WINNIPEG—The University of Winnipeg today announced the establishment of a new Global College & Dialogue Centre, providing a vital nexus where students, faculty, and the community-local, national, and international-can meet and map a course of action for the challenges of the new century. Research, exploration, and exchange of ideas are all vital components of the Centre’s mission. The announcement was made at the International Human Rights Day Awards Luncheon at the Sheraton Hotel, where Dr. Lloyd Axworthy was the keynote speaker.
“The creation of this new Centre responds to the University’s commitment to its own international responsibilities,” said Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Winnipeg. “As a catalyst for new ideas, critical thinking, and open discourse, the Global College & Dialogue Centre will raise the profile of international concerns both at home and abroad.”
An embodiment of the University’s Strategic and Academic plans, the Global College & Dialogue Centre provides invaluable resources to the University’s students, faculty, community members, and visiting scholars. As well, the new Centre is the fulfillment of a request made by participants at the University’s QUEST conference on global citizenship held in October of this year. Members of the University’s academic body have been key to the development of the new Centre.
“It was clear that our local community, our students, and our University constituents wanted to bring together a variety of resources to focus on international issues,” said Axworthy. “The Centre provides a safe place where people with first-hand experiences-such as survivors of atrocities in war-torn countries and immigrants-can share their knowledge. This direct and immediate interaction has far-reaching benefits for all.”
The Honourable Dr. Rey D. Pagtakhan, former Member of Parliament, has been named the Chair of the President’s Honourary Advisory Council for the new Centre.
“I feel honoured to serve as Chair of the Council” said Pagtakhan. “The Centre’s aim is to enhance and promote global citizenship in its many dimensions,” added Pagtakhan. “Citizenship is not about you or me-it is about how we can all work together to advance the dignity of society and its citizens.”
“Dr. Pagtakhan is ideally suited for this position,” said Axworthy. “He brings a deep understanding of many constituencies, including government, health, and the international community.” Pagtakhan served as Minister of Western Economic Diversification, Minister of Veterans Affairs, Secretary of State (Science, Research and Development), and Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific). He also held the post of Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and chaired the House of Commons Committee on Human Rights. He was a Professor of Pediatrics and Child Health and a lung specialist at the University of Manitoba and Winnipeg Children’s Hospital.
“Dr. Axworthy’s passion has long been to advance the principles and practice of global citizenship. He has championed the abolition of anti-personnel landmines, the establishment of the International Criminal Court, and the Protocol on child soldiers,” said Pagtakhan. “This new Centre is a wonderful culmination of that vision and the University’s commitment to the advancement of international understanding and the concept of global citizenship-I am looking forward to helping translate that vision into reality.”
Students, faculty, visiting scholars, dignitaries, and the community now have a place to interact, to meet, and to work. “This is a unique Centre where issues of global citizenship, human rights, and issues affecting the planet can be researched, discussed, and debated,” said Naomi Levine, the Centre’s Director. “Community members, students of all ages, government and NGO agencies, and the business community now have a place where they can share their diverse perspectives and where we can all learn how to make a difference in our world.”
The new Centre will focus on issues of global significance affecting our local and international communities. This includes the transition of new immigrants and refugees into Canadian society and the struggle they face to find employment that recognizes their foreign credentials. Community involvement will be key to discussion and research on topics ranging from human rights and infectious disease, to global security and climate change.
As a community resource, the Global College & Dialogue Centre includes a lounge equipped with computers, as well as a library and areas for dialogue and discussion. It is located at 359 Young Street. One of the first events of the University’s new Global College & Dialogue Centre will be a public Landmines Awareness Session on Monday, December 13 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall.
It will be followed on Monday, February 7, 2005 by a presentation by Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. Roth will lead a dialogue on his organization’s work to curb human rights abuses in some 70 countries. Roth has conducted human rights investigations around the globe, devoting special attention to issues of justice and accountability for gross abuses of human rights, standards governing military conduct in time of war, the human rights policies of the United States and the United Nations, and the human rights responsibilities of multinational businesses. Previously, Roth was a federal prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the Iran-Contra investigation in Washington.
Located in the heart of downtown, The University of Winnipeg is a compact, diverse, multicultural academic community committed to access and excellence. Ranked by our graduates in Maclean’s magazine University Graduate Survey (November 15, 2004) in the Top Ten of all Canadian universities when asked about their “Entire Educational Experience,” UWinnipeg is home to more than 8,700 full- and part-time students.
For more information, please contact:
Katherine Unruh, Director of Communications, The University of Winnipeg
T: 204.786.9872, C: 204.782.3279