“International partnerships enhance and enrich the university experience for our faculty and students, extend our reach and influence throughout the world, and allow us to address some of society’s most pressing challenges such as climate change, poverty, and international security on a global scale,” said Jim Lee, University of Saskatchewan executive director, international. “Consequently, international collaborations are absolutely essential for high-quality, research-intensive universities like the University of Saskatchewan, enabling us to be a university the world needs.”
In June 2017, the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Regina and Saskatchewan Polytechnic signed a Memorandum of Understanding to create the Saskatchewan Education Alliance (SaskAlliance). SaskAlliance is an initiative to promote the province of Saskatchewan as a high-quality education destination for students and researchers.
The SaskAlliance works to:
- enhance recognition of Saskatchewan as a high-quality education destination for international students;
- create a recognizable Saskatchewan education brand;
- increase awareness of Saskatchewan post-secondary programs;
- highlight the research, scholarly and artistic work of Saskatchewan institutions; and
- establish and foster relations and partnerships with governments, institutions, and funding agencies abroad.
The University of Regina recently invited a delegation from AMEXCID (Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation) to visit the University of Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan Polytechnic through SaskAlliance. AMEXCID and SaskAlliance discussed funding support for Canadian students to study in Mexico and potential opportunities for Mexican graduate students to study in Canada.
“The intercultural awareness, appreciation, and understanding that comes with studying abroad enables our students to be engaged global citizens,” said Lee.
AMEXCID and SaskAlliance signed the Mexico Visiting Scholar Agreement. This agreement provides an opportunity for a faculty member from a Mexican university to visit all three of the SaskAlliance institutions, spending time on collaborative research projects with faculty members and delivering lectures.
In addition to its work with SaskAlliance, the U of S Language Centre is hosting its third cohort of Proyecta 10,000 students this summer. Proyecta 10,000 is a highly successful program funded by the Mexican government. The program’s goal is to have 10,000 Mexican learners studying English as a second language in Canada by 2018. The program was launched after the February 2014 North American Leaders’ Summit, in which Canada and Mexico determined that innovation and education are among the strategic priorities of co-operation between the two countries.
“These international partnerships with Mexico are strongly aligned with all four main pillars of the University of Saskatchewan’s internationalization strategy, known as the International Blueprint for Action,” said Lee.
The four main pillars of the International Blueprint for Action are: internationalizing learning experiences, diversifying our university community, strengthening our global impact through discovery, and growing our global citizenship and international community service.
“We have only just begun to explore the numerous ways we can collaborate with Mexico,” said Lee. “Greater engagement between both of our countries will create wonderful personal and professional opportunities for our students and scholars and will also enhance our institutional profile and impact abroad.”
Brett Makulowich is a communications officer with Teaching, Learning and Student Experience.