Queen's University — Since 1873
3rd December 2009

Principal’s passage to India

Woolf to accompany Ontario premier on networking trip

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Last weekend he was in Quebec City for the Vanier Cup but this Saturday, Principal Daniel Woolf will be travelling a bit farther and with a different agenda.

Woolf will accompany Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty on an eight-day trip to India on Dec. 5.

He and University of Toronto President David Naylor are the only two university presidents invited on the trip.

The trip is organized in response to the government of India’s announcement of a national plan to fight climate change, focusing on clean, renewable energy sources and increased energy efficiency.

Jane Almeida, press secretary for the premier’s office, said this will be McGuinty’s first trip back to India since 2007.

“The focus of his trip will be to promote Ontario’s green technology companies in India to help bring more ‘green’ jobs to Ontario,” she told the Journal in an e-mail.

India’s efforts to fight global warming have boosted investment in climate-friendly projects, which creates business opportunities for Ontario companies, Almeida added.

The Ontario government has invested more than $600 million in research projects and companies working on green technologies since 2003, she said. In total, Ontario has 2,600 environmental technology companies.

Woolf will travel with 31 individuals from 27 different alternative energy organizations based in Ontario and visit New Delhi, Mumbai and Hydrabad.

“I think it’s going to be a very important mission for the province,” Woolf said, adding that McGuinty invited him on the trip in September.

“I had a conversation with Premier McGuinty in the middle of September. … I happened to mention all the exciting research Queen’s is doing on sustainable energy and green initiatives,” Woolf said. “A few days later, I got an invitation.”

Woolf said he wants to build partnerships with universities in India doing environmental research.

“They have an obvious interest in getting there [to a green stage] and we can actually provide some assistance in that regard, given that Queen’s has quite a strong commitment to social responsibility,” he said.

Woolf said he thinks this trip will be an opportunity for him to promote Queen’s to potential students in India.

“The premier and I both have a strong interest in getting people from India to come here and study at the undergraduate and graduate level,” he said, adding that he visited India for similar reasons in his former job as dean of the faculty of arts at the University of Alberta.

Woolf said he thinks India’s growing population means potential post-secondary students will have to seek international opportunities for study.

“It’s the second most populous country in the world so they’re in real need of international partnerships and assistance,” he said. “[India’s] going to have a fraction of the universities and higher education institutions that it will need for its population. We need to be really quite bold and aggressive in pursuing these opportunities that come up.”

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