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Margin Notes

G8 University Summit held in Vancouver

Two dozen presidents from 14 countries gathered in advance of full G8 summit in Huntsville, Ontario.


An event that seemed to slip under the media radar, the 2010 G8 University Summit was held last week (May 20-22) in Vancouver, attended by 24 university presidents from 14 countries. It was the third such summit, the first being held in Hokkaido, Japan in 2008 and in Turin, Italy last year.

The event was co-hosted by the University of British Columbia and the University of Alberta. According to a UBC media advisory, the presidents were gathering in Vancouver “to prepare advice for their governments as Canada prepares to host the G8 Summit” in Huntsville, Ontario, June 25-26.

Attending the G8 University Summit, again according to UBC, were “the presidents of leading research universities from the G8 and G20 countries to discuss the role universities should play in the development of knowledge to lead global social change.”

The theme for this year’s conference sessions was “Universities and Communities: Transition to a Sustainable Future.” A Statement of Action resulting from those deliberations has been released, but curiously it is not up yet on the official G8 University Summit website. I trust the site will be updated shortly, but until then, I’ve posted it in PDF form on the University Affairs website here.

The summit statement had three sub-themes: sustainable energy, sustainable health and sustainable higher education. It had a handful of recommendations, including – for sustainable higher education – that “universities will seek more effective solutions to meet the challenges presented by constraints in public funding and worldwide economic upheaval. Universities will provide opportunities for leadership development and a shared focus on excellence and innovation in teaching and learning.”

The Canadian signatories were: Peter MacKinnon, President, University of Saskatchewan; Heather Munroe-Blum, principal, McGill University; Indira Samarasekera, President, University of Alberta; Stephen Toope, President, University of British Columbia; Tom Traves, President, Dalhousie University; David Turpin], President, University of Victoria; and Luc Vinet, Rector, Université de Montreal

The final declaration from Turin last year can be found here, and for 2008 in Sapporo here.

The full G8 Summit in Huntsville, June 25-26, will be immediately followed by the G20 Summit in Toronto June 26-27.

Update, May 31, 2010: University World News has a full report on the university summit, posted May 30.

Léo Charbonneau
Léo Charbonneau is the editor of University Affairs.
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