Dr. W. Andy Knight receives 2006 Scotiabank/AUCC Award for Excellence in Internationalization

left to right: Claire Morris - AUCC President; Indira Samarasekera - University of Alberta President; W. Andy Knight - Award recipient; Rick Waugh - Scotiabank Chief Executive Addre

24 October 2006

left to right: Claire Morris - AUCC President; Indira Samarasekera - University of Alberta President; W. Andy Knight - Award recipient; Rick Waugh - Scotiabank Chief Executive

Address by President and Vice-Chancellor I.V. Samarasekera.

Kevin and Claire, thank you so very much. I am delighted, on behalf of the University of Alberta, to accept this 2006 Scotiabank/AUCC Award for Excellence in Internationalization. I would also like to recognize and congratulate the other recipients this evening.

As President of the University of Alberta I am particularly proud of our recent accomplishments in providing for our students a multifaceted internationalization programme that is reflected in the proposal we submitted to this year?s competition, entitled: ?Global Education in Peace and Governance: Simulations, Internships, Symposia and Applied Research?.

Our institution is committed to providing students with quality opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills and perspectives required to live and work in the changing international environment of the twenty-first century. The University of Alberta?s internationalization initiative combines simulations, internships and symposia, exposes students to the myriad of security and governance problems faced by societies in our ?global village? and allows those students to design and develop innovative solutions to these international and, more correctly, global problems.

This innovative and multifaceted initiative has provided a dynamic, discovery-based, learning environment on our campus that combines theory and practice through curricular and hands-on extra-curricular offerings.

University students are not the only beneficiaries of this initiative. For instance, some of our students sacrifice their spring break each year to engage in mentoring Edmonton area high school students at an annual UN simulation held on the University campus. The impact of this High School Model United Nations conference, which was inaugurated by Dr. Andy Knight in the Faculty of Arts, is now being felt across the University. This simulation is coupled with other UN and OAS simulations that allow our students to engage with students from across Canada, the US, Central and Latin America, South America and the Caribbean in global problem solving and the modeling of multilateral cooperative diplomatic activity.

Through a combination of other global educational activities, including internships, symposia and applied research, students at the University of Alberta are being prepared to be active global citizens in an increasingly globalized, complex, interdependent world.

We are very proud of the recent launch of a new interdisciplinary certificate in Peace and Post Conflict Studies. This certificate programme focuses on the root causes of conflict, breaking the cycle of violence, building sustainable peace, and reconstructing societies ravaged by war.

We have utilized funding from CIDA?s Canada Corps University Partnership Programme and the Canadian Consortium on Human Security to provide several University of Alberta students with the opportunity to participate in overseas internships. Most recently, in 2005, four of our students completed internships with the Sierra Leone government?s Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children?s Affairs. The work of these students focused on the demobilization, demilitarization and reintegration/rehabilitation of ex-child soldiers in post-conflict Sierra Leone.

Professor Knight?s commitment to addressing the problem of recruitment of children in conflicts around the globe has inspired students and faculty alike to become engaged in symposia and international conferences that bring together a burgeoning network of practitioners, policy makers, academics and members of civil society organizations to explore solutions to this multi-dimensional issue.

As Professor Knight has put it: ?if our research cannot be applied to resolving real world problems, then what is the point of the acquisition of knowledge??

This award is recognition of our efforts and of the value we place on helping our students to become productive global citizens while providing them with the skill sets needed to resolve conflicts in peaceful ways.

We thank Scotiabank and the AUCC for this honour. We will continue, more energized, to ensure that today?s students are imbued with the kind of global perspective and intercultural understanding that will help them thrive in our increasingly shrinking global village.

Thank you.

I.V. Samarasekera

President and Vice-Chancellor