The Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute in association with the University of Calcutta, Jadavpur University and the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, organized a two-day conference on December 3-4, 2011, at the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta entitled “Engaging Canada: A Multidisciplinary Conference” as part the ‘Engaging Canada’ series being organized by Shastri in collaboration with the Canadian High Commission, New Delhi.
The two-day conference brought together scholars from universities, business schools, social science and science & technology research institutions, as well as executives from firms and officials from trade organizations to discuss research work and linkages that have significance for India-Canada research collaborations.
The inaugural session was kicked off with a welcome speech by the head conference organizer Professor Biju Paul Abraham of IIM Calcutta, and Member-at-Large of the Shastri Executive Council. He expressed his hope that the conference would lead to more productive research partnerships between Indian and Canadian Institutions. In his inaugural address, Professor Sougata Ray, Acting Director of IIM Calcutta, stressed the need for institutions from the two countries to work collaboratively given the increasing trade and investment links. Shastri President, Dr. Braj Sinha, informed delegates in his presidential address that this has been a significant year for Shastri, in light of the ‘Engaging India’ and ‘Engaging Canada’ series taking place in Canada and India, and the Education Summit that took place in June and welcomed a delegation of 21 Indian Vice-Chancellors and the Chairman of the Indian University Grants Commission to Canada for discussions with their Canadian counterparts, which laid the foundations for greater faculty and student mobility between the two countries. He stressed the need for institutions in the two countries to create knowledge-partnerships for production, presentation and creative dissemination of knowledge.
Among the speakers at the conference was Mr.Simon Cridland, Head of the Advocay Programme at the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi. He discussed the increasing interest among universities and business schools in India and Canada for greater cooperation. He indicated that new India-studies centers had been set up in Canadian universities, and Canadian Universities and Business Schools were in the process of setting up campuses in India with Indian partners. He identified food security and energy as two areas where the two countries could collaborate. Indian universities could also collaborate in the development of skill-based training courses with Canadian Universities. Professor Suchorita Chattopadhyay, Director of the Centre for Canadian Studies at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, thanked the invitees and delegates for their participation in the Conference.
Papers were presented at six sessions of the Conference over two days. The sessions were on Energy & Environment, Multiculturalism & Literature, Multiculturalism & Governance, Environment and Indigenous Medicine, India-Canada Trade Relations, and on Diaspora Studies. A panel discussion on ‘India-Canada Trade’ was held on December 4, 2011. In the evening on December 3, 2011, a Canadian Music group, ‘The Monsoon Trio’ comprising of band-members Jonathan Kay, Andrew Kay and Justin Grey played Ancient Indian Raga music on modern western instruments, accompanied by the Tabla player Shri. Subhajyoti Guha. The three members of the band are Shastri Scholars currently based in India and studying with their Indian Guru, Shri.Shantanu Bhattacharya.