Mission possible for Davenport
By Sandra Dimitrakopoulos
Western President Paul Davenport is in Mexico today, signing a collective agreement as part of the Team Canada trade mission to forge new relationships between Canada and Latin America.
The agreement will include collaborative and exchange programs between students and faculty of Mexican universities with the Richard Ivey School of Business and Western's geography department.
"The objective of the agreement is to allow each school to broaden their understanding of one another," said Larry Wynant, associate dean of the Ivey school of business. Students will also be provided with first-hand working experience in another country and an increased faculty capacity at the business school.
This first mission agreement is part of a series by Team Canada to bring private sector companies interested in doing Pan-American business into a certain country, said Frederick Keenan, director of the office of international research at Western.
"One measure of success for this type of mission is the number of agreements signed," Keenan said. "It's a focal point."
Wynant said there are several new components to the agreement involving the Ivey School of Business in addition to maintaining existing exchange programs for Masters of Business Administration and Executive Program students.
The newest addition is the Strategic Evolution and Revolution in the Americas which involves Western, Instituto Panamericano de Alta Direccion de Empresa and the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia. This program is aimed at senior business executives who will attend one-week conferences in Mexico and Toronto. There will also be an increase in case writing and an exchange of faculty between Western and IPADE.
The Universidad Autonoma de Nayarit in Mexico will also become well acquainted with members of the Western geography department in an exchange of personnel intent on studying and sustaining the environment on the Mexican coast, said geography chair Roger King.
"The purpose was to begin a project which concentrated on sustainable management of natural resources of coastal Nayarit," King said. The project will also involve handling of shrimp farms in an attempt to cut down on water pollution caused by this type of farming.
Personnel coming from Mexico will be trained on the various types of equipment employed at Western, including the use of satellites, mapping computers and remote sensing capabilities with some trainees working towards degrees or certificates.
VP-academic Greg Moran said the agreement between the university and the Latin American partners brings high hopes for the development of meaningful links. "It is important for Western to reach out to where international contacts or collaborations are essential."
Davenport will also be working in his capacity as chair of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and will be signing an agreement on behalf of the association intent on working with companies within Mexico.
All provincial leaders were set to head the Team Canada mission but the current ice storm plaguing Quebec and some parts of Ontario has resulted in Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, Quebec Premier Lucién Bouchard and Ontario Premier Mike Harris' decision to stay in the country.