Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, Munk School of Global Affairs Announce Task Force on Asia Competence

Vancouver, B.C. – March 14, 2013 - The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (APF Canada), through the National Conversation on Asia, announced today that it is partnering with the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto in convening a group of experts to examine ways that Canada can boost the country’s level of "Asia competence." 

The task force is being co-chaired by Mr. David Mulroney, Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Munk School and Canada’s Ambassador to China from 2009-2012, and China-based Ms. Janet De Silva, Dean, Ivey Asia, with more than 10 years of China CEO experience with Sun Life Financial and a private enterprise. Other task force members include: Dave McMaster, Head of School, Canadian International School of Hong Kong; Maureen Neglia, Vice President, Global Talent and Recruitment, Manulife Financial; Victor Rabinovitch, Professor and Fellow, School of Public Policy, Queen’s University; Michael Stevenson, President Emeritus, Simon Fraser University; and Joseph Wong, Director, Asian Institute, Munk School of Global Affairs.

The task force will hold its first meeting on Thursday, March 14 at the Munk School to consider what Canada’s priorities should be with respect to building the various dimensions of Asia competence, with a particular focus on language training, internships and other on-the-ground experiences, and introducing more Asia content into the curriculum. “This is a critical time for Canada to think about making a serious commitment to equipping our next generation of Canadians with the skills and experience they will need to be effective in Asia,” said Ms. De Silva. “When I worked at the embassy in Beijing,” added Mr. Mulroney, “I had the pleasure of meeting young Canadians who spoke Chinese, and who understood the cultural and business contexts of contemporary China. Our challenge is that we need far more people with these skills if we are to successfully engage a rising China.

The task force will review existing materials on best practices and lessons learned both within Canada and in other countries, and will consult with key Canadian stakeholders in K-12 education, post-secondary education and the private sector.


About APF Canada

The Asia Pacific Foundation is an independent resource for Canadians on contemporary Asia and Canada-Asia relations. As a national not-for-profit organization established by an Act of the Federal Parliament in 1984, the Foundation brings together people and knowledge to provide the most current and comprehensive research, analysis and information on Asia and on Canada's transpacific relations.


About the Munk School of Global Affairs

The Munk School of Global Affairs speaks to the diverse set of complex ideas and challenges shaping the global system. The newly strong powers in Asia, a global platform of innovation, global capital markets, the challenges of security in cyberspace, the security of the Arctic, and new concepts of global justice are all engaged by outstanding faculty and researchers drawn from across the University of Toronto, Canada’s premier research university. With exceptional degree programs and innovative research labs, the School attracts thought-leaders and students from around the world who are deeply engaged in global affairs. It is home to the flagship Master of Global Affairs and over forty research institutes and programs.


About the National Conversation on Asia

The National Conversation on Asia is a Canada-wide initiative to get Canadians thinking and talking about what Asian means to Canada. It includes a public education and policy development focus. This initiative is generously supported in part by our Founding Partners: Teck, Shell Canada, Manulife Financial and BMO Financial Group; Founding Sponsors: HSBC Bank Canada and Port Metro Vancouver; and Founding Supporters: Port of Halifax, Fiera Sceptre, Deloitte, Vancouver Airport Authority, Husky Energy, Canadian Pacific, and TELUS. 

For additional information:

Trang Nguyen
Communications Manager
Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada
Tel: 604-630-1540

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