Expanding Ties in Canada
From 12-14 January, a WMU delegation led by Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, WMU President, met with officials in Canada to discuss renewing ties with several agencies and organizations as well as opening new ties. The President was accompanied by Professor Neil Bellefontaine, Vice President Academic and Dr. Larry Hildebrand, Professor and Canadian Chair and Head of Ocean Sustainability, Governance & Management.
“WMU has long-standing and strong ties with Canada which have been of great benefit to both WMU and the organizations with which we partner. Since 2006, the Canadian Professorial Chair in Marine Environment Protection has played a significant role in contributing to shape the future of maritime leaders. The Canadian Chair will also play a critical role in WMU’s expanded oceans mandate and support of the University’s commitment to the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Numerous students have benefited from field studies to Canada, and the University is pleased to enter into a new partnership with the Canadian Coast Guard College which offers the possibility for new areas of collaboration and field study opportunities. We also have existing agreements with Transport Canada and Dalhousie University that provide invaluable support and collaboration opportunities,” stated President Doumbia-Henry.
On 12 January, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with the Canadian Coast Guard College (CCG College). The five-year agreement on Academic Cooperation with CCG College will enable linkages in the field of marine affairs, broadly defined to include maritime safety, security, and marine environmental management. Specific areas of collaboration under the MoU include academic information exchange and possible faculty exchanges, possibilities for professional development courses offered to staff and/or students of the partner organizations and collaboration on distance education and research projects. The Agreement further provides the option for CCG College to host week-long field studies for WMU students. Brian LeBlanc, Executive Director of CCG College and President Doumbia-Henry signed the MoU into effect.
Transport Canada, with Environment and Climate Change Canada, has provided long-standing support to WMU with the establishment of the Canadian Professorial Chair in Marine Environment Protection in 2006. In addition, Transport Canada has supported WMU research as well as field studies to Canada for WMU students and has sent senior members of their staff to WMU as Visiting Professors and speakers for events such as the International Conference on Safe and Sustainable Shipping in a Changing Arctic Environment (ShipArc 2015) that took place at WMU this past August.
A partnership with Dalhousie University was established in 1997 providing opportunities for exchange of faculty members on a short-term basis. Following the meeting with Dalhousie University on January 14 in Halifax, the two universities are now exploring broader areas of collaboration and will be working together even more closely.