#RobartsCentreforCanadianStudies, #DahdalehGlobalHealthResearchInstitute, #YorkCentreforAsianResearch, #CentreforRefugeeStudies, #AnanyaMukherjee-Reed, #DineshBhatia, #SheilaEmbleton, #CIDA, #CommonwealthScholarshipsProgram, #ShastriIndo-CanadianInstituteFellowhips, #IndianCouncilofSocialSciencesResearch, #MartinBunch, #NGOs, #WazidaRahman, #ChandniBhambani, #DawnR.Bazely, #ShibaniChoudhury, #RanuBasu, #PIOGeographies
Toronto, Oct 16 (Canadian-Media): A one-day trans disciplinary and interdisciplinary event was held on Oct 13, 2017 in York University, Toronto, with active association of Consulate General Of India, with its theme: Facing the future together: exploring new pathways for Canada-India Collaborations. The other associates were Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies, Dahdaleh Global Health Research Institute, York Centre for Asian Research and Centre for Refugee Studies.
With the objective to bring together experts from academia, policy making, diplomats, technocrats and business entities to explore issues of collaborations and research, resource and knowledge sharing for building better, long term relationships between the two countries, thie seminar identified certain challenges that need to be overcome in emerging opportunities between Canada and India.
Ananya Mukherjee-Reed, Dean, Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, York University said in his inaugural remarks that this will not be the only event as “we are planning to make it into an annual event with some more similar kinds of activities to improve the bilateral activities between the academics and between the between the universities and we want to make sure the younger generations of the universities should get more involved.”
With his vision to see the opening up the possibilities of how around the worlds art is emerging, Mukherjee-Reed said he felt that the younger generations in universities could be the driving force to move such transdisciplinary issues beyond the borders for this partnership.
Dinesh Bhatia, Consul General of India in Toronto, in his welcoming remarks said that both India and Canada follow the principles of democracy and share their ruralistic, multicultural, multilinguistic societies. Both the countries follow the principles of free trade, a very proactive policy of sustainable development both in the multilateral forum and bilateral forums.
With nearly half of Indo-Canadian community, estimated about 1.3 million, living in GTA (Greater Toronto area), Canada is a popular destination for Indian students, both due to its safe law and order situation and also its education system is less expensive compared to other countries, particularly US. Bhatia also pointed out that Canada has several provincial (21) and 4 federal leaders from Indo-Canadian community.
Although India had invested heavily in Canada, continued Bhatia, for the last 20 years or so and had generated more than 40,000 jobs in Canada although, India continues to be a poor country, said Bhatia. Its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is still much lower, much lower than Canada of course, but in overall terms India is a very large economy today and by 2030, is hoped to be number three economy in the world. The two-way trade between the two countries had gone up by 22% but is much below the potential.
Bhatia said the above features highlighted that India and Canada do not compete with each other, rather they complement each other. Whatever Canada produces in agriculture, mines and minerals, India is deficient in those and India is importing a large amount of pulses at the moment and other natural products. Canada, on the other hand is a good market for India’s products such as carpets, leather etc.
In his recommendations Bhatia said that both India and Canada should focus on 6 crucial areas for their future relationships would also be mutually beneficial. These are: (1) Energy and infrastructure; (2) Manufacturing and High Technology: Canada has been a G7 country in high technology for the last 40 years and India has a lot to gain from Canada; (3) Agriculture and goods industries where Canada is an expert but in which India lags behind in these expertise presents huge scope for collaboration; (4) Skill development in which both universities and colleges have an important role to play; (5) Entrepreneurship and innovation; (6) Research & Education.
Sheila Embleton, Professor, York University, elaborating on Canadian-India Academic relations said History of Indo Canadian academic collaboration is quite short. India shares British colonial history with Canada, even though different in some crucial ways.
Other similarities between the two countries were their legal system and the government accredited terminology, structure of schools and universities, various cultures, legacies, English widely spoken by educated classes and much more.
