McGill welcomes Universitas

McGill welcomes Universitas McGill University

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McGill Reporter
April 19, 2007 - Volume 39 Number 15
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Home > McGill Reporter > Volume 39: 2006-2007 > April 19, 2007 > McGill welcomes Universitas

McGill welcomes Universitas

In 2000, the United Nations issued a visionary challenge to the global citizenry: eliminate extreme poverty and hunger and make significant, specific advances in the areas of education, the environment and health care by 2015. As the midway point of that 15-year timeline nears, McGill is hosting a gathering of international development experts and top academics from North America and beyond who will seek to help the world rise to that challenge.

The half-day conference on the role higher education can play in attaining the UN Millennium Development Goals will take place April 20 within the April 19-21 annual symposium of Universitas 21, an international network of research-intensive universities of which McGill is a member.

“One of the main themes is linking research and practice to tackle the problems of poverty and healthcare in developing countries,” said conference co-organizer Jan Jorgensen, associate dean, Academic in the Desautels Faculty of Management. “This [conference] offers us an opportunity to showcase the work being done at the U21 universities toward these Millennium goals and also to reinforce the links between universities and development agencies like the UN and the [International Development Research Centre].”

The half-day conference will feature a keynote address by Jody Heymann, Canada Research Chair in Global Health & Social Policy at McGill, as well as two panel discussions moderated by Nicholas Kasirer, dean of McGill’s Faculty of Law and Antonia Maioni, director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada.

The panels will include academics from the U.S., Australia and Europe as well as international development specialists from the UN and the IDRC in Ottawa. Established in September 2000 with a commitment from 189 UN member nations, the Millennium Development Goals call for significant measurable improvements by 2015 in eight areas: poverty and hunger; primary education; gender equality; child mortality; maternal health; diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria; environmental stability; and global development partnerships.

“One of the recurring themes is the causal links between these goals,” said Jorgensen. “For example, gender equality has a big impact on achieving universal primary education, improving maternal health and lowering child mortality. And water has spillover effects for health in a major way, which in turn leads to better productivity.”

Universitas 21 comprises the following members: University of Auckland, University of Birmingham, University of British Columbia, University College Dublin, University of Edinburgh, Fudan University, University of Hong Kong, Korea University, McGill University, University of Glasgow, Lund University, University of Melbourne, Tecnológico de Monterrey, University of New South Wales, University of Nottingham, University of Peking, University of Queensland, Shanghai Jai Tong University, National University of Singapore, University of Virginia, Waseda University.

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