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Governor General of Canada speaks on diplomacy of knowledge

22 November 2011

H.E. Johnston (left) with Dr Lily Chan

H.E. Johnston delivering his address on diplomacy of knowledge

Sharing views on the role of universities in the development of knowledge clusters

Universities, colleges and research institutes can lead the way towards greater co-operation and dialogue between nations, said His Excellency The Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada. He was speaking on "The Diplomacy of Knowledge: Education and Globalisation in the 21st Century" at NUS on 21 November 2011 during his inaugural state visit to Singapore and Asia in his capacity as Canada's 28th Governor General.

"The diplomacy of knowledge works on many levels – local, regional, national and international – and when we achieve the right mixture of expertise, creativity, collaboration and communication, remarkable things can happen," said H.E. Johnston.

He quoted the example of the Memorandum of Understanding inked between NUS' Centre for Quantum Technologies and the University of Waterloo's Institute for Quantum Computing and said that the collaboration has allowed the two institutions to share resources and see increased co-operation and exchange between students, postdocs and faculty.

To date, NUS has 17 Canadian partner universities under its student exchange programme. The University has also both received 1,000 exchange students from these partner universities and sent 1,000 of NUS students to Canada since 1997, said CEO of NUS Enterprise Dr Lily Chan.

H.E. Johnston also shared that in today's world, leading educational institutions are at the forefront of several key frontiers. First, the universities must build ties between local businesses, community groups and learning institutions so as to identify and broadly share specific needs and goals. The universities must also understand the dynamics of the 21st century knowledge economy where education, research and innovation are more valued and intersect more closely than ever. Finally, the universities must rededicate themselves to their role in transmitting the civilisation of the past to that of the future.

The event rounded off with a panel discussion on the role of universities in the development of knowledge clusters. Panellists included Mr John G. Jung, CEO of Canada's Technology Triangle Inc and Co-Founder and Chairman of Intelligent Community Forum; Assoc Prof Christopher Hogue of the NUS Department of Biological Sciences and Principal Investigator of the Mechanobiology Institute; Mr John R. McDougall, President of the National Research Council Canada; and Assoc Prof Victor Ramraj, Vice-Dean (Academic Affairs) of the NUS Faculty of Law who was also the moderator for the session.