But the problem was the mutual academic interests of varied Canadian and Indian academic history and culture were seldom shared which minimised the prospects for direct interaction or longer term relationships. Before the early 2000s, there was the Colombo plan, continued Sheila, Canadian Studies Programs, CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency), Commonwealth Scholarships Program and then from its founding in 1968 the The Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute Fellowhips.
Canada had a very negative view of India as a poor, underdeveloped country and regular communications between the two countries lacked except by some programs like Shastri programs in 1968. But the relationship had not developed fully as most of the research was done on individual and there was next to nothing at the institutional level.
Since 2004 interest in India has increased. Expanded international trade required knowledge in country’s economy and their ways of life. Government of these countries saw possibilities for revenue generation directly through fees and also indirectly through economical impacts. Recruitment though did not necessarily lead to institutional or research relationships.
One of the many noteworthy relationships between the two countries was the York Schulich School of Business, the very first school which gave students a global perspective from the late 1980s, followed with its relationship with the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Ahmedabad and Bangalore and ISBN in Hyderabad and culminated in the opening of a campus in Mumbai In January 2010 which is now moved to Hyderabad. Sheila said that York’s overall work with India’s strategy began with her work and by 2006 there was an established relationships with Javadpur University in Calcutta and Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi and Xavier’s college in Mumbai and a few law schools.
Carlton University in Ottawa, University of Toronto’s Rotman School, Simon Fraser in British Columbia, were some of the institutes to maintain good relationships with the Indo-Canadian community and also to do fund raising. What was noticed, said Sheila, was the comparative absence of Quebec in the national picture and absence of Atlantic Canada from all of this.
Although India was a destination of choice for Canadian international academic collaboration, but India’s the non-compliance of the graduate degree of three years with university degrees in Canada was a hurdle. Another reason was the lack of coordination between the provinces and the federal government as a whole.
Sheila concluded by saying that the need of the hour is to reinject some more energy and commitment into the relationship and we have to keep some focus on India even as we all chase new markets and new relationships around the world.
Throwing light on the plight of the international students who come to Canada, Sheila said that some students are given some support by providing some work permits and are expected to support themselves. It is not easy. Individual universities are also not providing monetary support and any kind of service support as well.
In her recommendations, Sheila said that funding for exchange for partnership for travel to facilitate ease of academic movements because the actual presence and not the learning through web research is the need of the hour. We need to keep the cost of flights lower than they actually are at present. Prevalence of more information campaigns to remove the prevalent negative attitudes towards We need exchanges, actually live exchanges, not just signed on paper to maintain institutional commitments. The most important thing was encouraging sharing of cultural learnings of both sides – between Canada and the international students.
Commenting on Sheila’s speech , Dr. Nivedita Das Kundu, Research Faculty and the Lead, Canada-India project also said that she had been working with Indian Consulate on Social Science Research for six and a half years and during her tenure as research director there, she was asked to visit Canada and start a collaboration activities for social sciences with Canadian Consulate. Nivedita added that in spite of all of their efforts, this collaboration could not be started due to lack of funding, exchange of students, exchange of faculty on both sides of the consulates.
Nivedita Das Kundu: 2nd from the left
She also said that Social Sciences sector in India, supported by the ministry of India was doing well but there was lack of corresponding activities from the Canadian side. Apart from similarities on both sides regarding Social Science research and Science Research, only a few cultural activities and programs were being organized in Toronto.
Indian Council of Social Sciences Research (ICSSR), with its own libraries and its own guest houses is doing a lot of work not only for the student community but also providing technical support to underprivileged section and indigenous people and remote area populations. With special schemes for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, ICSSR is trying to encourage their activities and are being brought into the main stream. They are giving a lot of support in funding the faculty and also organizing the training programs, that is research methodology training programs to these small and remote places universities.
Apart from that very good collaborations with a number of councils like Social Science councils in other countries like Russia, China, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Iran and Netherlands and with United Kingdom, the faculty exchange programs and joint research are taking place. Nivedita in her recommendations said that this where the starting level of scholars to do research on Sciences Research in Canada need more focus and encouragement. Also they should have more collaborations with Shastri Institute -- which successfully funds such organizations in India – to learn more about funding.
