Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada to Host Conference on Canada’s Asia Challenge: Building Skills and Knowledge for the Next Generation

Vancouver, BC – July 30, 2014 – The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (APF Canada) today announced that it will host Canada’s Asia Challenge: Building Knowledge and Skills for the Next Generation, a national conference that will take place from October 15-17, 2014 in Calgary, Alberta. It will feature Canadian and international speakers who will share experiences, perspectives and good practices in preparing Canadian students and young professionals for the rise of Asia.

“Canada is overdue for a national strategy on Asia competence – the knowledge, skills and experiences required to help Canadians compete and thrive in the Asian century,” said APF Canada President and CEO Yuen Pau Woo, “We are delighted to be hosting the first Canadian conference on this very important issue.”

“This conference is an important step towards ensuring our students benefit from educational and learning opportunities that enable them to develop the cultural awareness, language abilities, and soft skills needed to do business with the growing economies of Asia,” said the Honourable Jeff Johnson, Minister of Education for Alberta and Chair of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada. “We’re proud to host this event here in Alberta and to showcase our focus on international education and immersion programs that are giving kids a leg up in today’s globally connected, knowledge-driven society.”     

APF Canada is partnering with the Government of Alberta and Manulife Financial to organize this inaugural conference. The conference will bring together members of governments, education institutions, the private sector, civil society and leaders of Canada’s next generation. Participants will focus on identifying priority initiatives and next steps, creating networks to support these priority initiatives, and exchanging program ideas and best practices.  Conference sessions will include:

  • Identifying and supporting Asia competence priorities for Canadian industry
  • Leveraging ‘internationalization’ on campus to deepen awareness of Asia
  • Introducing Asia into the curriculum
  • Raising Asia’s profile in learning about international business
  • Starting and sustaining Asian language programs
  • Filling the Asia gap in education/experience abroad programs
  • Building Asia competence for the Canadian public sector
  • Linking science and sustainability programs to opportunities in Asia

Associate Minister Woo-Paw added, “We all have a lot to learn from stakeholders in Alberta and internationally, who have decades of experience building Asia competence. Critically examining our practices and policies through this discussion will help Albertans and Canadians develop and sustain the skills, knowledge, and competitive advantages needed to succeed in an increasingly Asia-focused international economy.‎"

Maureen Neglia of Manulife Financial noted that “Manulife has had a presence in Asia for over one hundred years and continues to focus on the region as a key priority in its growth plans. Any company with similar growth plans,” she said, “requires access to a talented pool of employees with expertise in the Asian marketplace, an objective that the Asia Pacific Foundation is keenly focused on."

The Advisory Committee for this conference includes: David Mulroney (conference co-chair), APF Canada Distinguished Fellow, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Munk School for Global Affairs and Canada’s former Ambassador to China; Honourable Jeff Johnson, Minister, Alberta Education; Maureen Neglia, Vice-President Human Resources, Manulife Financial; Honourable Teresa Woo-Paw, Associate Minister, Alberta International and Intergovernmental Relations; and Yuen Pau Woo, President & CEO, Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada.

For more information about the conference, visit:


About the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada

The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (APF Canada) has been a leader in research and analysis on Canada’s relations with Asia for thirty years. Our mission is to develop ideas for action by Canadian businesses, governments, and individuals to help them seize the vast opportunities unfolding in Asia. We do this by offering clear, specific, and actionable policy advice and leadership based on sound research and analysis. APF Canada’s current thematic priorities include trade and investment, energy and the environment, and international education. Engaged in research and convening, APF Canada has developed strong ties with policy-makers, business leaders, academics, and opinion makers in Canada and throughout the Asia Pacific region. Visit APF Canada at  

For more information please contact:

Jillian Oliver 
Communications Manager
Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada
Office: 604-630-1536

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