The Smart Global Development conference brings great global minds to Ottawa

April 11, 2016 – A lecture hall, a research lab, a textbook: each of these is a powerful tool to combat poverty around the world.

Universities are hubs of knowledge and innovation, poised to unleash new opportunities and drive growth.

But despite this potential, the international development community has made limited investments in higher education in the Global South – particularly compared to support for primary education and basic health care.

“Progress in the developing world cannot be sustained without a vibrant constellation of universities, colleges, and research institutes to anchor local knowledge and innovation,” says Khalil Z. Shariff, Chief Executive Officer of Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC).

“Higher education institutions – in Africa, Asia, and Canada – have played a key role in the decades-long collaboration between Canada and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) to improve lives in the developing world.”

On April 13 and 14, international experts will convene in Ottawa for the Smart Global Development conference, tackling key questions of higher education and its role in reducing global poverty.

Building on the momentum of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in September, the conference will explore how universities in Canada and overseas can contribute to the 2030 Development Agenda.

The opening keynote address will be delivered by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada.

The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie will deliver opening remarks on April 14.

A truly global event, the two-day conference will feature some of the brightest minds from over 20 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, Latin America, and the Caribbean. More than a dozen Canadian universities will be represented at the conference.

The AKDN’s two universities will be active participants in the conference.

Representatives of the University of Central Asia (UCA) and Aga Khan University (AKU) will participate in conference sessions, including Firoz Rasul, President of AKU, and Shamsh Kassim-Lakha, Executive Chairman of the Board Executive Committee of UCA.

On April 14, UCA will sign a memorandum of understanding with Toronto’s Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology, to offer scholarships to a dozen Central Asian undergraduate students.

The conference is presented by AKFC, Academics Without Borders, and the International Development Research Centre – with financial support from Global Affairs Canada.

The launch of the conference on April 13 and all plenary sessions on April 14 will be webcast live in French and English.

More information is available on the conference website:

#SmartGlobalDev #DévIntelligent

For more information, download the press release.

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