Martin Bunch, Professor, Dahdaleh Global Health Research Institute highlighted in his paper his experiences from 2004 to 2009 when an interdisciplinary team of Canadian and Indian researchers and Indian NGOs (Non-governmental organizations) and any non-profit, voluntary citizens' groups which is organized on a local, national or international level) collaboration with the Anju Kudsai community to explore the application of an Ecosystem Approach to Health and Well being which links community health and well-being with the environment and sustainable development.
In his recommendations Bunch pointed out that economically underdeveloped and poor segments of the people, not being represented, should be properly represented by community level collaboration. More echo system approach should be adopted. Shastri institute also funded lots of studies. Hanging out with people there, building relationships with them was a prerequisite.
Wazida Rahman, Shastri-Indo Canadian Doctoral Visiting Fellow at Osgoode Law School from National Law University, Assam said -- in a Comparative Study of Status of Women and Children in Live-In-Relationship in India and in Canada -- that India, a country of highly valued morality and traditions is now slowly diverting to western ideas and lifestyles one of these being live-in- relationships. She highlighted the Canadian Family Law Act, R.S.O. 1990 which says that where two persons have been leading a conjugal relationship at least a period of one year, the relationship acquires sanctity under the name of ‘common law marriage’. The study made a comparative analyses of the impact of live-in-relationships on marriage and family institutions in India and Canada and brings out differences and common practices between the two countries.
Chandni Bhambani, Ph.D. Scholar, ISEC, Bangalore, SICI Exchange Visiting Scholar at York University highlighted the concept of Contextualizing Childlessness by Choice in India and Canada and said that reproduction is the key impetus to continue the legacy of human species, family and society and turns childlessness into a taboo. Bhambani attempts to contextualize the decision to remain childless in two diverse societies of India and Canada. Canada being a developed economy and an under-populated nation, whereas India being a developing economy and an over-populated country can provide a pervasive account of the social, economic and political conditions that foster, or hinder the nonconformist reproductive choice of choosing childlessness.
Dawn R. Bazely & Shibani Choudhury, University Professor, York University & Vishwa Bharati uses the frugal innovation approach (an engineering concept in which finding solutions to problems, includes the principles of minimizing cost, and accessibility) to address the energy needs and applied plant ecology issues and provide renewable energy to communities that are not on a main power grid.
This collaborative project was informed by Shibani’s recently completed project showing that “decentralised hybrid power plants with different renewable technologies can be the most efficient, cheap and sustainable options for rural electrification”.
Dawn, in his recommendations said that there are two significant challenges: the need for strategies to manage invasive plant species, and the need for rapid, inexpensive and accurate protocols for assessing the toxicity of plants, including the microbes that live inside them, known as endophytes.
Ranu Basu, Associate Professor, York University speaking on PIO Geographies in Toronto and the ‘(Par)Desi’ Politics of Place spoke about the settlement patterns of those of Indian origin have a specific geography in the Toronto Region and explored the complexities of the socio-spatial patterns and the corresponding practices and politics of place-making. Through these discussions the paper reflects on the broader philosophical question as to what constitutes a City of Refuge?
Ajey Lele, Senior Fellow, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi spoke about international collaborations as an important concept of Political leadership and policymakers. Economists perceive such collaborations in science and technology as an engine of progress and growth. India and Canada’s a long history of scientific and technological (S & T) collaborations include working on specific areas of research and also addressing global issues like climate change, infectious disease control etc.
India-Canada Collaborative Industrial Research & Development programme was established in 2017. Space and nuclear technologies constitute a significant collaboration between these two nations. While discussing the historical and current status of India-Canada science and technology collaboration, an attempt is be made to recognize the future partnerships involving specific technological areas for collaboration like nanotechnology, biotechnology, ITC, space etc.; and also technologies for social development like green technologies, water technologies and agricultural technologies would be discussed.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)