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McGill University executives applaud United Arab Emirates’ and Canada’s efforts to transform education and shape future-ready students

March 7, 2022, Dubai, United Arab Emirates – Global Affairs Canada

Recognized as one of the top countries in the world for the quality of its education programs, Canada is chosen as a study destination by more than half a million international students annually. Canada’s higher education system ranks 7th in the world, with more than 16,000 university and 8,000 college programs offered across the country.

A delegation of McGill University’s most senior executives and academic heads led presentations at Expo 2020 Dubai and the Canada Pavilion over the weekend, praising efforts by the UAE and Canada to transform education and shape future-ready students.

Ranked one of the top universities in Canada and the world, McGill’s program at Expo 2020 Dubai marked the launch of its Third Century Celebrations, and brought together alumni, government representatives and industry partners to discuss the future of higher education.

In her address during a private event at the Canada Pavilion, Suzanne Fortier, Principal and Vice Chancellor of McGill University, recognized the importance of bilateral cooperation in higher education between the UAE and Canada.

“We are operating in a fast-changing world and the Covid-19 pandemic, technological innovation and climate change are all accelerating the pace of transformation. As educators, we must prepare the next generation of leaders to adapt to these challenges – to be both job-ready and future-ready.

“Canada has some of the most prestigious universities in the world offering exceptional study opportunities to students from all over the world and it is no surprise that the past 15 years have seen significant growth in the number of Middle Eastern students choosing to complete their education in Canada. Our Expo theme ‘The Future in Mind’ is an invitation to innovate together for a better future where we enable and empower students to thrive, innovate and bring solutions to our world’s most pressing challenges.” said Marie-Geneviève Mounier, Commissioner General – Canada Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.

McGill University continues to strengthen its relationship with the UAE, its top market for international students from the Middle East. In partnership with the Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi, the university has established several McGill-UAE Fellowships to encourage top students from the UAE to pursue Master’s and PhD degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

“Education plays a crucial role in building resilient and inclusive societies and economies. We are encouraged by the partnerships forged between the UAE and Canada throughout Expo 2020 Dubai to foster even more collaboration in higher education. Such bilateral cooperation is key to connecting minds and creating a better future for all,” Principal Fortier said.

McGill’s academic heads and captains of industry from the UAE discussed the future of higher education during a series of panel discussions at Expo’s Terra Pavilion. For future economic growth to be sustainable and inclusive, they emphasized the importance of anchoring education in sustainability principles, ethics and social purpose. This will be fundamental for leadership in the next century across all business sectors.

Being future-ready also requires meaningful inclusion of Indigenous communities and knowledge. The Government of Canada is committed to advance reconciliation and renewing the relationship with Indigenous peoples, based on recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership. It is a commitment shared by Canada’s universities and McGill is prioritizing Indigenous studies and Indigenous education across its campuses. This includes celebrating Indigenous art as a bridge between traditional knowledge and contemporary research.

H.E. Jean-Philippe Linteau, Consul General of Canada in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, said: “McGill University embodies the excellence of Canada’s education system and is one of the world’s best universities. McGill graduates are contributing to the success of the UAE in areas such as medicine, business and education.  As a McGill alumnus, I am thrilled to see the McGill community celebrate the bicentennial at Expo2020 Dubai.”

As part of McGill’s Third Century Celebrations, the university has brought the ground-breaking Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ), Art, Architecture and Traditional Knowledge Exhibition to Dubai. Curated by Canadian architecture firm EVOQ and sponsored by McGill University, the exhibition is a first-of-its-kind in Canadian art history and celebrates the contribution of Traditional Knowledge to the development of modern sciences and technologies. The exhibition leaves its permanent home in the Canadian High Arctic Research Station and will remain on display at the Canadian University Dubai until 20 March.

At the exhibition vernissage yesterday, McGill Provost Christopher Manfredi said: “We hope the IQ Exhibition can help inspire us all while sharing some of Canada’s multifaceted Indigenous culture with Dubai and with the world. Showing interest and respect for each other’s traditions and knowledge is the most important way to build understanding and to strengthen bridges between communities.”

Quick Facts:

  • Canada is a land of endless possibilities. In 2020, over 730,000 international students chose Canada as their study destination.
  • Canada ranks in first place globally for the best quality of life (U.S. News & World Report, 2021).
  • Canada is an affordable option. Tuition fees are generally lower than colleges and universities in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States (QS Top Universities, 2018).


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Consulate General of Canada in Dubai and the Northern Emirates
Akiko Onozuka, Public Affairs


Canada at Expo 2020 Dubai

“Canada’s Expo 2020 theme, The Future in Mind, serves as a platform to promote opportunities for trade, investment, education, tourism and immigration, from across Canada’s provinces, territories and cities, and throughout all sectors of society. Canada’s participation highlights Canadian leadership in key sectors, including artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, education, digitization, telemedicine, clean technology, agriculture, health sciences, aerospace and more. Canada’s approach to Expo 2020 Dubai is inspired by our core values of diversity, inclusion, human rights and gender equality as the foundation to building a prosperous and inclusive nation capable and intent on offering solutions to global challenges.”

About McGill University:

Founded in Montreal, Quebec, in 1821, McGill University is Canada’s top ranked medical doctoral university. McGill is consistently ranked as one of the top universities, both nationally and internationally. It is a world-renowned institution of higher learning with research activities spanning three campuses, 11 faculties, 13 professional schools, 300 programs of study and over 39,000 students, including more than 10,400 graduate students. McGill attracts students from over 150 countries around the world, its 12,000 international students making up 30% of the student body.

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