A new international university consortium is born in Montreal: International Forum of Public Universities officially inaugurated

    MONTREAL, Oct. 11 /CNW Telbec/ - The International Forum of Public
Universities (IFPU), a new university consortium made up of 21 institutions
from four continents, will be officially inaugurated tonight at a protocol
signing ceremony attended by rectors and delegates from member universities as
well as other guests from academic, international and political circles in

    A forum to foster collaboration

    "By bringing together public universities that work in different
languages and in developed and developing countries, the forum is seeking to
create new models for collaboration on education, teaching and research,"
explained Université de Montréal rector Luc Vinet at the opening of the IFPU's
inaugural colloquium, which began earlier in the day.
    The purpose of the two-day Universities, Public Policy and
Internationalization colloquium is to lay the foundation for new types of
collaboration related to university education, international research
partnerships, information sharing and the functioning of the IFPU.
    "Public universities want to respond to social demands related to
education, research, and the production and transfer of knowledge," added
Bernard Bosredon, president of the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris III.
"They're sensitive to their responsibilities in terms of the education and
research the world needs in order to build and serve the sustainable
development of our global society."
    "Students who study in universities that promote internationalization
will be more aware of cultural diversity," said Abdou Salam Sall, rector of
the Cheikh Anta Diop University (Senegal). "The more open-minded they become,
the more they will be able to influence future policy and make sure it
responds adequately to the needs of all societies."

    Joint panels and international research partnerships on the rise

    According to UNESCO'S 2006 Global Education Digest, the number of
students who chose to study abroad increased by 41% between 1999 and 2004, up
from 1.75 million to 2.5 million. In terms of research, 40% of Canadian
natural science and engineering publications are co-signed by foreign
contributors, double the percentage noted in 1988. At the Université de
Montréal, a number of study and research groups centered on international
relations or with a major international component have been created in recent
years, including the Centre d'études et de recherches internationales (CERIUM)
and the Centre de recherche sur la biodiversité.
    In this context, the IFPU will be able to provide partnerships that
reflect new types of strategic educational and globally-oriented research
activities that will be implemented between member universities..

    Economic, political and international prospects

    To enrichen their discussions, the IFPU organizers invited a number of
well-known speakers to present their views on the economic, political and
international realities facing universities today.
    Jamil Salmi, coordinator of the World Bank's tertiary education sector,
and Marcel Boyer, Bell Canada Chair in Industrial Economy at the Université de
Montréal and vice-president and chief economist at the Montreal Economic
Institute, will provide an overview of economic perspectives, including an
explanation of why globalization makes it crucial for public universities to
form international networks.
    Former Mexican foreign affairs minister Jorge Castaneda, now a professor
of political science at New York University's Center for Latin American and
Caribbean Studies, will discuss why Latin American countries will never be
able to become economically competitive unless their universities and public
institutions undergo major reforms.
    The IFPU has also invited Thomas Homer-Dixon, George Ignatieff Chair of
Peace and Conflict Studies at the Trudeau Centre for Peace and Conflict
Studies at the University of Toronto, to present his theory on growth, crisis
and renewal, the subject of his recent book The Upside of Down.
    The colloquium will close with a panel on cultural diversity on the
University. Of Montreal campus. Questions from the public will be answered by
four rectors of member universities and the two co-chairs of the Consultation
Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences,
Charles Taylor, emeritus professor of political science and philosophy at
McGill University, and Gérard Bouchard, professor in the Department of Human
Sciences at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi.

    About the International Forum of Public Universities

    The IFPU grew out of the Université de Montréal's celebrations of the
125th anniversary of its founding in 2004 and a succeeding seminar held at the
Brussels Free University in 2005. The 21 member universities plan to take part
in the creation of new models of collaboration on education, teaching and
research. The network's permanent secretariat is located at the Université de
Montréal. A description of the member universities is available online at
fiup.umontreal.ca. The member universities are:

    - ARGENTINA: Universidad de Buenos Aires
    - BELGIUM: Brussels Free University
    - BRAZIL: Universidade de Sco Paulo
    - CANADA: Université de Montréal
    - CHILE: Universidad de Chile
    - CHINA: Beijing University
    - CHINA: Nankai University
    - CZECH REPUBLIC: Univerzita Karlova v Praze
    - FRANCE: Université Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris III
    - GERMANY: Albert-Ludwigs-Universitdt Freiburg
    - INDIA: Jawaharlal Nehru University
    - ITALY: Università di Bologna
    - JAPAN: Nagoya University
    - MEXICO: Universidad Nacional Autsnoma de México
    - MOROCCO, Université Mohammed V - Agdal
    - ROMANIA: Universitatea din Bucuresti
    - RUSSIA: Lomonosov State Moscow University
    - SENEGAL: Université Cheikh Anta Diop
    - SPAIN: Universitat de Barcelona
    - SWITZERLAND: Université de Genève
    - UNITED STATES: University of California

For further information:

For further information: and Colloquium program: fiup.umontreal.ca; To
pre-register or request an interview with a spokesperson or speaker, please
contact Allard Hervieu Communication: Véronique Gabrysz, (514) 499-3030,
extension 3, vg@ahcom.ca

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