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Toronto, May 27 (Canadian-Media): Official launch of a special issue of Canadawatch, organised jointly by Canada-India Project for Research and Innovation (CIPRI), of York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR) and Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies of York University, in collaboration with Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC) was done by Professor Ashwin Joshi, Director of the MBA Program at the Schulich School of Business, York University, at ICCC’s conference hall, at 924 The East Mall, Etobicoke, Ontario on May 15 from 3 pm - 5 pm
Canadawatch special issue Launch Canadawatch special issue editors
This special issue of Canadawatch is part of the joint research project conducted by the scholars and experts involved with CIPRI of YCAR at York University and aims to highlight existing research and collaboration between Canada and India.
Mr Pramod Goyal, President of ICCC and Ms. Devika Penekelapati, Vice President & Corporate Secretary of ICCC welcomed all the participants, speakers and the panelists, on behalf of all the ICCC. Ms Penekelapati also introduced CIPRI Student Coordinator from York University Barinder Kalhe, who anchored the whole event.
In his inaugural address, Pramod Goyal said, ICCC had been promoting Canada-India relationships in all sectors for several decades and had made the relationship move forward in various directions. Canada and India have taken several strides for bilateral relationships in different sectors, but there are still several untapped areas that need future cooperation and collaboration. He said that joint initiatives of both Canada and India were needed to move things forward, to build brand India in Canada and brand Canada in India. With the academia, he said, we can move forward to find new avenues of cooperation. Pramod Goyal also thanked Dr. Nivedita Das Kundu, Director CIPRI, for taking the initiative for organising the Canadawatch special issue launching event along with ICCC. Goyal also mentioned that this year ICCC had launched an India chapter in New Delhi to help in increasing the engagement with Indian businesses sectors. Keeping with ICCC mandate to create relationships and links with Indian business organizations to promote and facilitate trade and commerce between Canada, India and expand networking activities. He said, ICCC takes business delegations to India every year. To take the Indo-Canada relationship to the next level, said Goyal, ICCC had signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) this year with Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Goa Travel and Tourism department, and with the Goa Technology Association. Goyal added that after the remarks by the authors, panel discussion would be held on the topic “Exploring new pathways for Canada-India Collaborations”.
Pramod Goyal Devika Penekelapati Audience at the event
York University student Barinder Kalhe who is also a project coordinator of the India-Canada Project at York University, was invited to become host of the event.
Kalhe started thanking ICCC for their support for the launch of the special issue of Canadawatch. He also thanked Dr. Kundu for her continuous hard work to bring out this publication. He said that their project is known as CIPRI and they are with York University’s Research Centre on Asian Studies. Dr. Kundu, he said, is Director of CIPRI and Professor Bazley, CIPRI’s primary investigator and Professor Dodman is co-investigator with CIPRI.
Barinder said CIPRI’s goal is to become the premier research hub on Canada-India studies with an aim to promote academic activities, conduct policy oriented research and come out with regular research publications. He said today we are here to officially launch the Canadawatch’s special issue on “Mapping Pathways for Canada-India Collaborations: Preserve, Share and Explore”. This is the first publication of its kind. This special issue is part of the joint research project conducted by the scholars and academics of CIPRI and aims to highlight existing research and collaboration between Canada and India.
Barinder introduced the authors and speakers, Sheila Embleton, Professor York University, who also headed from Indo-Canada Shastri Foundation in Canada; Dawn R Bazely, Project Investigator CIPRI, Professor, York University; Maria Joao Dodman, Co-Project investigator CIPRI, Professor, York University; Dr. Nivedita Das Kundu, Director CIPRI, York Centre for Asian Research, York University. Barinder also introduced the panelists: Dr. Vandana Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal trade, government of India; Mr. Bala Menon, Editor, Weekly Voice; Mr. Prashant Srivastava, Director- South Asia Programme, Seneca College; and Ms. Alyssa Brierley, Graduate Associate, York Centre for Asian Research, York University. Barinder then introduced the Keynote speaker of the event, Professor Ashwin Joshi, Director MBA Programme, Schulich Business School, York University.
Barinder Kalhe Ashwin Joshi
Maria Joao Dodman, was then invited to present her key remarks about the publication. She said today's event is to showcase and celebrate research initiatives of York Centre for Asian Research and Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies at York University. This special issue highlighted Mapping new pathways for Canada-India Collaborations: Preserve, Share and Explore. The York University's Asian Research aims to conduct quality research, to maintain bilateral relationships with India and establish dialogue with Indian communities, and highlight its role in Canada’s multicultural mosaic. Academics and policy makers have been involved in the success of this publication. In this publication interdisciplinary approach has been adopted by the authors to encompass various fields of social sciences, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). CIPRI recognized the need of this publication to reach to the community for the overall development of Canada-India academic cooperation. She added more future efforts were needed to get community involvement in such projects.
