the departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, as well as in Microbiology and Immunology. The late Nobel Laureate Michael Smith personally recruited Dr. Finlay in 1989 and Dr. Smith deserves additional, posthumous recognition for his good judgment.

In the mid 1990s, Dr. Finlay led a team that was studying diseasecausing bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli. In 1997, the team identified the "protein harpoon" that E. coli uses to attach itself to cells in the intestine -- a discovery that led to a cattle vaccine that will prevent meat contamination from pathogenic E. coli O157. The vaccine has been tested on thousands of animals across Canada and the US and shown to be effective. It is now undergoing licensing in these countries, and should go a long way toward preventing future contaminations such as the lethal outbreak at Walkerton, Ont.

Dr. Finlay's next major project was as director of the BC government- funded SARS Accelerated Vaccine Initiative (SAVI), followed by his success in winning the GCGH grant to develop new medicines to boost the human body's ability to fight infections such as malaria, typhoid fever, E. coli and tuberculosis -- all of which have devastating effects in the developing world.

The grant is part of a $450 million initiative, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and operated through the US Foundation for the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Finlay was chosen from among 1,500 applicants in 75 countries and his was the largest grant of only three approved in Canada. He will lead a team from Oxford University; the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the University of London in the U.K.; The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Australia; France's Institut Pasteur; and Stanford University School of Medicine and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the US.

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