UBC Home Page -
UBC Home Page -
UBC Home Page UBC Home Page -
News Events Directories Search UBC myUBC Login
- -
UBC Public Affairs
UBC Reports
UBC Reports Extras
Goal / Circulation / Deadlines
Letters to the Editor & Opinion Pieces / Feedback
UBC Reports Archives
Media Releases
Services for Media
Services for the Community
Services for UBC Faculty & Staff
Find UBC Experts
Search Site

UBC Reports | Vol. 50 | No. 10 | Nov. 4, 2004

An International Vision for UBC

“This university is among those that understand what the future requires of it and Canada. You’ve heard from various speakers today, and you can read …about the nature of UBC’s international vision and how it’s pursued its plan. It is the right and urgent vision for this institution, for this port city, for this coastal province, and for this country.” Jeffrey Simpson

At a time when we may be tempted to feel superior to our neighbours to the south, what Canadians really need is a new sense of urgency about being better connected to the world, said one of Canada’s leading political journalists. Addressing a near-capacity crowd at UBC’s annual general meeting, Jeffrey Simpson, the Globe and Mail’s national affairs columnist, said universities-as incubators of ideas, innovation and social responsibility-must be at the forefront in fostering those connections.

With the theme of finding “Our Place in the World,” UBC’s vision of being a top global institution was the topic for several speakers at the 2004 AGM, including fourth-year integrated engineering student Monica Rucki, who shared how her experience working with farmers in East Timor helped spark a passion for making a difference.

Rucki, who was featured in UBC’s annual report, served for four months with Engineers Without Borders (EWB) in East Timor, helping develop a gravity-fed irrigation system for rice farmers. She told at the meeting that it was an experience that transformed her perspective on learning.

“My overseas placement with EWB created a spark and renewed my desire for engineering by introducing the ‘why’ element of engineering,” Rucki said.

Speaking to a UBC Robson Square theatre and Internet audience, President Martha Piper said UBC was changing the goalposts -- setting its sights on the global stage, and the goal of preparing global citizens who would promote the values of a civil and sustainable society.

Responding to Piper’s comments, Simpson lamented the lack of global vision on the national stage, saying he felt such leadership would find a constituency of supporters, particularly among young Canadians.

“I believe that our future, and our well-being as a country of only 31 million people, depends vitally and urgently on establishing the reality, not just the reputation, by all means and in all of our institutions, of being the most internationally connected country on the planet,” said Simpson.

Universities can influence the country, he said, by increasing the proportion of international students, by developing global curricula, and by linking to other international institutions, in particular Third World universities.

- - -  

Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

to top | UBC.ca » UBC Public Affairs

UBC Public Affairs
310 - 6251 Cecil Green Park Road, Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z1
tel 604.822.3131 | fax 604.822.2684 | e-mail public.affairs@ubc.ca

© Copyright The University of British Columbia, all rights reserved.