The next speaker, Dr. Nivedita Das Kundu was invited to speak. Dr. Kundu thanked all the speakers, panelists and authors, who had spared their valuable time to participate in this event to encourage to conduct future collaborative activities on Canada-India.
She extended her thanks to the President, board of directors and office administrators of ICCC for agreeing to host this event at ICCC premises and for their cooperation and help. She also extended her gratitude towards the Directors of Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies and York Centre for Asian Research at York University for their continuous support and encouragement. She also thanked the United Services Institution of India, the Consulate of India in Toronto for their valuable support in various ways for this publication and also for CIPRI's research activities. She then extended her thanks to coordinators from Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies and York Centre for Asian Research for their unceasing support. She said she could not overlook the dedication of the CIPRI student team and extended her gratitude towards them. She added that these young students are the future of our nation and they are the main drivers, who would carry forward the knowledge and develop the connectivity and maintain people to people contact. Therefore, we should always encourage them to get involved in such activities. She also extended special thanks to all the speakers and also to Professor Ashwin Joshi, who agreed to be the keynote speaker and launch the special issue of Canadawatch.
Maria Joao Dodman Nivedita Das Kundu
Dr. Kundu added that this publication of special issue of Canadawatch, attempts to explore how long-term relationship between the two nations, India and Canada, can be built. The two countries aim to improve and expand their bilateral ties. This publication is a joint research project between Indian and Canadian academics, researchers and policy makers. She said this is the first publication of Canada-India project and we are expecting to bring out an edited book on the similar topic with support from a publishing house who has already accepted the proposal to publish this edited volume. Dr. Kundu said that this publication was possible with the support of positive-minded people. She then extended her special thanks to Professor Maria Joao Dodman, co-editor of this special issue of Canadawatch, and to other authors who were present for the event, Dawn Bazley and Sheila Embleton, and also to those who could not attend the event. After Dr. Kundu’s thanksgiving speech official launch of the special issue of Canadawatch was done by Professor Ashwin Joshi along with other dignitaries and authors. After that the hard copy of Canadawatch was distributed to the audience.
Launch of special issue of Canadawatch by Ashwin Joshi
Ashwin Joshi was then invited to deliver his keynote speech, which was focussed on the key studies of the Canada-India relationship, structure of the Business management program, the journey of how Schulich Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme was set up in India. Regarding the structure of the program, Joshi said, the students of MBA program get half of their education in Hyderabad, India and the other half in Canada and the same Schulich faculty teaches the program both in India and in Toronto.
Their MBA program, said Joshi, had strong representations from reputed industries houses in India, such as Tatas. They also had got government approval for the Indian students to complete half of their studies in Toronto according to the laws of India.
This program, he said, was also supported by Consulate General office in Delhi, India and by York University, in Toronto. Almost 50 students come from India to Toronto to complete half of their program of study.
The journey of this program had been full of challenges, the most important being the adaptation of the Indian students in Canada both from climatic point of view as well as from the cultural aspect. For the future we are planning, he said, to start one-year masters program in business management and also thinking of a professional MBA degree.
During this journey we had learnt several lessons, continued Professor Joshi. Most importantly to strive to inculcate proper mind sets of the students. Indian students need to be protected and we need to understand the culture of India from a different perspective. We also need to ensure that we are not extracting students from India for our program. We must make efforts for their success and built Indo-Canada relationship in several frontiers of business.
Sheila Embleton was next invited to speak. She spoke on Canada-India collaboration on educational front, and about the recruitment of international students from abroad.
Sheila Embleton Dawn Bazley
She said some of these international students, become ideal immigrants but the main concern is that the Canada-India collaboration on education front is becoming more superfluous due to several factors. Personal touch in the relationship between the two countries, which makes the collaboration strong, has been replaced by the advanced technology in both countries like skype; facetime etc. which has given rise to superfluous interactions. This issue cannot be overlooked and has to be resolved.
She added that frequent trips of the faculty between the countries is the need of the hour and added that primary experience gained by personal relationships cannot be replaced by technology. However, there are some major hurdles for the faculty members to visit, such as difficulty of visa due to strict security concerns. Sometimes it is easy to get tourist visa, but this does not always serve the purpose. Also multiple entry visas are not always granted. Visa for research purposes or to attend important conferences is also problematic. Also, the ability to travel to the India for educational collaboration on a short notice is hindered due to delay of visa approval. All these barriers have to be deeply looked into, to improve educational research collaboration between the two countries. Prof. Embleton also mentioned that frequency and affordability of the flights and more of connecting flights, have to be taken into consideration. Other barriers that exist, she pointed out, are not recognizing the three year degree programme completed from India by Indian students, which is of high quality if done from reputed Institutions. This should be compared to the 4 year degree program in Canada in the same stream. Indian students who may be proficient in their English language and literature are required to take tests in Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOFEL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), English as a Second Language (ESL) etc. to be eligible for visa grant. This is another impediment and time consuming.
Prof. Sheila mentioned that insufficient amount of availability of grants for faculty as well as, for research students for research collaboration between the two countries is another concern. In the last few years there had been tremendous increase in the quality, quantity as well as, in various subject grant applications. But many had been declined due to the lack of grants. This leads to the loss of opportunities for the deserving candidates and hampers academic research collaboration between two countries. She said augmentation of the research grants is an essential step.
Dawn R. Bazley, who was next invited to speak, said she approved of Embleton’s views on building personal relationships between the two countries as an important step in furthering the bilateral relations, cooperation and collaboration. She had been working on green energy for three years. She had been to Visva-Bharati University in Santiniketan in India from Jan to March last year. Visva-Bharati, a University of national and international repute located in Birbhum district of West Bengal, was started by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore as an unique institution of learning. In addition to her research in Environmental Science, as a visiting professor, Bazley said, she also taught about the ecotourism, Canadian biodiversity, and about southern Ontario forests. This allowed her to compare ecotourism of Canada to India and found some similarities between ecotourism of Canada and India. Prof. Bazley said that she decided to work with her students to develop a strategy to present a paper on ‘Teaching Ecotourism & Stakeholder Engagement Methods’ both at the conference and to the Ministry of ecotourism. They had a conference (Open Space Technology) to explore student stakeholder opinions, thoughts and ideas on ecotourist destination and what strategies should be developed by Shantiniketan for teaching ecotourism.
One of the things not traditionally done in India, added Bazley, which is done in Canada is student engagement with their professors. In Canada the professors come to the level of students to work with them. And she tried to develop this strategy while in Shantiniketan. Prof. Dawn not only succeeded in allowing ecotourism students to participate in the workshop conducted by her but was also successful to allow participation of the fine arts students, who would look at ecotourism from an artistic perspective. She said, she realized that personally visiting the University in India made things move faster, both with the students and the with the faculty.
While in Shantiniketan, Bazley realized that development of technology in the promotion of tourism was very important. But there were some ethical issues involved with the use of technology in the tourism front. This was an important issue to be solved at present time. She also talked about Canada’s challenge in the use of technology in policy decisions.
The first speaker in the panel discussion on the topic “Exploring Pathways for Canada-India Collaborations”, was Ms. Alyssa Brierley. Prof. Bazley was moderator for the Panel discussion.
Dawn Bazley The panelists
Brierly talked about Food Security issues as her research is based on Canada-India comparative studies. She worked in India for her research. She talked about the food security issue and how it applied to Canadian context both in academic and in policy terms. She talked about academic and policy learning for Canada and the right to food case in India.
After Alyssa’s presentation, the second panelist, Vandana Kumar was invited by Dawn Bazley to give her presentation and share some of the perspective which can deepen ties between the two countries. Dr. Vandana started her presentation mentioning that both the countries have great potential.
Alyssa Brierley Vandana Kumar Bala Menon Prashant Srivastava
She said the two countries continue to engage in bilateral dialogue and cooperation in diverse subjects like in foreign policy, in trade and investment, energy sector, counter terrorism, security, education and in agriculture. But trade between the two countries, she said, needs to improve. She mentioned in her presentation that India is one of the fastest growing economy in the world and a top investment destination. With its large Indian diaspora in Canada, the total investment between 2014-2018 was 258 billion US dollars. She said India was the 3rd largest country in the world and around 900 million people had so far participated in recent elections there, out of them 85 millions were new voters, and 15 million were voters between the age of 18 to19. She added Canada has strong Indian Diaspora and has great skills and at present Canada has around 1.2 lakh Indian students. In the last two years, continued Ms Vandana, India had progressed a lot in the fields like Adhar, Jan Dhan, Mobile phones, Digital India, Startup India, Goods and Services. She explained that Aadhaar Card is a unique identification number issued to every resident of India. An Aadhaar card is as significant as a PAN card for an Indian citizen, and can be used as an identification proof too. She added that there are at present 1.2 billion Adhar accounts.
Dr. Vandana mentioned that a lot of reforms have been made in the sectors of policy, law (1400 laws scrapped), banking and its massive infrastructure, as it is evident by 1 billion bank accounts, 1.19 billion mobile phone users, 481 billion internet subscriptions. With its fastest growing ecosystem, India is also a good destination for start-up companies. Provision of funds of 1.6 billion, presence of 2027 patents and trademarks, and easier compliance with self-certification have further expanded the scope of business with India. She said several factors like regulatory and legislative changes, process engineering, building of trust by continuous verification, and reduction in fees had enhanced ease of doing business in India. Dr. Vandana said in sectors such as political stability, currency stability, high quality products, anti-corruption, low cost of production, strategic location, respect for IPR, as well as, its massive infrastructure lot of improvement took place. India topped as an investment destination with potential areas of collaboration including; Infrastructure push, economy, investment in banking, food processing, education; top sectors for investing by Canada is renewable energy, food processing, IT & BPM, construction etc.
India’s friendly and welcoming environment for investment, present both at the Central and State level, largely due to the several industrial associations, advisory boards, business strategy of long-term partnerships, facilitated India to be successful in several fronts. India had also been the proud recipient of prestigious awards from United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. These were some of the guidelines for foreign investors in India. She mentioned in her presentation that India had started to pay more attention to the areas lagging behind such as taxing system and this work is in progress. Vandana Kumar added that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a great strength for Canada and it can revolutionize economy.
After Vandana's presentation, Bazely invited Bala Menon to give his presentation. Menon’s presentation topic was "apathy and ignorance". He said that ignorance is the main hurdles in the Indo-Canada Cooperation. Besides these, hostility, acceptance of mockery and false exaggeration, selling of sensational news like rape, random murders, caste system, riots etc. were the other issues which caused great harm to the Indian diaspora in Canada.
After Menon’s speech, Bazley, commented that there was a need to have regular communication between Indians and Canadians to build up a frame work which would be mutually beneficial to both countries.
The next speaker on the Panel was Prashant Srivastava. He presented some of the successful partnership experiences between Canada and India. He said India holds the topmost place for Canada for business in all sectors. Srivastava said that Seneca's International partnership programme has close linkages with India. It is also mutually beneficial and has potential for revenue generation and enhances Seneca brand internationally with increased international mobility. Interaction was based, added Srivastava, on the criteria of what can be imparted rather than what we can get. He added that India is a large subcontinent; it is a country with different modalities in education system and there is a need to get a broad vision of all the modalities in order to evaluate the best one.
Prashant Srivastava said that Seneca College strives to build a long term successful partnership, whether it is on government level, or with private sectors, or with not-for profit sectors, revenue driven, regional, program, credential or brand-driven. He said it is essential for us to deal with complicated educational system in India as one model cannot fit all, with each state having its own State Board with a separate Education Governing Council and budgets. Some working models fail due to lack of follow up of some MoUs signed by Indian institutions for marketing purposes. Some of Partnerships which had been successful were those which focus on clear learning outcomes like short-term training programs; sticking to small number of partners and proliferating with the same institution.
For example National Institute of Financial Management (NIFM)'s partnership with government as an apex training institution for centralized and uniform training of Indian Civil Servants had been successful in training more than 300 participants. The success was due to its focus approach, and follow ups with frequent communication. Prashant Srivastava also mentioned in his presentation that India is a country of many cultures and languages, but there is unity in diversity in their culture. To work with India requires more patience. He said, the focus should be what to give, rather than what to get. Srivastava summed up his talk by highlighting the benefits of successful partnerships like increased brand awareness, tacit marketing, exposure to multicultural communities which not only strengthens bilateral relationships but also facilitates experimentation and innovation. He said that the skilled workers in India’s education sector provide Canada with amazing opportunities.
Dawn Bazley who was moderating the discussion thanked all the four panelists and also opened the floor for question and answer from the audience. There were few questions for all the panelists which were all answered duly. Prof. Bazely concluded by saying that the discussions were extremely fruitful and added that it would be a pleasure for CIPRI to involve all the panelists for future advisory council meeting on improving Canada-India relations.
Questions & Answers Session
After question and answer session, mementoes were presented to the authors, speakers and panelists from York University’s side as well as from ICCC's side.
Presentation of mementoes to the authors, speakers and panelists
The event came to an end with refreshments and networking.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)